Posts Tagged ‘Marketing Blog2’

01
Mar

How Pinterest Helps Businesses & Product Marketing


Article originally submitted to the iContact Blog on February 15, 2012  | How Pinterest Helps Businesses & Product Marketing


 

Facebook and Twitter have revolutionized they way and frequency of shared content on the internet. These two social channels account for the majority of user generated content on the web — until now.

Fairly “new” to the social sharing arena is an online community called Pinterest, which allows users to create virtual pin boards where they can “pin” digital content they find interesting, but in an organized and sleek way. This allows their followers to follow not just all of their pins, but the ability to subscribe just the boards most interesting to them.

13
Jul

Marketing is Not Just About Being An Influencer


Written By:
James C. Wong

As I look back to the days of my youth, I often reminisce about the things I often found myself getting into, and how I never even realized the implications and how those little hobbies would one day mature into valued experiences.

I built my first home-built computer at age 11, and by age 12 I was a System Operator (SysOp) of three local area Bulletin Board Systems, a precursor to what you would consider forums and social media in today’s terms. It was a long a grueling process managing and maintaining such systems with limited finances and technology of the period, but even then I saw the value of growing digitally connected communities of individuals.

I generated a local newsletter that I distributed to dozens of local technology related venues throughout our community, and our readership quickly grew to hundreds in the once small city of Raleigh, NC.  I ran this publication for several years before moving on to bigger and better projects in high school.  If I had to pick a single point of reference for when my marketing career truly started, it was during that period in my life which would define me as a person moving forward.

The Three Personality Roles

Marketing is really no different that any other career path in life.  Regardless of your industry, most industry professionals can typically be organized into three personality roles which directly and indirectly affect their influence upon others in their industries.

The Self-Proclaimed “Guru”
In every industry, you’ll find individuals that place themselves on self-induced pedestals of respect and all too often  unapproachable.  These individuals feed on being at the top of their field, but at the cost of isolating themselves from those who could benefit from their experience.  This is all too often the case, when in an area or region saturated with professionals in the same industry.  This saturation triggers the natural instinct to protect trade secrets, and to limit access to one’s creative influences and ideas.  Unfortunately, this type of behavior often results in limited creativity and animosity amongst colleagues and coworkers alike.

The “Expert/Specialist”
Both individuals who have experience, and those who regurgitate the knowledge of others as their own, fall into this personality type.  The ultimate goal of this type of professional is to become a knowledge leader for the purpose of gaining industry recognition and prestige.  A majority of “influencers” fall into this category, and while this is not a bad association, it should be noted that a great majority of these individuals are one-way information channels that generate heavy amounts of noise.  While this information is valuable to many, there’s often a lack of personal accountability, since advice and information is provided, but rarely is there a personal obligation to follow-up on the success or failure of their insights.

The “Teacher”
In my experiences, a single individual in twenty can legitimately classify themselves in this category.  While the “Guru’s” and the “Experts” are busy making noise, the individuals that truly care about those around them, and the communities in which they affect, are busy teaching those around them to better assist the communities in which they live.  This is  the true mark of an industry professional, and of an individual that takes great pride in helping others, while taking on the personal accountability of seeking success in those they help — even when it’s not expected.


Consider the analogy of fishing.  There are those that are competitive sport fishermen that catch unimaginably large fish a few times a year, and then there are those whose hearts provide them the passion and drive to teach those in their communities to fish for their families and businesses.  In every community, the teacher is the one that makes the biggest wake in the lives of those around them.

Knowledge Leaders Should Earn the Right

Industry professionals that truly want to be influencers, as well as knowledge leaders, should do so as examples to those around them.  Military leaders often get too used to being comfortable back at headquarters, but occasionally diving back into the trenches rejuvenates the passion, drive, and respect needed to be successful — and in any profession.

I have spent decades helping those around me to be better than they were, and to always strive for success.  Through speaking engagements, volunteering for projects, and serving on various committees, I have and continue to leave a lasting mark within my communities.  Regardless of how large or small an organization may be, I have always found a way to assist those groups in need, and it is my hope that other industry professionals learn by this example.

Instead of spending each and every day tweeting and re-tweeting about strategies and concepts, consider taking a few hours out of the week to dedicate on working for local non-profits and charity organizations.  Even better, help your local economy by helping your local small business owners better market their products and services.  This will help to rejuvenate the economy in your local community, and ultimately our great nation as a whole.

It’s time that “influencers” stepped up to the plate, and played the proverbial game as a team.  We all have our specialties and unique experiences, and we all owe it to our communities and the generations to follow, that we lead by example, and start working for the greater good — each other.

29
Jun

Why Summer Campaigns Are Critical to Small Businesses


There’s no hiding the fact that I am passionate about email marketing’s flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and ease of use.  I’ve delivered presentations at various conferences and seminars on the subject, and I will continue to boast about the benefits of integrating email marketing into both your marketing and social media strategies.

Small business owners are typically affected the most when schools let out in small towns, especially towns with large student populations.  Having the ability to reach out directly to their customers during the summer time can be the difference between survival and failure during the slow summer season.

Even if your business or town is not dependent on revenues from student shoppers, the heat is likely to keep your prospective clients at home, in neighborhood pools, or at the local air-conditioned malls.  If your business isn’t where your customers are frequenting during the hot summer months, it may be a very long summer ahead.

How Can I Use Email Marketing to Boost Business?

Email marketing is a simple and easy way of keeping in touch with your clients, as well as offering incentives for them to frequent your business during the season.  Here are a three tips to get your email campaign started:

  • Offer Value Over the Hard Sell
    The best email campaigns typically contain 25-30% sales content, while the rest of the content offers intellectual value to the prospective customer.  Avoid sending emails that are filled with just your sales pitch, and offer real-world advice on topics relating to your products.

    For example, a tire company could talk about the value of making sure your tires are properly inflated, balanced, and rotated – and how these tips can save you money.  This type of information legitimizes your brand, creates trust, and increases the chances that they’ll purchase tires from that business.
  • Make Your Emails Relevant
    If your business sells tires, but you’re an affiliate/partner for a furniture store, don’t email your furniture campaigns to your tire customers.  Make sure that the content you send to your lists is relevant to what the recipients are actually interested in.  This will reduce unsubscribes, and maintain a positive repport with your subscribers.
  • Make Your Campaigns Fun
    All too often, businesses are so focused on selling products and services, that they’ve forgotten to make them fun.  Simple things like contests, drawings, and ways to highlight customers and partners are a great way to spice up your email marketing campaigns.  With the mainstream adoption of social media, it’s easy to launch these types of marketing campaigns, while collecting valuable contact information like email addresses and other contact information for future campaigns.


How To Get Started…

Fortunately, if you’re ready to start using email marketing as an integral part of your marketing campaigns, iContact is currently offering savings of up to 30% on new accounts and upgrades until midnight, June 30th! Even if you aren’t ready to sign-up for an account today, they do offer a 15-day free trial as well.

Visit iContact.com today, and see how email marketing can help boost your summer marketing campaigns!




28
Jun

Greatest Opportunity for Email Marketers Today


Article from The iContact Blog, Written By:
James Wong, iContact Communications Manager

In a world of highly integrated, yet segmented internet usage and behavior, today’s email marketers must be more in tune with their email contacts than ever before. This of course presents an all too real problem for most marketing teams, because email is a channel that has received much negative publicity in regards to spam.

However, email remains nonetheless, one of the most viable and critical communication channels for today’s marketing professional.


Why and How Has Email Remained So Popular?

With the advent of new communications technologies focused around social media interactions like Twitter and Facebook, many internet users have flocked to these various channels to receive and distribute bite-sized bits of information. The information exchanged is much more concentrated and distributed in snapshots, as compared to emailed content.

Regardless of which communication channels your contacts choose to utilize, one fact remains strong among all of those networks – they all require a valid email address to sign up.

Besides being a low-level security verification channel, email has become more than just a simple communication channel, but has matured into a hub that connects all of a person’s social media activities. Through email notifications, a user’s email inbox notifies the individual of Facebook message, comment, and friend requests. It notifies the individual of Twitter activity and requests, and replicates the same resource to hundreds of thousands of various online social networks and communities. Ultimately, all of that data gets redirected into an individual’s inbox. Not to mention the simple fact that you can’t send attachments via any other “social media” channel.


What Email Marketers Should Be Doing

Marketing professionals should be tapping into the wealth of data waiting just beyond their email lists. Each of their email contacts could potentially be a member of various online social networks, and in today’s inter-connected world, it’s vital that marketers discover to which networks and communities their members belong.

Using simple email surveys can reveal a flood of information about their contact’s behavior, interest and communications habits. Analyzing this data will identify key networks and communities that you should be targeting, and which networks you could be leveraging for your marketing efforts.

The key is that every social network and community has its own unique niche. Researching and understanding why your contacts are on certain networks over others will provide you with insight into their interests and behaviors, which may prove to impact their buying behaviors as well.

Email marketers should view email as a two-way communications channel, and start listening to their contacts. Marketers need to document and respond to feedback, and be as transparent as possible. Collecting contact behavior and network preference data will better prepare marketers to engage in meaningful and educated discussions with their contacts.