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Email Marketing Is Alive and Well and Driving More Business Than Ever

email marketing

With all the talk about the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL), and the unfounded rumors that email marketing is being usurped by mobile and social, it’s no wonder that some small business owners are a bit gun shy when it comes to  hitting the send button on their email campaigns. Don’t be.

Before we dive into why email marketing is still the most effective way to engage customers and drive business, let’s first clear up the confusion. While some may have bristled when CASL went into effect last summer, it’s actually one of the best things to happen to email marketing. By requiring consent, it ensures that your emails are welcome – and may even be anticipated – by your customers. When you
focus on engaging the customers that truly want to hear from you, you’ll find that email marketing campaign rates improve, business picks up and the referral engine gets revved.

With regard to the health of email, don’t believe for even one second that it’s on the decline. In fact, industry analysts at The Radicati Group estimate that there will be 5.2 billion email accounts by the end of 2018, up from 4.1 billion in 2014.So where does social and mobile fit in when it comes to email marketing? It’s not an either/or choice. Rather, when you combine the power of each of these channels, you’ll see a remarkable payoff in your campaign results.

It works like this. With email as the foundation of your marketing campaign, you have a captive audience that has already opted-in to hear from you. Social amplifies your messages as subscribers share your content with their network. And since more than half of your subscribers are likely to be reading your email on a mobile device, it doesn’t mean you’re losing readers, it just means that you need to ensure your messages are mobile friendly.

Here are five actions you can take today to ensure your email is mobile friendly:

1. Simplify the design

2. Write short content and use easy-to-read fonts

3. Make sure images can be quickly downloaded

4. Insert respond buttons large enough to accommodate fingers and thumbs

5. Test it before you hit send

Five More Reasons Why Small Businesses Should Embrace Email Marketing

Along with providing the most cost effective and efficient way to engage customers between visits, here are five more reasons why email is the most powerful marketing tool for small businesses.

1. It gives you control over the content of your message. You decide how you want to convey your brand and position your products and services.

2. You get instant feedback. You can see who received and opened your email and what they did with the content and offers. Based on this insight, you can continue to tweak your campaigns to do more of what works.

3. You can segment your contacts and personalize your messages. The more you engage customers, the more you’re able to learn their likes and dislikes based on buying behavior and email responses. This enables you to create more targeted campaigns, which further engages customers and results in higher response rates.

4. It allows you to demonstrate your expertise. The key to engaging customers through email marketing is to provide a balance of insightful content and offers. When you freely share your knowledge with customers, it instills more trust and confidence while keeping you top of mind the next time they’re in the market for what you offer.

5. It can transform satisfied customers into your marketing ambassadors. When your email consistently delivers valuable content and great offers, your subscribers are more likely to pass along your helpful tips and share your offers with friends.

Of course, these efforts won’t pay off unless you’ve earned permission to add customers to your contact list. The best way to do this is to provide an outstanding customer experience that will inspire them to say “yes,” when you ask if they’d like to join your email list. And it certainly doesn’t hurt to highlight the benefits of subscribing such as insider deals, great content, and the promise that you won’t inundate them with too frequent or irrelevant messages.

Breaking the Law of Diminishing Marketing Returns

Marketing Investment

If you’re feeling like you can never be away from your business, you’re not alone. Yet putting more hours into the business doesn’t always mean you’ll get greater returns.

Take marketing for example. You know it’s not optional but if you find yourself spending lots of time and money to reap so-so results, you may want to rethink what you’re doing. This doesn’t mean more hours and a bigger investment in people and tools.

In fact, three of the biggest marketing misconceptions are that you need a slew of off-the-charts creative ideas, a variety of marketing tools and a small army to execute the work if you hope to get any kind of traction.

The truth is, the best results come from integrated marketing campaigns that combine email and social media. Not only does this save you lots of time, it allows you to engage more customers and amplify your messages across social networks without having to go from site-to-site.

How is this different from what you’re already doing?

Instead of having to come up with new ideas for Facebook, fresh content for your newsletter, and clever hashtags, you execute a single campaign through email and social media.

Not to be confused with reposting the same message across all of your online profiles, an integrated campaign is built on a theme and a few pieces of solid content that are smartly repurposed without sounding repetitive.

Let’s say you run a successful dog-walking business but you’d like to step things up. You could build a campaign around the upcoming summer season by brainstorming content ideas that support the larger campaign theme. This could include tips for transporting Fido across town or across the country, favorite local walks, and suggestions for how to beat the summer heat. Armed with these three ideas, you then slice and dice your content.

For example, you can feature the content in your newsletter and Tweet portions of it along with a link to your website, newsletter or Facebook page. On your Facebook page, use one of the topics to initiate a conversation with your customers or post a survey. You can add another dimension to the content by including images. Also, consider featuring customers or an expert Q&A to lend additional credibility to a topic. Your content will reach a wider audience because your readers will be inspired to share your valuable tips as well as the articles that feature them. As the campaign starts to wane, take a look at the feedback and survey results to see if there are additional insights you can use to spark another wave of engagement.

Here’s how any small business can create an integrated email and social media marketing campaign.

  • Pick a theme. Not to be confused with an idea, the theme is your big picture focus for the campaign. For example, seasons, milestones in your business or town, and holidays are always a good place to start.
  • Brainstorm lots of content ideas related to the theme and pick the top two or three that will be most relevant to your audience. Remember, the content should be valuable to the reader as opposed to promoting your business.
  • Narrow your focus to a few social networks where your audience is most active. This allows you to fully engage the customers that are your fans and followers as opposed to trying to appeal to the anonymous masses.

You can see how easy it is to mix-and-match the ideas without the content getting stale. Just remember to change up the words in each post. This way, customers that overlap on different channels won’t tune you out or think you’re being disingenuous by cutting and pasting the same messages.

Combining email and social media is the most efficient way to reach the widest possible audience of people interested in what you have to say. After all, they’ve signed up to receive your email and have chosen to follow you on social media. Once you see the impressive results from integrating these two marketing channels, you’ll wonder why you didn’t start sooner.

Email is Still The Center of Marketing Gravity

email marketing

When it comes to business, they say not to take anything personally. Yet when it comes to marketing your small business, personalization is everything. It increases customer engagement, gets you higher campaign response rates and drives more people to your door. But who has the time or resources to personalize their campaigns? Especially when you […]

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