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EMAIL MARKETING

Here’s how to expand business leads, increase revenue

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Question: I know that sales are the driver of my business. Any thoughts on lead generation in today’s environment?

Answer: Sales mean revenue and that is, in fact, the driver of all businesses, small and large. There are basically two sources of revenue with your current line of offerings: Selling to existing customers — either more of the same or different products or services than they are currently buying. And selling to new customers, where you have to generate the opportunity to sell them, which starts with a lead. In order to achieve both you have to have very specific but different strategies and accompanying tactics. The one commonality is that your offer to potential buyers has to have added value for your customers and prospects.

The byword for lead generation during the pandemic is “creative.” What worked in the past may not in this period of changing consumer patterns and behaviors. Check out these ideas that you can customize to your business and the unique seasonal environment in which we all live and work.

Review your website’s call to action and SEO (search engine optimization). Do a Google search on your business to see where you rank in the search results. If you are not 1, 2 or 3 then you might have your webmaster or whoever is responsible for the maintenance of your website check out the SEO, the links and keywords — the words people type into a search engine to find what they are looking for. McKinsey calls the top search results (1,2,3) the “initial consideration set,” which will lead a buyer on a journey of investigation and learning. Having high value “keywords” also guides leads to you. Keywords should describe who you are, what you do and what you offer. The one big mistake small businesses make is that they create a website or have one created and don’t maintain it.

If you are not encouraging buyers to leave reviews on sites with links back to your website, you are missing opportunities.

Become a knowledge leader. Buyers are thirsty for knowledge. They want to know the details behind the “headlines.” They want answers to their questions, like “why does the food on the top shelf of my refrigerator freeze?” Your website can be the FAQ center for buyers or prospects. When their questions are answered, the value of your business increases incrementally, since you are providing a service beyond the product you have sold them. You might feature experts in the field with blogs contributed by them. You might find some YouTube videos to post that answer frequently asked questions posed to you. You might post articles by major manufacturers or links to major manufacturers’ websites that have articles, posts or blogs that might be of interest to your customers and prospects. Remember, always have a call to action button so they can contact you.

Offer something of value for free that connects you to them. You might offer a handy checklist on springtime lawn prep or fertilizing or tips on watering different flowers, shrubs and grasses. When you offer prospects and even customers something of value that helps them address their “pain points” they may not even consciously know exist, you are creating a value proposition for them and a link to you. This value-added connection might be a quiz that tests their knowledge about soil preparation. At the end, you might offer them a checklist to help them prepare garden soil for planting in exchange for their contact information. That becomes a lead to the next sale.

Measure what’s working and do more of it. As a marketer you have a number of tools, both traditional and digital, to generate leads. Make a list of all those vehicles you are using. The Sunday Cape Cod Times, The Register, postcard campaign, local event sponsorship, Facebook and LinkedIn posts, online promotions, or an email campaign. Then, keep track of results. Tom Watson, of IBM, said to manage it, you need to measure it.

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Give something of value to generate a lead. The key is “something of value.” If you offer junk, you get junk leads in return. The biggest issue with giveaways is that they are over-attracting and nonselective. However, if you create a white paper or a checklist that applies to solving customer problems, you will find those who take advantage of the promotion will be those who are qualifiable. Not qualified, but qualifiable. You can also offer a free trial of your product or service, which gives you the opportunity to demonstrate and prove the value of your offering. That exchange may result in a qualifiable sales lead.

Offer a challenge or quiz. If you offer a quiz to your website visitors it gives you an opportunity in a creative way to learn more about them and obtain contact information. When done right, you can give and get at the same time by giving them information while you collect lead data.

What digital tools are available to small businesses to generate leads? HubSpot Marketing starts as a free tool that offers forms, pop-up forms, live chat and chat box that will aid in capturing, storing and nurturing leads. And it will plug into HubSpot’s CRM or can be connected to your CRM, email tool or data platform in place.

Intercom is an on-site messaging and chat feature to engage on-site visitors and collect their data. Once in the system, their behavior can be analyzed so you can create “trigger messages” to accelerate their onboarding as a viable lead.

Mailshake is an effective tool for outreach marketing. It helps automate, personalize and optimize your emails for sales development, content promotion, link building, PR and even fundraising for nonprofits. It offers ready-to-use templates that can be used with modest customization. Qualaroo is an on-site polling tool, which can no only collect user feedback that can be used to improve the customer buying experience but also to collect lead qualification data using a pop-up form.

Contributed by Marc L. Goldberg, certified mentor. Sourced: “16 Creative Lead Generation Ideas,” Allie Decker. Hubspot Marketing, “The 15 Best Lead Generation Tools in 2020,” Alex Birkett. For free and confidential mentoring to jump-start your lead generation, contact SCORE Cape Cod and the Islands, capecod.score.org, capecodscore@verizon.net, 508-775-4884. We go where you are!

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EMAIL MARKETING

What Not to do in Email Marketing

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What Not to do in Email Marketing

Email marketing is one of the best ways to speak directly to your audience. You can build a relationship with them and create loyal customers. It is also a great way to generate traffic to your website, increase leads, and execute large campaigns.

With all of the benefits that your company can gain from email marketing, it’s no wonder that 64% of small businesses engage in email marketing. However, there are still a few important things to keep in mind. In order to be successful, you should avoid these 4 mistakes explained by 97 Switch when preparing an email marketing campaign.

Talk About Yourself

Many companies fall into the trap of only talking about themselves. They assume that since their audience signed up for emails, they want to hear all about the company and the sales. While marketing your products or services is important to do sometimes, your audience is still looking for value.

Failing to foster a relationship with them by being too sales-y will lead to unsubscribers and a loss of potential customers.

Instead, it’s important to give the audience something in return for their loyalty. Exclusive deals and sales codes are appreciated, but they also want to see educational or entertaining content in their inbox.

One way to do this is by creating content such as “you asked, we delivered” or “your questions answered” to show that you care about your customers and the feedback they give you, and it builds trust.

It’s also important to speak your audience’s language. Sometimes, companies get too caught up in trying to sound professional and impressive and end up using jargon that’s hard to understand.

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Using more simple ways to get your message across is imperative, as it makes the email easier to consume and thus more valuable.

Email Without a Purpose

While building relationships with your customers is one of the main goals of email marketing, you should keep in mind that they don’t want to hear from your company just for the sake of connecting.

Ensure that you have a clear purpose for each email you send, whether that be to inform, entertain, or motivate.

Being intentional about when to reach out includes sending timely emails. You should respond to relevant industry, company, or world news in a timely manner. Readers would find you reminding them about the last day of a sale important, and that qualifies as a purposeful email.

Part of proceeding with a clear purpose is also including a call to action in your emails. Your readers want to know exactly what you’re asking of them, and making it simple is the best way to get it. Beware of including too many calls to action, as it can be more confusing and seem more selfish than helpful.

Over Generalize

Personalization is one of the greatest strengths of email marketing, yet it is often overlooked. Simply including first names in an email makes it sound more personal and builds stronger relationships. This can easily be achieved using an email scheduling tool such as Mailchimp. Again, this is a way to build customer relationships. Research shows that using someone’s name in the subject line increases open rates by 26%. Be that as it may, personalization is more than just plugging in names.

Using an email marketing tool is also an easy way to utilize the segmentation aspect of personalization. By separating your audience into groups, you can categorize what they would each be most interested to hear from you.

It has been shown that segmented campaigns perform better than non-segmented campaigns. An example of this is categorizing your readers as beginners, intermediate, or advanced knowledge of your industry. Based on this category, you can send each segment a different email that would pertain to them more specifically.

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Your readers will appreciate that your content is tailored to their needs. Imagine sending a beginner an email that skips over the basics of a process. They would be confused and find it very unhelpful.

Now imagine an expert who is wasting time reading the basics that they know by heart. They would become frustrated and lose interest in finishing the email. These are just two examples of using segmentation to better serve your audience.

Use Poor Subject Lines

Often, people will decide whether to open an email at all based on the subject line alone. A mistake that marketers tend to make is wording the subject in a way that sounds like spam, and thus never gets opened or reaches the audience.

As we mentioned before, it is also helpful to include someone’s name in the subject line. While it might seem like a shot in the dark to form an effective subject, there are a few tips for the best open rates you can achieve.

A good subject line should be short. The ideal length for a subject is 7 words, based on a study conducted by Marketo.

However, you also want to make it interesting so that people are curious and want to know more. This curiosity is enough to encourage people to read the email.

However, you want to avoid click-baiting your readers with interesting subject lines that have nothing to do with the content in the email. Make sure that your subject is also relevant to what you have to say. Otherwise, you will have the opposite effect you’d intended by destroying trust and losing credibility.

Being Inconsistent

Simply sending out random emails is not enough to see results. You have to stick to a schedule that your readers can count on and know when to expect to hear from you in their inbox.

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The frequency can vary based on your industry and from business to business, but emailing at least once a month is recommended. The more you email, the more you will be on the top of potential customers’ minds when they need what you offer.

That being said, you shouldn’t always assume more contact is better. If your company emails are flooding their inbox, you can bet that they will either block the sender or unsubscribe from future emails. Finding a balance is key to seeing the best results from your campaigns.

You should also consider the brand voice that you are using to speak to your customers. If your emails all sound like they were written by different people, then it’s hard to gain the brand-strengthening benefits of email marketing. It is also confusing to your audience and makes it harder for them to connect with the company.

A good way to remedy this is to create a company persona, where you give a personality to the company that is sending the emails.

Are you funny and witty, or are you serious and somber? Consider strengthening your branding within the company before communicating it with the world.

Key Takeaways

You can’t expect to be perfect at email marketing, so don’t get discouraged if you find that you have made these mistakes. There is always room for improvements, and every so often it’s a good idea to evaluate how your email marketing campaigns are going.

Using analytics to track your results and adjusting your strategy will help you grow as you fix any mistakes you might be making.

By taking the time to improve your strategy, you will see the success that can carry across all your marketing efforts.

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