Category Archives: Constant Contact

82.4% plan an increase in e-mail marketing in 2008

emailing for business

I just read my latest copy of BtoB’s Interactive Marketing Guide.

It’s full of great marketing info. In this issue, it sources a Datran Media survey from a press release, dated January 22nd, 2008:

82.4% of respondents plan to increase their e-mail marketing in 2008.

15.3% of respondents plan the same amount of e-mail marketing in 2008.

2.4% of respondents plan to decrease their e-mail marketing in 2008.

If you market using email, what does this mean?

Over 82% plan to increase their e-mail marketing! There’s going to be much more e-mail competition in 2008. Your e-mails need to stand out or they’ll get lost. This translates to creating a really good subject line – something that is not only catchy, but also creates trust and interest to the recipient.

Links need to work. Inside the email, make sure your links are working, even if the images get blocked.

You need a reporting system to track metrics. Every email campaign needs to track opens, bounces, and clicks. I use Constant Contact, (click on the link for a 60-day free trial) for my business and am very happy with it.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency in Elk River, Minnesota. He plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. Mitchell is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

Sharpening your Marketing Saw: What can you do?

sharpening the marketing saw

Stephen Covey talks about this anology in his Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:

What are you doing?’ you ask.
‘Can’t you see?’ comes the impatient reply. ‘I’m sawing down this tree.’
‘You look exhausted!’ you exclaim.
‘How long have you been at it?’
‘Over five hours,’ he returns, ‘and I’m beat! This is hard work.’
‘Well, why don’t you take a break for a few minutes and sharpen that saw?’ you inquire. ‘I’m sure it would go a lot faster.’
‘I don’t have time to sharpen the saw,’ the man says emphatically. ‘I’m too busy sawing!’

When it comes to business, we’re all busy.

I ask clients who don’t blog, or do newsletters, or update their website, or develop a marketing plan…why? The answer is always honest. And it’s almost always the same. They are too busy. They are too busy working IN their business to work ON their business.

What can you do to sharpen your marketing saw? Here are four thought- starters:

1) Commit to organizing your database. Your database of customers is the single most important thing you have as a business owner. Once you have a contact management system or some sort (computerized, with name, address, phone, email), exportable to an excel spreadsheet, you’re set.

Y our database is part of the foundation of all the marketing you do. And probably most of the referrals you get.
2) Reading good literature. The average American reads four books a year. Don’t be average. Reading will give you insight and perspective. I am currently re-reading one book: Permission Marketing (by Seth Godin) and reading another: The God Questions (by Hal Seed and Dan Grinder).

3) Brainstorm Brown Bag. Set aside a lunch hour (once per month) for a brainstorming session at your office. Everyone brings their own lunch. The challenge is pre-determined…what new ideas can we use, what’s working, how are you handling this objection. You get the idea. Hint: Rule one of brainstorming…no idea is judged during the session.

4) Seminars and workshops. Most of us do professional development or continuing education. That’s great. But also try something outside the norm of your business life. You can probably relate it back. I recently took a 4-week meditation class from Kelly LaVine that was outside my “norm” and really enjoyed it.

Abraham Lincoln said this: Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe. He was a pretty smart guy.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency in Elk River, Minnesota. He plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. Mitchell is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

Your Prescription for Marketing Success: Part III – Checklist of 6 elements your website must have

It’s 2008. How’s your website? You do have one, right?

OK, good. And how’s it working for ya?

In the world of virtual marketing, if your website isn’t producing the results you want, this is a checklist of six basic elements your website must have. I’m not going to get into search engine optimization, or meta-tag-techno-html-jive either. Before we get to that, you need to start with these basic six elements of a business website.

1) Contact information. Make it very easy for a surfer to find your phone number or email. It probably should be on every page, and never more than 3 clicks deep from the home page. With each click, you loose 30% of your surfers. 3 clicks on the contact, or you’re dead. They’re gone to someone else.

A word about contact info. Ever land on a page where you can’t find out who “they” are? You might search and search and still…nothing but an email: info@blahblahblah.com. What do you do? You click away. Do you trust then? No. With internet marketing, the first instinct is to avoid getting ripped off. Don’t make the same mistake on your site.

2) Who you are. Make it very easy for the surfer to get a good idea of the product or service you are selling. This goes on the website’s home page. Leave no doubt in the customers mind that they are in the right place.

If you have a business with a name that doesn’t tell what you do, please make it clear. Use a tag line. Add a FAQ page for good measure.

3) Testimonials. Your website better have a few testimonials from current or former clients. This is common sense. Nobody wants to be the first person to do business with you. They want to trust that you’re honest, and you’re going to do whatever you say you’ll do. Two to four testimonials…and you’re in good shape.

4) A privacy policy. If you’re going to ask for an email, make sure that you let the potential customer know that you don’t share or sell email addresses. If you’re requesting personal information in any sort of form from your business website, make sure you spell out your privacy policy.

5) Make them an offer. Think about it. What do you want the potential customer to do? Call you? Email you? Sign up for your newsletter? Ask them to take action and give them a reason to do it. Do you have a limited-time offer? Include it to create a sense of urgency with your online marketing.

6) A confirmation. When I ask readers to sign up for my free e-newsletter through my Constant Contact (click on the link for a 60-day free trial) program, my readers are automatically sent a confirmation. If your readers submit a request for information, you should be doing the same.

NEXT: Part IV…Your written plan – don’t go driving without a map

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com
email: chris@258marketing.com

Your Prescription for Marketing Success: Part II – Your customer list

Constant Contact customer list

Quiz question: What is the most valuable asset of your business?

Like most business people, you may take a quick mental survey of your balance sheet. Is it your property? Your accounts receivable? Your equipment?

You won’t find the answer on your balance sheet. Your most important business asset, likely, is your customer list. It is more expensive to find a new customer than to service a current or past customer. It is more difficult to get a new customer than to take care of your current ones.

Companies spend the majority of their time and marketing resources prospecting new customers, meanwhile ignoring the dollars sitting in their current customer bank accounts.

Build a wall of service around your customer base

You have already earned your current customers trust. And with each additional transaction, that trust builds. Did you know it costs 5 times more to acquire a new customer than to retain a current one?

One of the most important things I encourage with my clients is to make a plan to maintain contact with your current customers. This serves three very important purposes.

First, it keeps you on the shopping list. If they are not ready to buy, you have top-of-mind awareness. Second, you are asking them to buy more from you. Remember, they are already your customers. You have that trust bond already established. Finally, it allows you to ask for referrals. This is huge. It takes commitment to make and follow this contact plan. And I am going to show you three ways to do it. You should plan to incorporate all three methods over the course of your business year to maintain your contact with current customers.

Compiling your customer list

About 50% of the business owners I talk to do not have an organized system to maintain a customer list. Most POS systems have this built-in, but I’m surprised at how many businesses use it.

At the very least, you need to compile your customer list in an excel spreadsheet by name, address, phone number, and email. You should also add categories for the amount of dollars they spent with you, by transaction and by date.This list is a basis for your three-pronged customer contact maintenance plan.

Contact Method #1: Direct Mail Postcards

Direct mail postcards are a vital part of keeping in touch with your current customers. Keep them up-to-date on current promotional offers with one of the most cost-efficient manners available. Postage costs less than a letter. Bulk mailing permits are easily available. And with technology advances, laser inscribed addresses make the entire process turn-key.

Postcard direct mail uses? Your business should be mailing thank you’s to first-time customers. How about We miss you to lapsed customers? Quarterly sales promotions? Special customer appreciation events?

25-8 Marketing Inc. has introduced a new postcard marketing program. With low minimums, no set-up charges, low in-the-mail prices, and fast 48-hour service, please visit this link for prices and details.

Contact Method #2: Email

Why is email a great way to contact your current customer base? It’s inexpensive; there are no postage costs or printing costs. It’s fast; you can send out a sales message to a group of customers quicker than direct mail. It’s accountable; you are able to see how many customers read your message.

Leveraging information gathered from previous interactions, a company can personalize the customer experience to up-sell and cross-sell customers and generate additional revenue.

I recommend you look at Constant Contact, (click on the link for a 60-day free trial) or a similar email contact management system.

Contact Method #3: Newsletters

Do you want to be a sustaining resource to your clients? Newsletters from your company are a great way to do that. Newsletters put your company’s name and current news in front of your customers, reminding them that you are still active and eager to do business with them again.

Many of us are already overwhelmed by the daily deluge of mail, so your newsletter will need to be much more than just ads for your products or services. Including informative articles or other information may help entice your customers to actually open and read your newsletter.

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes and try to determine what kinds of information would prove valuable to them. If your company sells collectibles, for instance, a survey of trends in the market would be a great way to get your customers to look forward to each issue of your newsletter.

Newsletters can be quarterly, or seasonal. One hint: Ask for referrals in each newsletter from your current customers. And reward them for each referral.

NEXT: Part III…Your website…using it to attract and retain customers.

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Chris Mitchell is the President and Founder of 25-8 Marketing, Inc, a full service advertising agency that plans and implements marketing programs for small to medium-sized businesses. He is a consultant, speaker and author and has worked with hundreds of companies. He has over 20 years of real-world advertising experience, and understands the marketing challenges of the small business owner.

website: http://www.258marketing.com

email: chris@258marketing.com