AIM Custom Media Websites Blogs Glen Allen, VA 23059

Category: Email Marketing

Opportunities Abound During Tough Economic Times

Contrarian view? Absolutely not. The best time to strike is when your competitors are off guard. While they gather in their conference rooms to complain about the economy, use this golden opportunity to reach out to your existing customers and find new prospects.

Far too many business owners absolutely take the wrong approach. They hunker down, cut marketing budgets and pull back. The end result is "unattended customers" and less competition for you. Businesses that cut marketing budgets also demotivate their best salespeople, which start spending more time thinking about getting a new job than a new customer.

Economic downturns are an excellent time to strengthen your relationships with both your existing customers and your competitors' customers. Odds are, they are not as busy. Are they willing to spend a little more time with you? Very possible so get in touch with them and consider the following:

  • Collect testimonials: Asking for a testimonial is a contact with your customer that's not a sales call. Tell them you would like to promote the testimonial and link it to their website, which will promote them as well. Use the opportunity to show your customers you value their opinion, your business relationship, and their business (i.e., dynamic websites, blogs, Scribd, PR news, etc.);
  • Survey your customers: Create an opportunity to collect feedback and discuss services and/or products you offer that they may not be fully aware of or completely understand (i.e., email marketing, custom website landing pages, etc.);
  • Network: Introduce your customers to people in your network that they consider prospects and ask to meet their business colleagues and associates – an excellent source of referrals (i.e., LinkedIn, Plaxo, Facebook, etc.), and
  • Use your "consulting" skills: Help your customers and prospects save time and money by providing pertinent industry news and educational materials that will help them compete during these difficult times (i.e., email newsletters, white papers and custom publications all have high ROIs).

But don't be fooled. There is also new competition for you – competition from << Continued on digital AIM >>

[Please note we have updated our marketing news website. To receive future updates including our 2009 Marketing Plan series, add your info here | digital AIM – Email.]

Promo Content Working Better Than Expected B2B

We all know that content is king, right? Not necessarily. Too much content performs poorly if the recipient doesn't have the time to read it. And, if the goal of your email marketing content is to sell then don't dismiss targeted B-to-B promotional copy. Here's my point.

B-to-B email marketing focuses heavily on relevant content – lots of info and educational flare. Is it working? Not as well as we think in all cases according to a recent study published by the MarketingSherpa, which provides an example where a merchandiser targeted and tested promotional content against informational content. The promotional content won with 89% more CTRs and five times more revenue! You can read the entire article here, Test Shows Promotional Content Beats Information (open access closes August 27).

Take aways from the full article:

  • People may not want to read about you products or services as much as you think. They might just want to buy them.
  • Discount offers or coupons are common nowadays so don't hesitate to use them; almost required to get attention.
  • Email marketing works best when the subject line text reflects the content closely. 
  • Don't abandon educational content but condense the info as much as possible; use only the most important aspects of the message you are communicating.

Also note there are two critical items associated with successful email marketing: testing and targeting. When you know your audience (targeting – list segmentation), you should be well aware of what he or she wants – make sure you know what they want (testing). And, let them know you value their time – quickly get to the point.

How to alienate your customers

Email blast after email blast with little, if any, content of value. That appears to be the email marketing strategy of business network Fast Pitch. Everyday, another email like this:

Last chance to become a Platinum Member for only $99 per year. 
Offer ends tonight at midnight (Wednesday, March 26, 2008). 

Give your profile top ranking, receive 10x more visibility, make unlimited connections, get ranked higher on search engines, post unlimited press, see who visits your profile and more… for less than $9 per month (normally $27 per month).

Once you click the link (above), be sure to click on the special promotion image to receive the special discount.

If you want to learn how to alienate your customers using email, just sign up at Fast Pitch – it won't take long for the onslaught of promo emails to arrive. I deleted my Fast Pitch business networking profile "fast." Maybe they should consider changing their name to, "Fast, Switch" to another online business network!

UPDATE: April 3, 2008 – More questionable tactics from Fast Pitch: 

It appears they hired people to combat negative press about them or they may be posting this b.s. themselves using one-up gmail accounts. I rec'd the following comment after publishing this post from a person claiming to be a paying customer (they didn't provide their website address or an email that shows up anywhere on the Internet BTW):

I've gotten those too.  A little annoying – sure.  But, I've got to say… of all the online business networks out there, Fast Pitch! has provided me with more valuable advice than I can remember.  After I signed up, I received 6 weeks worth of 'How To Market My Business' Advice emails from the company.  They taught me how to enhance my profile for search engine optimization, the importance of creating content, how to generate an audience for my press, blog, profile, etc…), how to make introductions to people online, and more.   In fact, I also received a Welcome Call from the company 3 days after I created my profile . . . I've always been able to reach a customer support rep through email, live chat and phone.  In fact, the CEO chatted with me the other day during what they call a virtual tradeshow – whereby hundreds of members actively networked online using webcams.  Cool stuff. I think your being a little too sensitive…

The person that submitted the comment above didn't leave a website address, I did a quick search for the "text content" of the message without the name of the company.  No surprise, the search results came up with a Blogger blog edited by the Fast Pitch owner! And, posts with the similar text and "cool stuff" claims – a mere coincidence, I doubt it. The IP address range is also from the same area, SE Florida and the owner is, where else, Florida. It appears they are paying people (or doing it themselves with fake gmail accounts) to leave positive comments about them. 

I agree with David, Fast Ditch! may be a better choice for their name. 

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