E-mail marketing: opt-in and get organised

E-mail marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways of reaching your prospective customers. Preparation is the key to making this a success and an effective campaign begins with your data collection. The most important part of building a database is obtaining consent to e-mail your prospective customers. This process should be integrated into all forms of communication be it your website, sales team and admin office. Ask for an e-mail address and what they are interested in either verbally or on a form. Everyone who wishes to receive information should then be placed into a central database which can be used for marketing.

Your prospective customers maybe at different buying stages or interested in different things. Make sure you place your opt-ins into target groups. For example within education you may create a prospective student group and parent group. Within the sales platform you may have a key accounts group and a prospects group; either way dividing your data allows you to market to them differently and more effectively.

Personalising your e-mail messages also improves the quality of your message, so make sure that you get their first and last names. If you have already generated a database of e-mail addresses from prospective customers who enquired about your organisation, but have not given their consent to be emailed. Create a one-time e-mail campaign asking them to confirm their subscription. Your website is a great way of
collecting data so make sure there is a prominent call to action on every page
of your website, which takes visitors to a sign-up page for your organisations
e-mail newsletters.

Don’t forget to say hello!

The new marketing environment has created a new customer, one thats less loyal, experimental and demanding. When a prospective customer comes into your
system make sure a priority welcome e-mail is sent back welcoming them to your
organisation. Make this e-mail visually appealing and insert important links to
webpages on your site, as well as contact information. This content can be
personalised by what the individual told you upon sign up. I would say that one contact per month is appropriate any more than that can cause them to feel over
contacted. It’s important to remember that your content should be new and
exciting. It should contain some key selling messages but be predominately
informational; a call to action should also be placed within your e-mail
template. The rest of your e-mail campaign could be based around topics such as special announcements/offers, the organisation in the news and using video in your
e-mails to share unique aspects of your organisation

So what’s the ROI?   

There are a number of online businesses who specialise in creating professional HTML e-mail campaigns. These allow you to set up tracking so that you can find out how many users and which ones opened an e-mail, clicked on a link about a certain topic and filled out a form. This can help you to define your exact ROI in real-time and get up-to-the-minute results showing how your promotions are performing.

Understand exactly what social media is and what it does best!

Many businesses and schools fail online because they approach social media in the wrong way. Those who succeed are not necessarily great at creating new ideas but they understand exactly what social media is and what is does best. Social media is not a place where you can distribute your marketing message neither is it a place where you can control what people say. While it is important to establish guidelines for conversations on your social media channels, it is equally vital to provide a place for honest communication.

So what is social media good at?

Social media is perfect for posting pieces of information that would otherwise go ignored. News that wouldn’t create a glowing press release or media alert, can simply make a nice Facebook and Twitter post that could generate a number of “Likes” and positive comments. This steady stream of information is invaluable for sharing the culture of the organisation with those who can’t be there. Social media also allows you to share unique aspects of your organisation that people wouldn’t see, for example routinely posting short minute videos on YouTube.  

Businesses and schools have unique personalities that traditional marketing tools cannot demonstrate. People would much rather connect with you on a personal level than with your organisation. Many have started experimenting with ways to inject their social media profiles with personality. This can simply be achieved by changing profile pictures from the company logo to the person who manages the Facebook or Twitter account. One of the most motivating features of social media is its ability to give a voice to people who genuinely care about your organisation. While many people are worried about the negative comments that may appear on their profiles, more and more users of social media report that online communities would jump to the organisations defence without prompting, whenever someone posted something negative.

Consider who your target audience is

An effective social media campaign will be based around the right tool to communicate with the right people. Simply create a list of people you are trying to reach through social media, and remember this form of communication isn’t popular across all demographics! By using separate communication channels to connect with these differing audiences, you’ll avoid the danger of losing your following by overwhelming them with information they just don’t care about. Take time and consider where your audience spends their time online, create short surveys and ask other social media experts and organisations about the lessons they have learned and the mistakes they have made.

Where do you begin?

So when you know who your audience are and where they spend their time online, you need to market yourself and let them know how to interact with you. Some things you can do include:

  • Developing relationships and making connections by creating comments and following online conversations
  • Embed social media into your marketing campaigns
  • Making sure social media logos appear on your marketing collateral
  • Integrating social media into your website
  • Include incentives for joining