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Archive for September, 2009

StartupNation Member Goes on ABC’s SharkTank!

This just in, a long-standing StartupNation member, known in our community as GrillCharmer, is appearing on Shark Tank September 29. See her email to me below, which she’s given permission for me to share, abbreviated: Hi Rich! LONG time no talk!!  Anyway, I wanted to just say THANKS.  I cut my entrepreneurial teeth on SuN.  Remember [...]

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3 More Free Publicity Tools

Since many of you commented on my last blog entry, here are three more free tools to help you with your small business PR activities: 1. Help a Reporter Out PR Pro Peter Shankman set up this great site at http://www.helpareporter.com/. Simply enter your name and e-mail information. And each day, you’ll receive a list [...]

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What to consider when creating an email marketing campaign?

1. Determine your ROI. One quick way is to estimate the time it takes you to produce the email, include design and content time, and multiply it by how much that time is worth. Add the cost of your email marketing provider (typically based on the size of your list). If you are not receiving as much or more revenue from the email blast, it’s time to rethink your approach.

2. Rethink your approach.

a. Target lists. Like direct mail, lists are about quality, not quantity. If you think of email marketing like you think of inbound marketing, you’ll need to hyper target. Separate your lists into different user segments. Sites like beauty.com will send customers relevant offers based on their last purchase. If someone purchases a skin care product, more offers are sent about skin care products. If you own a retail store, separate your buyers based on what brand they purchase and send targeted emails to those customers. Be careful not to spend too much time on this if you have a small list. It has to produce a strong enough ROI to keep going.

b. Create one design. Customize the design to your brand instead of just using one of the templates provided. Why? It’s worthwhile to show your brand each time a piece of communication is sent out.

c. Use clear language. This should be a no-brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many emails I get with grammar and spelling errors, incomplete sentences, and copy that just doesn’t make sense. If the email is well written and error free, your recipients will think you took the time to care.

d. Personalize the e-mail. You’ll fail in your email communication if your emails are primarily about you or your company instead of about how you can help the recipient. Think “what’s in it for them” if you want them to read after the first paragraph.

e. Create a special offer. Sometimes considered a “call to action,” this is where someone will take an action. Be smart about it and use a tracking code to an ecommerce web design page you specifically created just for that email.

3. Work with your email marketing provider. Most of these providers have a customer support team that offer tricks and tips to improve open rates – use them. Some companies even provide one-on-one phone advice.

4. Consider mobile devices. Yes, it’s true that most people aren’t going to buy something from their mobile device, but they do take notice and put a reminder to purchase later on. That said, make sure the company you outsource has applications allowing recipients to see text and images on their devices. You can help by keeping copy simple and to a minimum amount of characters and sending out a text version instead of HTML.

5. Analyze results. Going back to the tracking code, your e-mail provider should have an easy-to-use system where you can go in and look at each piece of communication sent out and analyze how many people opened, where people clicked, etc. The landing page is an additional page you can create that if set up with analytics can provide more data.

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According to recent research (more than 600 companies) from Clash-Media, e-mail marketing is now the most favored method of online lead generation in the United States. It’s also estimated that more than 80 percent of businesses will spend more money on e-mail marketing by the end of this year. Before you take the time to [...]

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Get Inside Your Customer’s Head

What is one of the most effective ways to increase your sales? Get inside your customer’s head. Simple as that. The more you understand about your customers, the more you can solve their challenges, frustrations and problems. The more you understand about your customers, the more you can help them achieve their objectives, goals and [...]

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3 Free Publicity Tools

On an earlier blog entry, I gave you this list of free, press-release posting sites, http://www.rembrandtwrites.com/FreePressReleasePostingSites.htm. But are you using these free tools to build buzz and sales too? Free Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Add the keywords people search for online, and you can significantly increase site visitors and sales. And there are free services [...]

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Are You Ready for the Holidays?

If you are an online retailer or otherwise rely heavily on the holiday season for a good percentage of your sales, guess what? It’s time to prepare your website for the holidays. Believe it or not, the time is now. In September. With no time to lose! So, you’re probably thinking, “Come on, Tom. You’ve [...]

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