So you’ve decided that you’d like to stay in touch with your customers more often and you’d like to do something more effective compared to snail mail, postcards and generic marketing emails that they may never read. Maybe you’ve been thinking about taking the plunge and trying the new so called online marketing techniques that everyone’s been talking about but you’re just not sure where to start. I can help. 🙂
I can tell you from my own personal experience that there are ALOT of methods out there but I’m going to review a few of my most favorite techniques. When you implement these methods you want to ensure that you commit 100% in order to see results.
First start with a plan. Like anything you need to understand what you hope to achieve and gain with your new plan and what your objectives are going to be.
Do you simply want to inform customers of specials and new product updates or do you want to simply build relationships and strengthen them by providing helpful information, tips, and just simply keeping in touch? It’s proven that the more your customers see valuable information from you, the more likely they are to do business with you. They will see you as a trusted source. The key here is the word VALUABLE. The information needs to be worth their while, information they find intriguing or helpful to them. Then you can start putting your plan into action.
I suggest that you start with an email marketing campaign by using a program like Constant Contact, www.constantcontact.com, or MailChimp, www.mailchimp.com. Both of these are online services where you can choose from hundreds of templates including newsletters, coupons, postcards, etc. The templates are very user friendly and match any color scheme you may have. They have hundreds of pictures in their stock galleries for you to choose from as well, so you can make your emails look extremely professional in a matter of minutes. You can then easily import your email addresses from your computer into the program, where your email addresses will then be stored for future campaigns. Simply add new email addresses in and start building your list.
You can start your email templates months in advance, save them, and work on them when it’s convenient for you, in addition to being able to set timers and schedule the exact time of delivery for when you want them to be delivered, such as 7am on Friday morning, or 4pm Monday afternoon. You can send holiday greetings and cards and pricing specials or notifications anytime.
When you send your emails, always abide by anti spam laws and the email policy’s of your email marketing provider, there are strict laws regarding spam and junk mail. I always provide an opt-in and opt-out attachment in all emails and have a link in all my emails for automatic signup to my email campaigns and newsletters. I also ask my customers to forward the emails and newsletters if they feel someone else might find the information useful. I use these tactics for what I call soft selling techniques. My goal isn’t to push the customer into purchasing or buying from me, in fact most of my newsletters have nothing in them relating to my products. I actually provide them with helpful tips, tricks, and information they might need. For instance if I sell automobiles, I wouldn’t include any sales information in my monthly newsletter. Rather, I would provide articles on how to keep your vehicle running in cold winter months, how to keep your vehicle protected from sun and UV rays, and infromation on the best rated tires in the industry. I might include tips on how to get the best fuel mileage and how to repair chips in the paint. If I owned a laundromat, I would focus on telling people about the newest laundry detergents, or stain removing products, and provide tips on how they can get stains our of their clothes. If you operate a veterinary clinic, then tell your customers the importance of vaccinating your pets, provide a calendar of pet related activities in the community, review common pet problems, and the proper way to clip pet nails etc. You get the idea.
Another wonderful program I have used in the past is called Paperless Post, www.paperlesspost.com. This service is also online and is a virtual card company. Rather than spend the money for mailing actual invitations or cards through mail, and never knowing if your intended recipient received it, you can literally create a highly professional invitation, thank you, or holiday card, with a matching envelope through Paperless Post, and then write your content, change fonts and colors, add pictures, logos etc. Upload it all, attach an RSVP and then simply upload your email contacts for whom you want to send the card to and schedule delivery. Once your emails go out, it tells you when it was sent, when it was opened by the receiver, and they can immediately click on the link in the card to rsvp. It’s that simple! I have used this for large Open House Events and for sending Holiday Cards and Thank You Cards with huge success. You can track your responses and then re-send the card or invite anytime if your recipient still hasn’t opened the card. The tracking results are so helpful and allow you to be highly efficient.
I also highly recommend getting involved in social media and blogging. I am a firm believer that if you commit to engaging in social media and you continuosly update it several times per week, this will result in higher sales and engagement with your customers. Remember the goal is to build relationships which will eventually lead to business.
Top Five Suggestions for Social Media:
For more information on social media, visit my other blog posts.
Here’s to building relationships!
Miss Executive, Tina Holtz