As I prepare for my nextlive class on email marketing in Portlandia on June 11th, I thought I'd share some of what I'm seeing these days in the field. I've been usingConstant Contactfor the past 8 years to send out a monthly e-letter called The Eleven. Originally, this went out to friends and family, and then, eventually, as I got more involved in teaching email marketing, I developed a few lists for people who came to my classes who have shown interest in learning more about marketing practices. Along the way I became a Constant Contact authorized local expert - offering regular classes on email marketing, event marketing and social media in the Pacific Northwest. By now I've probably spoken to about 1,000 people and my list has grown. Here are some of the changes I've seen recently in the marketing world.
First of all,email is not dead, far from it. The more media attention I see social media getting, the more I'm convinced that if you actually want to succeed in reaching people in an easy and affordable manner - you want to be building an email list of interested people. I hear people constantly talking about building a Twitter following; an Instagram following; or getting more "likes" on their Facebook fan pages. If you're able to pay for advertising on one or more of these platforms - then, great - you may have a chance to build up your e-mail list. But, honestly? Unless you either have some amazing content (beautiful photos; fantastic articles; or you're suddenly in the media limelight for some reason and something you do is going viral) I wouldn't put that much energy into social media. I tend to think of a fan page as a good Yellow Pages ad. There it sits - if someone searches for your business they can find you. Fantastic! And then they can come to your website, or join your email list or call you. Great! But when you post something on social media these days and you get 0.01% reach to the people who are your fans or followers - it just doesn't seem worth it to me.
A peer asked me yesterday whether one of my fan pages,Email Marketing Guru- actually led to any new business? I said that it used to, but even with some targeted advertising, I don't think it's doing me much good. It looks good - yes, it gives me some sort of credibility that I have over 1,500 fans on a couple fan pages. That and $1 will buy me a cup of coffee. If one searches on "Email Marketing Portland" my fan page comes up 3rd on Google. OK, that's probably worth something. But honestly, I think being able to send an email out to people who have expressed interest in what I do is so much more powerful that I really shouldn't be spending as much time on social media as I do.
In terms of email marketing, things are shifting, too. Emails are going to mobile-friendly formats. If you're doing email marketing and you haven't moved to a mobile-friendly template, that's the #1 thing I'd recommend doing. Now. Word has it that 65% of people are reading their emails (your emails!) on their mobile devices. So, learn about mobile-friendly templates and move to one ASAP. Second, the formats for newsletters are shrinking. I'm seeing more and more newsletters that are a banner, a couple sentences, a call to action, and that's it. Because these do well on phones. Because peoples' attention spans are shrinking. So, if you haven't tried doing a very short newsletter yet, give it a try and see what happens with your open rates and click-through rates (which are way more important, because responses to your call to action is what really counts, right?).
Thanks for reading, I think that's a good start. My recommendation? Stop worrying about social media and put more time into getting a robust email marketing program up and running, or strengthening what you're already doing. If your website doesn't have an email list sign-up form, get one. And, if you need any assistance with this, let me know. This is what I love to do - check out myManaged Care Programfor an idea of the service and encouragement I offer.
Here to help.
Sincerely, Albert Kaufman
PS - if you'd like a 2-month risk-free Constant Contact trial -click here. That's what I use. It's easy to use and is worth every penny
Albert Kaufman - I am a master certified Constant Contact solution provider - here to help you make the most out of your account. Reach me @ firstname.lastname@example.org - here's to your success!