7 email marketing tips

Email in a boxIf you’ve grown a healthy list of people who have an interest in what you’ve got to offer you’ll need to do something to build and maintain your relationship with them.  You might have them in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or they might have signed up with your online form and be held in a MailChimp, AWeber, Get Response, Constant Contact or similar online system.  Wherever they are – these tips apply!

Tip 1:              Don’t send out spammy sales pitches.  You hate getting them so why would anyone else take any notice of them.  It’s the quickest way of getting people to unsubscribe (and maybe getting your online system account suspended).  Offer value in every email.

Tip 2:              Create a good subject line – this is what gets people to open your message.  If it says something boring like ‘Acme Newsletter July 2014’ why would anyone except your Mum open it?  Be creative to intrigue your reader and use subject lines that get them to want to find out more.

Tip 3:              Personalise your opening.  Dear Jo is so much better than Dear Customer or, worse, Dear firstname.  If you’ve got people on your list you should know their name, using something generic says you’re spamming them.  If you have not managed to get people’s names during the sign up process, change your form NOW so you do in future, for now don’t use any salutation; it’s better than something generic.

Tip 4:              Start with value that’s relevant. We all get so much information to process these days that anything that doesn’t get attention quickly simply doesn’t get read.  If you know your audience well you can create something that will be relevant to them right in the first paragraph.  If you find it tough to do this then, at the very least, use that paragraph to get them engaged.  This might be talking about their problems and indicating that there is a solution coming.

Tip 5:              Don’t talk about yourself or your company.  You may be proud of the award you just won or the new staff you’ve hired, but your customers (and potential customers) aren’t really that interested.  They’re interested in what they’ll get and how you can improve their lives in some way, stay focused on what’s in it for them.

Tip 6:              Keep it short and simple (KISS).  Don’t fall into the trap of rambling on at length; remember how many emails your reader may have to get through, they don’t have time to read a lot.  Be considerate of their time and they’ll appreciate it.  A good marketing email should be able to get the message across in less than 250 words.  And, yes, I know that the American online marketers write much longer emails than that, but they are for a very specific market and bear in mind they go out in hundreds of thousands.  You’ll turn more people off than you engage with long content.  Stick to simple, plain English and your message will get through better.

Tip 7:              One message is not enough.  Some people are too busy when message 1 lands and simply never get around to reading it.  If you send a series of emails at intervals with the same subject, but different wording you’ll reinforce the message for those who read all the message and still reach those people who miss one or two.  I recommend a minimum of 3 messages, but 5 would be even better at 8-10 day intervals.

If you follow these tips you’ll be when on the way to really effective email campaigns.

Are you a gossip?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhen I was working on our book, The Reputation Gamewith my co-author, Peter Roper, we came to a conclusion – reputation is based on gossip!

If nobody is talking about you, you don’t have a reputation.  Of course, it is important that the gossip is positive if you want to have a good reputation.  If people are saying negative things then your good reputation is going to vanish in a puff of smoke.  So, if your reputation depends on people talking about you does that mean it’s out of your control?

Quite a few people have suggested that you can’t tell people what to say, so you can’t do anything about your reputation.  I don’t agree.

You can not only create the reputation you want, but you can take steps to protect your reputation and actively plan how it develops.

Your PLAN should include an outline of what you’d like people to know, think and say about you.

  • What do you want to be known for?  Your core skills and abilities?  Your USP?
  • Where do you want to be known?  Locally, nationally or internationally?
  • What kind of businesses do you want to be talking about you?
  • What kind of comments would you like to hear them making?

Like any other business plan, without a clear vision of what success looks like you’ll struggle to achieve anything you can measure.

The next step is to PROTECT your reputation.  This can include a number of activities:

  • Checking your privacy settings on the various online platforms where you are active are appropriate.  This is particularly important on your personal Facebook account; don’t forget that anyone you have befriended can post information that may appear in your timeline.
  • Googling your own name and that of your business to see what is already out there and making sure that anything negative is dealt with.
  • Taking control of any ‘blips’ in your business history that might come back to bite you.  If you are in control you don’t get into the situation where something has been hidden and then someone reveals it when you’re least expecting it, leaving you in a weak position if you have to respond rather than making the opening statement.

Step three is to PROMOTE your reputation, in other words, tell people what to gossip about!  Post plenty of information to get people talking:

  • Educational blogs
  • Testimonials telling people how happy your clients are
  • Free downloads that give people valuable information
  • Regular posts on your chosen platforms to keep your visibility high
  • Interaction in forums where your audience are found to demonstrate your expertise and help people

The more positive information that is out in the public domain, the more people will think and talk about you.

So ARE you a gossip?

Do you talk about other people and businesses that you know?

How often to you rave about people you rate to your network online and offline?

What gets your attention and makes you want to share information?

Don’t hold back, if your suppliers are doing a great job, tell people.  If someone wants a recommendation for a particular skill or type of business and you have that contact in your network make the connection.

One rule to follow:  If you hear something negative about someone, don’t gossip about it – go to the person it’s about and tell them what you’ve heard and ask them for their comments.  You’d rather someone told you if there is negative gossip about – it’s wise to give people the opportunity to defend their position, there are some poisonous tongues around.

If you gossip positively you’ll find the people you gossip about start to send you new connections.  Who says gossip is pointless?

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If you’d like to find out more about reputation marketing please look on www.insidenews.co.uk.

 

 

See things from your customer’s viewpoint

Magic lightI have banged on incessantly about the importance of knowing who your ideal client is; what industry they come from, what size of company they run (by turnover, number of staff or sites) and so on now we’re on to the next step; what are their problems?

If you don’t know what your perfect client is suffering from you won’t be able to let them know how you can help them.  So, what;

  • Irritates them?
  • Wastes their time?
  • Keeps them awake at night?
  • Diverts their attention from what they really want to be doing?

Everything that takes their attention off developing their business is an annoyance and in order to present them with a compelling proposition you have to get inside their skin.  That takes a bit of effort.

Most business owners are excited about what they do – or they wouldn’t (and shouldn’t) be in that particular business, but how does an outsider see things?  Let’s look at an example:  You might be excited about your latest line in storage boxes, but how does your potential customer see them?  A box is just a box, isn’t it?  The details of the design, the refinements of the way the boxes interlock, the state-of-the-art materials that make them lighter are amazing to you – but your customer isn’t likely to see it in the same light.  What will that box do that they don’t get from other storage systems?  Why is the interlocking system important?  What difference do the new materials make?  When you put it all together – SO WHAT?

It’s not about what the box is; it’s not even about what the box does; it’s about the problem it solves.  The thing that causes your potential customer grief – that you are going to take away.  That might be a facility to store more in less floor space SO THAT they don’t need to pay for additional storage to get everything in.  It might be that there is a scanning system that makes it easy to track down critical paperwork quickly SO THAT their staff don’t disappear into the storage area for hours trying to find one piece of paper.  Are you beginning to see how it works?

Ah, you knew all that, didn’t you?  But are you actively doing anything about it?  Have you actively researched the biggest challenges your clients face – that you can solve?  Are you using that information in your marketing material, on your website in your sales conversations?  Having the information and taking action are two different things – so it’s not enough to understand your customer’s viewpoint – you have help them to see what you can do to make those problems disappear.

Time to get your magic wand out and start making those frustrasting problems vanish!

 

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