Category Archives: e-newsletters

Beyond Thanksgiving – more November marketing ideas!

Thanksgiving is the most prominent holiday in November, but there are a few others that you can use in creative ways to engage your customers and clients during this holiday season!

November 11 – Veterans Day

Veterans Day Veterans Day honors all who have served our country in war or peace — dead or alive — although it’s largely intended to thank living veterans for their sacrifices.  Use your enail and social media posts to thank all veterans for their service, and add a coupon to your e-newsletter that offers a special discount to veterans on that day or throughout the week!

November 13 – World Kindness Day 

On this day, participants attempt to make the world a better place by celebrating and promoting good deeds and pledging acts of kindness, either as individuals or as organizations.

Tie your business to this day by promoting your dedication to a better world and donating a percentage of your sales to a local nonprofit. Promote your special donation in your e-newsletter and on social media.

November 22 – Thanksgiving

Send a goodwill message to your contacts to thank them for being loyal customers and supporting your small business. Express your appreciation for Thanksgivingthem being a part of your community by emailing an exclusive offer for your contact list.

November 23 – Black Friday

Send targeted emails with offers just for clients and customers.  For retail stores, this could include perks like Black Friday sneak peaks (a look at merchandise that’ll be on sale or a bonus discount for being a valued customer.  For service companies, it could be a discount on an HVAC service, such as a tune-up.  An electrician might offer a discount on a home or business electrical safety inspection. You could also segment your list, and offer an even better deal to customers you haven’t seen for a while.

November 24 – Small Business Saturday

The holidays are a great time to make a more personal connection with the people who support your business. Share a story about how you created your small business or how your family celebrates the holidays.

Follow this link for many more small business holiday marketing ideas. http://bit.ly/2D70eAN

November 26 – Cyber Monday

Cyber Monday 2017 was the largest single day of online shopping in U.S. history, according to CNBC. Digital transactions totaled $16.9 billion, an increase of 16.8% from the year before. And, millennials have become the biggest spenders during the holiday weekend, spending over $400 per person.

Think of Cyber Monday as a digital rush for your website: You might not be able to see the traffic come through your door, but your online shop better be able to handle it!

Your customers or clients will be bombarded with promotions and deals, so you need to compete by making sure you create and follow a social media editorial calendar to ensure that your customers know about your deals!

Here are several other ideas for engaging your customers and clients:

  • Give them something of value:  Use social media and your e-newsletter to ask your followers to post about your company and/or products and services using a hashtag you’ve created for your Cyber Monday promotion.  Make sure your offering is something of real value.
  • Cross-promote with other small businesses and nonprofits — Say you’re a wine shop in downtown Frederick.  Perhaps you could team up with a specialty food store to offer special gift baskets.  Or perhaps shoppers at your retail store could get a discount coupon to another retailer – or a florist or chocolate shop. You could cross-promote in your respective newsletters and social media sites!

Would you like to brainstorm with Marketing @ Work on possible ideas for your business?  Give us a call at 301-696-8886 and we’ll set up a free 45 minute session! That’s our November holiday offer!

Enter the text or HTML code here

Five Steps to Content Marketing

You’ve realized that content marketing is a key strategy to drive more traffic to your website and grow sales, so you’ve spent time creating engaging, detailed blog posts for your website.

Now that the article is live, nothing is happening.

Your content could be getting lost in the crowd without the right content marketing plan in place. To see real results, you need to effectively promote your content so that your target audience will see it.

Un fact, many marketers believe you should spend 20 percent of your content marketing time actually writing your content and 80 percent of your time promoting it.

This article from Constant Contact’s Syed Balkhi will show you how to create a content marketing plan in five easy steps, so your blog posts, etc. will be seen and shared by as many people as possible.

1.  Send your articles to your email list

The people most interested in your content should be the first to hear about new posts. The subscribers to your email list are already interested in you, so they’re more inclined to read your blog post and share your content on social media.

Send the people on your email list a weekly round-up newsletter of your new content or send them an email each time a new article is posted.

If you don’t already have an email list, you need to start building one now because it’s one of the most effective tools for lead generation.

2.  Schedule social media posts

Social media platforms are a great way to get your content seen by new people. Eighty one percent of marketers found that increased traffic occurred with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing, according to Social Media Examiner.

You don’t just want to send one tweet and be done with it, you’ve got to create a schedule to share your posts many times on multiple different platforms. You can use a tool like Buffer to schedule your social media posts at optimum times to encourage shares and increase your visibility.

3.  Repurpose your content

While blog posts are great for SEO and educating your audience, it can be difficult to engage people with a text based post because many are now searching for more entertaining mediums like video. Repurposing your blog posts to appeal to your audience members who respond best to visual content is a great way to distribute your existing content further.

By repurposing your best written content into videos and infographics, you can save time and drive new traffic to your website. Infographics perform very well in B2B industries and you can use a tool like Piktochart to easily turn a text post into an eye-catching infographic.  For repurposing content into video format, a tool like Lumen5 is a great option.  Here’s a quick one we did of this post!

4.  Answer your audience’s questions

There are people all over the internet searching for answers to their burning questions, using search engines, forums and discussion groups. If you can participate with your audience in these places and answer their questions, it’s a great way to promote your content.

A site like Quora is one of the top places on the web where people go to find answers to a number of different topics. You can join the site and offer your expertise, it’s a free and effective way to promote your content and show yourself as a leader in the industry.

Reddit is another forum where you can accomplish this. Also try searching for Facebook or LinkedIn groups related to your industry where you can join in on the conversation as well.

5.  Pay to promote

Another way to get your content in front of a ton of new audience members is to pay to promote it. Paid content promotion is up 5x since 2014, according to Orbit Media. And while a huge bonus of most content marketing is that it’s basically free, paying to promote your posts can really be worth your while, especially for new businesses and entrepreneurs.

Instead of sharing your content on social media and hoping that some interested users find it and click on your site, Facebook ads allow you to target your ideal audience. You’re able to pinpoint who should see your content by selecting age, location, profession and interests preferences so that your content will be sure to reach the right audience.

Creating an easy content marketing distribution plan is going to diminish a lot of the stress that comes after posting new content, since you won’t have to sit around worrying that it’s not being seen or shared. If you follow your content marketing distribution plan every time, you can guarantee you’ll get a ton of eyeballs on your content.

If you’d like help with your content marketing, blog posts or email marketing, give us a call at 301-514-1102 or email us at [email protected]

Enter the text or HTML code here

Eight tips to help you with your holiday marketing

Small businesses have a lot of competition from the big box stores during the holiday season.  So a successful season means getting customers ready early, even when they may be reluctant to do so.

You may not have a huge advertising or marketing budget, (none of our clients do!) but you can take advantage of the power of social media and email marketing.

Here are eight tips from Ryan Pinkham of Constant Contact.  They won’t all apply to your business, but cherry-pick those that may work.

1. Develop a schedule to help build holiday momentum

You can’t build momentum around your business unless you have a plan for how you’re going to do it.

holiday marketingOne way to start is by creating a schedule. The schedule should map out the weeks and months leading up to and through the holiday season, with specific goals for each of the big days. The exact holidays you plan to target may vary, based on your business and your customer base, but all businesses should be aware of the four biggest shopping and giving days of the holiday season:

2. Pay attention to what your fans, followers, and readers really want

If you want your business to be part of your customers’ holiday plans this season, you’re going to need to deliver content they care about.

Of course, you should always to that, but it’s especially important during the holidays, when your customers are not only busy but are also bombarded  by other businesses fighting for their attention.

Consider using a survey in the fall, before the holiday craze has started. You can send your survey to all of your email subscribers or post it on your Facebook Page.  Ask your fans what they are most interested in receiving from your business this holiday season.

Use that customer feedback to improve the content you’re sending out, and to better target your messages by segmenting your email contact list. When segmenting your list, you should also look at other information that’s available to you, such as: open and clickthrough rates, purchasing behaviors, and the preferences people chose when signing up for your newsletter.

3. Be a resource, not just a sales pitch

One of the main reasons people are typically reluctant to shift their focus to the holidays is they are not always eager to start thinking about the work that goes into them. While the holidays are—without a doubt—a time for celebration and giving thanks, they are also a time of great stress for a lot of your customers.

Don’t add to that stress by overwhelming them with ”salesly” content and aggressive promotion; instead, provide them with something they can actually use this holiday season. It can be something as simple as decorating ideas, tips for throwing a dinner party, or even a special coupon for subscribers only.

You can also post tips on Facebook or share articles on Twitter. If your business uses Pinterest, consider creating boards to give your followers inspiration leading up to the holiday season.

This pretty setting is now on my Pinterest page!

4. Don’t try to do too much, too soon

One of the biggest questions we get from small businesses (at all times of the year) is how often should they post on social media or send emails to their subscribers. This is an especially important question when we’re talking about how to get your customers ready for the holiday season.

The fact is, most of your customers aren’t going to be ready to start thinking about the holidays until it starts feeling like summer is officially over. Don’t overwhelm them by flooding their inbox and newsfeed with holiday promotions.

When creating your schedule, pay attention to how much holiday content you’re planning to post. Make sure you’re giving your customers the chance to ease into it, rather than trying to force them to get in the spirit. It can be helpful to think in terms of percentages.  For example: 30% holiday content in October, 50% holiday content in November, and 75% holiday content in December.

Tip: Talking about Black Friday or Small Business Saturday rather than specific holidays in October, is a great way to start getting yourholiday marketing customers ready without scaring them with holiday buzzwords. 

Ipswich Ale did a great job at getting their fans ready for fall without over-whelming them. They posted this picture of their fall seasonal beer on their blog.

 5. Give them what they signed up for: exclusive content

Your customers didn’t become fans, followers, or readers of your email just because they love your products or services. For many of them, it was to receive exclusive content and special promotions from your business.

Telling your readers and fans about upcoming holiday promotions or giving them a sneak peek at new seasonal products is the best way to build holiday excitement and give them the exclusive content they want.

6. Make the holidays an event

You don’t have to wait for the big shopping days, or even the official day of the holiday, to give your customers a reason to celebrate this season. In fact, planning an event earlier in the season—before your customers’ schedules get filled with work parties and family gatherings—is a great way to get your customers in the holiday state-of-mind.

It’s also a great opportunity to help make a difference this holiday season, by partnering with a local nonprofit and doing some fundraising for a cause that’s important to you as a business owner.

You can also use your event as a way of collecting valuable email contacts before the holiday season by using online event registration.

Tip: Find out how to host a holiday event.

7. Remember what works during the other seasons

It’s important to remember that not everything changes during the holiday season. The best practices and strategies you use in your email marketing and social media throughout the year will not only still be effective in November and December, but they will help you engage your customers in October, and get them ready for the holiday push.

Use rich media, like photos and videos,  to start building excitement. Think about the types of things we’ve already talked about: providing exclusive content, being a resource, not being too promotional.  Photos are a great way to accomplish all of these things. Post pictures from past holidays or give a sneak peek at new products, and then ask your fans to comment, like, or share.

If you haven’t used videos in the past, or even if you have, think about shooting a short video every couple of weeks or once a month leading into the holiday season. Something as simple as a video on your smartphone can give you the chance to tell your fans what you’re working on for the fall and what you have coming up for the holidays.

8. Be authentic

One of the biggest reasons people choose to shop with small businesses, throughout the year and during the holiday season, is the personal connection they’re able to provide.

While your bigger competitors will have to rely on fictional stories—and inauthentic holiday moments to connect with customers in the months leading up to the holidays—you have the ability to offer the real thing and can use your own experiences to make that special connection.

Do you have personal experiences your customers will enjoy or stories from past holiday promotions that will get them excited for what you have planned this year? Use them to create a personal connection your customers will love and to generate buzz around this year’s big season.

Do you need help with your holiday marketing? Contact us – we can help you create a plan and also create your e-newsletters if you’re running out of time!

[email protected] or 301-514-1102. We are a Constant Contact Solutions Provider and utilize email marketing best practices.

Enter the text or HTML code here

Four Tips to Close Out the Summer & Kick-start Your Holiday Marketing

1. Wrap up your summer marketing before jumping into holiday marketing planning mode.

This past Labor Day weekend was the unofficial end of summer, and this is marketing plansthe perfect opportunity to close out summer marketing and prime your email list for the fall and holiday marketing season. Use your email as a resource, and not just a sales pitch; give readers tips for final lawn and garden care, HVAC maintenance, fall vehicle maintenance, etc.

2. Develop a marketing schedule to build momentum.
This is really important because it works! Map out the weeks leading up to and through the holiday season with specific business and marketing goals for each of the big days.  Save time and effort by using Constant Contact’s Marketing Calendar tool.

3.  Get creative.

Use email to announce your autumn and holiday plans, to remind people about important dates and deadlines, and start getting your contacts ready to buy.

4.  Don’t do too much, too soon.

Don’t overwhelm people with too many promotions early in the season.  Instead, target your audience with relevant offers when they’re actually ready to shop.  Constant Contact has a great coupon feature to help you create attractive offers.

Need help brainstorming and/or creating your marketing calendar? Contact us today!   

Enter the text or HTML code here

15 Creative Ideas to Grow Your Email List

Growing an engaged email list is one of the most important parts of creating a successful email marketing strategy.

And for a lot of businesses and organizations, it’s also one of the most challenging.

You know you have something valuable to offer current and potential customers, but how do you get people to actually sign up?

Luckily, there are a number of tools you can use to grow your email list.

In this post by Ryan Pinkham, we’ll take a look at real examples from small businesses and organizations that have achieved success with email marketing and cracked the “list growth” code in the process.

1. Use a paper sign-up sheet (and let people know what they’re going to receive)

Using a paper sign-up sheet is one of the simplest ways to grow your email list. And it’s also one of the most effective. This is especially true if you have a retail store or a brick and mortar location where you interact with customers face-to-face.

The trick is to make the benefit of your email list clear. What’s in it for your subscribers? Will they receive special offers? Will they be the first to know about your new inventory?

Add a sentence or two at the top of your sign-up form to make it clear.

Tip: Download an editable sign-up form from Constant Contact here. 

2. Add a sign-up button to your email

Not everyone who sees your email will be on your email list.

If you share your emails on social media, for example, many of your fans and followers won’t be on your email list. People may also be forwarding your emails to their friends.

email marketingThis is something Brandon Stewart, a real estate agent in Dallas, Texas learned when he began using Constant Contact in 2009.

“I realized that if I put content in the newsletter that is really popular, people would share it. That’s been invaluable,” Brandon says. “They share it on Facebook or pass it along to their friends, and then their friends ask to subscribe. Every time I send out a newsletter, I’ll get new subscribers back.”

To make it easy for people to sign up, add a Join My Mailing List link to any email you send out. Take a look at how Full Spectrum Power makes it easy for Facebook fans to join their email list by including a link right in their caption.

3. Put a sign-up form on your website

Your website will be the first contact many people have with your business. Don’t miss the opportunity to stay connected with new visitors.

For a business like Allegria Spa, adding a sign-up form to their website offered a whole new way to connect with new customers.

“We’re always giving people the option to join our email list when they come into the spa, but we just recently added the option for people to sign up when they visit our website,” explains Christine Copertino, spa director for Allegria Spa. “The response has been great. We’re seeing a ton of people signing up, and we know that these are really engaged people who will be excited to receive our emails.”

If you have a WordPress site, use our Constant Contact Forms plugin to add a branded sign-up form to your site in minutes. We also have web sign-up forms that can be embedded directly on your website.

4. Collect email addresses when people sign up for an event

If you host events where people register or purchase tickets in advance, you’ll likely already be collecting important contact information. This is the perfect time to ask people to join your email list.

As Carrie Bonnet, marketing director at Rains Lucia Stern, PC explains, collecting email addresses from event registrants gives you the chance to communicate with attendees after your event. For her, this includes sending a follow-up survey to event attendees.

“It’s great to have emails that are connected to events, which are connected to a survey, and then to look at the results. It eliminates the unknown and gives me more clarity and transparency in my approach…which also makes things a lot more exciting and motivating to keep doing it!”

Here’s a look at how Carrie adds a newsletter sign-up box to her event registration form:

5. Collect email addresses at industry tradeshows

Industry events, tradeshows, and conferences are the perfect place to grow your email list.

For a business like Mother Earth Pillows, these events give them the chance email marketingto connect with new customers and other partnering businesses.

“We have sign-up lists at conferences, we have one at our store, and we have a sign-up list on our website. Then we have the people who call in or are our wholesale partners,” explains founder, Karen Kowal. 

If you have a tablet, make it easy for event attendees to sign up for your list using the ListBuilder app. ListBuilder connects with your Constant Contact account and automatically uploads new contacts to the list of your choosing.

6. Look to your existing database

Don’t overlook your existing database of contacts. Colleagues, friends, and family members can help kickstart your list growth.

When Arlet Koseian started extendYoga she only had a few contacts on her email list.

“We started with just friends and family members on our list,” Arlet explains. “That was really great because, in the beginning especially, getting feedback from friends and family is huge. I would send out a preview email to five people and see what they thought.”

Once you get friends and family excited, ask if they will spread the word about your email list for you.

7. Offer a downloadable whitepaper

Start new customer relationships off on the right foot by offering them a whitepaper or another educational resource in exchange for their email address.

For a business like Tallega Software, which helps clients keep their information secure, providing a piece of free education is the perfect way to attract new clients to their business.

Once they sign up, new leads receive a series of automated emails with helpful information about Tallega Software’s solutions.

8. Ask at events

Any time you’re meeting with customers face-to-face, you have the opportunity to grow your email list.

For an organization like Gallery Above Penn Square, which hosts a full schedule of weekly events, asking people to sign up is an easy way to continue the relationship after the event is over.

“When people come in, we always ask if they’d be interested in receiving emails about future events,” explains gallery and event coordinator Anca Bala. “It’s a really easy way to get people to sign up so we can stay in touch with them after an event is over.”

Learn More: How to Promote Your Organization Like an Expert (Even if You’re Just Getting Started)

9. Let people sign up with their phone

Make it convenient for customers to join your email list by giving them the email marketingoption to sign up using a mobile device.

Constant Contact’s Text-to-Join tool lets people join your list by sending a text message to a custom code that’s unique to your business. You can create a custom sign to hang up around your store right within your account.

10. Use a postcard

If you want to give people the option to sign up by hand but don’t have a convenient place for a paper sign-up sheet, consider using other print methods to get customers to join your list.

email marketingBoston-area restaurant In a Pickle puts postcards on tables in their dining room and invites customers to “join the club.”

“We have postcards in the restaurant that you can sign up with that say ‘Join our email club!’ and talk about how we offer a lot of vouchers, coupons, free drinks, free parties, and contests through our email,” explains owner Tim Burke.

11. Add a sign-up option to your membership forms

If you have a membership business or organization, you’re probably already asking people for contact information when they sign up.

You can encourage them to join your mailing list online by adding an additional field to your online sign-up forms, or face-to-face when people sign up at your location.

This helped River Rock Climbing Gym grow their email list to more than 9,000 people in less than two years.

 “One of the first things we did was to start collecting email addresses through social media,” explains operations manager, Jared Rigby. “But we also started collecting email addresses whenever someone would come in to the gym.  Our last email we sent to just under 9,000 people.”

12. Put a sign-up form on your Facebook Page

Social media offers a powerful platform to build an audience for your business. But it’s also important to move relationships off social media and encourage fans and followers to join your mailing list.

This will give you a better way to reach your audience on your own terms — without having to worry about network changes or declines in reach.

Treat Cupcake Bar uses the Join My Mailing List Facebook app to encourage their fans to stay in touch.

Learn More: 9 Expert Ways to Grow Your Email List with Facebook

13. Collect through guest wifi

Do you have guest wifi available to patrons at your store?

An app like Gazella Wifi lets you grow your email list without having to lift a finger. Once the app is set up, guests will enter their email address to access your free wifi.

Once those guests connect, Gazella’s integration adds contacts directly into your Constant Contact account.

Try out the Gazella app here.

14. Run a Facebook Ad

Facebook offers a number of advertising options you can use to reach a new social media audience.

Using Facebook Ads, Liberty Jane Clothing added more than 2,000 contacts to their email list in a single month.

“This year we decided to give Facebook Ads a try. But instead of driving people directly to our Page, we used the ad to drive people to our email sign-up form,” explains owner Jason Miles. “We added 2,395 contacts in January alone. For us it was worth the investment.”

Learn More: Here’s why you should advertise on Facebook and how Constant Contact can help. 

15. Offer exclusive access

The best way to get people interested in your email marketing is to offer something that they can’t find anywhere else.

Connecticut-based Cedar Creek Productions created a “You’ll Hear it Here First” campaign to kickstart email list growth. Using social media, they promoted their email list as the go-to resource to find out about upcoming news and announcements.

The studio promised fans that anyone who signed up for the email list would hear the latest news about interviews, screenings, and more before it was posted to social media. This netted the studio more than 2,000 new email subscribers.

Post by Ryan Pinkham on Constant Contact’s Partners Blog

Ready to grow your email list?

Think about all the different places customers interact with your business. Could any of these strategies work for you?

Pick at least one of these strategies and see how it works. You’ll be amazed at what a big impact it could have for your email marketing and business success!

New to email marketing? Give me a call and I’ll help you get set up!  I will give you lots of ideas for marketing and editorial content, and can also create your newsletters for you!

Call me today at 301-514-1102 (C) or 301-696-8886 (O), or email me at [email protected]

 

 

Enter the text or HTML code here