Biggest Loser, Marketing Giant
An interview with Constant Contact's Wendi Caplan-Carroll
With over 147 million people using email for communications, email marketing is the most effective and cost efficient tool in the marketing mix. According to the Direct Marketing Association, for every dollar spent on email marketing there was a $45 ROI. Email marketing has green appeal as well.
The #1 difference between a successful and unsuccessful campaign is effectively presenting yourself as an expert at what you do, sharing expertise and value rather than pounding people over the head selling services.
A cross-platform strategy between social media and email marketing is highly recommended. Find a social media vehicle that is right for you - Facebook fan page, LinkedIn, Twitter - and marry it with email marketing to generate more prospects, acquire more permission-based contacts, drive more traffic to your blog, or share content with a larger audience.
Hot TipsSMBs are extremely busy, so it is important that your email marketing program meets these characteristics:
By Jennifer Shaheen, The Technology Therapist
Today's small businesses are just as active using social media as consumers; however, the way they approach social media is very different. Small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) are learning to use social media to communicate with their customers, discover new trends and generate ideas. They are finding social media platforms to be an effective and efficient way to get their message to the right people.
This last point is particularly important, as SMBs want to stay in touch with their own specialty. They look to industry-specific blogs, podcasts and online groups, and follow industry leaders on Twitter and Facebook. Recognizing that they are thirsty for information can make targeting and connecting with the small business much easier.
Find Industry Influencers
Begin to identify the information leaders or influencers in your SMB audience; they have the ability to spread your message faster and with greater conversion.
Take note of their fans, followers, comments or threads in groups; these will depend on the social medium they use. This will be the audience that you will want to reach. You'll also want to take note of which mediums are the most successful at gaining their audience's attention, which garner the most activity or get the most people talking.
Approaching people through social media is about talking to the individual, not the mass market. Your connection should be authentic, acknowledging the individual's contribution to the industry and offering a specific message that is designed to appeal to their needs as an influencer; this means it needs to have a benefit for them.
So how do you do this exactly?Here's an example:
You are a technology company with an online application directed toward retail business owners. After taking the time to identify the top retail experts who have the ear of your customer (your SMB influencer), you begin to forge a personal connection with them through social media tools. For instance, if they use tools like Twitter or Facebook, you will want to "friend" or follow them.
You will want to do this through the platform on which your target SMBs are most active. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or private email addresses are better choices than commenting on their blog. It allows you to make a better connection - opens the flow of conversation more effectively. When reaching out, you need to have a purpose other than to get the individual to promote your product. Your reason for connecting needs to be genuine and most importantly, includes a benefit for them and their followers, such as an exclusive trial offer of your online application tool before it hits stores or is offered to the public.
Talk, Don't Sell.
Talk to them one-on-one and build a relationship. Depending upon your application, this may be accomplished as mentioned before, by offering a private demo or an exclusive offer to their followers, but through a creative twist that connects directly with their own personal message and focus in a unique way.
For instance, if the influencer's focus is giving retailers a competitive business edge, say something along the lines of "Your advice helps today's savviest retailers stay at the peak of innovative business practices. We also want these retailers to thrive, which is why we're giving them the exclusive chance to try it before it's released to the public." This way, you connect with their message and focus, and show that your product will enhance their message and be of benefit to their followers.