An asset is a thing of value, and often highly guarded and regarded. In business, assets are expected to pay dividends in a form of return on investment (ROI). Most assets require care and maintenance to keep them in good shape to justify the investment and continue to pay dividends.
In marketing, one of the most valuable assets you have is your list or customers and prospects – this is true for both B2C and B2B businesses.
Your lists are extremely important in providing superb customer service, as well as generating sales. “Lists” refers not only to names and contact information, but also information related to each customer or prospect, such as demographics (and firmographics, in B2B), interests, needs, etc.
I often tell my clients “Lists are a perishable commodity”. By that I mean that as soon as you add a contact to your list, it starts ‘aging’. The good news is that the lifespan of each and every contact on your list can be extended; and even though doing so requires intention, attention, and some work, it certainly doable!
Further good news is that marketing activities, in and of themselves, help with list upkeep. If you pay attention to feedback from marketing activities, you are able to find out about changing preferences, updates to contact information, buying signals, and much more. I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that there are some legal requirements as well – Continuing to send emails to those who asked to unsubscribe, for example, can land you in hot water.
I recommend that you put processes and procedures in place to keep your list as ‘fresh’ as possible. Contact or ‘touch’ your contacts often and adjust their records as needed. Your marketing team should insist on and oversee this ongoing process, but your sales team’s cooperation is absolutely critical.
If you want to learn more on how to do this, or need help building and maintaining one of your most important marketing assets – your list – we will be happy to help you, as we do for all of our clients.
Duke Merhavy, MBA, Ph.D.
President & Chief Marketing Officer
What Is Fractional CMO & Marketing?
Fractional CMO & Marketing is ‘Your Outsourced Marketing Department’ when you need expert marketing leadership and marketing services to accelerate growth and improve profitability, but you’re not quite ready to hire a full-time Chief Marketing Officer or your own marketing department.
Our unique arrangement is the most efficient, innovative, and cost-effective formula for you. Click on the image to the left to watch a short video.
We Help When You Need To:
- Generate more of the right kind of leads
- Close more sales faster
- Get repeat sales
- Formulate a more effective message
- Produce powerful sales tools
- Establish brand awareness, recognition, and preference
- Differentiate your brand from the competition
- Improve customer satisfaction and loyalty
- Develop lasting relationships with customers
- Introduce new products
Marketing Lingo: Email List Management
Effectively managing your email list consists of certain actions meant to compile data about subscribers and their behavior and email address(es), as well as clearing users that have not interacted with your company in the recent past.
Cleaning your list is vital, as a healthy and current list is critical to email / newsletter metrics, sales activities, and future marketing efforts. Did you know that a higher rate of non-deliverables (for any reason) will have an effect on your entire list receiving your emails?
* ‘Marketing Lingo’ is a regular column in which we define, or otherwise explain, terms often used in marketing but not necessarily correctly or properly by some. You may see a glossary of marketing terms’ definitions here.
Email Marketing Best Practices – Part 3
Our series focusing on best practices for email marketing continues this month with six more to keep in mind. To review the first nine we have shared so far, check out the hyperlinked titles in the last paragraph of this article. Make your email marketing do the most it can for your company!
10. Get To The Point
A common mistake some businesses make is being too wordy in their emails.
Sometimes they think verbosity is necessary to create a friendly and conversational tone; sometimes they think they need to cram as much information as possible into every single email they dispatch. Whatever their reasoning, these companies would get better metrics and bottom-line results from this marketing mix component if the content focused on providing answers to just three simple questions.
What is your offer? Your headline should tell your readers! Just like the actual email, the headline should be concise yet pique enough interest in your reader so they click to open and read on.
What are the benefits of your offer? The body of your email should share this information with your readers. Provide enough details but not all of them, because clicking on links, opening PDFs of flyers, and other similar activities signal to you that these email recipients and active and interested.
What now? A call to action (CTA) is often one of the activities mentioned in the previous paragraph. A button that links to a specific product or the “Contact Us” page on your website is another example. The CTA encourages readers to interact with your company, which fosters their relationship and loyalty. Reviewing your email stats, and more specifically those of your call(s) to action informs you or what is and isn’t working in your email marketing.
Your emails will stay on target if you answer those questions in a simple, direct way. Just remember to provide enough information but not all of it so the readers want to reach out to your business to learn more.
11. Write in Your Brand’s Voice
The unique personality (brand voice) of your company should be in all communications to current customers and prospects alike. Not only does it show email recipients “who” your business is – it also assists in relating to your audience.
Also, the brand voice should fit with and reflect what your company does. If a business is in a security-related industry, its “voice” will “sound” different than a business that manufactures cleanroom supplies.
Make sure the brand voice is conveyed consistently and clearly in emails, and your brand will be fortified, allowing your company a strong connection to and with your readers.
12. Incorporate Powerful, Relevant Images
Images help bring readers into your company’s world which makes them more likely to connect (possibly through some invoked emotions the imagery brought out). A common error made by some email marketers is trying to get results with over-produced images or scenes that look overly staged. After the height of the Instagram craze and beginning a few years ago, consumers grew tired of being “snowed” by too much use of filters, Photoshop, and outright fake photos.
Images of genuine, natural daily operations at a company connect better with email recipients (and, for that matter, social media users too). Consider candid shots like what happens behind the scenes, your staff interacting with customers, company events, and your products being used. Be sure the pictures or any captions you write don’t expose proprietary or confidential information though!
Stock images are often used by email marketers – frequently to excess – but it’s best to use them as sparingly as possible. Two of the reasons for this include their lower possibility of invoking emotions in (and therefore, a connection with) your readers, it can be difficult and time consuming to find the perfect stock image for some content. If you want to use a stock photo, we suggest you don’t give into the temptation to take the easy, quick route by choosing an image that popped up in a Google search. You don’t want to find your company accused of copyright infringement! There are several websites that we have used that offer a pretty impressive and comprehensive selection of royalty-free stock imagery in addition to paid options.
13. Apply Our 80/20 Rule
Do you like to be sold to all the time? Do you like receiving emails or spending your valuable time reading them only to realize there was nothing of value – you were just being pushed to a CTA or an actual purchase? Well, it’s a safe bet that literally no one else likes it either! And that’s where an 80/20 rule enters the picture. You must balance being promotional with providing value to your email list.
We’ve applied ‘artistic license’ to The Pareto Principle (which is the proper name for ‘The 80/20 Rule’) to emphasize this best practice. Why? Because it’s a well-known saying and the percentages are pretty close to what your email communications need. In our case, we’re using it to represent an approximate ratio of your email strategy and email content mix that will be most effective in building and maintaining relationships with your readers, and remaining top-of-mind.
80% of the time, your email marketing should have a goal of building trust and connections with recipients. Of course, your company will assign other objectives to each campaign and individual email, but that should be one of them. To do this, make sure your content positions you as the subject matter expert, provides value, and educates.
Only 20% of the time, your email marketing should focus on increasing the organization’s bottom-line. One-fifth of your dispatches can push for sales, ask for donations if you’re a non-profit, and include more CTAs to encourage deals to close. These promotional emails are not unexpected from your email list, but they shouldn’t be so frequent that recipients just unsubscribe, mark as spam, or don’t even bother to open to see what you have to share with them.
14. Effective Call to Action Buttons
Just to be clear, CTAs in marketing emails are imperative! We just don’t recommend crafting an email with no useful information and a request of your readers to act. To drive the most traffic to your website from these buttons, follow these best practices.
- Make them pop by using a color that opposes your brand’s colors
- Be concise with the text
- Program the buttons to collect data
- Link the button to exactly what was promised
The last point is important because website visitors garnered from the emails you send tend not to search if they click and are not taken to where they were promised. In addition to providing information on specific pages of your website, buttons can be programmed to load pages for purchasing, registration for upcoming events, or donations.
15. Clever Subject Lines
Did you know that within three seconds an email recipient decides whether to open your email or not? Even though it’s only one line of text, the subject line of the emails you send can make or break your efforts. Make it short and direct but accurate in terms of what the content is. Clickbait won’t help your cause, but cleverness and personalization may. Take advantage of A/B testing to learn what resonates with your email recipients, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
We have one more installation in our Email Marketing Best Practices series coming next month. To review the previous nine Fractional CMO & Marketing has shared, read Part 1 and Part 2. We can help maximize your email marketing efforts, so contact us for a free consultation or to ask a question
Organic Results Are The Best For Your Company – Especially With These Google Changes
If you want to provide useful content and ensure product reviews are seen, be sure you don’t use click farms or aggregators to move up your online presence. The way to make sure your business makes the most of Google’s algorithm is to provide relevant, useful information and update it frequently.
In the coming months, it will be important to make sure the content on your website is high-quality.
To put it in different terms, if your content is too keyword heavy and primarily meant to bring traffic to your website using search engine optimization (SEO), but doesn’t deliver actual information, Google will be making changes to its search engine that focus more on people looking for what they need rather than pre-programmed algorithms. And that may mean your website needs an informative, well-written, well-thought-out overhaul. In fact, as of this week, Google is implementing the “Helpful Content Update”, expected to push down in search results content that is clearly promotional and not educational.
Best practices for SEO will not disappear, but Google advised that content creators publish information meant for human – not machine – consumption. Direct experience and deeper knowledge will be given priority… at least that’s what we and other marketing professionals infer from Google’s latest communique on the subject. From what we read, entire websites should be revamped and updated to remove many of the “stingray” keywords, SEO triggering, and specific number of words articles in favor of more useful, informative articles and website content.
Reviews are also in need of a review, thanks to Google’s changes. If customers leave more detailed reviews, there is a better chance they will show up higher. The Engadget website is a good example of what Google is looking for, so you may want to browse there to understand what will be prioritized by the most popular search engine very soon. Briefly, extensive details and in-depth information about the experience with your product or service will be given precedence, so asking customers to provide and share this information will certainly be helpful in navigating these changes.
Google – and specifically, Google Search – goes through changes frequently. It’s important to be aware and prepared for these changes before they take effect. Fractional CMO & Marketing can take this work on before it negatively affects your business… all you need to do is contact us for a no obligation, free marketing assessment.
What Does That Mean?
Have you ever read a marketing term in our newsletter, or seen one in an article, and wanted to know what it meant?
Every month in our newsletter, we publish a Marketing Lingo article, sharing the true and accurate meaning of terms that are sometimes misused or inaccurately described. Check out a recent addition to our website – the Marketing Lingo glossary! We’re adding to it every month, so be sure to bookmark the page so you can come back and learn even more marketing terms!