Archive for the ‘Email Marketing’ tag
With the holiday season right around the corner, does your small business have its e-mail marketing campaign in place and ready to go? If not, you could be left scrambling at the last minute.
For those in the retail business, for example, the holiday rush can be an opportunity to make up for lackluster sales earlier in the year. For small businesses that have a tough time selling over the holidays, it can place them in a very precarious position heading into the next year.
In the event your company’s got questions regarding its e-mail marketing opportunities with the coming holidays, here are some thoughts to consider:
- Make sure your distribution frequency is good – Another important item to keep in mind is that your distribution frequency is solid. Be sure to check the activity from your mailing list a year ago at this time, making necessary adjustments along the way. Prior to the holiday email cycle starting, push out a re-engagement campaign to get less active members engaged. That can include a special email to folks who haven’t opened or clicked in the last several months or a holiday survey to determine what subscribers want from you this season. Also look into having an added opt-in with a holiday campaign to grow the distribution frequency just for those customers seeking it;
- Stand out from the crowd – It is important to remember that your subscribers’ get inundated with email promotional content leading up to the holidays. That being the case, you need your online marketing message to stand head and shoulders above the rest. Make sure you give the subscriber incentive to want to read your message and not hit the delete button;
- Get your message out early – Start the message campaign early and inform your subscribers the importance of doing their business sooner rather than later with the holiday rush coming up. Make sure that your promo emails are done in plenty of time so that they get to the consumer sooner than your competition’s does;
- Engage your social media channels – Given the importance of social media in today’s marketing efforts, make sure you engage the different social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.) to target additional audience members. The great thing with social networking sites is it is a free other than a little time and effort. Be sure, however, you don’t use SM just to promote endlessly. Take the time to engage with both present and potential customers regarding your products and services. Bottom line…. be engaged;
- Be relevant after the holiday rush – It is a given that many shoppers look for bargains right after the holidays, so give them a reason to want to come back to you in 2012. Offering incentives to stick with you after the holidays is a great way to go about that;
- Be a mobile player – With more and more individuals using mobile devices to stay in touch with the world, be sure your campaign can accommodate such needs. When designing copy and images, make sure they will work smoothly with mobile devices. This brings on added importance given that many individuals will have their mobile devices with them while shopping etc. You can provide them with valuable deals and offers right at that time.
The bottom line is that the holiday season demands much attention from consumers; make it so that you’re at the top of their shopping wish list.
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjects vehicle insurance writes extensively for www.business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.
If your company’s marketing strategy appears to be taking on some water, perhaps it is time to set sail on a new course?
Since marketing plays such a key role in the direction of many companies, take the time to review your company’s efforts and if they are being directed squarely where they should be.
Reviewing Your Marketing Needs
As you review your company’s marketing needs, analyze where your return on investment (ROI) could be improved, where money may be disappearing to and where you see your company’s finances down the road.
Among the specific areas to zero in on are:
- Numbers review – It is important to review the company financials to determine if change is necessary.
- Marketing efforts – Where are your marketing dollars going? Have you changed anything significantly in the last six months or years? If so, what were the end results?
- Get an outsider’s opinion – While it is easy to judge things from your end, have an outsider look at your marketing efforts. They can give an unbiased viewpoint as to what may be working, what isn’t likely to work and where the dollars should be going;
- Do an industry review – See what others are doing with their marketing efforts. Are they putting the pedal to the metal or are they pulling back? While you don’t necessarily want to emulate what the competition is doing, it doesn’t hurt to review their efforts.
- Customer feedback – Most importantly, get feedback from the clients you are marketing to. Find out what they like and don’t like. If they feel something isn’t working but you aren’t aware of that, how will you fix it?
While you don’t want to be changing your marketing efforts every month, tweaking here and there is by all means a good thing to consider.
If you decide that a change to your marketing game plan is in order, be sure you can answer the question as to why this is in the first place. At the end of the day, companies need to determine and understand the ongoing cost of promoting and advertising their brand to their customer base and the potential prospects.
Dave Thomas is an expert writer on items like copier machines and is based in San Diego, California. He writes extensively for an online resource, providing expert advice on digital copiers for small business owners and entrepreneurs at Resource Nation.
Marketing used to be only for the bigger companies. They were the only ones who could afford major marketing campaigns on buses, signs and in news print. These days, SMBs are getting a huge boost in everything. Even in the B2B market, SMBs are able to compete with the larger businesses. It all has to do with the ability to market their company online. The biggest key to the marketing online is the ability to properly use a few key marketing techniques. This way, they get the attention that they need as well as the revenue that they deserve.
There are three main components any business will need if it is to have any hopes of being able to get the kind of B2B business it is looking for. They need to be able to have a website which takes advantage of everything that SEO has to offer. It is necessary to have a working knowledge of the social media sites to use them correctly. It is also necessary to be able to market through means like email. If you have mastered these concepts, you will be assured of having a great business with a lot of success.
Using SEO for Marketing
Of all of the different online marketing techniques, one of the most important is the ability to draw people to your website without having to pay any money at all. By using SEO material, it is possible to make sure that those searching for the things you have to offer will be able to find your website. They will learn about your company through the kind of content that you have available so that they can see how your company will benefit theirs.
Using Social Media for Marketing
Purchasing managers spend just as much time online through social media sites as anyone else. They want to find out about the businesses that they are buying from before making a purchase. Make sure that all of the content which is on your social media site will properly represent your company to any possible clients. This way you will be able to build a loyal following of people who will receive every piece of marketing that you attach to Facebook posts as well as the posts that make to your Twitter account.
Using Email for Marketing
Email is still something which is checked every day by individuals and businesses alike. It is possible to gain the attention that your company needs by sending out different emails. This way you will be able to market everything from a digital security system to the services and products other businesses might want to purchase. Gathering email addresses is possible through your social media pages as well as through your website. Using them will help you to get the word out about the latest that your company has to offer.
Author: Matt Kraustrunk, Resource Nation.
Resource Nation provides free tools, tips, and purchasing advice for business owners and entrepreneurs in over 100 business categories ranging from phone systems to credit card processing. Whether it’s connecting businesses with local and national pre-screened vendors, or offering easy service comparisons on a VoIP service, Resource Nation empowers business decision makers by providing the information they need to make smart choices.
Traditional marketing techniques involving tradeshows, events, direct mail etc. are still very prevalent, and they are heavily used by many companies to market their product and service offerings. While online marketing is gaining a much larger share of the marketers’ budget – it would be imprudent to ignore the traditional marketing techniques that are still a very powerful means of getting marketing messages across to targeted decision makers.
In this recent study of Interactive marketing priorities for SMBs, (Forrester) for 2011, Shar VanBoskirk believes that 54% of marketers will decrease their marketing budget for traditional tactics. While more than half of the marketing budget is now being spent on interactive/digital/online marketing, it is still hard for some companies to actually understand the true value or ROI gained from this medium. The return on invesment is approximately measured based on the number of click throughs (CTR’s) from email marketing or Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising or from number of page views calculated from certain analytical tools. Online form, used by marketers to gather useful information of their prospects, is also very powerful online lead generation technique. But with stats indicating that only 1-2% actually will ever be willing to share you their information, makes this lead generation technique not that attractive (The ‘Contact Us’ fallacy: The importance of identifying anonymous visitors).
I’d like to share here how companies can still make use of their traditional marketing. Combining both traditional and online marketing techniques (powered by marketing automation and sales intelligence tools) companies get the best possible ROI from their marketing budget. Integrated marketing will not only augment your marketing efficiency, but will also give your marketing a much needed boost in this digital age.
Use marketing automation tools to nurture leads you already have in your sales funnel
Meet with your prospect at a networking event. Exchange your cards hoping that they might call you or that you will get back to them when the time is right. But, is the time ever right? After the event, your card will either end up in a pile of other similar cards collected over the years or will just be forgotten. You can alternatively choose to nurture those leads on the given email address. Marketing automation tools can nurture leads with pre-written, automated email messages, and help you stay on top of their mind, giving them a chance to learn more about you.
After all, on an average it takes about 7-10 touches to register certain brands and their marketing messages. A series of nurture emails with valuable content such as thought leadership, industry knowledge, and links to marketing collateral can help you reinforce your marketing message in several ways.
Use CRMs funneled by marketing automation to continue building the relationship
Prospect info gathered from these traditional channels can be manually entered into your CRM. Marketing Automation (MA) tools synced with certain CRMs make it possible to send the prospect info from CRM to MA tools to track future visits. You can also track if your prospect show more interest in your offering after your initial meeting. Marketing automation is then used to track, score, and nurture those prospects until they become a qualified lead. Anonymous visitor identification system, can also report visits from different individuals from the same company showing their cumulative interest. Keeping a watch on your prospect/company will help you solidify the next steps within your sales process.
Use of email marketing to inform and persuade your prospects in the funnel before the show
Bulk emails can be used to inform your prospects of the tradeshow booth you are setting up or a seminar you are hosting. The email informs and persuades the prospects in the list to come and visit you at those events, and they are an excellent way to – increase the awareness of your brand, and get a meaningful reason to get in touch with your prospect list to inform your prospects about your events along with your new or existing initiatives.
A set of 2-3 emails before the event is reasonable to stay in touch with your prospects and persuade them to take an action (such as opening the email, looking at the content), and hopefully attending and meeting you at the show.
Use online marketing with traditional techniques to increase brand awareness and get business online
It is never too late or too expensive to start online marketing and improving your website for better conversion. Online marketing will help you get business online and also help you establish your brand’s awareness. This online presence creates a buzz around your company and products, and definitely gives your company an edge in the digital age. Combining the use of editorials or advertorials in your target market magazine along with an online banner ad will hit multiple audiences, both offline and online.
To learn more about combining traditional and online marketing (powered by marketing automation), read this whitepaper on increasing tradeshow ROI .
Nowadays, the majority of sales are generated from the web. However only 1-2% of website visitors engage with the companies they are researching and even less become customers. Companies turn to online advertising, search media, search engine optimization to increase leads. The expectation is that if you can get visitors to a website, and if the website has forms, visitors will fill out a contact form. However, amount of inquiries from forms typically fall short of expectations.
The truth is most website visitors avoid filling out forms. Forms are so prevalent; nobody wants to fill out another form. Besides exposing their email address, people know if they fill out a form, they can expect to be hit with email. Even if you put valuable information behind a form, most visitors’ feel that they’ll likely find what they need if they keep searching.
Losing Without a Chance to Participate
As mentioned, people don’t fill out forms unless they have to. For most buyers, they’ll only fill out a form when they’ve done enough research to make their decision or next move. If you don’t have the ability to identify a buyer during the early stages, you may not even have a chance to participate before losing.
If you can identify a potential buyer in their research stage and proactively engage with that buyer, your odds are significantly increased. Especially if you are the only one among your competition who can engage them before they engaged you.
There are a number of anonymous visitor tracking solutions available that can help companies do more than just wait for inquires. Identifying anonymous visitors provides your sales team the ability to make well-timed calls, your marketing team the ability to nurture leads and business intelligence on your potential customers, and gives businesses a critical edge in this increasingly competitive business environment.
Sending out newsletters and other information about your company is a great way to keep both your customers and potential customers in the loop. They can also help with getting your message across in a timely manner and help with promotional items. But have you ever wondered why they started subscribing to your emails?
EmailStatCenter.com is reporting that, “67% of US internet users say the motivation behind giving their email address to a company is to receive discounts and promotions. -ExactTarget “Email X-Factor Study” (2010).” If this is the case for your subscribers, you got over the first hurdle which is to get them to subscribe, but then you have to keep them engaging.
Segmenting Your Audience
Another key point in email marketing is making your readers feel like you didn’t send out a mass email. They probably know you are sending out a mass email, but the more targeted you can make the email, the more you can make them feel like they are getting a private email from you.
BtoB Online points out, “Understanding the status of the subscriber is critical in crafting your copy. Are they customers, prospects, lapsed customers or lapsed prospects? Imagine the different messages you could convey just on that knowledge alone.” If you don’t already have a few different emails drafted to send to these different categories of subscribers, test it out see if you see better conversion rates.
Call to Action
Having a call to action can be very beneficial—not to mention a great way to measure how many people are reading your emails. Most email programs have metrics for how many people are reading your emails, but what you may not know is if people don’t scroll down far enough in the email then many email software programs don’t count that open rate.
Setting up specific landing pages for your readers is a great way to measure not only the people opening your emails, but the number of readers who are actively engaging in your brand. If you already do this, see if moving your link from the middle or bottom of the email to the top has a better response. The more you change things up, the better you can see what works and what works better.
Scheduling your email is just as important as the copy and who you are sending it to. Daily tips or emails can be a great idea, but who is going to take the time to actually read and click through your email every day—probably not many. Instead try and keep it to monthly or even bi-monthly. It saves you time, and your customers can get more information in each email—which could make them more eager to read it.
Email marketing is a great tactic to utilize, and “according to the Direct Marketing Association, every dollar spent on e-mail marketing generates $43.62 in revenue,” reports DM News. Keep in mind this is just an average, being able to hone your skills and get more organized can produce even better results. What have you found useful?
Shannon Suetos is an expert writer on phone systems based in San Diego, California. She writes extensively for an online resource that provides expert advice on purchasing and outsourcing decisions for small business owners and entrepreneurs such as VoIP service at Resource Nation.
While a well designed and well promoted website can create leads for a company, it goes without saying that most companies will not rely on it entirely. They will also supplement inbound marketing with outbound targeted calling; they will take a look at who their customer base is and why, develop a list of other companies that are similar, and start calling.
Success at this point will usually sound like “…interesting, send me an email with your info in it and I’ll get back to you”. The big question is did they say it to be nice, to get you off the phone? Or are they genuinely interested? If they are not interested, you may have just set yourself up for a waste of time following up with them. What you really want is insight into who on the “send me an email” list really is interested, who is actually engaged with your message.
One path to this insight is through a combination of a content-rich website, and marketing automation like ActiveConversion. When they ask for the “more information email”, the email itself contains links that lead to the information/content. With the ActiveConversion Outlook plugin installed, if they click on any of those links, you’ll see if they clicked through and what they looked at.
If they said they were interested, but didn’t click through on any of the informational links, well, not as qualified. However if they clicked through and looked at multiple pages, and even more significantly, if they returned later for a second look at your website, notch them up as having passed qualifying test #1.
Keep in mind this same approach is useful when re-engaging with customers and old prospects. Even deep into a relationship sell, being able to gauge how interested and engaged a prospect is with the new message you’re delivering is invaluable.
Both before and after the Global Petroleum Show, companies seriously interested in you will likely visit your website. Knowing who is interested in your product and services (and especially when), is something that you can use to increase your trade show return of investment substantially.
Finding The Needles in the Haystack
Research on trade shows have shown that serious buyers will gravitate to doing their research online and arrive at your website both before and after the trade show. But trade shows like the Global Petroleum Show can have two huge wins for exhibitors; Opt ins, and after show website visits.
By virtue of the fact they are going to the GPS show, anyone visiting your booth is qualified in so far as they are in the energy industry. When one of them asks to be scanned for more information they are doing what is the holy grail of marketing; they are “opting in”.
When someone asks for their badge to be scanned for more info, you can email nurture them while always leading off with “you are receiving this because you visited our booth”. Then use a new breed of software to notify you as to who keeps coming back to your website, or visited the right pages on your website; it will tell you who to call, who you stand the best chance of building a relationship with.
The Bigger They Are, The Less They Call
Every exhibitor at the GPS hopes for booth visits from big, sought after accounts. But ironically the bigger the account, the less likely they are to call you after a trade show for fear of salespeople chasing them months on end. Regardless though, if these big accounts are interested in your company they will likely visit your website after the show to investigate your company further. Again, knowing who is visiting, who is interested in your company, who you should target over the weeks and months following the GPS show can be a significant competitive advantage.
eHow To Guide
Here’s a quick eHow To Guide from ActiveConversion that further explains what I’ve mentioned above. Good luck at the Global Petroleum Show 2010!
To some businesses, generating leads is still a primitive concept where they still use traditional marketing techniques and tools. Trade shows, mailing lists are some of the few ways to generate those leads. Obviously, these leads are nowhere near being qualified.
With the advent of Web 2.0 there has been a surge in the availability of web tools and techniques to generate leads. Having a presentable and message oriented website is good for any business, but what is more important for that business is the ability to find out the users coming to their website and what services or products they are interested in. Google Analytics has definitely paved its way to marketers who can measure online visitors, and track against certain pre-determined stats. And for sure, you can make changes to your website based on the stats and trends captured, but that’s not enough for the marketing ROI.
Importance of lead nurturing to marketers:
For marketers, it is more important to know who these visitors are, and if they will become customer some day? Now the question comes, after you see who is visiting your site, are they ready to be passed on to your sales reps? Definitely not, but at most organizations this is a still common practice in B2B Marketing. Strategic lead nurturing is a process where we can identify which prospect is ready to be a client.
Principles of lead nurturing:
We at Active Conversion have developed a three-step principle for lead nurturing,
- Develop trust through credibility – be a valued advisor and gain trust
- Target each of your market segments – use relevant content
- Nurture your prospects according to the stage they are in the cycle – create a need for your product or services
Download our eHow to Guide to learn more about Lead nurturing and how B2B marketers can reap the benefits of marketing automation.
Marketers are shifting to digital for a variety of reasons, chief among them are the results. While social media gets all the hype, it’s two tried and true workhorses, email and search marketing, that come out on top of effectiveness. From a post over at Marketing Profs:
Most marketing executives cite email or search marketing as their company’s top-performing advertising channel in 2009—39.4% and 23.6%, respectively—and over nine in ten (93.6%) say they plan to increase their budget allocation to digital marketing in the next five years, according to the Fourth Annual Marketing and Media Survey from Datran Media.
Just 9.4% of marketers cited offline channels as their most effective response channel last year. Another 4.7% cited social media, while mobile marketing, still in its early stages, was cited by 0.8% of marketers.