Maggie Aland is a staff writer for Fit Small Business and editor of the Marketing and Reviews sections. She writes on a variety of marketing topics, ranging from newspaper ads to how to market your business on Facebook. Before joining Fit Small Business, Maggie worked as a marketing associate at a niche publishing company. There she was responsible for determining the marketing plan and keeping up with the budget of 10+ B2B products. Her experience includes email, direct mail, social media, events, and more. When not editing or writing, you can find Maggie looking for the best brunch spots in NYC.
USPS® Every Door Direct Mail® (EDDM®) is an affordable targeted advertising technique that lets you map your marketing mail audience by age, income, or household size2. You can use the EDDM mapping tool to choose the ZIP Code™ and carrier route that will target your best possible customers—current and future. The EDDM mapping tool is easy to use and discounts are available even for small businesses.
Promotional emails are one of the most economical ways for any business to connect with customers. Research shows a message is five times more likely to be seen through email than on social media like Facebook or Twitter. That’s why musicians use email marketing software to share their performance schedule with their fans, non-profits use it to get donations and photographers use it to promote their portrait services. It just works.
If you are able to consult with customers one-on-one, ask any new clients how they heard about you. This will be trickier if you own a restaurant or clothing store since you won’t be able to track down every customer to ask how they heard about you. In these instances, consider asking customers to take a survey on every receipt. Offer an incentive (coupon, discount, etc.) to increase the chances that people will actually fill it out.
When you meet people face to face for any reason, ask for their business card. Offer yours. Set a glass bowl on the counter in your store or the reception desk in your office, and ask visitors to drop their cards in it. Offer some incentive to do so — a free product or service, gift card, etc. Use your own business cards to further drum up emails; add an offer on the back of your card that encourages people to sign up to receive your emails.
Update your website and continuously offer useful and updated content. Think of your website as a storefront but in the virtual world. In the same way that you do not leave your physical store unattended for a month, you would not do the same to your website. Always update your website and keep it fresh by having a blog, announcing sales, special offers, and new products. Think that you are a customer yourself, so give them the information that they want.
We just started using MailChimp because it seems to be the only one that offers a free account for small or new users. The problem is that there are so many steps for a potential subscriber to go through with both double opt-in and recaptcha, that we are getting at best complaints to worst, plain nasty comments posted on our Facebook page. We don’t know how many would be subscribers we lost because of this.
Paid channel marketing is something you’ve probably come across in some form or another. Other names for this topic include Search Engine Marketing (SEM), online advertising, or pay-per-click (PPC) marketing. Very often, marketers use these terms interchangeably to describe the same concept — traffic purchased through online ads. Marketers frequently shy away from this technique because it costs money. This perspective will put you at a significant disadvantage. It’s not uncommon for companies to run PPC campaigns with uncapped budgets. Why? Because you should be generating an ROI anyway. This chapter walks through the basics of how.
Even though this article is focused entirely on mail marketing, let’s be honest – it won’t be long until direct mail is pretty much a relic of a bygone era. And that’s perfectly okay – changing times call for changing tactics. While some business owners have opted to chuck mail marketing into the trash bin altogether, a more transitional option would be to reduce the amount spent on mail marketing but direct the recipients of the mail toward your business’s online front.
Purchased lists are ineffective, and they impact everyone else who uses Mailchimp, too. If you send emails to a list of people whose contact info you bought, many of the emails will get identified as spam. Some spam filters will flag a campaign if anyone with the same IP has sent spam in the past. When you use Mailchimp, your email is delivered through our servers, so if one person sends spam, it could prevent other users’ emails from reaching inboxes. But by forbidding Mailchimp users from using purchased lists, we increase deliverability for everyone.
“We’re always giving people the option to join our email list when they come into the spa, but we just recently added the option for people to sign up when they visit our website,” explains Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa. “The response has been great. We’re seeing a ton of people signing up, and we know that these are really engaged people who will be excited to receive our emails.”
This one really ruffles our feathers because it implies that you are shoving a bunch of spammy emails down your unsuspecting audiences throats. Blast away! In reality, we want email to be strategic, targeted, personalized, and properly segmented. Additionally, we want the content to be simple, direct, to the point, and useful. With this in mind, the word "blast" seems a bit too intense.
Online marketing can also be crowded and competitive. Although the opportunities to provide goods and services in both local and far-reaching markets is empowering, the competition can be significant. Companies investing in online marketing may find visitors’ attention is difficult to capture due to the number of business also marketing their products and services online. Marketers must develop a balance of building a unique value proposition and brand voice as they test and build marketing campaigns on various channels.
A lead magnet (a.k.a. an optin bribe) is something amazing that you give away for free in exchange for an email address. This doesn’t have to cost you anything to create– most lead magnets are digital materials like PDFs, MP3 audio files, or videos that you can create yourself at minimal or no cost. It can be absolutely anything you want, so long as it provides value for free.
It is increasingly advantageous for companies to use social media platforms to connect with their customers and create these dialogues and discussions. The potential reach of social media is indicated by the fact that in 2015, each month the Facebook app had more than 126 million average unique users and YouTube had over 97 million average unique users.
Sometimes this just means cashing in on some old favors, other times it means we’ll share one of their lead magnets on our account too. Sometimes we’ll work out a deal where we’ll do five caption shoutouts of their account in return for them sharing just one of our lead magnets or something similar. If necessary, sometimes we’ll even pay money to have them share one of our promotional posts.
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It's important to know the exact result you want before you begin. Then make that result happen by ending your message with a specific call to action (or CTA). A call to action might be "call us now," "use this discount code in our shop," or "schedule a demo." Make sure the CTA is direct and appealing, and that you show the reader why it's worth their time to click, visit, or call.
But before any of you young guns scoff and discount the idea of a mail marketing campaign, you might want to read through this blog entry. Direct mail, while certainly a dinosaur in the world of marketing, can still be a powerful weapon in your arsenal – if it’s done correctly and intelligently, of course. We’ll lay out a few broad tips for you to consider if carrying out a direct mail campaign. While we would still urge the majority of business owners toward a more electronic/Internet based marketing strategy, you can still get solid results from direct mail.
First, you will need a computer with internet connection. Then, you can choose from a variety of email servers such as Hotmail, Yahoo, Gmail etc. I recommend Gmail because it's free and has and excellent spam blocker. If you go to gmail.com, and click a link that will say something like "create an account". Fill out the information and use your new login and password to enter your new account.