Email Marketing

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Is Email Marketing Worth the Effort?

email-marketingWith so many options available to business owner’s such as such as Constant ContactMail Chimp, and iContact one may ask themselves, “where do I start?” Well the good news is you’re not alone.

Email marketing is an excellent way to generate new business leads and increase company exposure. With the right audience, a well written email, and great products it has never been easier to prompt a sale. In fact with the growing popularity of mobile devices and the drastic changes in technology, nearly 48% percent of all emails are opened on a smart phone. Now what better way to increase company exposure and  place your products in the hands of potential clients.

Email marketing services such as Mail Chimp, provide complete control of the messaging experience allowing you to tailor campaigns to specific behaviors and demographics, improving the likelihood that your prospects will act. In addition these services provide useful analytic tools which provide in depth information about how your marketing campaign is performing, from open rates to URL’s clicked and much more. These tools also allow you to trial different campaigns prior to launching, allowing you to maximize your audience interaction.

So we ask is email marketing worth the effort or just a waste of time and resources? Email marketing has a much higher conversion rate in comparison to traditional hard mail marketing and is still more effective than social media marketing. To answer the question, yes we think it’s definitely worth the effort and suggest that you try for yourself.

Here are A few tips to consider when creating your email campaign:

  • Subject Line – It’s important that the subject is relevant to your audience, this will help avoid your message coming off as SPAM. According to recent studies nearly 33% of recipients open emails based on subject alone. Creating a relevant and catchy subject line will peak the recipients curiosity increasing your chances that they will open your email.
  • Time of Day – Spend the time to researching your audience. When are your readers most active? Studies have shown sending emails in the morning have a greater chance of being opened. This doesn’t mean that all readers abide by this study so make sure you know the behaviors of your reader’s. For many this key factor can make or break the success of your campaign.
  • Email Frequency- It’s very important that you stay in contact with prospects and current clients but avoid sending too many emails. One of the main reasons a reader will unsubscribe from email notifications is they are receiving too many.
  • Format – As we previously stated many readers check their emails on a mobile device or tablet. It’s especially important that your emails are optimized to support these formats, failure to cater to these devices could lead to your email being overlooked, unopened, or marked as junk.
  • Template – Always keep things fresh, if your content is always delivered in the same template readers may become bored and your interaction will decline. We recommend having at least five to ten templates designed and create a rotation. This works great for monthly newsletters and holiday offers.
  • Special Offers – People who actively participate in email marketing are looking for value. Even in an industry such as insurance it’s important that we make our reader feel special. What sets you apart from the rest?
  • Call to Action –  Creating a call to action is imperative if you’re looking to get anything out of your email campaign. Even if you’ve written excellent content for your readers without a call to action they may do just that, read and not act. Create something catchy and place it within the email, some even add a quick phrase at the end. Just be sure you don’t come off like an advertisement that is trying to push a product, readers and consumers want to feel like they have a choice not have a sale shoved down their throat.
  • Information Overload – In today’s society readers want information fast, no one has time to scroll through an email for the bits of information their interested in reading. Target the information you would like to share and make sure your email is geared to deliver those key points. Simply put, less is more so try and avoid the fluff.

No one launches a masterpiece on their first campaign so be patient and always remember the tips above. We would love to hear about your success and failures in email marketing so please share with us.

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Customer Relationship Management

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Customer Relations ManagementWhat platform is your business using to manage customer relations?

In today’s economy it’s more important than ever to organize new and existing client information. With systems like Sugar, Salesforce, Infusionsoft, Vertafore, Solve 360, Insightly, Zoho, and many more it can be overwhelming knowing which system will provide the unique functionality your company needs to succeed.

The good news is that you are not alone in this quest for time well spent and productivity. When faced with the decision, you can spend countless hours testing each system before you actually find a perfect match. Aside from product efficiency there are several other key elements to be considered when weighing out the options:

  • What are you willing to spend? If you’re a start-up company and working on a shoe string budget than the big name CRM systems such as Salesforce and Infusionsoft may not be financially feasible just yet. Don’t write them off completely, these systems are incredibly powerful and have endless capabilities. You may want to consider starting with a basic CRM system to get the ball rolling and transfer over as your business grows. This would be a good time to contact a sales rep to discuss pricing tiers and how to format your data now so when the time comes to transition there is little to no down-time. In addition once you have an idea of what pricing tier you fall under you can project the cost and work it into your budget planning.
  • How will the system I choose integrate with my other systems? Many businesses are utilizing either Google apps or Microsoft Office 365 for emails, cloud storage, and basic programs such as Word, Excel, and Adobe. It’s imperative that the system you choose works with these systems.The last thing anyone (including myself) wants to do is sit and reformat documents just to store them into a management system.
  • What is your ultimate goal? Ask yourself and your employees what they would like to see with the system and discuss what will be in the best interest of the client. Are you looking for a system that will mange your social media all in one place? What about email campaigns? Would you like to push marketing material and newsletters through one system?  Every industry has a unique set of needs when it comes to your clients. For example if your a plumbing company maybe you need a system that will track work orders and provide search capabilities by job type or technician ID. Maybe your a graphic design company and you need a system that allows team access to project files, group calendars that display deadlines, list who is assigned the project, note capabilities, etc… As an insurance agency, this has been very time consuming but also very rewarding.

These are just a handful of factors to consider when deciding what system(s) to put in place. Save yourself the headache later on and be sure to do your research. We want to hear your pitfalls, experiences, and any other useful tips you may have encountered in your quest for a suitable CRM system. Feel free to leave a comment or ask any questions you may have.