Monday, July 28, 2003
Are you struggling to create and keep profitable customers? Columns for Sales and Marketing Management who wants to build business relationships.
Carrigan, Shaun. Using Email Newsletters as Marketing Tools (American Marketing Association, Email Marketing)
Carrigan provides an excellent article about using email newsletters as a marketing tool, and here I'll highlight his tips for using this cost effective tool to build customer relationships. Commentary will be interspersed as appropriate.
Facts and strategies about using email to build credibility:
- Email costs less to deliver than other written communications tool. With the lower cost (over print direct marketing) more can be invested in customer segmentation, copywriting, and content production. This however doesn't mean you can send it more frequently or even be haphazard in your testing.
- Email can be used for customer acquisition, but it's more useful to stay in touch with existing customers. With issues of SPAM and people generally overwhelmed with email messages, communicating with existing customers providing something of value works best. Focus on the receiver of the message.
- Email can contribute to relationship value in a customers mind. The more useful your email message the greater credibility the customer attributes to the sender. With credibility comes trust. Carrigan goes into more detail about structuring your message.
- Email produces results comparable to other marketing methods on-line and off. Email had been used and found effective for customer retention by a higher percentage of marketing executives than any other on-line or offline medium. Balance your customer communications along all mediums testing your results to know what works best for your company.
- Newsletters via email contribute to customer retention. With a newsletter you can demonstrate credibility while providing a customer information they need to be more profitable in their own business. Focus on value to the customer and you increase trust in your brand.
Facts and strategies about using newsletters as a marketing tool:
- A concise newsletter communicates your expertise, brand, and dependability. By providing news of value to the reader, you present your ability to serve them while establishing your brand in their mind. It's very important to deliver your publication on time and with accuracy, it reflects on your abilities to perform.
- Let your newsletter provide a step off for other parts of your website. Deliver real value to readers and link to parts of your website that are appropriate to the content. This simplifies your readers search while introducing products, services, or additional details that may be of interest to your reader.
- Focus on real problems and challenges faced by your target audience. Show your reader you can solve real problems in their business an they are more likely to continue the relationship with your organization. Help them use what they have already purchased better, and demonstrate the benefits of your products with relevant stories.
- Keep newsletters focused respecting the time of your reader. Knowing your customers get a lot of email already, it's important to focus on specific solutions in a short message. If more details are necessary to go beyond the main point, then link to that information on your website.
- Get the readers permission to send your message to them. Never send email to someone who you don't specifically have permission to mail, this will ruin your credibility. Start with your house list (those to whom you have an existing business relationship), and move through other lists available to your company. Send a simple invitation offering your newsletters, then require their specific opt-in before you send the publication regularly.
- Limit marketing and sales pitches to a small part of your newsletter. Build trust and credibility first, keep marketing and sales pitches small because most customers don't want to receive them regularly. Focus on valuable content that readers deem valuable.
Shaun Carrigan is the president and CEO of NetContent Inc.
Justin Hitt teaches executives how to create strong business relationships that can increase profits while improving customer loyalty. To learn more about business relationships visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798
Spontaneous Socializing. I just completed another full weekend of working on the house, which means really one thing: I listened to about... [Gary Stein]
One of the biggest challenges I face in developing business relationships is turning what I do daily into an tangible events. See, people remember events. Take a moment to think back to your first big contract, maybe when your business was small. What were you feeling, what were your fears.
I'm sure it was easy for you to imagine that the event (a package of information around a point in time), but if I asked you describe last Friday in the same detail, most people would have trouble.
Events are what make our lives memorable.
Focus customers on an event, then frame yourself inside that experience as you build a relationship. From that point forward, anchor your customer on the positive natures of the event, while bringing them forward to reach other aspects of their objectives.
Over time you are chaining together a series of positive events that can be easily associated with your company, people, and even your abilities.
Not being as simple as it looks, this means instead of engaging customers in a selling interaction, you should create an event that serves their needs. Simple events are opening a new branch, a success or setback, or anniversary. Events are framed as something to look forward to, or marked by a specific period of time.
Some events that engage customers and build stronger relationships:
- Yearly account profitability audit. Determine your profitability with a particular customer account while better understanding your value to the customer. Invite customers to share your value to them, focusing on the benefits they have received and where they want to go from this point.
- Bi-weekly project status reviews. Share with customers where the project stands, any accomplishments since last review, and how you handled issues they have brought up in the past. Focus on highlighting the advances in the project over just providing status.
- Quarterly customer satisfaction survey. Do you really know how satisfied your customer is? This event gives you the opportunity to get referrals and testimonials, while helping customers to reaffirm your value to them (and correct any mistakes you've made over the period.)
- Semi-annual staff peer review. It's very important to business relationships for employees to know where they stand and what they need to do to advance. A clear path of growth can be outlined at a review, plus feedback from peer members can help build team objectives.
- Large purchase anniversary. Celebrate the birth dates of large investment hardware, consumer companies do this with cars and homes, consider sending a birthday card to heavy equipment or custom software solution. Your objective is to present the customers interaction as more than a purchase, but the adoption of a piece of your company.
- First contact anniversary. Remember the first time a profitable customer came to your door, or you to theirs. Celebrate the event with a card or personal note. Remind the customer (or employee) how important it was to your organization, even highlight some of the major accomplishments since that first contact.
Unfortunately we turn these 'events' into routine, this completely takes any value out of them. Try to keep each of these infrequent activities interesting and something you customer or employee looks forward to participating. The event itself should be neutral in nature, actual attributes given to the event are based on the desired outcome. Each event should have clear objectives (wins) for each party involved.
Justin Hitt helps executive build stronger relationships that can increase profits and create loyal customers. For more information visit Inside Strategic Relations or call +1 (877) 207-3798
Last update: 04/08/2004; 2:33:14 PM.