Email Marketing: What Do They Know That You Don’t Know?

Email Marketing2A new study of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) reveals that these firms are spending the largest portion of their marketing budgets on email marketing, and far less on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook.

Over 600 email marketing decision makers at companies with annual revenues between $1-50 million and less than 1,000 employees were surveyed. It was discovered that 15 percent of the marketing budget of these businesses is spent on email marketing, ahead of events and trade shows (14 percent), person-to-person contact (13 percent) and print ads (11 percent).

The most interesting aspect of this study for me was that just 8 percent of their budgets were spent on social media, tying for sixth place overall with search engine optimization (SEO). My email marketing clients benefit from integration with social media, which contributes to their search engine rankings, so our Best Practices actually incorporate both these items at almost no additional cost to our clients. Win-win!

Here’s a breakdown of spending on marketing, as revealed by the survey: (more…)

Introducing Our New Referral Rewards Program

Budget-CuttingAs part of my 2013 marketing plan, I decided to devise a plan to reward those who help us grow our business by making it easier for them to grow theirs. So, I analyzed others’ programs, tossed around a few different ideas, and finally …

I’m pleased to announce our brand new Referral Rewards program!

Now, this program is not exclusively for new clients, as I found many such programs to be. Why would I choose to reward new clients and not those who are already contributing to my business success? That made no sense to me. So, instead, I designed it so that Referral Rewards can be included in our initial contract with new clients or as a contract addendum with our existing clients.

I also didn’t want to make the program overly complicated, and I didn’t necessarily see any point in putting an expiration date on it, since there is no limit to my gratitude for those who refer business to me 🙂

As a result, Referral Rewards is literally as simple as 1-2-3! Here’s how it works: (more…)

Online Reputation Management

Online Reputation ManagementOne of my favorite quotes about online reputation management is by Tyler Tervooren: “Even if you opt out of participating in the digital world, your online identity still exists in parallel; you’re just not in charge of it.” Basically, it comes down to this: Refusing to acknowledge that people are talking about you does not make that talk go away. And if that talk is negative or inaccurate or untruthful, you have, essentially, decided to allow others to decide who you are and what your brand represents.

Whether due to time constraints, or not knowing enough about how online marketing differs from traditional media, or an inability to keep up with the ever-changing world of online marketing – monitoring online channels is not something the average business professional can reliably do on their own. Many try, only to find sooner rather than later that neither they nor their staff have the time and expertise necessary to develop the Know-Like-Trust factor that leads fans, followers and other online connections to be converted into buyers.

Understanding those challenges is what led me to transform my own business from a general sales and marketing consulting firm to one focused exclusively on branding through social media, online, and email marketing.

Managing Your Online Reputation

There are two equally bad responses to negative online feedback: (more…)

What is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

Pinterest Logo[ Spoiler Alert: There’s a freebie for you at the end of this post. Just thought you’d want to know. 😉 ]

You may have noticed (and I hope you have) that the list of ways you can connect with me on the web is G-R-O-W-I-N-G.

Why is that?

Because I know that not everyone is on Facebook (well, except those 800 million people – yes, literally! – that’s the latest number).

Because I know not everyone loves Twitter, although I find it really effective for engaging the 1,000+ people who have decided to follow me there.

And because I know many (most?) people have not yet heard of Pinterest, although this visually stunning pinboard-style site is one of the hottest social networks on the web – in the top 10 just 2 years after launch!

What is Pinterest and Why Should You Care?

In its simplest terms, Pinterest is a pinboard style site where you PIN images and videos of your INTERESTS. While I’ve been playing with it mainly for fun thus far, I am working on creating some business-related boards as a brand-building and brand-sharing tool with a fun twist! And I think you may want to do the same. Here’s why … (more…)

12 Things You Can Count on in 2012

  1. 12 Things You Can Count on in 2012Social media is not going away
  2. Inbound marketing will continue growing, as the marketing strategy that engages rather than interrupts the prospect
  3. There will be more social media platforms coming online, and no one knows which will take off and which will fizzle
  4. Ignore online networking at your peril
  5. The watchword in social media – as in all online marketing – will be “make it personal”
  6. Auto-tweeting and autoresponders and “auto-anything” are going to have to evolve in order to engage
  7. Having an online marketing strategy is more important than simply executing tactics
  8. Getting clear on your target audience is the very first step to online success
  9. Marketing, in and of itself, is not the objective; it is the means to an end
  10. Having a step-by-step program in place for effectively reaching and resonating with your ideal customer or client is Job 1
  11. Not only can you blog, you MUST blog
  12. Marketing your business requires time, effort and money; only the proportions are in question. If you want to spend less money, be prepared to spend more of your time and effort on marketing. If you want to devote less time and effort to marketing (and concentrate on serving your customers and clients), you will need to invest more money in your marketing efforts.

Unblocking Writer’s Block

Writer's BlockMost of us don’t write for a living; that is, we are not published authors who make our money simply by the act of writing. (As a writer myself, I can tell you that the words “simply” and “writing” should never even be used in the same sentence, as it creates an oxymoron.)

But, even professional writers often don’t know much about marketing themselves and their work. In today’s world, social media, blogging, and email marketing are a huge part of promoting products and services, meaning that virtually everyone has a need to write (or hire others to write for them). While writing is not easy for most people, writing compellingly is harder still – and compelling is what it must be, whether you’re writing an article, a blog post, or an eNewsletter.

So, whether you’re doing the actual writing or trying to give direction to an outside consultant, here are my best tips for more easily creating articles and blog posts – and, more importantly, ones people will want to read: (more…)