Specializing in Marketing Services for the Learning and HR Solutions industries

Archive for October 2011

9 Easy Tips And Newsletter Ideas To Build Your Following

A carefully crafted newsletter strategy will build trust in your customers and prospects and make them want to do business with you. Here are 9 easy tips and newsletter ideas to make your newsletters more interesting, and easier to assemble and send out.

1. Build Your List – Everybody you meet should be given the option to join your newsletter. Several of my clients just finished the Austin Home and Garden show. They took in hundreds of contacts. I hope they don’t make the mistake of thinking all these people are ready to be their customer, RIGHT NOW. But there’s a good chance that many of them are looking for valuable information that will help them make their buying decision when they are ready. If you do these types of shows, make your first post show contact an invitation to receive your newsletter… with no obligation. Also send out a Free Case Study featuring a customer testimonial and interview. They will appreciate the valuable information.

2. Keep On Schedule – Give yourself deadlines and stick to them. Schedule time to do your research and write your articles. Develop a reserve of content so that you can easily find womething to include instead of having to constantly write under the pressure of a deadline.

3. Use Digg and Google Reader – These are great services for finding content. Mark your favorite articles so that you can always come back to them. You can include links in your articles to those articles or you can use the information to write your own. Here’s a great article: “How To: Use Google Reader Like A Rockstar”

4. Summarize Your Blog Posts- Keep your newsletters short. Post your long articles, with details, pictures and links on your blog for everybody to see, and summarize those posts in your newsletter. Use trackable links in your newsletter so that you can see which posts are most popular.

5. Automate – I use Aweber to manage my newsletters because they have automated the entire process and made it a no-brainer for me. You can choose whatever look and feel you want from their templates. They create the summary posts from your blog entries, and they provide the subscription forms for you to capture contact information. Plus they have all the trackable links and reporting that I need to analyze each mailing. There are many services out there to choose from, but Aweber is a recognized industry leader. That’s why I have used them for the past 5 years.

6. Write Case Studies about your Customers – Talk about a Win. Win, Win! Your readers love success stories. They want to know how others have solved the problems they are facing. Who better to tell the story than your satisfied customers? Third party testimonials are very powerful… when they are authentic. Your readers will love the stories. Your customers will appreciate the recognition, and you will get the benefit of the great press!

7. Sell by Teaching – People don’t like to be sold. But they do like to be educated, and they will buy from the experts they trust. Make at least 75% of your content informational and educational, and no more than 25% of your content should be “Salesy”.

8. Include Resourceful Links – People love to find good new resources, articles and videos. Share your favorite places with you list. They will appreciate you for it. By the way, have you bookmarked my $1,000,000 Rolodex”? There’s tons of goodies for you here!

9. Pay Attention to Your Numbers – You want to keep track of each mailing and track its performance. Pay attention to how many were sent, how many bounced, how many were opened, which links were clicked, what time of day and what day of week the mailing was sent. Track different subject lines and content. You will soon learn what is most effective for your readers. Once again, Aweber is a great service that makes this easy for you.
Remember, building trust is a function of time, frequency and quality. Use your newsletter to keep in front of your audience on a consistent basis, and they will turn to you to solve their problems and do business with you.


Written by admin

Newsletter, Social Media Do’s

Tips for Delivering Results-oriented Product Trainings for your Sales Teams

One of the most important groups within any organization is sales professionals. Because the success of your organization ultimately depends on the success of the sales team. Knowing the product and being able to describe its benefits and value to customers is a critical capability for any sales force. Without a firm grasp of your product, your salespeople will not be able to guide or influence the buying decisions of your customers.

With the stated goal of sales being to drive sales revenues, a well designed product training program can help your sales force bring your products to life and help the prospective customer see what solutions your product offers to meet them at their point of need. Your customers expect your sales people to be experts. They themselves are pretty well-informed and savvy enough to know when a sales person is not knowledgeable about the product. Through timely and effective product training for your sales force, you can ensure that your customers are not disappointed and that you are ahead of the curve in beating your competition.

Typical goals for product trainings for sales people are usually the following:
• To train salespeople on general knowledge of products and their features
• To ensure salespeople receive comprehensive, consistent and professional training
• To ensure that salespeople avoid blunders caused by ignorance or wrong application of information
And typically, product trainings cover the following:
• Features of the product
• Installation and configuration or operation of the product
• Unique selling points of the product

However, in many cases, when you gather feedback from the sales team on a product training they have attended, their responses are invariably disappointing. Most feel that the training barely touched the surface of what they need to know. One of the reasons for these kinds of trainings being ineffective is that most of the training materials have probably been blindly re-hashed from materials used by the product management group, based on inputs from the product developers. This approach results in a feature-by-feature product training that doesn’t really address the needs of the salespeople from the perspective of sales.

So how do we make our product training for sales people relevant, and ensure it covers what is most important to them?

Here are some tips for delivering effective and result-oriented product trainings for your sales teams:

• Do cover product features and product USPs, but try not to teach a product in isolation, rather, provide a context for the learning.
• In addition to what is typically covered through product trainings, also ensure you address the following:

o The overall place of the product in the enterprise-wide process
o A comprehensive conceptual background required to deploy the product
o Positioning the product to show how customers will benefit from the product

In fact, one of the main goals of product training for sales people should be to train salespeople on how to translate product features into benefits for customers. This is the difference between training your sales people to sell products as opposed to training them to sell solutions. The result of such an approach is that at the end of the training, salespeople know how to sell a solution and not just features of the product.


Posted by Asma Zaineb, Manager Marketing Communications

Email Still King of ROI at $40.56 For Every $1 Spent (DMA)


Once again, commercial email is returning vastly more for every dollar spent on it this year than every other marketing channel, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s just-released Power of Direct economic impact study.
Email is bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year, according to the DMA. This is compared to catalogs’ ROI of $7.30, search’s return of $22.24, Internet display advertising’s return of $19.72 and mobile’s return of $10.51.
Commercial email is expected to drive $63.1 billion in sales this year, compared to $57.8 billion last year, according to the study.
The DMA projects email to drive $67.8 billion in sales in 2012 and $82.2 billion in sales in 2016.

Source: The Magill Report
Posted by Tamara Gielen on Oct 05, 2011 in Studies & Research | Permalink

Email Remains ROI King; Net Marketing Set to Overtake DM, Says DMA

By Ken Magill

Once again, commercial email is returning vastly more for every dollar spent on it this year than every other marketing channel, according to the Direct Marketing Association’s just-released Power of Direct economic impact study.

Separately, non-email Internet marketing, which includes display, search and social networking, is expected to surpass direct mail in sales for the first time next year, according to the study.

Internet marketing is expected to drive $576 billion in sales this year compared to direct mail’s $630.5 billion, according to the DMA

But then in 2012, Internet marketing will drive $651.8 billion in sales compared to direct mail’s $642.4 billion, according to the study.

Internet marketing will far surpass direct mail in 2016, driving $970.3 billion in 2016 compared to direct mail’s $724.1 billion, according to the DMA.

And while email’s ROI is still fairly stunning, every year it softens just a bit more.

Email is bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year, according to the DMA. This is compared to catalogs’ ROI of $7.30, search’s return of $22.24, Internet display advertising’s return of $19.72 and mobile’s return of $10.51.

However, email’s ROI has dropped significantly from its estimated $52.23 returned for every dollar spent on it in 2006. Also, email’s ROI is expected to continue to drop, according to the DMA.

Email is projected to bring in $39.40 for every dollar spent in 2012, and $35.02 for every dollar spent in 2016.

“Part of this is the maturation of the channel,” said Yory Wurmser, the DMA’s director of marketing and media insights. “Whenever you have a mature channel, you still have innovation but the easy opportunities are gone. Also, percentage wise, we’re talking about a very small drop.”

And while email’s ROI is headed downward for the foreseeable future, mobile’s is headed upward, according to the study.

Mobile’s return for every dollar spent this year is $10.51, according to the study. It is expected to be $11.37 in 2012 and $12.45 in 2016, the study said.

Social networking’s ROI is also expected to rise, according to the DMA. Social networking’s current ROI is $12.71, the study said. Social networking will return $12.90 for every dollar spent on it in 2012 and $13.43 for every dollar spent in 2016, according to the study.

In other news, commercial email is expected to drive $63.1 billion in sales this year, compared to $57.8 billion last year, according to the study.

The DMA projects email to drive $67.8 billion in sales in 2012 and $82.2 billion in sales in 2016.

Social networking is expected to drive $31.9 billion in sales this year, $38.8 billion in 2012 and $81.8 billion in 2016, according to the study.

Not surprisingly, search is the king of driving online sales.

The channel is expected to drive $309.7 billion in sales this year, $350.2 billion in 2012 and $506.1 billion in 2016, according to the DMA.

Internet display advertising is projected to drive a respectable $168.1 billion in sales this year, $186.9 billion in 2012 and $279.2 billion in 2016, according to the study.

“Display is being driven by its ability to target,” said Wurmser.


Social Media + Search Marketing + Online Media = Success

By Harry Gold September 27, 2011

One of the things I am always talking about is the blurring of the lines between social media, search marketing, and online media. The days of specializing in just one area are going away because focus in one area limits your ability to create synergy between those three channels (as well as everything else that may be part of your marketing and advertising).

For example, a social media marketing program can yield much better and long-lasting success if it’s blended with SEO and some paid ads.

Often the success of social is realized via search when all the content that a company pushes out propagates through the web from social sharing and general buzz. So without SEO being applied to social SEO, you lose the extra benefit of highly distributed content that results in off-page optimization (your content showing up on other sites). You can also lose the benefits of more links, more listings, and your branded content showing up in universal search results.

In addition, if you are not used to tracking and optimizing on campaigns, like online media and paid search, your ability to treat social media like a truly measurable medium is greatly diminished. And nothing adds octane to a Facebook fan drive like online media integration and specifically Facebook ads that encourage consumers (friends of your fans) to connect to your brand. And then sponsored stories can keep your fans engaged even when Facebook’s EdgeRank starts to filter your posts. (EdgeRank is Facebook’s filter that determines what posts shows up in a person’s newsfeed. The more a person engages with your brand with “likes” and comments, the more they, and their friends who may also be your fans, will see your status updates.)

Finally, utilizing social sharing technology (chiclets – see my ClickZ column “Socializing Your Banners With Chiclets”) in your ads and landing pages for media and paid search can turn a single paid click into hundreds of free impressions and clicks with no cost.

Now, take away the combined knowledge of how all three of these disciplines work and the potential of each one is greatly reduced.

So here are some quick examples of how these online channels are coming together to blur the lines between disciplines:
•Google Display Network: paid search or online media? It’s both. You can target by keyword, site, demographics, and geography. You can serve text ads, banners, videos, and rich media. You can manage it through the Google search interface or do a direct media buy. You can track with your PPC tracking or your ad server. And most of all – you can utilize retargeting to stay with consumers who are in buy-mode!
•YouTube Sponsored Videos and overlay ads: online media, social media marketing, or paid search? All three! Bringing together the video content you have placed in your free YouTube channel with the online media and paid search options of YouTube and AdWords is very powerful and can create both a huge amount of low-cost engaging impressions and drive valuable video views of video content you have invested in producing. Furthermore, the social sharing elements of YouTube encourages people to post videos on Facebook and Twitter further.
•Facebook advertising: online media or social media marketing? Both. You can do a media buy but then link the ads to your free social media marketing fan page. You can deploy ads that encourage people to become a fan, comment on your posts, or share your message with their friends.
•Social content development: SEO or social media marketing? Both. Clearly all the video production, tweeting, and Facebook posts are not just for SEO – that is a huge amount of effort just to get links. We do it to create a powerful standalone social channel. However, that does not mean it should not be infused with keywords, links, and content that drive the search rankings of your site and help that content to pop in universal search like video and image results. You want your socially-distributed content to help your site pop and you want it to pop in the engines on its own!
•Blogger outreach: social media marketing, PR, online media, or SEO link building? All four! Involving bloggers in your content development is a powerful way to interact with an influential group and create content that can be used in your social channels and websites, drive links to your website, and enhance the value and credibility of your advertising.
•Chiclet-enabled ads and landing pages: online media or social media marketing? Both. There is no better way to squeeze extra value from an online campaign then to embed social sharing chiclets into your ads, thank you pages, and landing pages. The key to making it part of your marketing program is to apply the right tracking links and methodology to the content you spread around with your chiclets.

Of course, there are so many more media integration ideas and possibilities out there – many more than I could possibly list. However, the point of this week’s column is to inspire you to think about all the ways you can blend what has been traditional separate silos together. Also, as an online marketer, I am just listing online opportunities – this column has not even begun to explore integration with mobile and traditional advertising. Got more ideas? Please leave them in your comments and don’t forget to share this column via those sharing chiclets above!


Digital Addiction, Social Media and the Future of Marketing

By Naomi Troni

As a keen user of social media I often find myself in “lively discussions” with critics who dismiss the whole thing as a hyped-up flash in the pan. Some of the fiercest critics I meet are working in advertising and marketing, and I can sympathize with their point of view — up to a point. Their chests are sore from the prodding fingers of digital interlopers proclaiming how social media is going to make the old media disciplines redundant. They point out that for all the excitement about social media, on average Americans still spend 20 percent of their day watching TV.

Over recent months there’s even been more good news for my social media refusenik and digital doubter friends. Alongside the relentless addition of zeroes to Facebook’s user stats, there have been media stories of “millions” deactivating their Facebook accounts; it seems some users are bored, some find it uncool to be rubbing digital shoulders with their mum and her friends, some don’t like the commercialization and some are worried about their privacy. In fact the trend seemed to be confirmed in August, when Gartner issued a report headlined “Consumer Fatigue with Social Media.”

According to ZDNet, disgruntled users have flooded Facebook with requests to see their personal data. Instructions on how to make the request and discussions about the possible repercussions have spread like wildfire through — you guessed it — social media.

Could it be that the tide is turning against social media, or are these just examples of journalists looking for eye-catching angles on a familiar story?

According to Nielsen’s Social Media Report for Q3 2011, social networks and blogs are still the main destinations online, accounting for a quarter of the time Americans spend on the Internet. Facebook is the top destination and in May 2011 American spent 53.5 billion minutes on it, up from 50.6 billion in May 2010.

It looks like those reports of Facebook losing popularity may be a little premature.

Still, let’s suppose that a growing number of consumers do decide to turn away from the dominant social media platforms. What will they do with the time and attention they save? Will they engage more in sports and physical activity? Watch more TV and listen to more radio and music? Read more printed books, magazines and newspapers? Socialize more face-to-face? Go to the movies more, see more plays and concerts? Spend more time gardening or fixing things around the home? In other words, will people spend time as they used to spend it a decade ago?

That would mean not only cutting back on Facebook and the like, but also turning away from the computers and smartphones and tablets they use to access social media. Maybe some people do have the discipline and determination to “go analog,” just as some people manage to kick carbs and embrace salads and smaller portions. It does happen, but take a look around; it’s a struggle — many try and not so many manage it.

Experience shows that once people have had quick and easy Internet access they don’t want to give it up, especially if they have a portable or mobile device. Sure, Facebook could go out of style, just as MySpace did. Many may decide to freeze out Facebook and turn their back on Twitter, but my hunch is that few consumers do that. And few that do will ditch their digital devices and cut their Internet connectivity. Despite the dire economy, sales of smartphones and tablets are surging; 29 million consumers bought an iPad in its first 15 months and Amazon is about to enter the tablet market with a lower-priced competitor that’s gotten the media excited already; as Gizmodo put it breathlessly: “The first thing that hit us? This. Thing. Is. Really. Fast.”

The power of mobile devices is increasing, the prices are coming down and the range of apps and content for them is growing — including videos, live TV and catch-up TV. As they become lighter and handier, and connectivity increases, growing numbers of consumers will have a mobile device within reach all the time and everywhere — including while they’re watching TV. They may be spending long periods on these screens, as they currently do with TV, computers and games consoles, or they may be dipping in and out.

Either way, mobile screens will grab an increasing share of their attention. And whatever else they’re doing with their device, some of it will involve interacting with others, whether it’s through Facebook and Twitter or other services. So the choice for marketers is clear: Either disregard digital and work a lot harder and smarter for the shrinking non-digital portion of consumers’ attention, or embrace digital and work a lot harder and smarter for the growing digital share.