ashburn-it guide to marketing

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1 ashburn-it guide to marketing successfully targeting your new and existing customers guides to help you understand the power of the internet What is marketing The promoting of your products or services by can be a very powerful and flexible form of direct marketing especially if it is relevant and interesting to its recipients. You can tailor your message to specific sectors, types of customer or even individuals communicating your messages quickly and more cost-effectively than with traditional paper based direct marketing. Targeting the right people The first thing you need to be aware of is that you must always obtain the recipients consent before sending them marketing s. Failure to do so is against the law. Target your best prospects. Although the financial cost to send an is very low, the time to manage a campaign can be high so targeting your best prospects can be time effective. Try as much as possible to target people who do want to purchase your product at some time. Gathering knowledge on potential customers is critical to your marketing success. Recipients are very easily annoyed about receiving irrelevant s and as a result they're very likely to delete without reading them. Page 1 of 8

2 Unsolicited messages from your business are more than likely to be regarded as spam, they are illegal and are often blocked by computer security software. An to an existing customer or new contact, who has agreed to receive marketing from you, may contain information of value to them. Providing quality information via this route is an excellent way of retaining or gaining a new customer even if they don't buy from you immediately, they're more likely to do so in the future. You should try where possible to make the newsletter relevent to the individuals you are sending it to. Time spent gathering data and analysing your database of customers and potential customers can provide excellent marketing knowledge. The management of a good customer database is an excellent foundation for your campaign. Potential targets for specific s could for example be your high spending customers. An directed straight to them with some kind of reward for their loyality could increase their loyality and spend even more. Other potential targets could be new subcribers who haven t bought yet or old customers who need motivation with for instance a discount offer before they make another purchase. The essence of the message is to make the recipient happy that they have received it. Opting in & Opting out of your marketing Again we would like to reiterate that it is illegal to send unsolicited messages including newsletters except in limited circumstances. If a customer has consented to receiving information from you in the past in the form of an and therefore opted in you can send them newsletters and information on other things you think they might be interested in. You do however need to give people the option to opt out of receiving any further messages from you in all e-marketing s you send. Every marketing by law should contain a mechanism for the Page 2 of 8

3 reader to unsubscribe or opt out. It should also have clear details of who has sent the including an alternative method of contacting them other than the internet. Do not send s / e-marketing indiscriminately as it will create a bad impression for your business Using incentives to subscribe to your newsletter People are far more likely to subscribe to your newsletter if you give them a useful incentive. You could for instance offer discounts to customers who subscribe to updates or even better make offers available exclusively through your marketing. Exclusive e-marketing offers encourages recipients to check for the latest . Creating your list Your marketing campaign should be incorporated in your other marketing material. Your paper based marketing material could for instance include tick boxes for subscribing for information. The use your website as a powerful way of getting people to subscribe you can provide a compelling story of the benefits of subscribing to your newsletter and provide an online easy to use submit formfor them to register immediately. When you are asking people to subscribe don't ask for too much information - the filling in lots of boxes will discourage many people. Name and address should be enough to start your list. Content of newsletters It is not worth doing if you don t get the reader's interest. You do need to make sure your e-marketing is of interest and relevant to recipients so they open and read it gains peoples attention by customising the message for instance if the message is about a specific product upgrade then target those who have bought the product in the past to buy the upgrade. Target those who have shown an interest in the product previously but not bought with the message that its time to buy as the product has know been udated gets recipients to phone you or click through to your website for further information Page 3 of 8

4 Contact details including your phone number and website address should be displayed prominently and repeatedly so that recipients can easily find them and get in touch with you. Ensure direct links to the relevant parts of your website are embeded or sit alongside each story in the newsletter so users can click straight through. Build your mailing list Your newsletter needs to be promoted in every way you can, on your website, in all of your promotional material and in person at every available opportunity. You do need to remember to put opt-in tick boxes for information on website forms and all your marketing material. As in most business word of mouth, or viral marketing, is a very powerful form of promotion. Try to encourage recipients to forward your newsletter to a friend or colleague. Make your newsletter eye catching if possible You have to find out how people receive their s in order to make sure your message gets through and looks good. You should establish this when they are subscribing to the newletter. Ask which format they use HTML, text only, or both? HTML is the most eye catching and allows you to send logos, pictures and graphics to enhance the message. Be warned that if you send this format to a recipient that only recieves text then this could look a real mess! You could supply additional information via a PDF document similar to this. Make sure that newsletters are going to be interesting to the recipients. There is always a danager of focusing on things that are of interest to you rather than what is interesting to your readers If you can tailor your newsletter to suit the audience then as long as it s a big enough audience to warrant the effort it is worth you considering sending different newsletters to different audiences to make them more relevant to the reader. Page 4 of 8

5 Subject line A good subject line on your wil attract people to open it rather than junk it so spend some time ensuring you are getting peoples attention rather than turning them off. Do not exaggerate in the subject line as this could be seen as junk mail or spam and be rejected. Get straight to the point - don't waste your recipient's time with long stories - use succinct language, get them interested and encourage them to click on a link to your website for more information. Use of simple language - avoid jargon - write simply and clearly so readers immediately understand what you're offering and the benefit to them. Offer exclusive e-marketing benefits encourage people to read your newsletter regularly by offering special benefits that they can't get anywhere else. Do not overwhelm or underwhelm your audience with the frequency of your newsletters. Do not send a newsletter just for the sake of it. Your readers can tell if you are struggling to provide them with interesting and relevent material. Send newsletters when you have got something interesting for them to read. Is your campaign working Having spent a lot of time and effort on delivering your e-marketing campaign you need to know how it has worked! Good and bad! This will then help you to make improvements for future campaigns. Keep a track of the number of responses you receive and if possible try to identify the type of customer that is responding and whether they have any thing in common. This information is valuable in targeting future campaigns. You may be able to keep track of the recipients who open your s. Most software has the ability to send you notification when the recipient opens a message but please note that the recipient normally has to give permission for the notification to be sent. Many people do not! Page 5 of 8

6 Some Internet service providers (ISPs) can provide this information or you can buy software that gathers it for you. Alternatively if the newsletter is produced in XHTML then the newsletter itself can have analytics code embeded within it that can indicate how many newsletters have been opened, their geographical locations and whether they then went on to visit your website. Compared to other direct marketing methods marketing is regarded as having a slightly higher response rate. The average response rate is around 3 to 4 per cent. Response rates below the average would indicate that you should review your target people / sectors Be ready for the response to your campaign Having spent a lot of time and effort in producing and delivering your marketing campaign it is very important to plan how you're going to handle the response. If you get a response rate of 5 percent can to handle the amount of work required to service your customers and deliver what they require in the time they will expect you to deliver it? Do not respondents down with slow responses. Be Legal when e-marketing marketing is governed by laws on data protection, privacy and e-commerce. Any marketing campaign should take account of these laws and how they affect the way you build them The Data Protection Act 1998 regulates how you build and manage your customer database. You need to comply with the law when sending s to people who aren't already customers and who are not subscribed to receive your. For more information on privacy laws affecting marketing go to the Information Commissioners Office (ICO) website. Ensure you create a mailing group that sends a blind carbon copy (bcc) to each recipient. It is illegal to reveal recipients' details on any s Do not not conceal your identity when sending marketing messages. Page 6 of 8

7 Under e-commerce regulations, marketing s must include certain information about your business, including its full name, contact details and a clear indication of prices if you refer to them. You must provide a valid address for people to opt out of receiving s from you. You cannot send unsolicited marketing messages by to individual subscribers unless you have their prior consent. There are exemptions if their address was collected in the course of a sale or if the recipient has expressed an interest in "similar" items and chose not to opt out when the address was originally collected. "Individual subscribers" do not include companies or individuals within companies. Do not disguise the purpose of the . E-commerce regulations require you to make all commercial clearly identifiable as such, either in the title, header or the main text of the . Respecting people's preferences Check you don't send marketing s to anyone who has registered with the Direct Marketing Association's Preference Service. Read more about the Preference Service on the Direct Marketing Association website. It isn't a legal requirement, but it's strongly recommended. Do not forget your existing customers E-marketing is a great way of keeping in touch with people you're currently working with or who you've worked with in the past. Once a month send a short general update about what you do - particularly highlighting any new products or services youe've launched that may be of interest to them. It's a very good way of keeping our name in front of people you know and getting more business from existing clients. Think before you send Do not potential customers unless you are clear in your own mind about what you want to say. First impressions do count and a badly worded or unclear message can and will turn people off. Think about why you are sending the , what you want to say and what reaction you want. Look from the other side would you like to receive this . If not revise and review again until you feel it s right Page 7 of 8

8 Our website Useful links a guide to marketing on the Internet from the Scottish Enterprise website (PDF) a guide to targeting customers from the Chartered Institute of Marketing website (PDF) a leaflet on viral marketing from the Scottish Enterprise website (PDF) a course on marketing at the Chartered Institute of Marketing website a guide for marketers on privacy and e-communications from the ICO website (PDF) s/pecr_guidance_for_marketers_dec06.pdf a guide to distance selling regulations from the Office of Fair Trading website (PDF) Page 8 of 8

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