Increasing Reach through Social Sharing


SUMMARY: In this week’s chart, we analyze the perceptions marketers have of social sharing in achieving a number of email marketing objectives, such as extending the reach of email content to new markets, increasing brand reputation and awareness, and increasing the ROI of email programs.

by Sergio Balegno, Research Director

Sherpa Chart - Increasing Reach through Social Sharing
Click here to see a larger, printable version of this chart

Social sharing allows email recipients to share email content on popular social networks and other social media sites. It is a rapidly emerging email tactic and, as this chart shows, about eight in 10 marketers agree that social sharing “extends the reach of email content to new markets” and “increases brand reputation and awareness.”

We dedicated a chapter of the 2010 Email Marketing Benchmark Report to a special report on this topic with insights from marketers on strategies unique to social sharing. Many have already learned some valuable lessons.

For example, one marketer told us, “As with any messaging intended to build a relationship with prospective customers, the email content shared on social media sites must NOT be sales oriented. We began sharing content that was heavily geared toward promotion. This was not effective in the social environment. We now concentrate on educational and informational topics that our prospects and customers will find interesting rather than on aggressive selling information. This is building a preference for our brand within the social communities we are reaching.”

Source: Marketing Sherpa

Your Company Brand – Zero to Hero: 4 Marketing Tactics


Your Company Brand, the Hero that Saves the DayWhat statement does your company make? Do you have any idea? Is it shouting out its vision or is it sitting on the fence? Your customers will know which is why it’s important to take care with what you’re saying and how you’re saying it. Whether that communication is an invoice landing on your customer’s desk or an online article or the spotless state of your vehicle, it gets processed as part of your company image and therefore your company brand. Your company reputation lies in your communications and your reputation gets you noticed – hopefully in a positive way. We’ve heard the SMME startup failure stats before. The key is to get on the ladder fast and hang in there. Do it right by giving your company brand a clear voice from the start.

1. Your Company Brand – what you’re saying

If your company were a person, what would they look and sound like? Here’s how it works:

Apple iPod = high energy, young, in acceptably mismatching socks
Established legal advisor = low-key, serious in a navy suit

Your website, business card, newsletter, vehicle, sales staff, every email communication must have one and the same voice. A client may be exposed to all of the above. One point of contact should lead to recall of another without creating any confusion around your company brand.

As a small business entrepreneur, you’ll be stretched for resources so accept you can’t be everything to everyone. Specialize in what you know. Pick a message and stick to it. Shout it out in any and all marketing media appropriate for your business.

2. Your Entrepreneur Gameplan – who you’re talking to

If you know who you’re talking to, you’ll know how to get through to them. Work out the profile of your target market:
• Age and gender (young, old, middle-aged)
• Location (in SA or abroad, inland or at the coast, local or national)
• Education and income levels (university educated or street-smart)
• Marital status / family lifecycle (single, newlyweds, have children, grandchildren)
• Ethnic and religious background (generally not always applicable but may be relevant to your approach)
• Lifestyle (conservative, trendy, homebody, party animal)
• Social class (lower, middle or upper – this gives an indication of spending power)
• Leaders or followers (do they look for the latest gadget or wait to hear about it)
• Activities and interests (hobbies, interested in politics or environmental issues)
• Put all the info together and speak to them in a voice they’ll relate to. For example, you might talk to 25-30 year olds who have young families, little time for themselves, have a diploma and spend their R5000 disposable income on annual beach holidays.

It’s not imperative to know all these details but the more you do know the better prepared you’ll be.

3. Mic check – are they listening?

Are your marketing tactics growing your bottom line? If not, you might be talking via a channel they don’t listen to. Find out where they go for information when they need it and be THERE. If you’re targeting working moms, you may want to reach them on a local radio station that enhances office work time in their programming. If your target market is 70-year old retirees, make sure the font on your leaflet is big enough to read and avoid colloquialisms. Geddit? If you email newsletters or have a small business page on Facebook, you’ll know whether they’re listening. Online marketing provides great measuring tools.

4. Marketing Tactics 101 – keep saying it

It’s near impossible to get it right from the start so you’re not alone if you’re battling to find your way. The key is to know what your small business is about and keep your message consistent. If that’s clear, people will notice your efforts. Even if you change tactics, they’ll still recognize you.

If you’ve been at it for a while, are you still sending out a consistent message? We’re bombarded with advertising so people need reminding. They may not need you now but when they do, you have to be there. Expect to have to repeat yourself. You may need to use different methods to keep it fresh but maintain your tone and authority to build and maintain trust in your company brand.

Happy branding!
Claudine

Email Marketing: 11 Steps to Getting it Right


like throwing a party, anybody can send an email but not everyone knows how to do a great job of it.Email marketing is an ideal tool for reaching a large customer base at a low cost. So why are so many individuals and companies getting it wrong? Like throwing a party, anybody can do it but that doesn’t mean they know how to get it right. Here are some simple steps explaining the right formula for your campaign.

1. Prepare

Set the goals for your email marketing campaign. Will you use promotional emails which have immediate goals such as the user making a purchase? Or are your goals long-term which would require building a relationship with the user?

2. Invites

Define your database for the email campaign. Targeting relevant segments of your database will ensure the right message reaches the right audience. Get permission – nobody likes a spammer so don’t ruin your company’s reputation before you’ve even started.

3. Identify Yourself

Recipient: Who’s this from? I don’t recognise the address. This might be spam or a virus. I couldn’t be bothered to find out. Delete.

This is where you’re knocking on the door. No matter what email program you use, there’s an option to customise the “from name” and “from address”. Use them to identify yourself to set your messages apart from other mail and create a personified message.
Best practice: [Becky at TechnoGeek] becky@technogeek.co.za

4. Be Upfront

Recipient: Oh good, let’s see what TechnoGeek has to offer this week to make my life easier.

Your subject line gets your foot in the door. Avoid using overpromising words like Free, Win unless it’s in context. Exclamation marks here are a no-no. Be honest about what your intention is.
Best practice: TechnoGeek Weekly News: Power Savers for an Energy Efficient Life

5. Greet Individuals

Recipient: “Dear Jacky”? That’s me. They’ve taken the trouble to use the info I submitted so what do they have to say to me.

Remember you’re communicating with people, not an inbox. If you’ve made the effort to collect names for your email list, use them. Everyone likes to see their name in lights (or at least at the top of a page) and is likely to read on if they feel valued.

6. Keep It Simple

Recipient: I know your company covers a lot of topics but I don’t have a lot of time. I’m going to skim this email and see if there’s anything that looks interesting.

If an item is worthy of making it to a newsletter, it’d better be engaging for the reader. If you present more than one idea per newsletter, make use of links to the full content on your website.

As a rule of thumb, if you can get the gist of any newsletter by reading the eye-catching subheadings and bold font for keywords, then it’s good.
You don’t have to cram every piece of news into your newsletter. Using an enticing link for readers to follow can generate traffic to your website.

7. Avoid Trapping

There’s nothing worse than feeling trapped and not being able to opt out of an email subscription is like a trap. Even if they won’t use it, have an unsubscribe link to gain trust and integrity. Other useful links in the footer include a forward function so the news can be shared and of course a link to an appropriate landing page on your website.

8. Topical Choice

What you write about in your email must be relevant and valuable to the reader, not to you. It’s important to research what your readership wants and then supply that in order to gain and keep up the interest.

9. Visual Decor

Test your market to find out what the best time of day and week is to send an email. Send it in the format they can read i.e. html or plain text. It’s simple enough to set up so make it readable when it hits their inbox.

10. Mix and Mingle

An email campaign, or any other marketing tactic for that matter, is stronger if integrated with other marketing activities – online or offline. For example, a shoe shopper reads the email and clicks through to the website where they get more exposure to the company and the detailed product information they seek. More browsing locates a nearby store which directs them to the store, in front of a floor salesperson = sale.
Say you’re running a recruitment drive for the month. Communicate this in all your correspondence – even billing mail. This cross-over makes use of existing communication channels and reinforces the message.

11. Happy Guests

In another item, I explain the importance of measuring marketing tactics. What can be measured in an email campaign to assess success?
• The number of emails delivered
• Number of soft and hard bounces
• Number of emails opened
• Number of unsubscribes
• Number of forwards
• Click-through rates and conversion

With so many individuals and companies using email marketing, many readers are feeling overloaded. Use the above guidelines to create interesting, useful, quality emails that will be read.

Happy email-ing!
Claudine at Triquetra Consulting

Marketing Strategies’ Success is in Planning and Measuring


Implementing marketing strategies is like learning to walk
If we never learned to fail, we’d be on knee pads instead of in shoes. Similarly, using marketing strategies is like learning to walk. It’s something that has to be learned. Sometimes you can kiss the sky for the quick impact your latest marketing mix has on your bottom line. Other times, nothing apparent happens and you wonder in despair if you’re wasting your time. You’re not alone.

A common mistake in small business marketing
Measuring traditional marketing strategies isn’t always easy. Let’s use an example. Say you’re a small furniture dealer and you want to boost your sales so you place an ad in the local paper to get customers in the door. That’s great. Nothing wrong there but short of questioning each visitor, how would you know what brought them to your store? Maybe a couple bring in the ad and a few more have come from the coffee shop and decided to browse and others are specifically looking for antique furniture. How successful was your newspaper ad? Was it worth the cost? The cycle is incomplete.

Pre-planning the marketing mix to measure success
What if you did a little basic market research and found out where furniture collectors like to browse? Being collectors, this group would naturally be sought for general furniture advice by peers. What if you went to their browsing grounds, approached them and got a special interest group going once a month and invited these “experts” for discussions, tea & cake? Not only would you gain insight into what they’d like to see in your store (further valuable market research) but if you offered two pieces of cake to any who refer shoppers to you, they’d get you some good leads.

Assuming the cake’s really very good, you have a captive audience and one that’s likely to develop some loyalty to your shop (successful marketing strategies are coupled with relationship-building). We know how word-of-mouth spreads and soon you have quality leads walking into your shop – shoppers who are seriously looking to purchase – and you know how they got there because cake-loving expert, Bob, made sure the shopper tells you he referred them. Your bottom line improves. Bob grows a little thicker around the middle. Browsers see how busy and successful your shop is and they tell friends… See how it works? Then measure your referral sales to the cost of the cake & monthly meetings to evaluate the effort.

Top rules for Marketing strategies:
1. Know who your market is (e.g. serious furniture shoppers)
2. Use a creative approach that’ll attract attention (collectors group & word-of-mouth)
3. Tie the links together (Bob’s happy, customers are happy to find you, you’re happy)
4. Measure the campaign’s success (cost vs revenue)
5. Keep at it – or tweak where necessary – and then keep at it some more

It’s a process
Don’t forget that good marketing strategies’ results mostly aren’t instant. They need to be carefully thought out, executed, adjusted if need be and then measured. If you have measuring tools in place, you’ll have learned a valuable lesson and be able to fine-tune your next effort.

I mentioned “traditional” marketing strategies earlier. Of course if you’re using online methods to advertise and promote your business, the tools are infinitely easier to implement but some small businesses don’t (yet) lend themselves to online efforts.

Regardless of the activities you invest in, without measuring, you won’t know how far you still have to go and moving onwards and upwards requires perseverance with direction.

Think on it: Sometimes the only way to know whether something works is to just try it.

Happy Measuring!
Claudine

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Public Relations Online: 6 Steps to Success


communication tactics to boost business reputationTraditionally, Public Relations centres around submitting press releases and letting people know what your company / brand is up to. Newsflash: they no longer care. Read more…

Escalators, Chocolates – Same Difference


box of chocolates
If Forrest Gump was right, then the business world is like an escalator.

Choosing the right step
When you’re first getting on, what motivates you? Is it looking up to the next level, seeing everyone else up there exploring new territory? Is it the promise of new places to shop (for clients)? Whichever it is, the escalator keeps on rolling whether you get on or not. You know what you have to do. How many opportunities will you miss before you take that step? As you look down at each new step appearing from under the floor, how do you know which is the right one to step on to? Well, it’s one of those moments of faith. Until you step up to making the choice to just take that first step onto the rolling metal wave, you won’t know. It’s a big choice choosing the right step. Yet, with the guidance of someone who’s done it a number of times, suddenly it’s less daunting. Hold hands, allow them to take the step with you and you’re on.

Holding hands
So how’s this like business, exactly? Well, business isn’t static. It’s constantly moving. To move onwards and upwards, you need a plan to get there. Your marketing activities are the escalator. It naturally moves with your business taking it up to the next level. So are you ready to take the next step in getting your business marketed to your customers? Get some guidance from an experienced marketer to help you take the next step. You’ll be working together because you bring your expertise in your business, its personality and your dreams and the marketer brings their toolbox. Neither of you can take charge and do it yourselves. It’s a team effort. And once you’ve got to the top of the escalator, you’ll either be ready for the another go or more confident in using what you’ve learned to go it alone.

The flavours you pick
And the chocolates? Well, you’ll be surprised by the kinds of plans your teamwork efforts will dream up.

If you realise guidance is what you need and teamwork what you’d like, drop me a line!
via email: claudine@triquetra-consulting.co.za
via phone: 083 415 2421
via my website: www.triquetra-consulting.co.za
I help business owners who know they need a marketing injection but who don’t have the know-how or time to implement marketing activities. I provide customised marketing for your business. For more information on my services, visit: www.triquetra-consulting.co.za/services

Categories: Marketing