You organize your files in your operating system with folders. You organize your email in folders. Did you know that you can use folders in Constant Contact for more than just organizing your campaigns?
Using folders will tell you the true story – the real scoop on the results. With marketing folks, it’s all about testing – which subject line worked better? Which call to action yielded the best results? We admit it, we’re crazy about testing.
So back to folders –
Let’s say that Walt the Widget Maker sends various types of email campaigns. Some are product focused and includes tips on creative uses for Widget. Some are staff focused and feature his team of expert Widgeters. (stay with me.) And some are simply holiday messages, wishing all of his fans a great Groundhog Day or National Ice Cream Day.
Walt wants to see his campaign results. He could simply look at his total list of Sent campaigns and view the open and click-through rates. But he wants to know if the type of message he sends out yields particular results. So he creates folders – all of his sent campaigns featuring product info goes here, the team messages go there, etc.
Now Walt can look at the results in a different way. Hmmm. It appears his product campaigns get an average 36% open rate but his team campaigns get a 25% open rate and the holiday messages get a 42% open rate. What should Walt do as a result of analyzing these numbers?
This is the kind of information that could (should) tweak your decision making. This is your audience telling you what they find more valuable. Track your results. Listen to your audience. Tweak your strategy. Reap the rewards.
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Are you terrific at your business? If your product is wowing the customers and your service is winning over your clients, then take a bow … but don’t sit down yet. A final piece of winning over your audience with great products and services is sharing the good news with those who haven’t experienced your business yet. Why would you bother to do this? Because your prospects are wondering how good you are at your business. Letting others answer it for them is priceless.
Some of us are shy when considering asking for praise in writing; hey, I’m guilty too. However, it’s a critical component of increasing your revenue. Recently I helped a customer beyond what she was expecting and while expressing her thanks, I suddenly asked her if she would put that into writing. She said, “of course!” and now I have a new testimonial posted on my Facebook page and my LinkedIn. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
I will also share that testimonial and the story behind it on my email campaign.
This answers the proverbial question – what do I write about in my email campaigns? Why not let the stories of how you wowed your customers become the focal point of the campaign? Face it, you’re terrific. So why are you keeping it a secret, when your customers would be happy to promote you? Keep a piece of good ol’ fashioned paper by your work area. On it are the words, “ Ask for it! ”.
The next time your customer expresses their thanks, go one step further: “Can I get you to put that thanks into writing? Would you be so kind as to post it on my social media page?”
Ssshhhh – here’s the secret – most people will say, “sure, I’ll see when I can get to that.” It’s a polite way of saying, “I don’t want to spend the time right now to write something eloquent.” So jump in with – “let me write a draft for you, send it to your email right now, and you can either accept as is or modify to your taste.” They will appreciate giving you a public thanks AND the fact that you’ll make that process easy for them as well.
Don’t be shy – give it a try.
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We all know that Constant Contact is THE go-to tool for keeping your past, present and future customers in the know about your exceptional products, services and your unique value.
But sometimes when it's time to sit down to "do my marketing" there's a tiny twinge of anxiety around getting it done right. Not everyone enjoys sitting in front of the computer screen, crafting and designing and writing and adjusting and testing and modifying.
Luckily, Constant Contact has come up with an easy new editor. This tool takes the twinge out of tinkering with your campaign. The editing is very straight forward and equally flexible. Click and drag to add a block, click and drag to change the size of an element. Want to replace an image? Just drag the new image and plop in atop the old one. Over all, this new editor is made to reduce the number of clicks it takes to take your campaign from concept to launch.
As of this writing, anyone who opens a new trial of Constant Contact will have the benefit of using this new quick and easy editing tool.
It's perfect for creating a simple message in just a few minutes. And it makes you look branded and terrific without having had to spend much time at all.
Interested? Email me for more information.
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Do I continue marketing during the holidays? The crystal clear answer is ‘yes’ and ‘no’. Do business folks really disconnect during their vacation and holidays? It’s a personal choice. Some decidedly disconnect and some can’t resist peeking at social media and emails. It’s only natural human curiosity… and as we all tell ourselves, “It’ll only take a minute”. So you’re thinking, “Aha! I will send my marketing as usual in case people like this guy are paying attention. He’s on the beach but is clearly not about to jump in the water anytime soon. Who’s he kidding?” However, while the guy on the beach is definitely paying attention to voice mail, email, and social media, we cannot assume he is ready to take ACTION. And that’s what we’re hoping for, that our prospects will answer our Call To Action. It appears that I’m going to advocate waiting until the holiday season is over to resume your marketing. Wrong! There are many types of marketing content and messages, and some of them are just perfect for this beach-working dude. Here are just 2 ideas. (1) Send your email campaign before the holiday season to simply say, “Happy [insert holiday time here]” A fun image that represents that holiday, plus a simple message of CARING. Example: Happy Labor Day! Labor Day is dedicated to the achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. We at [company name] honor this wonderful time by reaching out to all of the terrific people we’ve met during our professional journey, and you’re on the list! We hope you and your family are taking the much needed time to relax and appreciate this special holiday! (2) Send your email campaign during the holiday season to alert your clients and prospects of what is coming up in your company or industry during the next few weeks, and use it as a simple reminder or ‘save the date’ or did you know type of message. No call to action, just a warm and friendly reminder of how much you CARE about them and letting them know that new events or services or products are coming soon. Get the pattern here? You can use the Constant Contact templates for cards because you’re simply sending a short and caring message. No sales pitches, no ACT NOW type of stressful messages. People don’t want stress during the holidays so that type of message will cause adverse reactions (i.e. opt outs!) Hope this clarifies what kind of marketing really does work during the holiday season. It’s also easy to plan out and create in advance. Schedule it to go out a day or two before the holiday officially begins, and you’re good to go!
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If you’ve just started a new business, whether it’s your 1st, 2nd or more, there’s always a hesitation as to when it’s “the right time” to start email marketing. For myself, I already have a successful business and am diving into a 2nd venture with a partner. I caught myself wondering when it's the right time, and I work with email marketing for a living! I’ll give you the same easy answer I gave myself: START NOW. Not convinced? Here are 3 reasons why NOW’s the time to begin. “I only have a handful of contacts” That’s ok, you should begin sharing your story with your handful of contacts right now, giving them valuable information and encouraging them to help you spread the word. Even if your contacts are mostly made up of personal connections like friends and family, the word about your new venture should go out NOW. Sending to your small list starts the referral engine running, so the campaigns begin increasing your contacts on their own. “I don’t want to spend the money on an email marketing account” Well, let’s examine some priorities. Most business owners I know take at least 3 trips to their favorite coffee shop per week. At about $4 per trip, you’re spending $48 per month. But spending $20 per month to grow your business seems too much? If I spend $20 per month for 6 months of marketing, that’s $120. Now imagine that at the end of those 6 months, I bring in a customer who’s been reading my messages and now wants to order a package that costs them $450. So after spending $120, I gained a profit of $330. Does that sound good to you? “I don’t want to spam people” Neither do I. that’s why my email campaigns only contain information that will help my clients. It’s all about them, not about me. I have a true passion for helping small business owners succeed, so I’m happy to share great tips and advice with them. I get thank-you’s and you can too. You cannot buy a list, and you will only add people you know and who expect to hear from you. Therefore, it’s not spam, it’s valuable information.
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When business owners hear such advice as “content is king” they can’t imagine writing for hours to create all this wondrous material. The good news is that if you write once, you can recycle many times. After all, the folks who find you at one spot may not follow you elsewhere, so you’re increasing your chances of being discovered with minimal labor. Do you have a website? (the correct answer is yes.) If so, does it have a blog page? (once again…) even if you have a site but no blog, getting your developer to add a blog page or doing it yourself on WordPress, etc, is not a major hassle. Are you on LinkedIn? Of course you are! And finally, do you have an email marketing account? C’mon, did I even need to ask that? So here’s what you do – twice a month, you write a brief article – 3 to 6 paragraphs should do it. Teach them something new, give a few tidbits of advice, comment on a new development in your industry. Publish the first 2 paragraphs in your Constant Contact campaign. Publish the full article on your blog page. Now create a link in your email campaign to your blog post page with leader words like, “read the rest here”. Go into your LinkedIn account and paste your full article there. Now you've spent an hour or two, marketed 3 times, and have earned 5 bonus points: Bonus #1 – you've just saved a ton of time in creating once and recycling twice. Bonus #2 – you've created a link in your Constant Contact campaign to your blog page so you can track who clicked on that link. Bonus #3 – you've sent readers to your website, where they might browse some more. Bonus #4 – you've reminded your LinkedIn connections about your products/services. Bonus #5 – you’re creating opportunities for engagement by asking for comments and opinions. Now here’s 5 tips to make it all worthwhile: Write in a conversational tone of voice, no jargon please! Pepper your article with relevant and high quality images. Include links throughout your article to your website, your social media, etc. Add a SIMPLE and CLEAR call to action – have your readers TAKE 1 NEXT STEP. Ask your reader to share your article on social media. Can you think of other ways to recycle your material? Let me know how you've re-used your blog articles and I'll include them in my next newsletter. Are you having trouble planning out your marketing - feeling overwhelmed by all the to-do's? Why not schedule a Free Quick Marketing Assessment. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.
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Advertising and Marketing. Even though they both get you to your goals, do you know how each of these principles is different? Advertising Increasing your sales can be difficult if your ideal prospect doesn’t know you exist! The primary goal of buying an ad is to catch the eye of brand new prospects so that they will contact you to find out more. This can happen in many forms – a postcard campaign, Pay-Per-Click, a magazine ad, etc. Even your website falls under this category. A secondary goal of a paid ad is to attract attention from past customers in hopes they will “come back”. Many companies sell lists and databases of contact information for people who meet your target audience – residences or businesses, age groups, zip codes, etc. The cost is sometimes high, but keeping in mind that it might attract brand new customers – it may be worth it. Marketing Once you have real prospects contacting you, the job of Marketing is to keep the relationship going on a consistent and dynamic basis. While ads reach out to strangers, marketing connect with people who know you and what you offer. This is a relatively young concept: decades ago, there was advertising and sales and nothing in between. So why is marketing even necessary? With all of the choices of product and service suppliers out there, buyers have loads of companies to choose from. They will select the business who has taken an interest in providing them value and keeping the lines of communications open. This is the base of marketing: giving value to your target audience on a consistent basis using the channels they prefer eliciting the desired response. Can you purchase a list of strangers and email them your marketing campaigns? No! The email recipient must already know you and welcome your communications! Besides email campaigns, examples of effective marketing channels include engaging on social media, offering special promotions, inviting them to events and surveying their feedback. If you’re putting all your eggs in one basket, you’re missing out on the other ways to attract your audience. The goal of all of these are to keep the lines of communications open in both directions – giving value and eliciting a response. Sales We can’t ignore a brief mention of the ultimate goal: the sale. Does the sale happen directly as a result of advertisement, without bothering with marketing? Yes, sometimes it does. However, if you want that customer to have a long term relationship with you, which generates sales over months and years, that’s where Marketing shines. It’s all in providing the value to the customer again and again. So – here’s an analogy that makes it easy to remember. Being introduced to someone new who appears compatible to you is Advertising. Going out on dates and entering a relationship is Marketing. Finally tying the knot – Sales.
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I think it’s safe to say we’ve all been children once. And at some point along our childhood, we’ve held in our hands a neat and simple little toy. But shortly after acquiring it, we couldn’t help ourselves from collecting accessories – Barbie’s sports car, G.I. Joe’s jeep, etc. Those add-on’s made our fun toy much cooler and opened up more opportunities for play. This came to mind when I was exploring the Constant Contact Marketplace. Have you been there? It’s not a physical place, but a virtual bazaar you can stroll through, displaying many accessories and add-on’s for your Constant Contact account. There are hundreds of apps and integrations in the Marketplace, and like Barbie’s many outfits and G.I. Joe’s army gear, it opens up a new world of opportunities for play. Um, I mean productivity. If you use software like QuickBooks, Salesforce, WordPress and a host of other software applications, you’ll have a field day exploring how many of these software Legos you can connect together. Yes I’m building on the toy theme here. Just this morning I created a new list building tool. I took some of my blog posts, pasted them together to create a free eBook to offer as a download. I then learned how to use InstaPage and created a branded, attractive and functional landing page. Now my social media connections will be sent a link to the page so that they can download my e-Book and subscribe to my e-news. Having zero html or coding knowledge, I pulled together my landing page design, uploaded my logo and 2 photos, created a form and connected it to my Constant Contact account. Time spent? 2 hours. Cost? Zero. I could have added some very cool features like A/B testing, Google Analytics and SEO components, but I just wanted to play and produce a simple page. If you’re thinking your Constant Contact account is merely a vehicle for sending emails, you’ve really just chipped the very top of the iceberg. Aside from the functionality now available in Toolkit: local deals, surveys, event management, donations and social campaigns, you’ll want to dive even deeper by exploring the Constant Contact Marketplace. Customer Relationship Managers, Form Creators, Online Schedulers, Landing Page and Lead Generators, A/B Testers, Accounting and Online Payments, Sales and Task Trackers, Project Managers as well as some hefty Social Media Managers. Connect with other businesses in your neighborhood by setting up a free account at Alignable. For managing and connecting your social campaigns, try the incredibly powerful MarketMeSuite. Need a CRM that connects to Outlook? Use Results CRM. vCita is another powerful, awesome tool for online scheduling and other transactions. Some of these are free and some have a modest subscription fee. All are independent but connect to your Constant Contact account, transforming it into a central hub of data collection and tracking. Really, the list is endless as they add new integrations and partner companies almost every week. It truly is like buying new packages of Lego pieces to turn your little house into a mansion inside of a large community.
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I know I’m dating myself, but I was in college during the high energy days of disco. Ah the evenings of getting my hair to crazy heights and polishing my dancing shoes. (If you think a photo is forthcoming, forget it!) I also remember those tough to get into dance locations like Studio 54 in Manhattan. The entrance was blocked by a velvet rope and the surly bouncers would evaluate those attempting to get in, to decide whether or not they were “worthy”. Getting in was quite an accomplishment – it basically meant that you met their high qualifications. Did I get in? We won’t be discussing that here either (cough).
The days of Studio 54 came into mind when I was chatting with a Constant Contact customer named John Lyden. He was building his new account and was inquiring as to the best approach to determine a high quality list. You see, while some companies focus on QUANTITY and want to collect as many names and emails as possible, John had his eye on QUALITY. He wanted to be sure that his campaigns were going to reach people worthy of opening the velvet rope.
I counseled John to look through his email address book, his networking contacts and his LinkedIn connections and make careful selections. If a contact was a past or current client, they should go on one excel sheet. If a contact was a true prospect, someone who had expressed interest in John’s accounting services, they would go on a 2nd excel sheet. And if they were someone who was simply a great connector – who often gave referrals and had connected him with others in the past – they would go on the 3rd list.
Now each of those 3 spreadsheets could be uploaded to Constant Contact into 3 distinct lists. What impressed me about John’s execution of this plan, was that he brought down his total number of contacts from over 1,000 to less than 250. Picture 1,000 hopeful disco dancers waiting in line, and John waving in only 250 to get into his Studio 54.
Some may believe that you have to reach “the most people” to get your message out to the right number of customers, but our conversation today was about getting your message out in a more efficient and productive manner. Just because you know 3,000 people, doesn’t mean they all get into the disco. You want your list to be of the highest quality so that your marketing efforts really hit the mark. Thanks John, for initiating a great topic for my blog post today!
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ADD 'EM IF... 1. you have a table at an expo, and someone comes by to ask what you offer, how you work, and would like to learn more 2. you meet someone at a networking event and you have a conversation, learning about each other's business and they appear to be more than politely interested: they ask several questions about how you can help them or their clients. 3. you're LinkedIn with someone as a result of a real opportunity to meet them and have an initial great conversation regarding your products and services. They have asked you to keep them in touch about your company. 4. they've done business with you and are fans 5. they call or email you, wanting more details about your company and how you can help them 6. they call or email you to ask your professional advice or help within the scope of what you offer. 7. they simply ask you to put them on your list (hurray!) Remember- it's all about PERMISSION marketing - any of the people mentioned above should be ready to WELCOME your value-filled campaigns! Blind-siding someone is more than sneaky - it totally works against you and will do more harm than good to your reputation! SKIP 'EM IF... 1. you have a table at an expo and someone comes to grab candy from your bowl and then bolts. 2. you see someone you sort of know at a networking event but never had a real conversation. 3. the conference host gives you a list of people who attended. 4. they've emailed you to remove them from your list instead of unsubscribing themselves. 5. you find someone's business card lying around 6. someone introduces themselves perfunctorily and doesn't engage in further conversation. 7. they tell you outright that they're not interested in what you offer (sad, but a reality). One of the reasons to keep adding new people is that as business owners, hopefully we are making it our mission to meet new people all the time. Another important reason is that those who were on your list previously may eventually unsubscribe for whatever reason. There's no need to get upset over it, it's just business. As you grow your list, you'll want to look at contacts that made it into your list years ago. Are they still relevant leads? Sometimes we hate to remove someone, because it feels productive to "have a lot". But not if it no longer makes sense for the prospect or for you. Perhaps that contact was a good fit for a service or product you used to provide and your business has since evolved. Is it time to cut 'em loose? Only you will know for sure.
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I always say that answering your customers’ questions is the best way to come up with blog topics, and this one’s no exception. Two clients were in the same predicament and I’m sure there are others facing the same quandary. “My website is in the process of being completely redesigned. I want to wait to start email marketing until after the new site is perfect and live. Isn’t this the best approach?” The answer is usually “no”, for two basic reasons. Email Campaigns may lead your reader to an online presence if you wish, but it’s certainly not mandatory. An online presence can be hosted in a variety of places, not just your website. Redesigning websites, like home renovations, almost always takes longer than you think it will. So should your marketing be held hostage? Absolutely not! No one can afford to skip marketing efforts and email is one of the easiest, most cost effective, and dynamic methods.So your website is under construction … here are some ways to keep the engagement going along with your Email Marketing Campaigns. Determine which social media channels are appropriate for your business and set up accounts ONLY there. Don’t waste time on 6 different tools when you only need 2 or 3. Make sure your online profiles are complete, up to date, and takes full advantage of all that account can do for you. Perhaps you’re selling consumer products – take a look at Facebook ads. Perhaps you’re a B-to-B expert – post blog articles on LinkedIn. If you already have a blog account (BlogSpot, Tumblr, etc.) that’s not connected to your new website, post your informative articles there and link your email campaign to your blog. If you host events, you can set up landing pages for your event through Constant Contact’s Event Spot and that’s where you point your readers to. Then Tweet about them! Use your Email Campaign as the opportunity to ASK YOUR READERS WHAT THEY WANT TO SEE. Imagine spending lots of time on material for your website, but your clients were hoping for some other content altogether! If you have glowing reviews on online directories like Yelp!, Houzz, Angie’s List and a host of other review-heavy sites, then link your email campaign to that page. Yes, it’s bragging, but as your Marketing Mom, I’m encouraging you to brag! As you can see, today’s social world gives you tons of opportunities to spread the word, engage new contacts and toot your own horn. Not to say you shouldn’t have a website, it’s definitely a necessity, but it’s not the only tool in your arsenal! Your competitors are already reaping the rewards of email marketing, so stop waiting and start your Email Marketing Campaigns NOW.
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I've been using CC since 2007 and this "editor" leaves a lot to be desired. I just accidentally deleted a block of text, and there's no way to undo. I don't see a way of globally setting colors and fonts. Really, it's a mess. Do not put this version into production - you'll have plenty of people leaving CC for a competitor!!
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