E-mail marketing is easy, or so everyone thinks. It costs so little, and is so easy to start, that many companies don't take the time to think through what they're sending out.
From gathering the right list of people to send out to writing an e-mail that is clear on what they're selling to providing instructions on what action to take, e-mail marketers often miss the boat in their pitches, and those are the ones who aren't spammers.
Ian from Conversation Marketing got what he thought was a clear cut piece of spam, until he looked closer. It was an e-mail marketing piece from Clarisonic. Oops! Evidently Clarisonic (as seen on Oprah!) is pushing a new brush head product and used a traditional marketing campaign to attract an on-line audience. Unfortunately, the e-mail read a lot like it came from a spammer and could have been misconstrued as an elaborate scam from a competitor.
Ian describes the mistakes made it pretty elaborate detail, and takes this opportunity to educate us on how to improve upon it........
1. Change the tone. The writing style in this reads like it was sent by a spammer. I actually spent an hour trying to figure out if this was an elaborate scam by a competitor. Use a more personable tone.
2. Get rid of the all caps text at the bottom
and one more.
6. Check the code. Right now, the HTML code for this e-mail is a mess of Microsoft-generated gobbledygook. I'm not just being anal-retentive. This code makes most spam filters shriek in alarm. Cleaner, more standards-compliant HTML would create less of a red flag for these filters, and increase the odds that the e-mail actually gets to folks' inboxes.
I have made been the author of some very poor e-mail campaigns myself. When I first started, I thought that merely sending an e-mail was good enough, because it was me, and I was not a spammer. Suffice it to say, e-mail marketing is a sensitive topic, and Iearned quickly that if you're not writing to someone you know, they likely think it's spam. Check out Ian for some good e-mail marketing tips and suggestions before you push your product or idea to a world of Web 2.0 strangers.
And don't forget the technical side. Blast Companies helps you manage your e-mail marketing campaign.
The easiest way to use cell phones to market to your customers is a simple coupon promotion. The advantages to this are easy to see. The coupon is immediate, targeted and likely to be used. Some studies suggest that coupon redemption is in the teens, sometimes going as high as 20%.
In a recent promotion, Subway got into the mobile marketing game in Buffalo, and saw big results with redemption. Not bad for a specialty sandwich shop.
"It went extremely well," said Michael Lewkowicz, chairman of Buffalo SFAFT and president of QSR Brands. "Every time we would send out an email blast or an SMS message, our redemption rate was in the 8% to 10% range."
That's far better performance than coupon inserts in the local paper or direct mailings, which typically hovers around 1% or 2%, Lewkowicz said.
The keys to a successful coupon promotion are relevance, opt-in authority, and of course, a delivery system for your coupon. All of these make perfect sense for product launches. If Subway can do it for sandwiches, surely you can do it for your grocery product.
Imagine this scenario. A grocery store shopper stops in front of your new display, enters a text code into their phone, and gets a $1 off coupon at the register. Using just POP materials, you can alert shoppers of special deals, and once they texted in, you can send them a message to sign up for other messages.
With this list, you can now:
- Send out recipes using your product to their e-mail.
- Forward them a link to your new commercial (one you've smartly uploaded to YouTube).
- Send out a survey to see how they liked the product.
The goal of the campaign is not to just give a $1 off of a purchase, but to build a long-standing relationship with that customer. You want them to learn to trust content that comes from you - whether it's on your phone, by e-mail, or even a direct mail piece. Learn to think of the phone as an integrated part of your plan to build a list of people who want to hear from you. That's the promise of mobile marketing.
I ate reasonably this Thanksgiving, and instead of leftovers, I'm heading over to Qdoba for a post-Thanksgiving Burrito. What a country!
A final thought on automotive marketing. Brandstorming, the marketing blog for Durbin Media Group, covers the issue of blog marketing for auto dealers with a post on reasons to use blogs to communicate to customers. The second point is the most relevant one. How do you build a relationship with a customer prior to them walking on the lot?
B. A Blog is Personal:
Websites are carefully crafted to pitch a message. Today’s customers simply don’t trust what it written on a website, primarily because there is no accountability. Are you really the lowest price in town, or did you pay someone to write that? With a blog, the impression that a human being is behind the writing creates trust between the customer and the dealership. What the blogger writes, the customer can verify, either by asking questions or typing comments or sending an e-mail. Providing a human contact to the website helps the customer build a relationship prior to setting foot on your lot. If you poll your customers, one of their biggest fears is being assaulted by a bad salesperson when they come to your dealership. Giving them the option of connecting with someone prior to showing up in person prepares them to buy and makes them more comfortable, more collaborative, and less combative. Any salesperson who has seen a customer walk on the lot with a series of web printouts knows that building a relationship before you discuss price is important in gaining trust. Why not gain their trust before they ever get to your lot?
Utilizing the Consumer Decoder application from Blast Companies, you can have blog readers sign up to read targeted content on their PDA, by phone, by e-mail, or by text message. It's the ultimate in permission based marketing, and allows you to gain trust prior to someone walking on the lot.
And that sells a lot of cars.
Even marketers have to take a few days off. Enjoy your time with your family, and come back to work Monday ready to sell.
There's a mad rush going on between now and December 23rd to prep for the New Year.
Happy Thanksgiving from Blast Companies.
As a companion piece to Monday's primer on Automotive marketing, we suggest you check out BlogProAutomotive, a marketing blog set up to educate auto dealers on how to use social media marketing to sell more cars.
The essential story is the same - learn to speak to customers in a way that showcases your strengths and respects their time, and they'll reward you with brand loyalty. BlogProAutomotive, which has the blog, AutoConversion, discusses SEO strategies, comment campaigns, and running a blog to boost your online presence.
Combine this with a messaging system that connects to car-buyers the way they wish to be messaged, and you have something unique in the automotive world, a self-selection buying tool that gives control to the customers. Giving your customers "choice" is a powerful marketing tool, and helps eliminate the concern most people still have when purchasing a car.
If a customers feels they know your dealership when they walk on the lot, they're going to buy a car from you. Currently, 88% of people who walk on the lot are going online before coming to you. What do you want them to read when they type your name into a search engine?
Research by Yahoo! and The Cobalt Group shows that 88 percent of new car shoppers research auto dealerships before making their first visit to a dealer lot. In fact, search engines have become the method of choice for dealership research.
According to the study, 79 percent of consumers use search engines to research auto dealerships. Not including physical drive-bys, online search now trumps all other media as the number one source consumers use when locating a dealership.
Auto dealers are the best natural marketers on the planet, but the variety of options available has made it more difficult to manage your customer messaging. Today's car buyers are more sophisticated, more knowledgeable, and more demanding of their time, so how do you reach them?
Blast Companies does so by sending them messages they want to hear, on the devices they want to use. As consumers, we don't mind getting messages from car dealers, as long as they are relevant and targeted. Certainly if I'm in the market for a vehicle, I want to know if new ones come in, or if there's a special sale this weekend. Managed correctly, the automotive dealer can reach out to customers in a manner that will help them sell more cars.
Now here's the pitch: Automotive marketing companies and dealerships can benefit from Blast Company messaging solutions by automating contact with their customer base. Blast Companies broadcast messaging applications and marketing services enable automotive marketing companies a means to create and send personalized voice broadcast, e-mail, IVR or SMS Text messages simultaneously to hundreds or thousands of recipients fast. These services can be used as a stand alone campaign or in conjunction with other efforts such as direct mail or live agent follow up. The opportunities are endless!
Just a few automotive applications for consideration:
Scheduled Service Reminders
Most dealers will mail customers notices when their vehicle is due for a major mileage-based service appointment, for example 10,000 mile new car check up, tire rotations, front end alignment, critical fluid and filter replacements (transmission/differential). Given today's busy lifestyle, these mailed reminders can be overlooked due to mailbox clutter with even the most loyal customers. Overlaying mailing of such notices with a friendly recorded personlaized voice broadcast will spur your customers to take action faster. Not only will more customers take action, but the response will be more immediate, as opposed to a mail-only approach. So for greater sales, use the mail-call approach!
It's a bad one, but one that sticks in my mind from the waning years of Growing Pains. Kirk Cameron sneaks in late at night, and says goodbye to one of his lady friends, and she gives him that great line when he calls her by the wrong name.
"You can call me anything you want, just as long as you call me."
In a bit of good news for the marketing industry, customers are asking to be contacted, but it seems the way they want to be contacted immediately, and in the manner they wish to choose. We've evolved as consumers to the point where we don't trust computers to be 100% accurate. When we sign up for something from a website, we want a notification showing us that we did sign up.
Or at least that's what the e-marketer poll says. The graph is below the fold, and it breaks respondents to a question on follow-up communication into categories based on age.
It seems Wal-mart is no stranger to the increase and awareness that seem to be going on regarding mobile marketing. They are tapping into this powerful tool for the holiday season in hopes to create a word of mouth movement that will increase their sales and website traffic.
According to Media Post Publications, Wal-mart expects to receive 800 million visits to its website in 2007. If these visitors are anything like me, they are simply researching potential buys and have in mind a big shopping day for the day after Thanksgiving. Wal-mart has totally planned for this and is targeting their audience with exclusive sale prices on select items.......
"Wal-mart.com, during the week, will start running about 100 special sales, rather than the 50 items featured last year. The site will reveal new items daily. Before the secret items become available, consumers who opt-in by texting the keyword "save" to 96278 (WMart) will get a text message back when WalMart.com reveals the product information on the site."
This opt-in text messaging is just the beginning of how some companies are utilizing the power of mobility to create word of mouth marketing with the goal of increased website sales. I love the idea that I can sleep in and still get the same deals that I would have gotten had I waited in line at 5am.