Monthly Archives: October 2012

Remember Email? It’s Still a Great Marketing Tool

Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and You Tube bring you the celebrity spats, videos of cute, one-eyed cats and cool infographics.

And email…well, its still good for sharing a document with a business associate, same as it’s been doing since last century. Lately, it’s better known for offers of knock-off pharmaceuticals.

Yet at the same time, email is more engrained into our society than any of the social media platforms. Do you know anyone from a teenager to a senior citizen that doesn’t have an email address?

Twitter has more than 100 million accounts in the U.S., but up to 25 percent of them are never used. Facebook just topped 1 billion users worldwide. Still, Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo! Mail, together and alone, tops that number. And one study showed that 72 percent of people check their email more than six times per day.

This all means email is still a vibrant, effective means for reaching current and potential customers with tailored marketing messages. The key is having a quality list. Some companies keep their customer lists up-to-date and continually add leads from the sales staff. Most aren’t that conscientious about it. In that case you may need to buy a list from an email address provider. Count on your PR consultant to help you find the right list provider for your needs.

Next up is creating a message that will get recipients to pay attention. You can take a straight-forward or a more lighthearted approach. But one way to get people to read your message is to get them involved. Ask them questions. Are you getting what you need? Is your business all it can be? What problems do you need solved?

When you get replies, respond immediately. Use the information you get back from your questions to craft a tailored response for each. At that point your emails will stand out from the unsolicited clutter that jams many mailboxes.

Keep the campaign going. Offer your list something they need. Listen to your potential customers and respond accordingly.

Do this and you’ll be well on your way to a successful email campaign. Meantime, don’t forget the growing power of social media. Just don’t underestimate the value of email.

@JDaum

 

 

What’s that word? Oh, #%&@ … just pour me a drink

Lately, I’d been seriously worried about my cognitive health. I can’t remember names of old acquaintances; common, everyday words have been erased from my brain’s hard drive; and I have an overwhelming desire to smack Honey Boo Boo, a darling reality TV child.

But I’m feeling better now. I just read about a Swedish study that found writers have a higher risk than other folks of suffering from anxiety, bipolar disorders, schizophrenia, unipolar depression and substance abuse. Now maybe I don’t have advancing dementia. Am I’m just a depressed, uptight drunk?

Interestingly, creative types taken as a whole  — dancers, artists, photographers and writers — aren’t crazier than the general population. It seems it’s just the writers that spin off to la-la land.

That begs two questions. Are people more attracted to becoming writers because of their already poor mental health? Or does writing mess up our brains once we make it a career?

I need to go think about that while I fire a few more darts at a photo of Honey Boo Boo making funny faces. And I’ll be careful with the darts. Writers are twice as likely to commit suicide.

@JDaum

Everybody’s a Twitter expert (well, maybe)

 

Everyone’s jumping on Twitter these days with links to blogs offering advice about how business owners can use the platform to greatly increase profits.

Read them and you’ll know how many Tweets to post each day. Well, maybe you will. Some say three, others say six are better.

There are supporters of posting between 8 to 10 a.m. ET (a little early for anyone living west of Kansas), while others say 1 to 3 p.m. ET is the sweet spot. Longer or shorter tweets? They each have their supporters.  Is a single hash tag enough? Are four too many?

All this points out what I’m learning from running three Twitter accounts and helping out on another — there are no one-size-fits-all solutions.  Every business, every industry is different.

One tweet I read recently really hit home. A woman complained about an online job posting for marketing position that required a minimum of 10 years of social media experience. I assume that job will go unfilled for the next few years. Ten years ago there was no Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram or other major social media platform.

Anyone involved in social media is still a pioneer. Run from anyone who tells you he or she knows exactly what will work for your business. Instead be ready to work with someone willing to experiment and take reasonable chances to find the program that works best for you.

There is no doubt social media can be a huge PR and marketing boost. So go ahead and read these ‘experts.’ There is a little something to be learned from each blog — including this one.

Of course, that’s just my humble opinion.

— JD

Twitter: @jdaum

 

Small Businesses Say Social Media Helps Them Grow

Small business owners are catching on to social media in a big way. And many of them are reporting some impressive results.

A recent survey of 614 U.S. small business owners showed that 90 percent are actively engaged in social networking sites. And about three of four said those sites are as valuable — or more so — than in-person networking.

More than a third of the respondents said being found by new customers was the most valuable benefit of social media. Impressively, 78 percent said that over the past year they gained a quarter or more of their new customers through online or social media channels.

But the large number of available options — Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Groupon and other channels — is overwhelming for many small business owners.

This is where an experienced social media consultant can help. Choosing the right channels and then keeping them filled with regularly updated, quality content can make the difference between social media success and failure. The same holds true of a company website, which one in four of the survey respondents said was an important business driver.

The time has come when a small business owner not engaging or properly using social media is at a competitive disadvantage.

Click here for more details on the recent survey sponsored by a small business online community.

-JD

Twitter: @jdaum