A Partner for effective email newsletters and communications, eMarketing Solutions, enewsletters, surveys, list building
Brands know they must stay active on their Facebook page, writing posts and encouraging engagement. But there are certain tactics that increase fans’ participation, including using specific words and posting at certain times.
Creating, finding and sharing compelling content can prove to consumers that a company knows its territory, is a thought leader in its industry and wants to help customers keep up-to-date on important developments. Marketers are placing an ever-greater emphasis on content marketing’s ability to add value for targets and prospects.
According to February 2011 research from content curation firm HiveFire, nearly half of US marketing professionals surveyed are now curating content as part of their strategy, and another 42% are familiar with the practice but not participating. Even among that group, 85% had done at least some content curation, for example by sending an article or other content to a prospect, but were not aware of it.
The main objectives of content curation, according to the survey, were establishing thought leadership and improving brand buzz.
To read more: http://www.emarketer.com/Articles/Print.aspx?1008327
Here is a PDF produced by Constant Contact that spells out what to do in social media marketing. It’s great. It doesn’t let you off the hook. You have to do something, be creative, engaging and most of all active. Having a plan and working that plan just goes without saying. Read this PDF and get the big picture and lots of “how to.” If you don’t understand something, let me know. I’ll explain it. Like I always say: “No sales pitch, just honest conversation!”
In the latter part of the last century I listened to and read all the sales instruction I could find. I was just getting into sales and although I was really educated, nothing prepared me for sales. One of the sales gurus talked about selling intangible items: you know, insurance, financial planning, consulting, stuff like that. What they said was to tell a story. Make it a really powerful story about someone who used your service and got great results. Or, you could talk about someone who didn’t use your services and got really bad results.
That idea (the story) still applies. A story line, like the elves in the forest who make chocolate chip cookies, is one thing. But to tell a compelling story is another. It takes good technique, passion, and creativity. It goes without saying spelling and grammar are a must.
My challenge to you is the creative. Can you think of a creative story about your service or product? Could you include questions and things that require your reader to respond to your email? Can you engage your subscriber in a conversation? Hummmm. Good thought.
For weeks now I have been working with one of my clients to try to fill a room with seminar participants. The cost was minimal. (Less than $50) But we had to cancel the event. What went wrong? Why is it that sometimes email marketing doesn’t work? Here’s a great lesson in email marketing.
Step One: The Relationship.
The first problem was that my client started with a small list of folks in an association he didn’t belong to and with whom he had no relationship.
(They didn’t “op-in” to his email account. He just started sending them email. I’ve committed the same sin and got away with it … a little.)
He was a popular figure in the industry, so they may have known who he was. And the association was a good choice. It contained those to whom he wanted to reach.
He started by sending out an email extolling the virtues of attending the seminar. He did some things right. He told the receiver who should attend and why. He mentioned the subject of the seminar and what a benefit it would be to the target audience. However, you can’t start out a relationship with a “sales pitch” even if what you have is the “Greatest Show On Earth!” And repetition of the same advertisement doesn’t make it any better. Broadcast email is not a magazine ad or post card.
I consider myself an email marketing aficionado. If I were to attempt to create a class (perhaps “Advanced Techniques in Email Marketing”) and wanted to fill the room with cash paying attendees, I’d start by going to those who know me, who already receive my email and are OK with me. I’d appeal to them to help me locate others who would like to attend the class. It would take time. I’d start a half year or more in advance just developing the rapport to position myself as someone worth coming to hear. Generally you don’t reach “Rock Star” status over-night. (Ask any “Rock Star.”)
I’d develop that rapport by staying in contact, sending useful information, and by attempting to engage them in conversation. You’ll notice my emails always invite you to ask me any question about email marketing.
In the days of direct marketing (before the internet) you would buy a mailing list of potential attendees and mail them a letter or brochure or both. You’d follow up with a post card. If all else failed you got on the phone and called them one at a time. It took time and money, sometimes lots of money.
When the FAX machine was the state of the art (in the late 1980s) you could send out broadcast faxes until it became illegal here in Colorado. That was the beginning of the “SPAM” affect. People didn’t like seeing their fax paper and ink being used by someone they didn’t know, sending them information they didn’t ask for, about a subject they weren’t interested in. But, like modern day broadcast email it was quicker and less expensive to the person doing the marketing.
Step Two: The Format and The Message
My client did it right by addressing the email to those who needed to attend his seminar. He told them what the topic was and who should attend and why. He even invited them to forward the email on to others who should attend. (A good idea often overlooked!) We sent one email a week starting two months prior to the meeting. (Good repetition. Not a bad idea.) We changed the subject line and the first paragraph with each email we sent. (Again, not a bad idea.) But other than the subject line and the first paragraph, the remainder of the email remained the same. The message was in the left column. (A good place for the main message, especially for those who use a palm device.) The right column had links to places all over his web site and an invitation to “forward to a friend.” (Great ideas.) The email looked and felt a lot like his web site. (Great branding.) It had a signature block with his photo. (A very good idea.)
My client didn’t take advantage of the social networks. He didn’t have FACEBOOK, LinkedIn, or Twitter accounts. If he had we could have linked them to the broadcast email and even linked an archived copy of each email in a posting in each of the social networks. I’m sure he doesn’t believe in the power of the social networks or that connecting to the half billion people on FACEBOOK would in any way profit him. I think he’s over 33 years old.
Finally: The List
In the old days of direct marketing 40% of the success of a direct mailing was given to the list. The offer and graphics each got 30% of the credit. Since my client didn’t develop the list over time with people opting in to hear what he had to say, he lost a lot of the true power of broadcast email marketing. Now that he had to cancel the seminar for lack of attendance he probably will not give much credit to a continued email communication campaign throughout the year. He won’t create “buzz.” He won’t “get” the social networks and will lose the “viral” effect that is the trademark of social networking. So when he tries again in the fall, he will be in the same position he was a few months ago. …and he probably won’t ask me to help him do an email marketing campaign again. Bummer!
FIRST NOTE: Have you ever forwarded an email of interest on to a friend or business colleague who might be interested in the same topic?
One of the basic values of internet marketing is the ease of “forwarding to a friend.” However, few marketers promote it. The “viral effect” that forwarding produces is proven. When we hear stories of things going “viral,” they normally have exposure way out of proportion to the original entry. Putting a handle on such an affect is the key to making a successful email campaign.
I read a white paper that pointed out an experiment one marketer conducted in which it offered a huge reward to a group to forward the message. They offered a lesser reward to a second group. Finally, they offered no reward to a third group. The results were that the groups with the big reward and the group with no reward at all were way out ahead of the group with the smaller reward when it came to who actually forwarded the message.
So the lesson to be learned: If your content is of value, than suggest to the readers to forward the note on to a likely “friend” who would appreciate it! It shows intelligence on the part of the forwarder by sharing the wisdom of the original note.
Ok, having said all that, would you forward this on to a half dozen or so of your friends and colleagues who might also be interested in improving their email marketing? Thanks!
SECOND NOTE: Have you ever used the “share” button and posted something you received to one of your social networks?
Have you notice, of late, that everywhere you go on the net you see the famous social network buttons and the “share” button? The idea is that if you like what you are reading and want to impress your “followers” or “friends” or “contacts” etc., you simply touch the button and forward it on. It shows your networks how up-to-date, clever, intelligent, or witty, you are.
Have you ever seen any copy in the email itself asking you to “share?” Why not? Isn’t that what the internet is all about? Why is such a simple thing like that so difficult?
So, before I go: would you share this and post it to your social networks? It will display how well read you are! …and of course it would make a “friend for life” out of me!
Finally: Do you have a Constant Contact account? Would you give me a favorable rating? http://marketplace.constantcontact.com/Listing/services/cyber-mail-marketing/PML-0698
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How’s business? Someone asked me, “Why should I do broadcast email and why link it to the social networks?” The answer is: The broadcast email is used to carry on a conversation with your customers. The social networks allow them to introduce you to their networks. Your customers travel in their own circles and if you want them to help you market your products, you need to stay in touch. If you have the right relationship with them, they will forward your notes and product information to others who, like your customers, will want to buy from you. It’s not that complicated. The trick is how?
You remember Rule # 1? Rule # 1 is: They are subscribers. You can’t buy them. They must be folks you have worked with in the past or met through an association, or were referred to you. They are not strangers. Because of that relationship, the people you are sending your broadcast email to are already happy to receive them and read them.
Any questions so far?
When I first got into the email marketing business you had to design your broadcast email so that it would fit on the monitor of the day. Then came palm devises and larger, flat screen monitors. Now we have the iPad. Less than a year ago, the tablet category essentially did not exist. Though many companies had experimented with tablet-like devicesand ereaders were already a proven entityno one had created a gadg