Email marketing is a quick, cost-effective marketing solution for businesses of all sizes. Email returns $40.56 for every dollar spent*, so even the most modest budget can see a significant increase in conversion. Considering the low barrier of entry and high ROI, I believe that email marketing should be the first step for any small or medium business (SMB) really seeking growth.
It can be easy for an SMB to lose track of marketing efforts between manufacturing a product or delivering a service, keeping in touch with existing accounts, resolving support issues, and everything else that goes with running a business. But with a little upfront investment, and I do mean little, any SMB can implement a customized email strategy to earn first-time customers and maintain relationships with returning customers.
But an email campaign is only as effective as the strategy behind it. Email is not a tool to sell to your customers. It’s an opportunity to build a relationship that leads to a sale. What follows is a brief introduction to the email lifecycle of your potential customers:
CAVEAT: Let’s assume that your constituents have already opted-in to receive your emails by way of an online form, a transaction, or a physical capture like a signup sheet at a cash register. Email capture and list-building is both an art and a science, and we’ll cover that some other time.
In the coming weeks, we’ll talk more about each of these stages in the email engagement cycle, including best practices and testing strategies for optimization. Stay tuned to our blog for follow up posts, and leave a comment or shoot me an email if there’s anything specific that you’d like to talk about.
*2011 stats from the Direct Marketing Association’s The Power of Direct Marketing: ROI, Sales, Expenditures, and Employment in the US, 2011 -2012 Edition
Client Relationship Management | Marketing | Social Media
I come to you today to admit that I was wrong. If you’ll remember, loyal Exsilio blog reader, I first posted about Facebook Deals back in April. Facebook Deals was a pilot program where users could opt in to receive geographically targeted emails right in their Facebook news feed. This is in direct opposition to sites like Groupon and Living Social that regularly email their users to announce new sales events. I have always seen the volume of email as a barrier to the daily deal model, so I really felt that this lowered the inconvenience of entry and presented a unique opportunity for sales events to take on a social life of their own.
Apparently, Facebook didn’t see it that way, and they are quietly killing the program altogether. It’s clear that Facebook didn’t see the results that they had hoped for in their pilot cities and that they are electing to pursue other ways to support/sell to small businesses. Check-in based deals remain unchanged, and location based services have evolved away from the Facebook Places model to allow for past, present, and future location-based tagging that is not tied to a mobile device or geographic location.
Without specific reasoning or numbers, we don’t know exactly why Facebook has elected to scrap the Deals model. Perhaps users saw ads in their newsfeed as too intrusive, much like there was some initial backlash when sponsored tweets were first introduced. We may also be seeing a plateauing of the daily deal model as local businesses realize that they might not be able to handle the volume and attention that these high-profile offers garner.
Were you in a pilot city for Facebook Deals? Were you disappointed that Facebook Deals didn’t make it to your city? Please share your experience in the comments section and I’ll be sure to respond.
Marketing | Social Media
Check out this straightforward and actionable guide to your first social media campaign from b2bento.com. Click through for the hi-res version with additional text. I think there's a fundamental truth here that resonates well beyond social media:
Everyone have a great weekend!
Facebook Deals Places Geo-Targeted Offers in Users’ NewsfeedsI get a lot of email. Not that I’m super important or anything; we all do. But as a result, I regularly cull my subscriptions from the various brands that I follow, causes that I support, and taco joints that I frequent. Sometimes, I get a little over aggressive and cut things that might actually be useful. That’s the price I pay for a tidy inbox, but I’m willing to begrudgingly accept it.
Among these victims of my ecommerce isolationism are daily-deal offerings like Groupon and Living Social. Sorry, but I can’t afford to pay ten dollars for twenty dollars’ worth of Nuevo-American faire every day, nor do I want the offers clogging up my inbox.
What is Facebook DealsSeizing an opportunity to further grow their profit model, Facebook has introduced a similar “flash deal” style service that allows business to make special offers directly to customers in their geographic area. When you subscribe to Facebook Deals, offers from local business will appear in your newsfeed along with pictures of your cousin’s wedding and updates about your BFF’s tasty breakfast treats. This is in addition to Facebook's existing location-based program that allows users to unlock deals by “checking in” at businesses.
Why It’s BrilliantFacebook Deals drastically lowers the burden of subscription by putting business in a place where users have already chosen to consume a massive amount of content. Instead of expecting users to open and click through an email, they've put their brief, actionable offer on a page that a user WANTS to read. Facebook Deals is essentially a vehicle for opt-in, geo-targeted banner ads backed by an industry leading site with more than 500 million users. Subscribers will also be able to “Share” a deal with their friends, further extending impressions for a deal placement. The overall reach, brand recognition, and social nature of Facebook should give serious pause to flash deal heavyweights like Groupon and Living Social.
The LimitationsFacebook Deals is currently in a limited rollout, with service to Atlanta, Austin, Dallas, San Diego, and San Francisco. No word yet on when and where the next waves are expected, but I’ve already enrolled for the Seattle metro area. This is a big step for me.
Follow UpDo you plan to sign up for Facebook deals, or are you already using it in a pilot city? Do you think that Facebook Deals will have a serious impact on other flash deal sites? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and I’ll be sure to respond.
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing | Social Media
A recent ExactTarget study found that the majority of people who choose to unfollow, unlike, or unsubscribe from a brand did so because the brand's messaging wasn’t valuable or was too intrusive.
None of these reasons come as a surprise, but it’s important to visualize and quantify these experiences. This study serves as a strong reminder to brands and marketers to keep our communications relevant and actionable. These traps are easy to fall into and hard to (effectively) avoid, but the payoff is in the quality, longevity, and advocacy of your following.
ExactTarget goes into further detail about the twilight of consumer-brand relationships on Twitter, on Facebook, and via email in their new report, The Social Breakup. This is part 8 of their larger research series called SUBSCRIBERS, FANS, & FOLLOWERS.
Tags: Marketing theory, marketing strategy
Exsilio Homepage | Marketing
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