Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Email Newsletter: Why Your Business Needs One

E-newsletters are a succinct way to communicate with your prospects and clients. Newsletters can serve as valuable vehicles to educate and inform your target markets, fundraise, promote a new product or just stay top of mind with those most important to you. The best part is that e-newsletters can be produced at a low cost with a high return.

It’s well known that email marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing. According to a report from Litmus, the average ROI (return on investment) for email marketing is $42 for every $1 spent.  Depending on which industry you’re in, that return can be even greater:

  • Software & technology: 40:1
  • Marketing, PR, & advertising agency: 42:1
  • Retail, e-commerce, & consumer goods or services: 45:1
  • Media, publishing, events, sports, & entertainment: 45:1
  • Travel, tourism, & hospitality: 53:1

Email newsletters are a great way to dip your toe into email marketing.  E-newsletters come in a familiar format that’s easy to digest and are generally welcomed in the inbox.  Here are some reasons to consider investing time and effort into developing an e-newsletter:

1. Boost Sales

Attracting new business and re-engaging with existing customers requires consistent communication and e-newsletters provide an effective way to do this. Email marketing allows you to highlight your products or services, illustrate benefits, show examples and easily connect prospects to a point of sale. Including special incentives like coupons or discounts, plus a strong call to action, can help you generate more business.

2. Maintain Connections

When you consistently deliver valuable information to your clients and prospects’ inboxes, you develop trust in your brand and become known as a source and expert in your industry. E-newsletters that offer relevant information can help you stay connected to your audiences.

You can also boost your other digital marketing efforts- specifically your social media network connections- by featuring and linking to them in your e-newsletter.

3. Drive Website Traffic

What better way to get the people who matter most to your business (your email contacts) to visit your website? By placing strategic hyperlinks to your products/services or blog posts, e-newsletters can play an active role in increasing site traffic.

Email marketing services let you track your e-newsletter’s performance, including open rates and click rates, so you can see which content worked best. These insights will help you evaluate which content  appeals most to your readers when you’re creating your next issue.

If you need help creating an e-newsletter or other type of email marketing, contact Jocelyn Murray at Marketing & Event Resources.  Check out my portfolio for samples of e-newsletters that I've created for my clients.

Monday, December 28, 2020

Try Something New in 2021

Most small businesses start out light and agile. However, once business picks up and there’s a ton of stuff on your plate every day, it’s easy to get stuck in the same old routine. It’s the, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” syndrome.

In 2020, the pandemic took away the option of staying in familiar routines that had been working in the past. Adapting to changes in health and safety protocols became a necessary part of life and everyone was forced out of their comfort zone. This resulted in small business owners around the world becoming more creative and inventive in how they did business. 

For many, this “forced restructuring” resulted in finding new ways to conduct business that will benefit them outside of the pandemic situation. So, while you’re getting used to how things have changed, be aware that they’re still changing, and don’t settle into a “new” routine. Instead, keep exploring new ideas, trying new things, and innovating creative ways that you can do business.   

Take a look at what’s in front of you

You don’t have to sit in your office night-after-night trying to think of things to try next. There’s plenty of information that can lead you to your next experiment. Your customers are a fantastic source of information. They know what they like about your business and the way it is now, and they also know what they’d like to see that you don’t currently offer.

Another great source of information is the data created from your marketing efforts. When you own a business, looking at graphs, charts, and numbers all day can seem like the last thing you want to do. However, those reporting tools can tell you what’s working and what isn’t — so don’t ignore them.

If you’re not sure what all those graphs and charts are trying to tell you, think about asking for help. If you don’t have someone in your immediate circle who can assist, you can always reach out to a marketing expert who can advise you.

Start small

The key to trying new things is to do them on a small scale. You don’t have to completely revamp your business (although it might have felt that way in 2020). What you do need to do is think about what things you’re doing now that you could potentially expand upon, how you can do those things better, and what new things you can potentially try out on a small, manageable scale.

Actions you can take

  • Conduct a survey. Send your customers an email survey asking what you’re doing well and what they’d like to see you add or change. And don’t stop at just one survey. Think about adding a small survey section, with one or two questions, into your regular newsletter. That way you can receive regular feedback from your most loyal customers.

  • Try new tools. If you’ve never used it before, and you think it might fit with your business, try it out. Think about trying things like live video. You can “go live” with your staff as they unbox new merchandise, create a new dish, walk through a new real estate listing, fix a pipe… basically, you can go live with anything you do at your business that might be interesting to your target market.

  • Pivot.  Take a cue from restaurants around the globe who, in 2020, tapered down their menus, added options for delivery and takeout, and moved indoor dining outside — just to name a few of the creative ways they pivoted their day-to-day way of conducting business. Think about what you’re doing now that could be slightly modified to adapt and respond to shifting demands and requirements.
What new things did you try in 2020 that advanced your business? Let us know your ideas or suggestions in the comments below.

For help with innovative ideas to grow your business, contact Jocelyn Murray at Marketing & Event Resources today.

Source:  Constant Contact Small Business Blog

Friday, October 16, 2020

10 Email Marketing Statistics You Need to Know

Email marketing is very much worth the investment if you are trying to grow your company and create sustainable business. But don’t take my word for it.

Here are 10 email marketing statistics that prove email marketing is an essential tool for any small business.

1. Email marketing has a return on investment (ROI) of $42 for every $1 spent

Email marketing makes money. For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $42. That’s a higher return than you can expect from any other form of marketing — digital or otherwise.

While there are many benefits of using email marketing, this is the one that keeps you in business.

2. Billions of emails are sent every day

306 billion to be exact. And this number is expected to reach 361 billion by the end of 2024.

Even though there are more ways to reach customers than ever before, it’s clear that email is still one of the most popular modes of communication.

3. Email is used worldwide

According to Radicati’s 2020 Email Statistics report, email is used by over 4 billion people — over half of the world’s population.

And that number is only going up. It’s estimated that another half a billion people will be using email by 2024.

The simple truth is that your customers are actively using email. Make sure you are as well.

4. Email grows your business

According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. In simple terms, that means more customers coming to you for their needs, and staying with you when needs arise again. As the saying goes, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.”

5. Email marketing is more likely to drive sales than social media marketing

Social media marketing is an important tool for growing your business, but when it comes to driving sales, it doesn’t touch email marketing.

60 percent of consumers say they’ve made a purchase as the result of a marketing email they received. Contrast that with the 12.5 percent of consumers who say they’d consider using the ‘buy’ button on social media, and it’s not much of a contest.

Social media is important, but ultimately, the gold standard of marketing still involves getting people to sign up for your email list.

6. Email helps you reach your customers as fast as possible

With the immediacy of social media, you might think it had overtaken email as the fastest way to reach new and current customers. But the truth is 21 percent of opened emails are opened within the very first hour of delivery.

By the end of hour three, that number jumps up to nearly 41 percent. The takeaway: Email is a fast and effective way to reach your audience.

7. Automation makes email marketing an even smarter — and saves you a ton of time

One of the major benefits of email marketing is the ability to utilize automation. Simple automations — like sending an automatic welcome email when someone subscribes to your list, or an email reminder to finish shopping and check out to customers who abandoned their digital shopping carts — help you find and keep more customers.

30 percent of professionals surveyed said the biggest benefit of marketing automation was the time it saved them.

8. Consumers want to hear from you.

61 percent of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. 38 percent would like emails to come even more frequently.

Keep this in mind the next time you’re fretting that customers will get turned off by sending emails too often.

9. Segmentation and personalization make email even more effective

Email marketing with a tool like Constant Contact allows for smarter, more effective marketing through email segmentation. With segmentation, you can send different content to different segments of your contact list to make your emails more personal and relevant to your readers. 

Segmented emails make readers 50 percent more likely to click on a link within the email. And more clicks means more eyes on your website and online store, which means — you guessed it — more sales. 

10. You’ll reach a mobile audience

Email open rates from mobile devices have grown by more than 100 percent since 2011Smartphones are here to stay and are likely carried by the majority of your customers. Marketers are scrambling for ways to reach mobile users. Luckily, email marketing remains an easy and cost-effective option.

Today, mobile devices account for about 60 percent of email opens. Email helps you reach your customers where they are — on their phone.

These email marketing statistics prove just how valuable email can be for your business. Whether you want to increase your number of customers or strengthen your relationship with existing customers, email marketing will give you the tools you need to do so.

Ready to get started? Sign up for a free 60-day email marketing trial.

Source:  Constant Contact

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Marketing Tips to Keep Your Small Business Going During a Crisis

1.    Take a look at opportunities for organic traffic growth. Check out your Google My Business listing. Can you update your store hours, business description, photos? Keeping this fresh may help to improve your rank locally for mobile searches. 

2.    Reach out to happy customers and ask for a Google review. More positive reviews can equate to an increase in online exposure and local SEO plus a boost for your brand.

3.    Set up online ordering. Now’s the perfect time to add a shopping cart to your website for customers who want your products mailed or delivered.

4.    Use video. Can you adopt a new video strategy to boost your business? Engage with clients/prospects in one-on-one video consultations or virtual group webinars. Can you supplement your offline products with online video content? Video consumption is increasing during this crisis, so give it a try!

5.    Gather up and organize your client and prospect email addresses. Help your business ride out the storm by emailing your current customers and giving them coupons, free items, or other things they deem valuable. And use email to keep your customers and prospects informed (ex: change in business hours) and/or reassured (ex: precautions your business is taking during the crisis).
If you don't have an email marketing tool for your business, try out a free trial of Constant Contact which gives you all the tools you need to create professional-looking emails to keep in touch with prospects and clients. 

6.    Remain active on social media. If you have a passionate customer or fan base, they want to hear from you! Even if you're forced to temporarily close or cut back, stay in touch virtually. You'll probably see a lot of support come your way and you'll stay top of mind with your community for when you re-open.      

7.    Run a gift card promotion. Run a special offer on gift cards. This can bring in revenue now and foot traffic or attention to your business later.

Have other ideas or suggestions? Please share in the comments. Or contact me for assistance with your business marketing. jocelynm@marketing-er.com

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Get More Google Reviews to Grow Your Online Presence

Positive Google Reviews can really impact your business.  These independent ratings of your business can increase your credibility and pique the interest of Google searchers when they see your high marks online. Research shows that 84% of people trust online reviews as much as a personal recommendation (Bright Local 2018). Because Google is one of the most utilized and trusted search engines, it’s more important than ever to utilize their Reviews.

As you probably know, when you perform a search in Google, the results page will show any businesses that have a Google My Business listing. In this listing, you can profile your contact information, photos, news and gather customer reviews.

One of the greatest benefits of Google Reviews is how they can boost your local search engine ranking. Google favors businesses that have frequent and positive reviews on their Google My Business listing. Additionally, there are no fees associated with leaving or responding to a Google Review.  Great reviews are positive endorsements or free advertising for your business.

How to Get Great Reviews

Come up with a strategy for collecting positive Google Reviews. Consider all the ways you create great experiences and outcomes for your clients and how you can be proactive about securing reviews from them.

Here are some suggestions:

1. Personally Request the Review
Did you just have a great client interaction in your store? Or maybe you’ve spent months on a client project that surpassed its goals? These are great opportunities to personally ask (in person or by phone) for a Google Review. 

2. Add a Google Review Link in Your Email Signature
If you regularly communicate with clients via email and feel confident that your reviews will be positive, add a request and link in your email signature. 

3. Ask Partners and Vendors for Reviews
Business partners and established vendors can attest to what it’s like to work with you. Exchange Reviews to help each other’s SEO and visibility.

Create Your Google Review Link

Clients may be willing to give you that great online review, but you need to make it easy for them. Here are the steps to create a direct link to your Google Review form:

1. Search for your business name in Google

2. Find your Business Listing on the right-hand side of the Google search results page and click on ‘Write a Review’

3. Once the Google Review box pops us, copy the url from the address bar.

4. This is most likely a very long url. Go to www.tinyurl.com to shorten it into a concise link.

Make it a strategic part of your sales and marketing processes to ask happy customers to review your business. Great Google ratings will go a long way in improving your digital presence.

Have questions or need help with your Google My Business Listing or Reviews? Contact Jocelyn Murray for help today. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Leveraging LinkedIn for Business Growth

While most of us have profiles on LinkedIn, have you ever wondering if you're using this social media tool to its fullest? Many of us continue to build 'Contacts' on LinkedIn but rarely utilize them for referrals, introductions, conversations and other ways to expand our businesses.

Here are a few ways you can utilize LinkedIn as a sales, marketing and business development tool:

1. Complete your profile
Has LinkedIn rated your profile 100% complete? If not, take the opportunity to get your message across by filling in all aspects of your profile. Give people a reason to want to connect with you. Include the keywords and terms that your potential prospects would use when searching to find your services or products.

2. Join Groups
Groups are a good way to find and communicate with qualified prospects. Join groups that have the same professional, affiliations, goals or interests as you. Try creating a new group if you can't find one that suits your needs.

3. Prospecting
Are you looking for a specific person to connect with? Maybe you're looking for prospects in a certain industry or others with a specific title? Click on LinkedIn's Search field in the upper left-hand corner and choose People in the pull-down menu. Then choose All Filters to the right of the white buttons. Here you’ll find all the options you have to search your LinkedIn connections.

LinkedIn will show you any "shared connections" you have with these prospects to possibly facilitate an introduction. Leverage your current connections to add more.

4. Publish Articles
Publish your professional knowledge and insights on LinkedIn. Publish articles regularly and they’ll become part of your profile and be shared with your connections in their news feeds. Your article can be searchable within and outside of LinkedIn so people who aren’t in your network can find you and connect. To get started, simply click on the Home icon and then click on ‘Write an article’ under the posting box at the top of the page.

Have other questions about how to use LinkedIn? Contact Jocelyn Murray.

How Using Video Can Help You Reach Your Audience

Are you as surprised as I am about these stats? Granted, it’s not as surprising that people, on average, spend over 5 hours per day watching TV, but did you know that YouTube is the third largest search engine on the planet? I’m still not sure why people watch videos with the sound turned off, but yes, YouTube is the third largest search engine behind Google and Bing.

What do these stats mean? The first three social media stats are evidence to me that people like interacting with one other. The video stats are proof that people like to watch videos. So, as speakers, if we want to get ourselves in front of more people, it sounds like video is a great way to do it. I’ll bet you agree, but the thought of standing in front of a camera can be scarier than the thought standing in front of an audience!

Please know that I’m not saying that you have to do videos. What I am suggesting is that while you are continuing to build your platform, getting used to using video is going to provide you with another way to reach your audience. In addition, it may even provide advantages you might not have even thought about, such as:

1. Video gives people a more personal way to get to know you beyond your bio, headshot, and/or website because they get to “meet” you on screen.

2.  Short-and-sweet videos between 1 and 3 minutes provide you with a chance to share content while also showing off your subject matter expertise.

3.  Best of all, in addition to being visible evidence that you can speak to an audience, because you’re posting your videos on one or more social media platforms, it’s visible evidence you'll now have to share with event planners, meeting coordinators, etc., who are looking for new speakers!

I realize that seriously considering video opens up a Pandora’s box full of new questions, such as what platform to use, how to do it, etc. But my purpose here is simply to be informative, NOT to overwhelm you, so I’ll offer you two simple how-to get started thoughts.  

Don’t think that you have to conquer video in one sitting. Instead, take small steps. Come up with one thought, idea, point, tip, or strategy that you can cover in a couple of minutes. Turn on your cell phone and record yourself talking it through. Each time you make a mistake, stop recording, erase it, and start over. Keep taping yourself talking until you’re comfortable.

Once you’re comfortable, figure out which social media channel you’d like to start with. It’ll probably make sense to start with the one you frequent the most, right?

Trust me, you’re not alone if you’re nervous about videotaping yourself. I’m very nervous about it, but I’m working on doing it! So let’s challenge ourselves together. Who knows... one of these days you might get a video newsletter along with my written words!

Authored by guest blogger:  Beth Stoller

Beth Stoller is a relationship-driven person who has a passion for helping people step into their roles as speakers and leaders. In 2014, she combined her savvy organization and logistics skills with her talent for networking and established her speaker’s business, At the Podium, LLC. In 2019, she started ATP’s Business Professionals Speaker Mastermind Group which meets the 2nd Saturday every month.“Speakers can change people’s lives for the better in a moment. That’s one of the reasons I love my work. I get to help business professionals, whether they’re aspiring or seasoned speakers, prepare for and create those moments!” 

Beth has an absolute belief that everyone has gifts, talents, skills, experiences, knowledge, stories, and/or special messages to share. “When knowledgeable professionals start sharing their expertise from the stage, we all benefit.”

On a personal note, Beth resides in Trumbull, CT, where she lives with her husband, her son, and their dog Poncho. When Beth’s not working on At the Podium, she pursues other passions which include bookkeeping, tennis, photography, and hanging out with family and friends. Occasionally, you might also see her attempting to hit that little white ball around a golf course (it’s a networking thing).  www.atthepodium.biz