Let me dive right into some takeaways:
Everyone has an e-mail inbox
And we’re obsessive about it. Always checking it. That kind of attention is gold. That’s part of what makes e-mail marketing so valuable.
But watch for changes. People are declaring e-mail dead frequently. It’s hard to say if any of them are right. But the behavior of communication is hard wired into our being.
Social media turns private moments into public conversations
That’s Corissa St. Laurent’s point. She is a relationship marketing expert with Constant Contact. When she made it though, she was talking about monitoring what customers said about your business. Social media has put private conversations into the public arena. Thus it’s easier to learn what they’re saying about our products and services.
But we can make that work for us too. For example, Corissa suggested asking questions and soliciting feedback from customers. That interaction can supply you with content for your newsletters.
You also can use social media to spark the same kind of conversations. Then use the content – in an anonymous sort of way – in your e-mail newsletters.
Integrate e-mail and social media
If you’re doing what I suggested in the last point, you’re almost there. Corissa also suggests putting your social icons in the e-mail so your subscribers can find you in social networks too.
You also should be using social media to steer your fans, friends and followers to your newsletter.
And that’s why you need a content strategy. It’s great to distribute content across many media. But you may need to make decisions about what goes where.
Make your content valuable
Which leads to this incredibly important point. You need to deliver value so people will continue to subscribe to your newsletters. That leads to trust and increase the chance you can convert subscribers to customers.
Andrea Gillman, managing director of Catch a Piece of Maine, adds value by including content such as recipes and sales information. Yes sales. Subscribers really are looking for deals on lobster.
Internet leads take time
Jim Chadbourne, vice president of sales and marketing for Rubb Building Systems, makes a good point about time commitment. He tells us that he gets a lot of inquiries from the Web site. Not everyone will become a customer. But they give everyone the time to find what they need.
The reason why few qualified leads come from the Web site seems to be the casual nature of surfing. People get curious about Rubb’s buildings and send an e-mail. Why not. It doesn’t cost anything.
Leads generated by the newsletter should be more qualified. The subscribers asked to be updated about what the company does. They choose to be informed and engaged. Then their inquiries should lead to sales.
That’s why strict opt-in is such a good idea – and the law. The fact that they take the effort to subscribe means you have very interested prospects.
Rubb Building Systems is an Expensiccino
Jim talked a bit about how his company gets out bid. He stands by his bids because “You can’t cheat engineering.”
Relationships are what matters
That’s the mantra of the morning. Sales and marketing are all about the relationships. It takes time. And it takes feeding your subscribers (fans, followers and friends) valuable content. If you do it well, it inspires conversations which you must find a way to continue. Then you’re on the way to sales.