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Email marketing DOs and DON’Ts

  • June 15th, 2017

emailEmail marketing can be a powerful tool if implemented properly.  We monitor mail coming in from other organizations and are often shocked by what we see.  We noted a couple of emails lately from large companies, and thought these tips were timely reminders!

Don’t…

  1. Just add people because you have their email address
  2. Send emails directly from your Internet Service Provider or Outlook
  3. Share all of your email addresses with your recipients
  4. Use your home or personal email address to send emails
  5. Get upset by opt-outs
  6. Worry only about quantity of opt-ins

Do…

  1. Welcome people (let them know you will be emailing to them) and communicate regularly
  2. Consider using an Email Service Provider
  3. Proactively collect email addresses
  4. Budget time to:
    • Create a strategy…what do you want your emails to “do” for you? Create interest? Drive website traffic?
    • Create a plan (that you can stick to)
    • Properly develop and deploy content
    • Analyze results
  5. Use correct punctuation and grammar
  6. Use your logo and other branding tools to help increase your open rate
  7. Test the day and time that you send your emails

Remember, the goal is interaction (of some kind) so in order to measure that, you need some kind of system in place.

These tips were created by Targeted Marketing Resources, a marketing consulting and deployment company based in Springfield IL.  Please do not distribute them or share them without approval from TMR.

Protect your Marketing Assets!

  • July 22nd, 2016

This article struck a chord with me for a lot of reasons.  I have also sat through countless meetings and wasted hours of time trying to help clients recover their marketing assets.

Does an employee manage your Facebook page? What happens when they leave? What if they become disgruntled? At best your page looks stale and unmaintained.  At worst, comments are made that you can't delete, edit or respond to.

Don't have time for Constant Contact so a volunteer helps? What if they take a job? You could lose every template, every email address, every list and segmentation, every image and logo.  Every bit of your email marketing history gone.

Require your vendors, employees and volunteers to maintain password lists and documentation and update periodically.  Check on them.  Log in to Facebook and be sure that you are an administrator.  Download email lists. Have your company listed as the owner of a domain name.

Don't leave yourself unprotected...

Is Content Marketing for YOU?

  • August 18th, 2015

Content marketing is the practice of marketing a business by establishing the business as an expert and reliable resource to solve a problem.  According to Bruce Rogers, Chief Insight Officer at Forbes and one of the world’s foremost authorities on thought leadership, “Content marketing can be defined as the creation and distribution of meaningful insights, perspectives, and best practices that are valuable to a specific audience. The aim is to retain existing clients including doing more business with them and to attract new high-quality clients.”   Content can be distributed through a variety of online and offline media.

Content marketing represents a shift in power in the buyer/seller relationship.  The buyer has control of content it receives and selects companies and products based on relationship.  A recent study by Axxon Media indicated that 70% of consumers prefer getting to know a company via articles rather than ads.  Customers want to be able to conduct research on their own, and select resource providers that have proven reliable, knowledgeable and  capable.

Where does that leave the business?  They need to be able to develop a reputation, across whatever channel their buyer is likely to use, of becoming a trusted advisor.  Understanding their customers pain points, relating to the issues that might inspire a customer to use their service or product, and providing value helps to build a relationship over time.  Companies should develop and distribute content that will attract, capture, nurture, convert and expand its audience over time.

One of the biggest benefits of content marketing is its leveling nature.  Small businesses can compete with larger competitors by establishing a professional presence in the marketplace.  Customers are less likely to buy from a larger company solely based on its size.  It’s the relationship that matters, and smaller organizations are inherently better at building and maintaining solid relationships than large ones.

The development of the content is important too…and larger companies are simply not as effective at it as smaller ones.  According to a study by Gleanster Research, midsize to large B2B organizations waste an estimated $958 million each year in inefficient and ineffective content marketing spend.  Waste comes from failure to meet task deadlines, redundant content creation, and coordinating the people contributing to and reviewing content.

That’s not to say that small companies can’t grow to become large ones through the use of content marketing.  As a business grows based on relationships and using content marketing techniques, the process becomes central to the infrastructure of the business, so as long as content marketing is utilized properly as a company grows, it is able to remain competitive and attract even more business.

There are still issues facing organizations who want to implement a content marketing program.  According to the 2014 Benchmark report on Content Marketing in the B2B space, B2B marketers cite lack of time (69%), producing enough content (55%) and producing the kind of content that engages (47%) as their top three marketing content challenges.  These are significant issues and many companies struggle with workflow that content marketing requires.

Additionally, many companies fail to recognize content marketing for what it is, and therefore don’t adequately plan for or analyze results of efforts as they would for other marketing programs.

A detailed and well designed plan, commitment from all levels of the organization, and the establishment of accurate analytical benchmarks allowing for adjustments and tweaks to the plan can resolve many of the issues that companies may run into as they venture into the world of content marketing. It’s important to also allow for educational time, and ongoing research, as the marketplace is shifting at a rapid pace.

For more help in developing a content marketing plan for your business, or to determine if one is right for your needs, contact us!

Blogging with a purpose

  • June 27th, 2015

Because blogging is “free”, many organizations enter the blog world without clear direction and without a plan.  At TMR, we believe that the only way to make a blog truly work is to approach it with a strategy and goal in mind.  The more thought you put into your blog and its role as a marketing tool BEFORE you launch your blog, the more valuable a tool it will be.

Let’s pretend for a minute that you are an expert on fish.  You love fish, own a fish store, and you want to share your knowledge with other people.  You set yourself up with a (free) blog, title it something “catchy”, and start to write.  In a few days/weeks/months, you haven’t seen any benefit, you are sick of writing and coming up with new ideas, you decide blogging is too much work and it doesn’t work for fish topics and you quit.  Maybe fish people don’t like computers, who knows?

The problem probably isn’t the blog or the fish people.  The problem is that you don’t have a plan.  Who are you talking to?  Fish lovers, who are already hooked on the concept of fish and want information about how to take care of exotic varieties? Organizations which have fish in their lobbies and need someone to help them take care of them?  Or people who think they want a fish, but want to know the basics about their care, where to get the right kind of equipment, etc?  Are you trying to establish yourself as an expert so that people will hire you as a consultant or caretaker of large aquariums, or drive people to your fish store, or are you just trying to share information and passion? Are you a believer that fish are the best kind of pet, but they are not for everyone? Or do you think that fish can be a great way to teach even the smallest children responsibility, so you are trying to reach non-fish people, or people not quite sold on the concept?

Although you probably aren’t a fish expert, you probably understand where we are headed here… without a plan, a blog, even about topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about can fail.  A blog can be a valuable tool but needs to be developed with an understanding of what you want that tool to do

Blogs are a valuable and cost effective way for organizations to stay in touch with their current customers (or donors or supporters) and to reach out to new ones.  Like other forms of social media, the general purpose of a blog is to provide your readers with relevant content that they can relate to, and that will encourage discussion and sharing with their friends, and their friends’ friends.

To blog with a purpose, you should start with these 4 key questions as it relates to your blog (note that the answers to these questions may or may not align perfectly with the organization that you are supporting; your blog may have a different goal than the overall organization) :

  1. What is your goal?

 

  1. What topics are important?

 

  1. What is your perspective?

 

  1. Who is your target audience?

 

 

Once you have answered these key questions, you should be ready to build some specific blog titles.  The titles alone (knowing what you plan to write about) are sufficient to build your plan.  You don’t need to write every blog now!  Take your titles and lay them out on a calendar to develop your plan.  Make sure the titles and topics are in a reasonable sequence, so that your 5th blog doesn’t assume some base of knowledge that isn’t really covered until your 20th blog.

Once everything is laid out, you have a plan.  Remember that plans are flexible; if there is a relevant current event that comes up that you want to blog about you can move things around.  Just be sure that you keep your goals in mind.    And remember that a blog with no new content can’t achieve your goals…you have to write and post content on a regular basis in order to capture and retain your audience.

TMR helps our customers with blogging in several different ways…we can help develop a strategy for blogging, research and develop content ideas, and help to write or edit and post content.  We can also handle general blog maintenance (reviewing stats and adjusting layouts).

For more information about blogging and how you can use it for your organization, please call Larissa Hansen at (217) 622-3618.

 

  • Planting trees is a lot like marketing

Planting trees is a lot like marketing

  • April 12th, 2014

The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.

~Chinese Proverb

So, what does planting trees have to do with marketing?!

Everything!  I saw this proverb and it is so true!  My husband and I moved into our home 14 years ago, and he has since been planting trees.  Some have been ravaged by deer, some that have been washed away in floods, and others just didn't make it.  But every year, he talks about planting a new tree...where should it go, what kind of tree, how will we care for it until it can stand on its own?

When I talk to companies about marketing, I always want to know what they've tried, what has worked and what hasn't, and what their plans and goals are.  No matter how they answer those questions, the strategy we develop doesn't matter unless it's implemented.  Once we put it into place, we need to nurture it and tend to it, and, like the tree, we may not see the "fruits" of our labor for a while.  We can sometimes predict the time period in which we expect to see results...but sometimes we can't.  Outside factors can impact our marketing.  Those factors may require us to make adjustments, and sometimes it feels like we are starting over, but they can't be controlled.  They have to be accommodated and worked in to our plan.

But if we don't implement -- if we do nothing -- nothing happens.  We have to take the step to plant the tree, sow the seeds.  We have to commit to our plan and continue to nurture them until we see results.

And we have to remember that the best time to plant a tree was 30 years ago; today that tree would be mature and hardy and producing leaves and fruit and shade. But if you didn't plant your tree 30 years ago, or 30 days ago, the next best time to plant your tree is today.

 

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