How do you make sure your emails get opened?

How can I make sure my emails don't end up in the trash can?I constantly get asked about email open rates and why, even though recipients have signed up for information, they didn’t seem to be actually opening messages, let alone responding or engaging.

According to recent research, an average email account receives about 120 emails a day and this figure is set to increase to 140 by 2018, so it’s inevitable that a lot of those messages are instantly trashed, without even a second glance. So it’s a dilemma lots of businesses face if their emails are constantly being unread and ignored; how do you make sure your emails don’t end up in the trash can?

Simple answer: make sure your emails are relevant to each recipient – this way they are more likely to open and digest the information – they might not respond immediately, but at least the seed is sown.

Taking the following simple steps will ensure a better chance of getting responses and eventually results.

Clean up your data (regularly)

Your database is the most valuable part of any marketing. Make sure your information is up to date and you have a clear idea of who are existing customers and prospects.

Keep a record of the products/services they are interested in and which emails they have responded to in the past; assuming your opt-ins have an interest in what you’re ‘selling’, or at least have some affinity with the industry you operate in, this should be easy to evaluate.

Divide and conquer

Once you start consistently evaluating your data, you can send your recipients relevant information by segmenting your database into different categories.

For instance, if you’re a wine retailer and have a section of customers who only ever buy white wines, it would be obvious to target them with information about white wine. This way you would be communicating with them personally, providing them with relevant messages.

Don’t be tempted to send the same email to each list in the hope that those who only drink red will start loving white because they couldn’t possibly live without this amazing offer!

And if they’ve just bought a case of Australian Chardonnay, don’t send them an email containing the same offer the following week; the last thing they want is an endless stream of useless emails, which will inevitably lead to them opting out altogether.

To put it into context, think about the last time you went into Boots and bought some shampoo. Did you notice the next set of loyalty vouchers you received were for money off the same brand of shampoo, valid for 6 or so weeks? Where are you likely to buy your shampoo when you next run out?

This is smart targeted marketing!

So, spend your energy dissecting and evaluating your data on a regular basis, especially after you’ve sent out an email campaign. This will allow you to devise a series of future emails with relevant targeted messages which will help to increase your open rates and give you a better chance of converting a sale.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help and advice on your emailmarketing, Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 today.

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5 Pitfalls to Avoid when Starting a New Business

5 Pitfalls to avoid when strting a new businessAs a marketing consultant, I meet many people who are ready to branch out on a new business venture; who want to make a name for themselves by going it alone; bringing a new idea to light and releasing it into the world as a successful venture.

It’s a big step, but with a bit of planning and strategic thinking there’s no reason why your great idea can’t translate into a good business and transform your working life.

5 PITFALLS TO AVOID
1. Going it completely alone
Having a ‘gut feeling’ about the validity of your idea is destined to fail.
Make sure other people also agree that it’s a good idea.
Talk to start-up experts; other people in your industry who have already had great success.
Take some time to test the idea – find out who your target market is then ask them if they like your product; find out how it might be improved.
Make a prototype and use the responses to adapt and adjust your idea. But, bear in mind that the feedback might not be what you anticipate. Whilst you think it’s a brilliant idea, the reality might be quite different and may need a lot of work to make it marketable.
Resist the temptation to give up; learn how to adjust and recalculate the best way to offer your idea to you ideal market.

2. Not having a Marketing Plan
Don’t assume your idea will sell itself.
No matter how brilliant you think your idea is you must pay careful attention to marketing.
Every time you talk about your business you are involved in marketing.
Make sure you have a concrete business plan and make sure you formulate a strategy to make sure you communicate the right messages to the right people at the right time.

3. Not listening to your customers
Keeping your customers happy is the single most important step to keeping your business successful.
Take time to find out what they need from you, and then provide it.
By meeting and exceeding their expectations, the word will soon get out and they’ll keep coming back for more.

4. Lacking Focus
Being creative is great, but chasing one idea after another and never actually bringing one thing to life is the biggest pitfall of all.
Know exactly what your goals and objectives are. Having these clearly defined helps you to evaluate what’s going to work and what’s not – the ideas that don’t work need to be shelved or discarded.

5. Failing to outsource specialist tasks
As an entrepreneur, there is a great temptation to do everything yourself, especially in the start-up period when costs are sometimes prohibitive.
If your idea takes off, you aren’t going to be able to handle everything on your own.
You have a limited set of talents, so by bringing in a team of experts who you can trust, will help to bring your vision to reality.

For every new business that succeeds, there are dozens of others that don’t.
Make sure you are poised for success by avoiding these business pitfalls.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with your strategic marketing planning Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

Digital Marketing: 3 Winning ways to make it work for you

Digital Marketing BrightonStill in its infancy, digital marketing is so fast changing that it’s not always easy to know how to integrate into your existing marketing planning effectively.

Try these 3 simple steps to making sure you choose the right platforms for your business.

1. Research: find out where your audience is

As a small business, it’s very tempting just to pick one channel, normally one you might be familiar with or may have dabbled with on a personal level. Focusing all your efforts on Facebook, for instance, when your target market might be engaging more in Instagram or YouTube, could prove costly in the long term.

Before you commit to setting up profiles on Social Media streams, find out what research has been done on your target market which outlines where your customers might be communicating. Using your keywords, search each channel to see how your competitors are engaging and learn from their apparent success.

Recent studies show that small businesses see the best results when they commit themselves to joining up their marketing efforts making sure all their digital platforms are accessible, whether through print advertising; QR codes, Website; link to email marketing sign-up, Social Media; links in online profiles which direct traffic to specific targeted offers/services.

2. Add Value: consider what your target audience really wants

Avoid blatant selling; posting constantly about how great your products are and communicating special offers won’t generate a sale on it’s own and will soon see your followers dwindle and go somewhere else. Whilst everyone loves a bargain, sharing useful pieces of knowledge and advice will give credence to your products and position you as the brand to follow in your field of expertise.

Ask your customers what they want; as soon as you know then you can start providing powerful, targeted information, which will generate more sales.

3. Join the dots: make sure your digital marketing becomes part of your overall marketing mix

Digital marketing is only one part of your overall marketing strategy; albeit an important one – don’t be tempted to separate digital from your other marketing efforts.

Consider your key propositions and utilize other marketing strategies to communicate your key digital platforms including Face-to-face (business cards/flyers), Media (advertising) and PR (Press releases).

Consider every physical touch point you have with a customer – at the till if you own a shop, the food bill if you own a restaurant, in the waiting room if you run a beauty salon.

In essence, try and keep it real; communicate openly with your customers and give them what they want – this way they’ll keep coming back again and again.

 

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help with implementing your digital marketing Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!

Will Social Media replace Email?

SocialMediaI participated recently in a very interesting debate on a LinkedIn forum, which asked this very question. Predictably it generated a lot of debate, specifically from those specialising in Email Marketing who were fiercely defending their products!

At the moment, Social Media is nowhere near replacing Email, but continues to be complementary – an important tool in your marketing kit bag, so to speak.  Rather than being completely replaced, I think it will evolve to work even harder to integrate with Social Media.

Email has been around since the 1980’s and whilst it isn’t as permanent as a postal address – another form of communication which hasn’t died out altogether – consumers don’t tend to change email addresses; once you have a customer’s email address, you have a fairly assured way of getting a message in front of that customer.

Consumers do, however, migrate social media.  Remember when MySpace was the most popular social media site?  Then, when Facebook arrived and became more popular it seemed unthinkable that anything would take over FB’s position. Then up popped Google Plus, which has taken a big slice of the pie and still seems to be gaining momentum and I’m sure there will continue to be more contenders in years to come!

So, whilst social media evolves as a place to communicate with your customers in real time, keep up with news and enhance knowledge, Email continues to provide a more personal connection with more opportunities to repeatedly communicate with direct targeted messages.

But who knows?  Twenty years ago, who could have predicted the demise of the fax machine?  Maybe in another twenty years, we’ll be reminiscing the demise of email. . . .

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on putting together some email marketing campaigns Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 to set up an initial chat over a coffee!

Simple steps to understanding your Target Audience

How to appeal to your Target AudienceWhen it comes to growing business and increasing sales, the most successful brands don’t try too hard; they don’t constantly bleat on and on about it; they simply design their products and services around the needs of specific segments of their target audience.

Whatever you’re selling – be it food, legal services, travel, or luxury goods – one thing is for sure: no one likes to be told what to do!

Start by going back to basics and putting yourself in your customer’s shoes.

Understand your audience
What it is they like about your product?  Or, even more important, what it is that’s stopping them from buying it?

Research
Qualitative research (focus groups) and product trial (hall tests) is potentially valuable in understanding what makes your customers tick and together with quantitative research (questionnaires and surveys), you’ll be able to clearly define your target audience with more precision than ‘someone who might like what I sell’.

Design
Design your product or service specifically for your audience and ensure it is based on a clear need, making sure you design your communications to sell the product, not as a plea to appeal to your audience.  For example, if you’re appealing to an older audience and you’re selling car insurance, using the headline  ‘Car Insurance that rewards your driving experience’ is far more effective than saying ‘Car Insurance for the over 50’s’.  There’s nothing more off putting than being told you no longer fit the ‘norm’, even if it might be beneficial to you!

Communicate
Be open to engaging the audience through new and less used channels.  If you’re appealing to an older audience, research suggests that 37% of over 65’s will be using Facebook by 2017, and if your customer is more likely to appreciate a more tangible representation of your product or service (say you’re a photographer or graphic designer), consider producing printed literature which will showcase your specific skills.

We all tend to fall into the trap of looking at how we can sell more to our customers, rather than looking at what we can do for them – whilst subtle, a very important difference when it comes to successful targeting and generating more sales.

Christine Davey
@DaveyMarketing

If you’d like some help on planning your marketing activities Tweet me or call me on 01273 772033 for an initial chat over a coffee!