It is amazing to realize that, for the most part, those under 40 years old have never known a world without email. Today, it is hard for most of us to imagine life without it. It helps keep us connected with friends and family, we can easily share files and images, and now we can even legally sign documents digitally through email. Of course, it didn’t take marketers long to discover how cost-effective email can be in reaching potential customers. This, of course, led to an abundance of spam, negatively impacting the strategy. Consumers quickly learned to identify spam and instantly delete it or have it sent to a spam file unread. This caused some marketers to abandon the process. Others have reacted by adjusting to the marketplace and making adjustments to their strategies.
Why should marketers reexamine their email marketing tactics? First, consumers have made adjustments in how they treat marketing emails, so adjustments need to be made by marketers. Secondly, there are tremendous returns on investment when email campaigns are properly conducted. Recently, a survey by Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric indicates that email marketing can have an ROI as much as four times higher than other marketing strategies, including social media. That is impressive and worth pursuing.
The key? Remembering that email is not a customer acquisition tool as much as it is a communication tool that can help build relationships. It is those relationships, then, that deliver consumers through the consideration, conversion and recommendation phases.
An article written by our CEO takes a deep dive into how to build stronger relationships and better engage consumers through email campaigns. Christine uses the old adage, “it is better to give than to receive,” in creating effective, high ROI email campaigns. She points out that while many marketers “talk” to consumers, it is far more effective to initiate a two-way conversation. This gives them more and better ways to come to you. These “better ways” may include offering valuable information, product-related tips and tricks, shareable discounts, or by inviting them to provide their thoughts, opinions and experiences on social media.
Some marketers have a reluctance to any approach that does not provide an instant ROI. Alemany’s approach, however, is based on the fact that it is far better to build loyal customers through email than to make a single, quick sale and having future emails sent to spam filters or instantly deleted. These are customers worth investing in. It also brings to mind another adage that can apply to email marketing; “patience is a virtue,” and “it is better to pass by a nickel to pick up a dollar.”
Building a “giving” email marketing strategy starts with segmenting lists to refine your target to your audience. This not only leads to better customization, but recipients have a much better sense the email was destined for them and their needs. This helps build those powerful and eventually profitable relationships.
Once a list is segmented, build a content map to deliver the most valuable and relevant information to users. This could be in the form of infographics, a white paper or newsletter. An email marketing schedule should follow, usually based around special or significant occasions that may impact your subscribers or your products. These could include holidays, conventions and seminars, new product introductions and more.
Of course, ultimately, you will want to measure and monitor results. These “results” should include much more than just sales. It could include shares, subscribers, social media likes, responses to surveys and polls, and other forms of connection. Adjustments to campaigns should be made according to results.
Consumers want to do business with those they feel are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Building relationships through a giving approach is a powerful way to build those strong connections. It positions you as an approachable expert in your field and a natural, easy-to-make a choice when it comes time to make a buying decision. People still buy based on their own reasons, not reasons provided them by a marketer. Give them more of those reasons to do business with you, and they will respond.
You hired a strategic consultant to help make some much-needed changes in your company. Now, it is time to get the ball rolling.
While your head might be ready to make those adjustments, your heart might be throwing a bit of a tantrum. Constructive criticism can be difficult to digest when you feel protective of the teams and systems you have worked so hard to put in place. Even if the recommended changes are completely rational, some might surprise you while others insult you.
But after the initial sting, you will soon realize that being open to criticism makes you a stronger leader. Deep down, you know that you hired a consultant because your business is not reaching its full potential. In order to implement the changes that will encourage your business to grow and thrive, you need to open yourself up, listen, and really take part in tough conversations.
Let us take a look at some of the toughest pills that a strategic consultant might prescribe you and consider why (and how) you should swallow them with a smile.
But in many cases, personal attachments to team members can blind leaders from seeing the dysfunctions that are actually holding the company in a rut.
It is important to look clearly at the skills and experience of your team members. Ask yourself, “Who do I need today to take my company to the next level?” Goodbyes are always hard, but it is better to say them now than after your business has collapsed.
The saddest thing I have witnessed is when founders realize this strategy problem too late. For example, we once had a client come to us with Google-sized aspirations, but the company had been hemorrhaging cash for the past several quarters. Unfortunately, it was far too late to make the crucial changes in the product strategy.
To avoid this dreadful situation, do not delay. Instead, complete the tough work now to ensure your business model is healthy.
If your strategic consultant comes to you with this criticism, do not start backpedaling with excuses. Instead, go against your natural instincts and thank them.
While being told to focus might make you initially feel constrained and less entrepreneurial, that discomfort will soon ease once you see what a little focus does to your chosen idea. Move forward by pinning down what this focus looks like for your company, and then keep tabs on new ideas and ventures so they do not go astray.
A lack of structure in a company can be just as damaging as a bad idea. When departments are not communicating or collaborating, everyone moves forward without a clear purpose.
If this is the problem your team faces, there are many ways you can start bringing structure into your operations. From regular conversations between teammates to clear, shared documentation, adding structure helps team members stay accountable by giving them distinctly defined roles, priorities, and goals.
Know in your head — and heart — why you are inviting a strategic consultant into your company, and understand what your goals are for the process. If you really want to push your company to new heights, you need to be willing to embrace and find value in these tough conversations.
Online marketing, or digital marketing, has grown rapidly in recent years. Two things are clear: online marketing is here to stay, and its growth is only set to accelerate in the future. The following are four of the trends expected to show themselves in 2015.
At the same time, there will still be a significant market for short-form content, which will primarily be utilized on social media platforms as a way to generate viral content.
That being said, email marketing will also see a significant increase in the number and quality of tools available for marketing campaigns. One of the most significant trends is an increase in email analytics data, which helps marketers determine how often emails are opened and how often the links within those emails are clicked. The ability to determine which emails are most effective can then be used to create more effective email campaigns.
Email is also increasingly being used as a gateway to social media channels. In the past, email was largely considered its own section of an overall marketing strategy. However, the goal of email marketing campaigns is increasingly to drive traffic to social media platforms, where that traffic can be presented with a company’s social media marketing campaign.
According to recent reports, about 80 percent of companies are expected to increase their digital marketing budgets in 2015, with the vast majority of those companies expecting to increase their budgets between 5 and 15 percent.
At the same time, the number of workers in the digital marketing industry is expanding as well, with digital/social, content creation, data/analytics and mobile strategy among the skills most highly valued by marketing agencies hiring new employees.
Integrated marketing requires that businesses align their marketing processes in a way that continuously improves the customer experience. Understanding the how your processes feed into each other as part of an overall plan is a crucial first step. Successfully integrating these processes along with establishing KPIs ties together the goals of each department into a single unified strategy to enable supporting larger goals.
There is a way to create order out of chaos. The growing complexity of marketing makes it crucial that companies document, define, and automate their marketing processes. In order to be effective, processes within the following categories, which overlap to some extent, must be defined and integrated:
While implementing a marketing automation solution can more than double the output that a marketing team can produce, one must do her homework before implementation. The success of marketing automation implementation does not primarily depend on the selected software, and it is not only about automation. Cross-functional coordination must be formalized by integrating the processes above and setting KPIs that focus teams on achieving corporate goals.
Integrated marketing is powerful and effective. Each customer or prospect interaction reinforces your brand, increases awareness, and builds trust over time. By coordinating the customer journey across marketing channels, marketing investments become more efficient and effective.
You can integrate your marketing programs by following a few simple steps:
If you follow the steps above, you can create a revenue generation loop that improves the efficiency of your marketing spend. If you need help, feel free to contact us.