Let’s face it –love it or hate it, email marketing is still quite effective and has an amazing ROI (approximately $43 for every dollar spent – not too shabby).
The Story: While working on the 2012 Arizona Centennial Conference one of my tasks was to send out weekly e-blasts. With a program consisting mostly of presentations on historic preservation, water rights and other topics I knew next to nada about, coming up with subject lines other than “Register Now” was rather daunting.
Then I discovered a portion of the program that was rather juicy: The Mock Trial of Winnie Ruth Judd!
Judd was a medical secretary from Phoenix found guilty of murdering her friends Agnes Anne LeRoi and Hedvig Samuelson over the alleged affections of Jack Halloran in 1931. Apparently Winnie and her buddies had a thing for good old Jack that resulted in dismembered bodies stuffed in trunks on the Golden State Passenger Line headed to LA (and we thought crime was bad today).
The notorious crime was the subject of the book “The Trunk Murderess: Winnie Ruth Judd” by Jana Bommersbach and inspired the reenactment of her controversial trial at the 2012 conference.
Now, for the subject line that got one of my best open rates ever – can you guess?
Trunk Murderess to be at Conference.
Sometimes you just have to think outside the trunk (sorry, couldn’t resist that).
Years ago, while working in the petroleum industry, I met a salesperson at an Exxon Trade Show. While his products weren’t anything that my company needed he would still occasionally call to follow up.
Each conversation would start this way:
“What can I do for you today? Is there anything I can do to make your life easier?
It sounds so simple, but those words would always touch me. How many times do you hear that? In our hectic lives, how often does someone ask you how they can help you without expecting something in return?
During these brief conversations he would also ask about my family and how everything was going with my business. If he ran across a potential customer for my company he would email me the lead.
One day, while researching trade associations, I discovered one that wasn’t a good fit for my company but was perfect for his product line so I gave him a call. He contacted them and within days he had several new customers.
Over time I discovered that he was the top salesperson for the global company that he worked for and had a huge following within the industry. Is that any surprise?
If you can make your customers or colleagues feel that they “matter” in this world and that you care, it’s a gift to them - and it may result in a "gift" to you down the road.
What can I do for you today?
Calling all Trekkie's!
For anyone who has watched a Star Trek rerun or movie we all know the inimitable James T. Kirk: Virile, brash, with an extreme dislike for anything Klingon.
What you may not realize is that he was a brilliant marketer. He knew that ANYTHING could be accomplished with ingenuity – and a team.
When faced with impending danger he would decisively assess the situation (Tribble trouble, evil rulers of vast space empires, etc.), get Vulcan advice when needed - and often unheeded – and determine an implausible solution that his trusted subordinates would carry out with only minutes to spare!
Star Date 2016: With the ever-changing Social Media options available and traditional marketing rules turned upside down, enterprises need a “team” of marketing specialists working for them more than ever before.
Kirk knew we all have our weaknesses (in his case, blondes and brunettes). When marketers try to be all things to all mediums their core talents are at best diluted - and at worst, ineffectual.
Working with experts in different capacities helps marketers implement campaigns at Warp Speed and better serve their clients.
Think of it this way: What would Kirk have done if he didn’t have Spock on-hand for the occasional Mind-Meld, grumpy Bones McCoy to challenge him and Scotty to “beam him up?”
So get your team together and set Phasers on stun!
Seinfeld fans, do you remember the episode when bald, unemployed, wimpy George Constanza decided to start doing the OPPOSITE of everything he had ever done and suddenly got the beautiful girl, stood up to obnoxious movie goers, and even got his dream job with the Yankees?
What would happen if you tried that with your marketing?
So many times business owners make marketing choices based on what OTHERS are doing or what they’ve “always done.” Of course, if everything is going great -if it ain’t broke don’t fix it – but if sales are flat isn’t it worth it to you to try something new?
If your target customer is a 50+ CEO but you only market on Facebook, you are missing the mark. Or if your product is geared towards 18-year-olds and you are using email marketing, you have a better chance of winning the lottery than getting their attention.
By being where your customer isn’t, you are doing yourself – and more importantly your customer – a huge disservice.
Try “mixing things up” by investigating the buying patterns of your clients and potential clients. For example, busy moms use online searches on their phones and tablets more than ever before to make purchases. If your product is targeting these all- important decision makers and your website isn’t mobile ready, well, you get the picture.
Try something NEW – even if it feels uncomfortable at first. Instagram, Pinterest, Video, Periscope, email, blogs. Research, test, evaluate and tweak.
We’ve ALL heard the phrase “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.” Be like George.
And don’t forget to order the chicken salad on rye with hot tea.
We’ve all heard about Karma: “The total effect of a person's actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person's existence, regarded as determining the person's destiny.”
In other words, What goes around comes around.
You are probably thinking, what the heck does karma have to do with marketing? The fact is, too many business people don’t realize their actions (or inaction) may be affecting their public image and product sales.
If your marketing is “all about you” it doesn’t do much to elicit a positive response from others. By actively providing help and support to others, you can build a solid following for you and your brand.
Simple Steps for Creating Good Marketing Karma:
Do you agree or disagree with these Karmic “Do’s?” Post your comments here.
“Energy is everything and that’s all there is to it.” – Albert Einstein
A few years ago I was Marketing Director of a beloved nonprofit in NM when I stumbled upon a mysterious and powerful force: Marketing Energy.
My challenge was to promote our programs and fundraisers during an economic downturn with a buck-fifty marketing budget. I had to find creative and inexpensive ways to “get the word” out (and keep in mind that this was BEFORE Social Media).
Press Releases have long been a cheap and effective way to promote a business or event. I started sending weekly notices to media contacts, asked contacts to forward our information to their networks, gathered addresses for current and former clients for frequent e-blasts, updated our website with event photos, changed the messages to keep content "fresh" and our fundraisers were posted on every free online calendar imaginable. We were EVERYWHERE.
In a few months “MAGIC” started to happen.
One day our webmaster called to tell me that our site was getting more hits than large, well-funded, agencies in the state! Our events were well-attended. I started getting calls for radio interviews and TV shows.
People started CONTACTING US to see how they could help!
Why did this work? When you reach out to your audience CONSISTENTLY on MULTIPLE CHANNELS (PR/Online/Email/Outreach,etc.) with changing content you are essentially creating ENERGY for your product or service.
Your efforts develop into a centrifugal force that builds momentum and creates a “BUZZ.” People will start to be drawn to you!
Consider this: Traditional marketing wisdom says that a message has to be seen 7 times before it is remembered (and some say that number is higher now due to the huge volume of data we receive daily). What do you would think would happen if your prospects saw you 10 times, 20 times or more?
When an audience “SEES” your business repeatedly you become memorable and even more credible. By using different channels you also reach a wider and more diverse audience and it reinforces your message.
And now, with Social Media and Blogging you can reach more prospects than you ever dreamed of (although DON'T rely solely on Social Media - remember you have to "mix it up" if you want serious momentum). NOTE: You may get a "jump" in interest from using one marketing channel but it won't be sustainable.
Marketing “Energy” works and it works every time. Try this approach and let us know the results. May the FORCE be with you!
Let’s face it. Most businesses are not really unique.
You are not the first HVAC company, commercial printer, multi-level marketer or nonprofit (yada, yada, yada) in the universe. Much as we like to think that what we do is completely different, better, special – there are probably a zillion other entities that are most likely doing the same thing you are.
I know. Why is this person telling me that my company is not the next best thing after all the obstacles I had to overcome and all the rotten customers and/or employees I’ve had to endure???
OK, you deserve a medal. Trust me - I know. Before you think that I’m cruel (or just plain ignorant) to point out the fact that the business you have dreamed about and labored over might not be the proverbial “best thing since sliced bread,” consider this:
Your business is you.
Of course, if you’re part of a larger organization this might not pertain to you, although if you are a key innovator in a position you might be. While what you do to survive may not be the cat’s pajamas (sorry for the clichés) there is a good chance that you are.
Feel better now? Yep, for the same reason that your business is not completely “new,” what the other companies don’t have is someone like you who started your first business at age 10, or was published at 17, or sold 500K of a product that no one else wanted when the market dived or did all of the above while taking care of a family or an aging relative.
Every business needs a story and HAS a story. Think about this:
Would you rather buy something from a huge, faceless, conglomerate or from a business that you know that has successfully survived a market downturn, been started by someone who was laid off or gone through a personal crisis but didn’t give up, gives a portion of proceeds to homeless shelters or from someone who simply is incredibly likeable and honest and offers a fair price?
(By the way, this is an INCREDIBLE success story. I could hate him because he's so rich, but with his attitude I can't help but want to buy his products.
Tell your story. Don't think you don't have one! You do have a story and people want to know it. Write it down. It could be that while your product is similar to others on the market that you have had amazing success in a particular area and have concrete data to support that.
Blow your own horn! I haven’t run into any clairvoyant customers lately. So if you don’t have your story on your materials and website or in press – nobody is going to know how great you are!
Sigh. I know, despite my years of marketing experience, that, while I am pretty good, there are others that can run circles around me.
Of course, being an intrinsically stubborn person with workaholic tendencies, I am doing my best to rectify that situation, but you know what? Once I started letting customers know how much I truly care, and how my other clients love how much I care, and get the job done no matter what and am a bulldog (big time) in getting exposure for them, raised two great kids with little to no support, and that my clients are not just a walking dollar sign to me AND how I strive to hire single mothers so they can make money and stay home with their kids – well, they got it.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I would love to hear yours. Bet it’s awesome.
The Art of the Calendar:
Promoting Your Event Online for Free
Many small businesses (and nonprofits) still rely on a combination of flyers, phone calls, advertisements, email blasts - but many are not utilizing a free tool for event promotion: Online Calendars.
It used to be that organizations had to submit information to publications on events via printed press releases, announcements, faxed copies, etc. An online calendar (often called a Community Calendar) is a great way for businesses and nonprofits to “post” information so it's accessible to a larger audience.
Whether it’s a fundraiser, community meeting, workshop – these calendars are a very effective way to bring attention to your event – and it costs nothing!
How this works: Newspapers, TV Stations, Radio Stations, Yahoo, Craig’s List - all have areas that allow you to submit your event information online. This saves their staff from manually having to input information and is an added service to subscribers. Posting an event is usually free of charge, although some calendars will give you the option of uploading a logo or a specific event image for an additional charge.
What an Online Calendar Posting Gives You:
Your posted event listing (look for the Community Calendar or “Submit Your Event” section) will allow users to search your posting via date or event title. Even better, it will not only appear on the calendar website but it may also be printed (depending on available space and how compelling your event is to the reader) in the hard copy publication if there is one. In addition, when reporters are looking for events to cover they often access this information.
Some tourism and convention center websites even have “tentacles” – meaning that they push their online calendars to other websites in other regions. This broadens your event exposure even more. Note: This works best for large community events that have a broader appeal.
As with most event marketing, less is not more – you want to get your event on as many calendars as possible. The reason? Consumers get their information from many sources. If you post on a variety of calendars your event will start appearing in more online searches close to the event date. This gives you more exposure. Many calendars now also give you the option of sharing information on your social networks.
Now, like in anything, there are some “catches.” Make sure that your postings aren't too lengthy – two paragraphs is usually sufficient. You want to use the same information and verbiage in all your postings to be consistent and to assure your event is recognizable. Most calendars will prompt you for the basics (date, time, etc.) but still reinforce this in the "Description" section of your listing. Also, if you want to submit to a magazine keep a close eye on their deadlines.
NOTE: Many major metropolitan publications need information two months prior to publication – sometimes more. If your event is newsworthy (as in a fundraiser and NOT a small networking event) and will be held in November, for example, get your listing to the publication no later than September 1st (when in doubt, call and ask them for their specific deadline for submission).
Now don’t think for a moment that posting your event will automatically attract attendees. This will always depend on the nature of your event, how compelling your description is – and more. You still have to promote your event EVERY way you can. This is just one more FREE tool in your arsenal.
May the Marketing Gods be With You!
Marketing to Moms in the Digital Age
In a recent article in Forbes magazine, nearly 70% of women surveyed believe that technology is making them better moms.
This new “Digital Mom” uses her Smart Phone 6.1 hours per day! A whopping 58 percent of moms are more likely to shop via a mobile device and 61 percent are more likely to use Pinterest as compared to the average American.
When I first read about this phenomenon, I thought of my own love of gadgets and how my nose is almost glued to my IPhone. I mean, how did any mom survive before she could shop online, find out the test scores of area schools or follow a favorite brand on Social Media?
According to Katie Petrillo, Marketing Manager for PunchBowl, moms today realize that technology makes their lives easier and they are adopting new technologies faster than the average American. http://socialmediatoday.com/katie-petrillo/1427301/branding-marketing-stats-about-digital-moms
Consider this: In a recent survey of 1500 tablet owning moms, 97% of them had made a purchase in the last month (Source: Edison Research). For any business trying to reach this demographic, making sure your marketing efforts are mobile ready is uh, important.
Are you a Digital Mom or do you know someone who is? Post your comments here.
How a Marketing Mishap Turned into 150K
Back in the day (aka BSM - Before Social Media), Direct Mail pieces were "the" way to reach your target audience. While not as popular as they once were, these campaigns can still be an effective marketing vehicle for many industries.
Several years ago I was a Regional Account Manager for a consulting firm in the petroleum industry. We were trying to expand our lucrative brokerage department which assisted distributors in selling their businesses.
With the help of a creative consultant, we arrived at what we thought was a clever campaign based on a catchy advertisement for an over the counter pain reliever:
If Selling Your Business is Keeping You Up at Night -
Take Two Aspirin and Call Us in the Morning.
Included with our one page letter was a small package of Tylenol (I'm pretty sure we sent this instead of aspirin because it was cheaper at Costco).
A few days after out initial mailing I received a call from a business owner in the Pacific Northwest:
“Suzanne, are you trying to kill me?”
Well, this was not quite the response I was hoping for.
Apparently our cute little packages of Tylenol were pulverized during the United Postal Service mail handling process. Our unsuspecting clients received not a cure for a headache - but rather a suspicious white powder.
Around this same time, packages with a mysterious substance (i.e. Anthrax), were showing up at various office buildings and media outlets around the country. It was all over the news and this was a tense time for many businesses.
Of course, now the headache was OURS. Fortunately, petroleum distributors are generally the most easy going and good hearted people in the world and most of our clients thought the situation was hilarious. No one turned us in.
My Top Ten Marketing Mistakes and Why They Worked - #6:
The client who called retained our services resulting in a $150K commission.
The Moral of This Story
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Seriously, we could possibly have been arrested for this campaign. But you know what? Frankly, we would have received a lot of press and exposure if this had happened. Many businesses avoid trying something new because it might fail. Or they are waiting for their branding to be “perfect.” Or they are afraid their campaign might be too "different." The list goes on an on.
Friends, we live in an imperfect world. Sometimes your efforts might fail, but more often than not something good will come out of it. Even global operations with billion dollar budgets will make a miscalculation from time to time in their strategies. The time is NOW to try new things, and with social media and other tools it has never been more important to be creative in order for your product or service to "stand out." As Nike says so brilliantly: "Just do it."
May the Marketing Gods be with you.