Monday, 23 September 2013

5 No-no's of Email Marketing

Email Marketing is a great way of reaching your audience. Sending our regular emails to your clients not only lets them about what's going on but also about upcoming promotions. This can work to you advantage, if done right. Here's 5 things to stay away from:

1. Not having permission.
There is only one way to add someone to your email list, and that is to have them opt-in .Your email list should not include names and emails from:
*   Purchased or rented lists
*   Personal contacts you have manually added (unless of course they have given express permission to do so)
*   Contacts you have acquired through another site, even if you own the other site
There's nothing wrong with manually adding emails you've gotten through trade shows, conferences or even through your personal or business address book, just be sure each person has given clear permission to be added, and has gone through the double opt-in process.

2. The hard sell. 
I can pretty much guarantee that no one has joined your email list to be constantly sold to.
Make your newsletter all about selling, and you're very likely to start seeing your unsubscribe rate go through the roof.
Instead, make your emails about informing, educating, and entertaining. Feel free to promote your products or services, but do it sparingly and in a low/no-pressure manner.
Some marketers keep to the 80/20 rule - 80% content, 20% pitch - but there are no hard and fast rules. If your marketing funnel ends at your website (with your website being your main tool for selling), you may not even pitch via email at all.

3. Not proofreading.
It can be tempting to hit that 'send' button without proofreading your email. I mean, who cares about a few typos, right?!
The problem is, there are greater dangers than just 'a few typos'! For instance,
  • Broken links
  • Skewed formatting
  • Incorrect merge fields
  • A garbled text version of your email (this MAY or MAY NOT have happened to me)
An email with formatting errors, poor grammar or obvious typos can seem unprofessional and can give the impression that you just don't care.
It's easy to avoid this by having someone else take a look at your emails before you send them, or by simply sending yourself a test version of the email (both HTML and text) before you send them to your subscribers.

4. Sending too often.
The tricky part is that what defines 'too often' will be different depending on your business and your niche.In some niches, subscribers expect an email every single day (think Groupon ), while in others, once or twice a month is quite sufficient.You probably already have a feel for how often your subscribers want to hear from you. If you don't, take a look at your email analytics and see if there are any correlations between unsubscribe rates and how often you've sent emails.
Had a month where you sent 3 emails each week, and notice you had an increase in unsubscribes? Maybe it's time to re-evaluate your sending frequency.
A good rule of thumb is 1-2x per week, unless your own research and analytics tell you otherwise.  Any more than this, and you may risk annoying or overwhelming your subscribers.

5. Coming across as a spammer.
There are unfortunately many ways you can come across as a spammer without even realizing it.
One of the best ways to make sure no one mistakes you as a spammer is to use a name people will immediately recognize in your 'reply to' email address and 'from' field. You could use your full name, your company or website name, or a combination of both.
Some other ways to avoid being labelled 'spam' include avoiding:
  • Using lots of exclamation points!!!!!
  • Overuse of words or phrases like free, 'click here!' (MailChimp mentions avoiding this one), credit, win, or guaranteed.
  • Overuse of images
  • Using numbers or characters in place of letters (like FR3E!)

Hopefully you are not committing any of these 5 deadly sins, but if you are, it's never too late to change your ways!


Monday, 16 September 2013

Selling with Social Media

Do you want to use Social Media to grow your business? Are you wondering how Social Media can help you sell more products and services?

Selling with Social Media

How the online world has changed the way we do business

The internet has given way to the fantastic feature of pre-purchase research. Buyers like the anonymity of not having to talk to a single sales person and having all the information they need at the touch of a button. Today’s buyer prefers this process, as it’s easier and more efficient. With this in mind, companies have to adjust. In the early days, the power was with the salesperson, it's easier to convince someone how great your product is if you speak to them in person, but with the knowledge available online today, the power is in the hands of the consumer.

You have to stop thinking about how you sell because you don’t really sell anymore. Instead you help buyers make a buying decision. When they make their decision, hopefully it will be in your favor. Although it won’t always be the case.
You’ll discover how your system needs to be set up properly and the approach you need to consider.
Why Social Agents are Important

a Social Agent is someone who doesn’t necessarily buy from you, but recommends you to a friend or colleague who might buy from you. A lot of the time, social agents can be your most valuable customers that you never do business with. They’re the best customers you’ll have.

You need to draw in your social agents through educational pieces. A relationship is formed with your brand or company when they see value in what you are doing.

In The Invisible Sale, Tom Martin discusses a process of how you can sell without cold-calling and advertising. He calls it "painless prospecting" The concept is a spin on inbound marketing. The core difference is that most content and inbound strategies leverage search and keyword optimization.
As more and more businesses discover and deploy keyword optimization and SEO strategies, Tom believes that only so many will win the battle. It’s going to get more competitive and much more difficult.
Whereas painless prospecting is built on the concept of propinquity.
Propinquity is a scientific theory that powers the formation of relationships. It says that if you bump into someone a lot, the higher the likelihood of you touching them more often, reading their content or meeting them in person, the more likely you are to like that person, providing you like them each time you meet.

If you pay attention to your industry or your prospects’ industry, you can usually sit down and list all the places that your prospective customers congregate online and offline. You’ll learn where these places might be. If you know your industry well enough, you will already know of 7-10 places without thinking. This is your first list.

Once you find these points, you can create more opportunities for people to stumble across you and your brand. It’s a great way to get a good positive impression.

What marketers should avoid when using content to try to get a sale
There are two things marketers should avoid. Most people produce content at the wrong level. It’s normally the same single unit of content across their blog and podcast. So most feel that one blog post a week is enough without writing for others.
First you have to think about content creation as an ecosystem. You should never create one piece of content once. You should look for ways to repurpose it or even rechannel it.

The first thing I would recommend is to make sure you listen to this particular podcast for some great ideas. Here are a few examples of what you could do with your business.
  • Create time-lapse videos that showcase your processes
  • Create educational pieces
  • Become the conduit to prospects
When you put yourself in the position of the resource person rather than the salesperson, every time you communicate with prospects, it’s a way to stay top of mind. If, and when, they are ready to buy, they are more likely to come back to you or pass your details on to another prospect. You need to have regular touch points.
You’ll hear an example of what I received from people in the voice talent industry when I was a prospect and how my realtor markets his business using social media.
I hope you find this helpful.

2013-ITWWW-Odette Nieuwoudt

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

New Facebook Contest and Promotion Rules: What You Need to Know

Facebook has made a huge shift in how they allow contests to be run.

Has Facebook ever stopped you from running a competition from your page wall? According to the guidelines, running a competition always needed to be done from a app on Facebook. Not any more.

  • What’s New

Facebook announced on August 27 that they’ve changed their Pages Terms to make it “easier for businesses of all sizes to create and administer promotions on Facebook.” They’re allowing pages to run contests and promotions on their own timelines (you cannot run contests on a personal timeline). Per Facebook, businesses can now:
  • Collect entries by having users post on the page or comment/like a page post
  • Collect entries by having users message the page
  • Utilize likes as a voting mechanism
Now businesses with a Facebook page have a lot more options and can run a contest very quickly and easily by posting text or a photo and asking people to comment and/or like it.

Here’s the complete list of rules for promotions and contests directly from their Page Guidelines under section E (as of August 28, 2013):
1. If you use Facebook to communicate or administer a promotion (ex: a contest or sweepstakes), you are responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:
  • The official rules;
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements (ex: age and residency restrictions); and
  • Compliance with applicable rules and regulations governing the promotion and all prizes offered (ex: registration and obtaining necessary regulatory approvals).
2. Promotions on Facebook must include the following:
  • A complete release of Facebook by each entrant or participant.
  • Acknowledgement that the promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
3. Promotions may be administered on Pages or within apps on Facebook. Personal Timelines must not be used to administer promotions (ex: “share on your Timeline to enter” or “share on your friend’s Timeline to get additional entries” is not permitted).
4. We will not assist you in the administration of your promotion, and you agree that if you use our service to administer your promotion, you do so at your own risk.

So now businesses have the choice of running the contest through an app or through their timeline

Here's a link where Facebook explains their news rules:

What You Can Do:
  • Require people to like a post and/or comment on a post to be entered
  • Require that someone post something directly on your timeline to enter (could be a text post or a photo)
  • Use likes as a voting method (either liking a post or photo on your timeline)
  • Require that someone message your page to enter
  • Announce the winner of the contest on your page
  • Require that to win the prize, entrants come back to your page to see who has won the contest
  • Use a Like button plugin on a website as a voting mechanism
  • Use an app plugin to post an entry to your contest directly on your page
  • Run your contest through a Facebook app
What You Can’t Do:
  • Require that people share a post or photo to be entered
  • Require someone to post something on their own personal timeline or a friend’s timeline to enter
  • Require people to tag themselves in a photo to either vote or enter
  • Have anyone who likes your page be entered to win (contest does not take place on the timeline)

How the New Rules Can Work for You

If you’re wondering if your contest will work within the new rules, think about where the engagement on Facebook happens. If it’s directly on your timeline or through your Message button, then you’re probably ok. And you still can use third-party apps to run a contest.
Also note that you can “encourage” people to share your post or contest, but you can’t require it for entry. Many third-party apps have in the past given “extra” entries for sharing the contest and it looks like that practice will have to stop, according to the Promotion Guidelines.
With all of these new options, how do you choose what type of contest to run on Facebook? Let’s dive into that conundrum.

How to Choose What Type of Contest to Run on Facebook

Decisions, decisions! With more options always comes hand-wringing over which will be the best for you and your marketing goals.
You can break it down fairly simply into this:
  • Facebook timeline contest will give you more engagement fast.
  • Facebook app contest will give you a list of email addresses that you can connect with again.
But there are more considerations than those basic needs. You need to take into account the advantages and disadvantages of each type of contest.

Running a Timeline Contest

  • Quick and easy to set up
  • Fun and easy to engage people to enter
  • Free to run
  • Works on mobile devices (many Facebook apps are not mobile-friendly)
  • Increased PTAT score
  • Do not receive an email address with the entry
  • Can’t reshare the post easily to tell people about the contest multiple times
  • Need to post the rules of the contest and the required release of Facebook’s responsibility for the contest somewhere within the post (or a link to the terms and rules of your contest)
  • Contests may not increase fans as much as a like-gated app would
  • Could be harder to notify the winner if the winner is not paying attention
  • If you require both a like and a comment, it could be a pain to validate

Running a Facebook App Contest

  • Gather email addresses to connect with those people again
  • More control over the look and feel of the contest
  • Can like-gate the entry so that you grow your fans
  • Easy resharing to promote the contest multiple times
  • Easy to have rules posted within the app
  • Many contest apps have metrics that show data about when people are entering and where they are coming from
  • Barrier to entry is a little higher
  • Some contest apps do not work on mobile devices
  • Cost
More Options for Facebook Promotions
Timeline contests are ultimately good news for marketers. They offer more choices and flexibility in what you can do to engage your audience. Try running at least one to see what it does for your business.
And remember there are good reasons to use a third-party Facebook app for your contest.
It’s nice to have new tools for your Facebook marketing toolbox.

2013-ITWWW-Odette Nieuwoudt