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Bridge Building, List Building and other Forms of Marketing

13.5  Bridge Building
 
Bridge building relates to building online and offline bridges to your site. There are many possibilities including; direct mail marketing, e-Mail marketing, social network bridges, blogging and more. The idea may be to encourage established target market audiences with whom you have sound relationships to say, follow a suggestion from a blog to your site. Success will be a function of the relevancy of the suggestion to the person in the other audience.
 
 
 

    
13.6  List Building
 
At the core, one of the primary purposes of list building is to create and retain sound customer relationships. Before you commence with using a list of e-Mail addresses that have opted in to receive information, you need to build a list. This can be done in some ways including:
 
  • Asking browsers on your website to subscribe. People that read your website pages are likely to be interested in your content. Place opt-in options at the foot of website pages and in website side panels.
  • Offer a newsletter sign-up option. Give thought to the newsletter title as it will impact upon audience attraction. Use your keyword research to assist you to find popular keywords and hence popular content within your area of focus.
  • Add opt-in forms to your Facebook pages.
  • Offer an e-book containing useful information or offer a useful gift to those that subscribe and promote these on your letterheads and business cards.
  • Offer the option to subscribe to your blog and highlight popular blog topics on your home page with a sign-up option.
  • Promote your site with hyperlinked subscription options on e-zine articles, other article directories and  YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, etc.  sites.
  • Include testimonials in your e-Mails or link to sites where comments can be found. Examples include websites, YouTube, Amazon for published books, LinkedIn for profile credibility as to being a real person, blogs, etc..
  •  List building is often not regarded as a specialist skill. Spreadsheet lists, customer list downloads and other sources of e-Mail addresses from accounting records are all too often seen to be sufficient to manage an e-mailing campaign. Using a professional list building enabler and management system is highly recommended. I recommended the use of GetResponse.  If you find their service outstanding, as have I, then you can recommend their services, as do I, and you can then set up an affiliate link to earn an affiliate commission of $30 per person that takes up the offer.
 
13.7  Direct Mail Marketing

Many of the principles that relate to direct mail marketing are equally relevant to e-Mail marketing, website contentgeneration and presentation.  A potential customer that receives a flyer or a coupon in the post will take a couple of seconds to scrutinise the content before taking the decision to retain and absorb the detail versus trashing it. In much the same way a user that opens an e-Mail or a website page will scan and decide in an instant on the relevancy of the page for personal use.

Consider the possible variations in usability as relates toprinting z-cards, postcards, infographics, brochures, coupons, flyers, letters, newsletters, calendars, bookmarks, notepads, stickers, vehicle licence disc holders/stickers, etc
 
13.8  e-Mail Marketing

e-Mail marketing is one of the most cost-effective marketing channels that there is. It can be abused and thus can be risky but following a set of current handy tips to address current issues that you can research from the Internet it will enable you to filter to what works and enable you to avert making the mistakes that others have made.  This said the following should have you using this channel with success in no time. If you feel that writing copy is not your expertise as may other matters such as shop fitting then outsource the requirement and focus on what you do best.

e-Mail design begins with the subject line. Getting this done is easy, but it takes dedicated focus and the ability to accept criticism to get it right. The objective is to create a very short description of what is in the e-Mail. Ask women, ask your colleagues,friends and others what your draft subject line means without prompting them as to the answer. If their content expectation is what you intend, then run with it. It need not be creative nor clever - it must just convey the expectation of what to expect and if it does - it will work for you.  If you use a catchy subject line that does not convey a reasonable expectation of what the content is about the recipient will feel that their attention has been “hijacked” and they are unlikely to become buyers and advocates of your products. Try to ensure that the subject line is relevant - if the e-Mail is not going to opt-in buyers for this specific product line but to your general customer list,  where some may not themselves be interested then try to broaden the relevance.
 
16 Million to Earn Side Income in 2015 -  Share the “How to.”
 
By adding - Share the “How To,” 
you beg the question of whom the recipient may know that this information may be relevant to.
 
Next, is what is termed preheader text. This is the introductory text that one sees below the subject line.  On an iPhone 6, 5.5 and a Samsung Note you will see about 100 characters, on laptops and desktops, you will see about 150 characters. With the modernisation of smartphones, preheader text is getting to be more important, and you can count on it getting to be even more important with time as phone designs offer this factor more and more visibility. Think of the preheader text as the subtitle.  Repeating what is in the header is a waste of visible space. The subject line and the preheader text is important, even if only fleetingly scrutinised by recipients who may only take a split second to take a decision to read, delete or hold the e-Mail. Use characters such as > - / | + between bullet points and not full stops (periods) as it will allow you to shorten phrases versus offering longer complete sentences. You will need to work at it but try to start with a call to action such as Download a free e-Book that is hyperlinked to a website page, read more page, free e-Book download, etc. The following example is 120 characters long or 146 characters if you include spaces. It has a call to action, and it has broad relevance. It does not try to sell; it gives something away. Selling needs to be motivated by problems, needs, risk aversion opportunities, benefits and more. The subject line is not the place to sell - use it to tell the recipient what is inside. If it’s a newsletter, say so. If it’s a special offer - say so. If it’s an information give-away, say so.
 
16 Million to Earn a Side Income in 2015 - Share the “How To.”

Download a Free e-Book + Forward to deserving Mums, retirees, students & those seeking a new lifestyle
> The www can work for you + live anywhere!

Content.  e-Mails that seek a response are likely to be receptively received by those seeking the goods or services offered. Make it conversational; pose frequently asked questions (FAQ’s) and answer them. Seek to think on behalf of the audience and address the possible obstacles that they may raise to purchasing. Try to keep the e-Mail short and if you need to offer more then hyperlink to dedicated FAQ pages that address these matters. Many readers will take comfort from the offer without following up on it.  Marketing to targeted audiences will best be done to audiences that you know. These will be opt-in people who have subscribed to receive information. For these people, it is suggested that you “get to the candy fast” make the offer and reduce the risk of purchase by promising matters such as a no questions asked/satisfaction guarantees, delivery timeline, backup support, money-back guarantees, free trials, free samples, free demonstrations etc. If the e-Mail is to a broad audience then you need to offer more detail; what does it look like (use more pictures), what are the benefits of acquisition (use pictures), offer referrals and testimonials, detail trial periods if applicable,  and offer evidence of success. Evidence will include read more links to scientific studies, operations manuals, maintenance manuals, usage case studies, etc. Plus, let them know who you are - get personal > offer links to Linkedin, YouTube, Facebook, etc. See post 7.1 for more ideas on effective content presentation.
 
If you are offering goods and services, then you are selling. Selling solutions rather than products and services is effective however the effectiveness can be increased by clearly establishing the problem that exists as well as by detailing the risk that your audience has of being subjected to the risk. Once you have explained the problem and the risk plus the solution you need to move from providing information to closing with a call to action. In post reference 7.1.2 we recommended that you “Go Window-shopping.”  Again, we recommend this - study your e-Mail inbox and find e-Mails that tempted you to buy. Analyse these and over time create and improve upon a framework that works for your product and service offerings.
 
Do not send unimportant e-Mails - have a purpose for all correspondence + do not write and send critical e-Mail in a hurry. Save it and review it later until you cannot find better descriptive expressions, better calls to action, think about using bullet points and ask yourself if you can use more pictures and if you can make it shorter? Keep it about the customers and not the competition. Keep it about problems, solutions and about avoiding risks. Keep it about measurable benefits and calls to action.
 
As a guide for a 600 by 600-pixel e-mail devote 100 pixels to the Preheader, 150 pixels to the Header, 250 pixels to the content and 100 pixels to the footer.
 
The biggest obstacle to a successful e-mail marketing campaign relates to the deliverability of the e-mails that you send. The world is not prepared to be spammed, and the industry understands that it can lead to the end of e-mail marketing if the channel is used inappropriately. Matters that impact upon e-mails being delivered include:

~ Your address being whitelisted or being added to the address book of the recipient. If added to their address book the mail will not be filtered to spam.
~ The reputation of the senders domain and IP in respect of sending spam.
~ Sending mail to lists that contain inactive or nonexistent e-mail addresses.
~ Sending mail from senders that have bad reputations and including links to sites with bad reputations.
~ Content issues such as using words frequently used by spammers ( such as free, prize, act now, free offer, free quote and much more) to an excessive extent. Content is filtered for spam words by receiving servers. These words change and are added to constantly.
~ If you are to send a bulk e-mail then the use of a reputable e-mail service is recommended that will run spam checks for you.
 
13.9   Digital & Printed Coupon Marketing
 
Coupons have become a part of the shopping experience in first world countries. Consumer surveys report that seventy to eighty percent of USA consumers use coupons. This means that they know what they are and that they will look out for them to effect savings. To a lesser but significant degree coupons are used and marketed in other countries around the world. Because they have a reputation for offering instant savings, they can influence buying patterns and enhance brand awareness.
 
The use of coupons is popular with new products, product upsells, as a loyalty reward, to cross-sell or bundle sell a group of products, etc. The consensus is that coupons reduce buyer hesitation re, price barriers or new product uncertainties, etc. Taken as a whole, coupons are used to attract customers during a defined coupon period. Print and digital duplication needs to be considered. Is it to be encouraged or is it to be prohibited. The answer lies in the promotion budget as is extrapolated against expected sales volumes at normal prices and the predicted promotion break-even or investment.
The most cost effective coupon channel is the distribution of digital vouchers that can be e-mailed, shown on mobile phones, download from websites, downloaded from Facebook, etc. by a suitably sized target market audience. Inserts in magazines, newspapers, shopping bags and more are used to distribute printed coupons that are used to encourage brand switching, new product testing and for product line clearance sales.
 
Clearly, coupons can be used to bridge “eyeballs” to online websites and stores, and they can be used to drive sales in a directed way to specific products at defined times for defined periods of time.
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