Say goodbye to e-blasts and hello to engagement

one way e-communication via eblastIf you are sending “e-blasts” to your customers or supporters – please, stop doing it now. This outdated style of email marketing has the same results as fax broadcasts of press releases; your message is ending up in your recipient’s trash.

While email marketing is still an effective way to communicate with an audience, the one-way communication style of the “e-blast” is over. Messaging your subscribers today means doing more than sending emails with commands like “buy, buy”, “click, click”, or, “register now!” If you want to communicate with your subscribers effectively, think “engagement”.

Engaging your subscribers means looping them into a two- or multi-way communication versus subjecting them to one-way communication. The fact is, social media have raised the overall expectations of e-communications to this level. The prevalence of social networks and their popularity in comparison to Websites suggests that subscribers are more drawn to engagement and the communication arena where they are able to give feedback and participate.

E-blasts - do they work?
Example of an E-blast

Here are examples of steps you can take to make these three popular email marketing asks more appealing:

1. Donate. You’ve stated your worthy cause and have asked for a generous donation. Make it engaging by inviting your subscriber to join a community of volunteers, attend a Meetup in their area or present an opportunity for your would-be donors to get up close and personal with a beneficiary or your organization’s leadership. Even if most of your subscribers don’t take up the invitation to engage, the fact that you present this opportunity will help to legitimize your fund-raising effort.

2. Register. You’ve stated the what, where, when and have asked your recipient to “REGISTER NOW!” Make it engaging by inviting your subscribers to also meet other registrants in your organization’s social network on Facebook or elsewhere. Email solicitation for event registration typically have the recipient asking “is this worth my time and money?”, “will I know anyone there?” or “who’s going?”. Creating a social network around your event is a great way to create buzz and a community that will engage your subscribers – and hopefully motive them to register.

3. Buy. You’ve included a nice big picture of your product with an attractive sale price – and a big “Buy Now!” button. Make it engaging by including the opportunity to share or “Like” the product on Facebook and other networks and allow subscribers to share their thoughts, enthusiasm or questions about your product in their network of friends and family. This simple step could help promote your product further than you imagined.

A popular concern for marketers considering a more engaging e-communication strategy is negative feedback. But the best approach to managing negative sentiment is to create the space for it and be a part of the conversation. So say goodbye one-way communication via e-blasts, and hello to engagement and higher conversion rates!

Spirit Airlines Jumps on Hard to Resist ‘Weiner’ Keyword – Should You?

Spirit jumps on weiner
High performance keyword?

They say, ‘any publicity is good publicity’, but embattled U.S. Congressman Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) may not be in agreement with that statement these days. The Congressman’s ‘x-rated’ sexting has made him both a laughing stock and a trending topic. But while his colleagues were busy rebuking him, Spirit Airlines’ marketing team were busy launching their “Want To See Our Weiner?” e-mail marketing campaign – all puns intended.

Thousands of Spirit Airlines customers got an email today with the subject line “Want To See Our Weiner?”, announcing their “BIG Weiner Sale” with “Fares Too HARD to Resist” (yes, emphasis on ‘big’ and ‘hard’ included). No word yet on open rate, unsubscribe or click rates but this bold move is bound to have businesses wondering if it is ever a good idea to capitalize on trending topics from negative press.

If you are not sure jumping on a negative trending keyword is for you, here are three steps you can take to get in the limelight.

  1. Start your own trending keywords – promote your events, sales and overall business with keywords that are powerful enough to anchor your campaign. Seasonal keywords are great examples – “summer”, “Memorial Day”, “pool party” are just a few.
  2. Associate your brand with positive trending keywords. “International Women’s Day”, “Yoga”, or “love” could do the trick.
  3. Find your customers funny bone – How? Ask them. You can get a sense of whether your customers might find something funny or irritating by asking them about their favorite TV shows, songs and pastime. You might be surprised by what you learn.

One thing’s for sure – if Spirit Airlines’ “Want To See Our Weiner?” e-mail campaign is a success, we’ll be seeing a lot more bad puns in future interactive marketing taglines.

New Year’s Resolutions For Small Businesses

Get a smart phone, socialize your Website and form partnerships in 20111. Get a smart phone. This great tip appeared on the New York Times‘ list of “10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Technology“. Your clients are no longer using phones for conversation only, they are using them to find products and services, get directions,  keep track of appointments and goals. Mobile marketing is the next frontier for engaging your clients. In order to understand how your customers are using mobile phones, you need to become a user.

2. Socialize your Website. If referrals are important to your business, you’ll need to make it easy for your current clients to tell their friends about your great products and services. Subscribe to services (such as ‘Add This‘ and ‘Share This’) that allow visitors and clients to share your content with friends in their social networks. After all, your clients (and potential clients) are visiting your Website, but they are spending most of their time in social networks.

3. Form partnerships to promote your business. Although new media marketing delivers clear, track-able results, it can be costly and time consuming for small businesses. Partnering with a business that is not a competitor is one way to over come the cost and time. For example, if you are running a bakery, partner with the shop next door to retweet messages, Facebook statuses and share a marketing budget. Soon you’ll find that you are building and sharing a community of supporters for half the effort.

The Truth about Twitter, Trending Topics and Your Business

Are Twitter trends fixed?
Twitter Trends - fixed?

The wikileaks fiasco has revealed an ugly truth about social media marketing via Twitter – their top trends may not be ‘the top trends‘ after all.  Marketers assumed that top tweets and trending topics were based on actual Twitter user activity, but according to Twitter – this is not true. When users raised questions about the omission of tweets about wikileaks in Twitter’s list of trending topics and top tweets, the company was forced to admit that “Twitter favors novelty over popularity…” and that the company is  in full control of what topics make their lists. Continue reading “The Truth about Twitter, Trending Topics and Your Business”

Location-Based Mobile Ads – Advertising’s Next Cash Cow

iphone, location based advertising - what's nextIf you haven’t considered a mobile based advertising campaign for your business, perhaps these numbers will get you started. The latest BIA/Kelsey U.S. Mobile Ad Revenue Forecast (2009-2014) is predicting that mobile ad revenues will grow from $491 million in 2009 to a whopping $2.9 billion in 2014 – that’s right!

So what are businesses spending this money on? Here are some products that were included in the forecast that your business should Continue reading “Location-Based Mobile Ads – Advertising’s Next Cash Cow”

Event Ticket Sales Made Easier with Mobile App

Social commerce company Eventbrite recently rolled out a key improvement to their iPhone application “Easy Entry” that should put the company leagues ahead of the competition – event organizers using their service to sell tickets can now scan and verify ticket sales using the Eventbrite mobile phone application Easy Entry 2.0. According to Eventbrite, the bar-code scanning feature is “a game-changing feature that makes ‘Easy Entry’ even easier.”

Event organizers that prefer not to use the iPhone (or Droid) application can check in their attendants using a laptop. An improved “Day of Event” toolset makes it easy for organizers to provide a seamless check-in experience for their event. Continue reading “Event Ticket Sales Made Easier with Mobile App”

Is mobile phone jailbreaking good for business?

Is jailbreaking good news for businesses and non-profits? Big news in the mobile phone industry this week! According to the latest findings of the U.S. Library of Congress, if you’ve bought a mobile phone it’s yours to do with as you please – and that includes jailbreaking and adding applications to your phone not approved by the phone’s maker.

So what is jailbreaking? It’s simply the altering or unlocking of your cell phone’s code so that you can use it with any carrier Continue reading “Is mobile phone jailbreaking good for business?”

How to use Twitter for Business

Millions of people use Twitter everyday to share information, ideas and random updates about what’s going on in their lives. It’s also a great place for shoppers looking for deals, businesses trying to make a sale, and organizations looking for advocates and donors.

Here are three tips you can use to effectively get your point across and generate leads in 140 characters or less: Continue reading “How to use Twitter for Business”

Facebook closing Gift Shop – but not for entrepreneurs

Facebook has announced that they will close their Gift Shop on August 1st. But their exit will not end party for others. The company made it clear in their announcement that third party gift applications such as Birthday Cards and Hallmark Social Calendar etc. will continue to work, and gifts received through their own application will continue to be visible on user profiles. Continue reading “Facebook closing Gift Shop – but not for entrepreneurs”