Tuesday, August 3, 2021

Creative Email Content Ideas for High Impact and Results

Coming up with valuable content for your email campaigns can be challenging. Once you've determined your campaign's goals, message and frequency, how will you draw readers in and engage them?

Here are some ideas for developing creative, valuable email content to connect with your audience:

Share your expertise

You are an expert - at least your customers think of you that way. Share your expertise by writing articles, tips, or by answering customer questions.


Use facts & testimonials

Facts about your products or your industry, quotes from customers, stories about their experiences and even advice from your customers can be effective.


Include links

Links give your audience the opportunity to interact with your message. Point them to a web page, blog, email address or a PDF.


Offer discounts & coupons.

Discounts, coupons, contests can work for the right audiences.


Encourage exclusivity & VIP status

Upscale hotels often offer special privileges and rewards to their most esteemed, frequent customers. People love exclusivity: remind customers of how special they are to you, treat them like VIPs and watch your ROI grow.


Hold giveaways

Give away a free product or service to everyone who responds or to one contest winner.


Remember: your email has to contain something that's worthwhile or useful to your audience. Some respond to coupons and discounts while others care about information and knowledge. Determine what motivates your audience and is useful to them.

For help with your email marketing strategy and plans, contact MER at 203.543.1455.




Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Attract the Right Prospects with Inbound Marketing

Attracting prospects by providing interesting and valuable content is an effective form of marketing that "pulls" prospects in.  Blog posts, videos and social content let you impart your knowledge and establish your expertise in the industry.  

Offering this helpful content in exchange for prospect data such as name, business or email address is the basis for inbound marketing campaigns.

This approach is vastly different from traditional outbound marketing which involves a "push" approach where companies use paid advertising to get products and messages in customers' minds and hope they take action.

Creating inbound marketing campaigns for a defined target audience to generate qualified leads is one of the best ways to market online. 

Here's an overview of how to execute your inbound campaign:

1.  Identify the audience

Define your target audience and their specific needs and pain points. Consider surveying or interviewing existing clients or prospects from your target audience to determine:

  • Demographics
  • Biggest challenges

  • Perceptions

2. Set goals

Determine what type and how many leads the campaign should generate by a targeted date.

3. Create relevant offers and landing pages

Create a content offer (an eBook, checklist, informational video series, etc.) that's valuable to the target audience. In exchange for your prospects' contact information, give them access to this valuable content (downloadable PDF).

Having an effective landing page (with a call to action and lead capture form) on your website is crucial to converting prospects.

4. Choose promotional channels to get the word out

Decide which organic and paid channels to use to reach your audience and promote your offer. Email, social media and paid advertising are good places to start. Develop campaigns and schedule posts or ads to drive traffic to your offer/landing page.

5. Engage

Once you capture prospect information, what will you do with it?  Develop an engagement strategy that helps you build a long-term relationship with these prospects. Create a series of relevant follow-up emails as well as sales team actions to turn your prospects into warm leads or even new clients.

6. Monitor progress

Assess whether your set goals were met and where campaign improvements can be made. Test different offers to see what gets the best response and closely track your promotional channels to understand where the leads are coming from.

Use inbound marketing to attract targeted customers by creating content and experiences that are relevant and valuable to them.  

Contact Jocelyn at MER to discuss how to start your next inbound marketing campaign!

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Digital Marketing Tips for Small Businesses

What is digital marketing? It encompasses all marketing efforts that use the Internet and online digital technologies and devices. It includes a wide range of channels, such as websites, email, social media, SEO, mobile and pay-per-click ads.

With digital marketing, small business owners can promote their companies and compete with larger ones. Choosing the channels that will be most effective for your business can increase brand awareness, drive traffic to your website and generate more sales and leads.

Here are 5 digital marketing tips to help promote your business online:

Invest in Website Marketing

Websites are the most essential digital marketing tool—you own it and control it. Make sure your website is up-to-date, mobile-friendly, and easy for users to navigate, as well as modern and clean-looking. Investing money in your website is a good way to maximize its effectiveness.

Use your site to create landing pages (standalone web pages) for each of your marketing campaigns. Landing pages (as opposed to your home page) are where visitors “land” after clicking on your ad, email or social post. Landing pages are a good way to increase the conversion rates of your campaign. They’re designed with a specific goal or call to action (CTA) and work well if you’re trying to get a visitor to act (sign up, download information or make a purchase).

Start a Blog as Part of Your Content Marketing Strategy

Starting a blog on your website is one of the best free marketing tools available. On your blog, you can write about topics related to your business, showing your expertise and providing helpful information. Blog content that’s relevant to your target markets will drive people to your website and help your search rankings—content that’s relevant to your target audience will naturally rank in the search engines.

Use Search Engine Optimization to Be Found Locally

If most of your business comes from local customers then local SEO, which helps businesses be found in a specific geographic market, should be part of your digital strategy. Include your business city and state in your website’s title tag, alt tag and in your content. Ideally, your home page should include the name, address and phone of your company and it should match your Google My Business listing.

Google uses inbound links, or backlinks, to gauge the quality of your website. Inbound links occur when another website links back to your site, so be sure to post hyperlinks to your web pages from social media sites, online articles and guest blog posts. Also ask your business partners to post links to your site on their Resources page.

Another way to optimize local SEO is to completely fill out your local profiles on sites like Google My Business, Yelp, Bing, and so on. For a fee, Moz Local will ensure your business listings are correct and consistent on sites and directories that factor most in local search engine results.

Maximize Your Use of Positive Online Review and Testimonials

It’s also important to leverage the power of social media and social proof for your business. Social proof is how prospects and customers are influenced online by what others around them think and do. Having positive reviews and shares of your content on sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram can create a buzz and generate more interest in you and your products or services.

Build an Email List and Leverage Email Marketing

Behind websites, email marketing is considered the second most effective digital channel. Email lets you stay connected with customers and engage with them on a regular basis, easily providing them with news updates, special announcements and offers. It also helps improve your brand recognition and credibility. All it takes is one well-constructed email to drive traffic to your website or social media pages.  

A solid responsive email list can be more valuable than a big social media following. When building an email list, start with who you know—customers, prospects, chamber members, business partners, family, and friends. Include an option to sign up for your email list on your website and social media, using helpful information, coupons and special offers to entice them!

It’s important to remember that you don’t necessarily need to use all of these digital marketing tools listed—instead, figure out which ones are most effective for your business.




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