Tag Archives: email

Why email still matters in b2b marketing

My second post as b2b digital marketing expert commentator has gone live at SmartInsights.

 

Email may well be in terminal decline with the next generation of business professionals more likely to rely on SMS and social network messaging if recent research is to believed.

Yet, most B2B companies still use email-based newsletters as a primary way of attempting to communicate with and engaging customers and prospects.

Find out how you can still make email work for your business by clicking through.

SmartInsights is fast becoming a ‘go-to’ digital marketing resource for marketers and business owners at every level of digital confidence. 50,000 unique visitors hit the website every month, 10,000 are subscribed to the weekly email newsletter, 1,650 follow on Facebook, 1,200 are members of the Linkedin group and 2,400 follow via Twitter. Bookmark the site now sign up for the weekly email by clicking through here.

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My Twitter Week (w/e 13 March 2011)

Here’s some links worth a click from the last seven days:

Right off the bat, MarketingProfs reported on how YouTube topped Facebook & Twitter in User Satisfaction. Despite 7 in 10 users of Facebook returning to the site within 7 days, it seems more people share more content on YouTube.

Mark Shaeffer penned the excellent Six ideas to get your company blog out of the fog. In it he dissects the blog, looks at the data and comments on design, structure, content and promotion. A must read if you produce any kind of online content.

Over on Utalkmarketing, I stumbled on a post examining why marketers shouldn’t let email marketing drop off the radar. This backs nicely into stats I recall from last year about how social media can help create an audience but opt in email allows you to provide personalised content. There is still a place for email in the modern marketing mix.

The very readable SocialMediaB2B blog posted an interesting piece looking at how to make social media interesting more digestible and relevant for clients and managers with 6 Ways to Format B2B Social Media Reports.

Staying on the social media front, it always seems to be a challenge to locate good case studies. Here are five of the latest that involve social media from a PR perspective from Mashable.

The last one this week provided more proof Facebook isn’t everything with Econsultancy’s Top 50 brands in social.

More next week.

Is Gap an email marketing genius?

Just had to bring this to light. An email from Gap on Friday telling me I only had a couple of days to benefit from 25% off  if I bought some Gap clothing online.

Come this morning, I thought I’d let the opportunity pass me by. But no, a new email popped up this morning, with a new 50% offer!

Great for me as I didn’t take advantage of the first one, but pretty bad for anyone who did. Unless this has been specifically designed to entice me online because they can tell that I didn’t visit over the weekend?

I can’t decide if this is genius, coincidental or really poor. What do you think?

10 top recession marketing tips

Recession marketing, bootstrapping, call it what you will. These are difficult times as business buyers shop around for the best suppliers offering the best all-round deals.

The Marketing Assassin blog was spawned in the recession and was a response to the excess and confused marketing that blights our profession.

Most companies don’t have seven [six, even five] figure marketing budgets and can’t count on award winning agencies, so they have to be targeted and smart.

Here is a quick fire list of ten things you should be doing to ensure you give your business the best chance of success, whilst at the same time restricting cost.

1. Apply a metrics-based approach to every marketing project. If an activity doesn’t fit with a business objective, stop it immediately. This is especially relevant to costly advertising plans and trade shows.

2. Cancel magazine and news subscriptions and set up Google Reader RSS feeds and Google Alerts. If articles get placed, buy print quality PDFs and reprints for marketing purposes, it will be cheaper in the long run.

3. Tap into freelancers rather than bulking up on staff. The recession has created a huge and experienced community of talented but displaced creative individuals that can be brought in on short term projects. Use them as required in stead of taking on additional headcount cost.

4. Move any new employees and kit to the ‘cloud’. Consider using free Google docs rather than costly MS Office.

5. Visit your most profitable customers and tell them how much you value them. Create reasons to talk to them and see them more. Present some insight, fresh ideas, act as a connector by facilitating introductions to other clients.

6. Engage / re-engage customers via email. Send an opt in email suggesting you will contact them quarterly and showcase latest work, ideas, industry trends and insight. Remind them what you excel at, and advise them of any changes, improvements and news. A simple html email designed and delivered through a service like Dotmailer will suffice.

7. When you cut back or cancel your advertising plan (point 1), use measurement  as an excuse and adopt a PR based approach instead. PR has longer legs and supports leadership and credibility objectives – essential in the b2b sale.

8. Use existing content. Give lots of presentations? Repackage and host on Slideshare. Add a audio commentary and captions and post to YouTube. Recreate PR as blog posts and white papers. Produce best practice presentations for use as webinars. In essence adopt free to use social media techniques, but the right ones for your business.

9. Use Linkedin. A global network of 80m (stats vary) business people means your future customers, suppliers, freelancers and recruits are all there. Use search filters available for free from the home page.

10. Feed all news, blog content to your website home page to bolster SEO, to your Linkedin company profile page and to a Facebook business page. If you don’t have one of these, set one up, if for no other reason than SEO. (More on Facebook for business in upcoming posts, bookmark the blog now).

Most businesses are working on reduced budgets in 2011 yet have to deliver more just to stand still. Give yourself the best chance by being focused on critical objectives, removing unnecessary cost and stimulating demand in your products and services.

Images: Michael G Holmes, Craven Publishing

The digital nativity

Doesn’t really need or warrant explanation but this YouTube upload which is quickly gathering viral pace, is an excellent take on the standard Christmas story, but with a digital twist. Cleverly exploring the impact of digital on our daily life, it has seen over 60,000 views since posting two days ago. It’s a great piece of work. Enjoy.

Marketing Metrics 8: Email marketing

I read some statistics in preparing this blog that suggested 90 trillion emails were sent in 2009, and approximately 86% of them were spam. (Pingdom). Bad day in the office for the guy counting, but it is a staggering number if it’s even remotely correct.

If you have a glass half empty outlook, that’s going to put you right off email marketing. But if you’re a glass half full person, these numbers imply rather a lot were still well targeted and well propositioned to recipients interested in what they had to say.

Email remains a great way to make and stay in touch with a range of audiences and it can provide powerful insight into how your brand is perceived, the messages you want to convey, and the design and offers you make – if you take the time to assess the data.

Determining whether you use your email for acqusition, retention or relationship marketing will determine what you say, to who, how and when. This drives your metrics. There are lots of things that can be monitored and measured when it comes to email marketing (open, bounce rate, unsubscribes, time of day, number of unique clicks, number of repeat clicks, number of forwards) but there is only one metric that matters. You want click-through to your website. That’s where the engagement truly starts. Don’t get caught up in the numbers.

This isn’t an email masterclass (though there may be one in 2011), but if you want traffic generated from email click through, consider the following:

1. Audience need – we’ve moved away from monthly and quarterly broadcast communications and can now easily deliver bespoke content for different segmented lists. Sending the same communication to customers and prospects is plain lazy.

2. Design – the email needs to work without images, have a solid spam-filter friendly title, be sent from a reputable email address (not ‘donotreply’), contain an ‘if you can’t see this, click here’ link and an ‘unsubscribe’ button.

3. Message – different audiences are after different things and the content and tone should be tailored accordingly

4. Automation – the best emails are event triggered, whether by a transaction, a shipment or delivery update, an update on stock or a new price/offer, an anniversary or an abandoned basket. Amazon are the gold standard in internet business cross-sell and up-sell, but any business can adopt elements if considered.

A case study

I get regular emails from the shirt maker TM Lewin. Well I did until I unsubscribed. I like their shirts and the way they have used digital channels to promote their products (interesting YouTube channel). But they essentially make the same ‘4 shirts for £100/£90’ and ‘suit for £179’ offer on a weekly basis. And despite creative changes, this has been pumped out to their database (and me) for over a year.

I queried it with them on Twitter saying when you offer product at the same price consistently, it isn’t an offer anymore. They weren’t interested in taking honest and constructive customer feedback, saying it was working fine for now and they weren’t planning on changing it.

Which is fine, but that lack of regard for my transactional history and needs means my next shirt will probably come from Charles Tyrwhitt and for now TM Lewin have lost me to an untargeted, lazy and short term broadcast email strategy.

Image Keyzo

Marketing Metrics 4: Achieving ROI from direct marketing – it’s in the design and delivery

Direct marketing, when well designed, expertly written, highly targeted, clear in proposition and well implemented can engage customers and transform the sales and marketing success of a business.

Too often though it is done badly. Direct mail, as most recipients view DM, is the bane of most people’s lives, and the very worst, intrusive antidote to good honest permission marketing. And email has taken this on immeasurably.

Direct marketing can and is implemented well. I receive mailers from TM Lewin about specials on shirts (incidentally they have a nifty YouTube channel) and Amazon’s ‘Recommendations’ emails based on my transactional and browsing behaviour. I’m on the Volkswagon mailing list because I bought a Polo five years ago – the last mailer was a beautiful piece in the style of a VW dashboard. And other businesses are using DM techniques to personally encourage browsers to take their abandoned baskets to checkout status, with some success.

What is clear to me as I consider this blog series on metrics in the core elements of the marketing mix, is the requirement to target a segment, understand an unmet need and deliver a compelling (and for you, profitable) proposition that entices and engages them to act.

Achieving ROI from direct marketing really is in the design and delivery. Sure, the usual rules apply in terms of activating specific landing pages, phone numbers, email addresses, voucher codes, limited time offers and social media pages to monitor response. But getting response is the objective. Here’s how to transform ‘junk mail into conversion mail’.

  1. Take time to target
  2. Think about your audience and get tone of voice right
  3. Highlight the ‘call to action immediately’ and prominently – you have 3-5 seconds, even assuming the recipient is remotely interested
  4. Don’t clutter your communication – stick to one single message
  5. Have an equal balance between design and copy
  6. Make the most of the senses if relevant – smell, touch, taste
  7. Dont’s trick recipients into opening your mail – this will only damage your reputation and your brand in the long term.
  8. Make sure you test and learn – make subtle changes in campaign creative or message and gauge response.

Image http://www.pace.com.au