Email Marketing 101: Finding the Right Platform for You

By claire |

So, you’ve decided to take the plunge and start an email marketing campaign? Great! Now, where do you start?

The first step is to choose the right email marketing platform.  With so many out there, how do you know which one is right for you? Think about what your needs are.  How often will you be sending e-blasts? How many contacts do you have in your address book? The answer to these questions will help you determine which email marketing platform best suits your needs.  Here are a few Perks recommendations.

picture-1Vertical Response

Want to create branded online surveys and direct mailing campaigns to supplement your email marketing? Vertical Response is the way to go. Vertical Response tracks success and results of your vertical marketing campaigns, displaying them in comprehensive reports. So it’s not just a clever name.

Constant Contactpicture-5

If you have a large address book that you like to keep in touch with on a regular basis, Constant Contact is a great choice for you. With pricing starting at $15 a month, users pay a monthly subscription fee based on the size of your address book.  The fee gives you the ability to send out as many emails as you would like to your designated network, making Constant Contact the perfect way to stay in touch!

picture-4Mail Chimp

Don’t be fooled by the silly name. Mail Chimp offers extensive tracking of your email campaigns, as well as the ability to upload your contact book from several major CRMs or from Excel.  Mail Chimp  provides free “subscribe” forms that can be designed to match you email marketing template and can be embedded directly into your website or blog!

Regardless of your email marketing needs, there is a platform out there that’s perfect for you. This was just a small taste of the possibilities that exist today. So, get your feet wet and jump right in!


Get in your customers’ inbox!

By claire |

email-marketingDirect mailing marketing campaigns are quickly becoming a thing of the past. With the evolution of the digital world, people are spending hours upon hours each day in their email accounts and emailing has emerged as a primary form of communication. Although other media to reach your consumer have arrived on the scene, email is still  a great way to stay connected to your clients and the benefits of email marketing are numerous.  Email marketing allows you to send your network or current and potential customers information about your business, news updates or promotional offers. Not sure where to start with email marketing? Here are a few tips to get the ball rolling.

1. Choose a platform.

There are several platforms that you can use to distribute your email marketing. Find one that fits your needs and budget. Having trouble picking a platform? Check out some of the Perks recommendations.

2. Determine a strategy.

Ask yourself what you want your email marketing efforts to be used for. What is the end goal? Do you want to send your customers and network news? Promotional offers? Think about who will be reading your emails and the action you want them to take. Do you want them to visit your website? Call your office for a quote? Once you figure out what action you would like to be the result of your campaign, you can lay the foundation for successful email marketing.

3. Brand your email

Whenever you give a consumer information about your business, make sure it’s branded! Carefully craft content that is consistent with your brand identity and delivers the information in an action-oriented and empowering way. Design your email to make it visually appealing and make sure that it matches the rest of your branded materials.

Once your email platform, strategy and branding are in place, you are ready to reach out to your network in a tactical and decisive manner. Check out a few other email marketing tips and tricks to maxamize your email marketing efforts!


Out with the Old, In with the New: The Perks of Online Press

By claire |

Print newspaper is dying, its on the brink of extinction and will soon be a distant memory.  The Associated Press reports,

“Newspapers’ financial woes worsened in the second quarter as advertising sales shrank by 29 percent, leaving publishers with $2.8 billion less revenue than they had at the same time last year. It’s the deepest downturn yet during a three-year free fall in advertising revenue — newspapers’ main source of income. The magnitude of the industry’s advertising losses have intensified in each of the last 12 quarters.”

While we mourn the death of flipping through the Sunday Times, we must look to the future of press onlonline-press-smine.

With social media being all the rage, pursuing online press opportunities is the only logical thing to do to merge the two and reach your target audience and spread your company’s identity.

Unlike traditional media and waiting extensively to go to print, online press allows for a quicker, almost instant turn around. And because everyone is online due to the outburst in Facebook, Twitter, Blogs and other social media platforms, everyone is online. With online press, you instantly have a global audience at your fingertips. By focusing in on where your audience is, what they are visiting, what they are reading, you can strategically place online press publications in the appropriate channels to reach your niche consumer.


Maxamize Your Blog

By claire |

blog-boardPeople read blogs to learn, for entertainment, for news, or simply to see what’s going on. With that in mind, it’s important to keep things current in your blog. Make your content engaging, interesting, topical and thematic. Using credible links can add validity to your blog and attaching images creates visual stimulation for your viewers.  When attacking your blogs be sure to include buzz/key words that will generate ultimate SEO.

Ultimately, your blog is a channel used to expand your professional network and it allows you to develop a status of expertise in your chosen field. To do that, you must familiarize yourself with your audience and write what you know.  Creating a successful blog can lead to new clients, more business, and it allows you to establish a name and credibility in your respective business. So get out there, captivate your readers, make it a must-read, and have fun doing it.


Navigating the Social Media World: Tricks and Trends

By claire |

social-media-wagonSocial Media is THE word, THE trend, and THE future of our world. Just like the internet, it’s here to stay. It’s an unstoppable movement and it’s everywhere! Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, You Tube. Young kids use it, college students, CEOs, entrepreneurs, moms and dads: social media stretches across all ages, all places, and it has ultimately changed the way people communicate, how business is operated and how the world goes round.

Food for thought:

  • 100,000,000 – number of YouTube videos viewed per day.
  • Facebook had 250 million users and 35-and-older was the fastest-growing segment.
  • Social networks and blogs are now the 4th most popular online activity ahead of personal email.
  • In June, the top 10 social media sites had 480 million unique (individual) visitors.

Social media provides a venue where people can communicate on a social or business level like never before. From a business standpoint, social media’s accessibility, transparency and widespread reach allows companies to engage with their specific niche market and communicate directly with their consumers.  The user-generated content and managable publishing techniques is non-discriminating and can be practiced by nearly anyone.

Social media has created a venue where interactive marketing becomes attainable. This platform permits companies and consumers to interact with one another almost immediately (in real time), and feed off one another in order to get the best results. Social media is the future of marketing and its vital for company growth. In today’s economic state, social media is a cost effective way to increase public awareness, buzz, and brand recognition. By using social media platforms, small businesses can get in the foreground and build their brand with their target audience and expand their business.


Bringing your Brand Online

By claire |

Traditionally, all marketing is executed with the 4 P’s in mind:

  • Price
  • Product
  • Place
  • Promotion

internet_marketing1But with the world of communication rapidly changing, it’s time to build off our marketing foundation to integrate new marketing techniques that are relevant to emerging media.  In today’s ever-changing marketing landscape, marketing professionals have more tools in their belts to promote your product or service. Your website, social media presence and even emailing consumers allows your brand to reach its target audience with just a few clicks of a mouse. In turn, consumers can enter your branded world without even getting out of their chair!

So, when creating your brand’s online identity, there are a few more tips to keep in mind. (But, don’t leave the 4 P’s behind!) For your brand to be effectively marketed online, you must ensure your online marketing (or eMarketing) is:

Personalized

With all of the brands that are marketing online today, there is an over-saturation of information and soon enough your potential customer becomes just another face in the crowd. Don’t neglect your consumer! Make your customers feel like the website was made for them. By keeping the needs of your consumer in mind and personalizing your online marketing to fit their needs as often as possible, you will make your customer feel special and important. Once you gain consumer trust, the purse strings start to loosen.

Targeted

All of your online marketing needs to be tailored to a very specific audience.  Consumers online have the power to determine their online experience. With the abundance of information online today, consumers can be selective. So make sure that your brand message reaches the right hands. Think about your ideal consumer. What websites would he/she visit? What does he/she want out of their online experience? Targeting your campaign directly to your ideal consumer makes the most of your marketing dollars.

Interactive

Taking your marketing efforts online affords you the unique opportunity to engage with your consumer in a place where they feel comfortable. Start conversations with you customers! Find out why they love your product or service and what they think is missing. Conversation with your consumer can unlock their wants and needs and provide powerful insight to help you improve your brand. Plus your potential customer will have that warm and fuzzy feeling by knowing how much you care.

The business world is shifting, as are the tactics that marketing professionals must use to get the word out about your brand. As modes of communication evolve, it’s important to remember your marketing roots and to adapt your marketing strategy to fit the medium. So, ride the wave of change and bring your brand online!


Backyard Networking: Turning that Summer Rooftop Party or BBQ into Lead Generation

By claire |

bniAmericans are famous for two things: amazing BBQ and an incredible ability to network with people. Business leaders are starting to utilize different networks as an attempt to gather contacts and market themselves. No matter where you live or what you do, you are part of several networks; but what sets Americans apart from the rest of the world is that we’re good at utilizing both our business networks as well as our private ones.

As we approach the end of summer, now is the time to combine what has proven to be the most successful networking method together with your grill skills! The networking method we’re referring to is BNI.

BNI is a referral organization where main focus is to help one another to connect and create new business. By creating your own BBQ BNI in your backyard you will combine great food, a chance to meet friends and their friends and at the same time have the opportunity to develop new and exciting business and partnerships for your company. It requires a bit of planning, and the number one thing for a successful BNI is that people from different industries are represented.

Make sure to compile a list of your friends that you want to invite and write down the industry that they represent. Once you have the list done you can move on and start planning the second most important thing. The food! Aftebbq1r attending a numerous different networking events we can establish that one of the things always mentioned when people summarize their experience is if there was anything to eat. Sometimes you will even get a detailed description of what kind of food, snacks, and/or appetizers that you could munch on. Nobody who arranges a networking event wants the attendees to leave because they’re hungry. Last but not least, don’t forget to tell people to bring business cards. You want to make it easy for your guests to follow up quickly and efficiently.

One of the advantages of having your own BBQ BNI is the setting. Chances are you will have a far more relaxed social networking event since nobody has been forced to connect with one another just because they wear a name-tag with an industry that they know they have to interact with. Let’s face it, there have been too many times that you just want to leave that stale and stiff networking event where 38 of the 40 business people there feel slightly uncomfortable.

So, light that fire and get your business moving before fall is here!


Getting Back in Touch with Former Clients

By claire |

marketing-strategy-win-new-clientsOne of the most important aspects of business is growth. A recession, in particular, is a time when you want to grow your business, but without the spending. Stay in touch and network with past clients to help your business achieve growth goals in a time when cutting corners is the way of the world.

You may be thinking, but old clients are just that – old. You may be shooting yourself in the foot with this line of thinking. If you maintain good client relationships, they will use you again in the future, or at least refer you to their colleagues. If this is a new concept to you or you aren’t sure how to approach this, here are a few ways to get started.

1. Stay in touch!

With LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blackberries and IPhones, it’s impossible NOT to be in contact. So, use this to your advantage and build a relationship through these mediums to expand your business breadth.

2. Be an Expert!

Be the best in your field by practicing what you preach. Read the latest journals, news and publications to be stay top of your industry at all times. Draw clients to you with your knowledge.

3. Make time!

Set aside time to devote to reconnecting with old clients, nurturing new clients and following-up with existing clients. Your dedication to former, existing and potential clients will pave the way for growth and drive revenue increase.


Social media for social change

By claire |

twitter-for-treesA recent article in Time magazine, focused on the way Twitter has changed the face of the communication landscape.  Though criticized at first for being superficial and lacking substance, Twitter conversation has taken a more meaningful turn lately. Believe it or not, Twitter has evolved from an outlet for those with increasingly short attention spans to a platform for social change and relevant conversation.  And this has expanded beyond business endeavors to the nonprofit, and even political, arenas.

No one is really sure why this sudden change has taken place. It could be  the American presidential election, the controversy surrounding social media in China and Iran, President Obama’s call to service or even simply the recent explosion of social media as a popular form of communication.  Whatever the reason, it is becoming increasingly apparent that Twitter is being used to promote social causes as well as popular brands. Twitter has become the newest form of Cause Related Marketing.  You don’t have to work for a nonprofit to promote a meaningful cause. Just pick a cause that fits your brand image and you can use Twitter to make a difference. Here’s how:

1.  Connect with fellow advocates from around the word.bigstockphoto_internet_network_7433611

One of the greatest gifts social media and ever-changing technology has given us is that we are able to create a  virtual “global village.” Your  audience truly is just a tweet away. Entrepreneurs, social change activists and consumers or donors from Dubai to Sydney, from Rio de Janeiro to Beijing are literally at your fingertips.  Find others who believe in the cause you are promoting and engaging in relevant conversations with them via Twitter.  You  never know just how far one tweet can take you.

2. Host a social media event.

The evolution of video technology has enabled us to engage with people across the country and around the world.  Twitcam and other Twitter-based video applications are allowing us to host meetings and events via social media.  Use these applications and resources to host conversations with contacts in different cities, states or even countries.  Take your fingers off the keyboard and bring the conversation live without ever having to leave your chair.

twitter4603. Take the conversation with you.

Use iPhone and mobile device applications to take social media with you anywhere you go.  Trick out your phone with the latest applications and your cause never leaves you.  Relevant conversations, events, products and ideas are literally in the palm of your hand and you can make major social change from your phone. What a world we live in!

The world is changing and you can either resist it or embrace it.  Be a part of the change and use the power social media to promote a busienss or a cause or anything that means a lot to you and make a difference in the world around you.


Building a Strong Foundation: Marketing for Nonprofits

By claire |

non_profitOne of the biggest marketing myths is that marketing for nonprofits is a whole different ballgame than marketing for businesses.  In fact, marketing for nonprofits and for companies are really more similar than most people would think.  The major difference is that in for-profit marketing you are selling a product or service, whereas in nonprofit marketing you’re selling something a bit more intangible–a cause.

Most nonprofits are affiliated with a cause or a charity, from raising awareness about eduction to the environment, every nonprofit is a champion for something.  And it is that something what we as marketing experts are selling.  So how do you go about selling an idea? How do we sell consumers something that they can’t see?

The answer is the same way we would sell a tangible object.  Here are a few for-profit marketing strategies that we have translated to fit the needs of the nonprofit sector.

1. Emphasize Value Proposition

Every business must have a value proposition, or a statement of what makes your business better, brighter and faster than that of your competition; basically answering the question, “why choose us?” Nonprofits are not exempt from creating a solid value proposition.  Look at your mission statement and ask yourself, “out of the hundreds of other nonprofits that service the same cause, what makes this one different?” Once you answer that, you have a solid foundation from which to build your marketing plan.

2. Plan Events

In the nonprofit sector in particular, hosting fundraising events is a great way to earn revenue and get the word out about your cause or foundation. Make sure the event is at a high-profile location (usually upscale lounges and clubs will allow you to host an event during the evening, before they get busy). Invite everyone in your network and include raffles, (donated) prizes and drink specials at your event to show your guests a good time. Using the event as a hook, you will have be the perfect chance to tell your already-captive audience about your past success and future goals.

3. Take pictures!

A picture is worth a thousand words. So tell your organization’s story through visual media including photos, videos and slideshows.  Showcase the good work your nonprofit is doing through the newest technology.

4. Get on the social media train

Utilizing social media to spread the word about your cause is a great way to increase cause awareness and interact with your community. Get in touch with potential donors or even other nonprofits who help the same cause but in different locations.  Share insight and advice with other nonprofits, chances are they are dealing with the same challenges as you are. (If they aren’t, then they already have or eventually will!) Just like in the for-profit sector, establishing relationships with key players in your field is crucial and there’s no better way to do this than social media.

nonprofits3

Need more ideas or resources?Check out the following sites to wrap your head around marketing for nonprofits.

Eight Basic Steps to Marketing your Nonprofit Organization

Marketing & Communications Resources for Nonprofits

The Foundation Center

Nonprofit Marketing Guide