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Get Scrappier – New eBook for Busy (Small) Business Marketers

2 Feb Cover_Promo Post

It’s here! Get Scrappier is now live and FREE on through Feb 11, 2012.

See eBooks or Intro Post for full detail on what to expect and why you, and your small business, shouldn’t miss out.

Results-oriented, conversational marketing. Do more on less. Get Scrappy.

Leave Your Ego At the Door

10 Sep Leave Your Ego

Marketing. It can be a vanity fair. A chance to puff your chest and show off grandeous ideas or projects to the rest of the world. But if it doesn’t drive results. It’s not worth it. Plain and simple. Leave your ego at the door.

A former colleague/boss/mentor of mine once said, “Don’t forget to block and tackle.” To this day, I use that line with my team at  and in my day-to-day attempt to remember that marketing isn’t all grandeous planning or 5-star stickers. It’s often the behind-the-scenes block and tackle that gets the job done.

Block and tackle?

  • Developing an email lifecyle grid to create event-based messaging triggers from ”hello” to “sorry, we missed you”, to “need help getting started?”.
  • Scheduling 5% of your time each day doing research and analyzing internal and industry reports.
  • Taking time to mentor an employee.

The fun stuff?

  • Develping creative for a large-spread print ad.
  • Attending a networking event.
  • Interviewing new vendors.

Big or small, fun or boring…it all has to get done. But be prepared to leave your ego at the door and to dedicate more than ample time to focus on the basics – your website, your customers, your brand personality and your data.  Without it, you and your business simply won’t survive.

Leave (Discounts) Alone

31 Aug Leave Discounts

Do you discount your way to high-volume user engagement and usage behavior? 

This is a contentious issue with marketers, especially those in high-growth environments.

My response? No. Only with moderation, perhaps.

And why?

  • Discounts are modified versions of “flash sales”. They create a lack of urgency in every day browse/shopping mode because purchases are not based on perceived value, but because it’s the cheapest product at that point in time.
  • Discounts, if mis-used, prompt comparison shopping. True, most users/prospective customers will do that anyways. We can’t stop that. But the deeper tragedy that can occur is missing a larger opportunity to create lifetime customers based on creating/driving product (value-add) awareness versus attracting “discount hunters”, “coupon clippers”, whatever-you-name-it that hone in on the cheapest price available for xyz.

Short story – approach discounting with caution. And blend time-sensitive offers with messaging that includes product FAQs, educational resources (i.e. how-to videos).

Discounting, frequently, can create quick-wins of attracting (new) users shopping for the “best deal”, but it doesn’t always drive quality users and customers that will drive your business value forward.

Email: Managing the 1:1 Conversation

29 Aug Email Managing

Email (marketing) is the conduit to your best friend(s).  While marketers are prompted to focus on many things days, email continues to hold a unique place in the marketing toolkit.

I often find myself wondering if one day I’ll say “email, no longer relevant”. But at least for now, email stands by through thick and thin of digital marketing trends.

Why?  Why not move more eggs into the hip Social Media basket. tried-true Paid Search or ever-present-ever-needed SEO?

You could, but you’d be missing out on a very important dynamic that’s critical to maintaining a relationship with your best friend (a.k.a. your best customer) – a 1:1 dialogue.

Social Media – no 1:1. It’s messaging tailored to a niche, though valuable, user set within your greater following/friend circle.

Paid Search – no 1:1. The content of xyz message/promotion simply can’t be tailored beyond a selection of specific search terms or a user’s location.

SEO – no 1:1. While incredibly valuable to ensuring your “findability” score is high, this is an organic, carefully cultivated effort to ensure your site resonates with mass users.

Email – yes, there’s a 1:1 relationship.  Why? Because there exists a powerful capability to tailor messaging to what users ask for (explicit/shared information) and what you might know about their behavior on your website (implicit/explicit shared information).

There’s also flexibility within email platforms for iteration throughout the lifecyle of your customer, based on shifts in their interests and/or purchase behavior. How well and how often you apply this information to your email creative will alter 1:1 messaging streams.

Just Keep Swimming

24 Aug Just Keep Swimming

I’m a mom as much as I am a marketing professional. And lately I’ve been suckered into watching a wide array of Disney/Pixar movies over and over. But there’s one particular line I can’t ever get out of my head from Nemo – “Just keep swimming”.

The scene is Dory is trying to explain to Marlin, Nemo’s dad, that when you’re having a rough time…you “just keep swimming”. He’s not really listening, she’s trying to stay upbeat and they’re in the middle of no where in the open sea trying to find their way to Sydney. Sound or feel familiar?

Let’s be honest. Marketing, big or small, has it’s challenging days. Servers crash, email filters aren’t working, creative messaging needs an overhaul, the perceived target audience is no longer the optimal audience for your product, etc.  What do you do?  You just keep swimming.

As small business marketers, projects and programs are (and must be) incredibly fluid.  What worked yesterday, doesn’t always work tomorrow.

Yes, there are some  that can be followed. But for the most part, things can change quickly. And frankly, if things don’t change it likely indicates a lack of growth. Change is the promise of opportunity, right?

On that note - just keep swimming. Adjust, tweak and never ever take change or roadblocks as a sign of failure. Keep swimming, even if it seems to be in unknown or unchartered waters. It’s a chance to sharpen your skills, learning something and even try new things.

Time is Money

18 Aug time_is_money

Nothing’s new about this statement. But as a small business marketer myself, I can’t help but hedge every bet on the premise of time and money.

Time. 

  • Can I create this in less than a week?
  • Can I repeat this?
  • Can I scale this to grow and extend beyond it’s current state?

Money. 

  • What will this put back in my pocket?
  • How soon will this provide a return?
  • Is that return at least a 200% ROI? (yes, I believe in benchmarks and profit margins)

If the answer is “no” to most or all the above, I/we should move on. It could be a very creative (fun) idea, but if there aren’t resources (time) and the return (money) isn’t somewhat immediate, cut bait.

For example, need an email marketing program? But don’t have unlimited resources or someone to manage it for you?

  • Start with building a distribution list.  (What’s the fastest way to accumulate an opt-in list?)
  • Craft light email creative centered on obtaining user insights and satisfaction sweet-spots to better understand what topics, products and/or services most interest your recipients.  (Avoid big fancy messaging templates and platforms immediately out of the gate.)
  • Allow yourself no more than 30 days to identify core messaging opportunities. (Make an immediate effort to learn from your new programs.)
  • Ensure all messaging is a 1:1, personal conversation vs. one-way – you to them. (Avoid “loud speaker messaging” that falls on deaf ears.)

Challenge yourself to start small, and build in iterative steps.