Email Marketing

Rhonda Hiltbrand“Email addresses are not data.  Each represents a real person.  Treat them accordingly!”

(Marketing Essentials of the Highly Successful Shop Owner – Part Three)

This is part three in answer to a reader who is frustrated that many of his marketing strategies aren’t working like he thought it would! Today’s post is about email marketing!

I love email!  It is my favorite form of communication.  I like it because it is easy, I don’t have to play “phone tag” with my customers and writing happens to be my main vocation.

However…as a consumer nothing annoys me more than the “overzealous” emailer. I purchase my printer toner at Best Buy.  In December, they decided, for some reason, to start emailing every single day.  They never stopped.  They are on my list to “unsubscribe.”  Web MD seemed like a great business for me to subscribe to.  When they started sending me no less than 20 emails each and every Saturday…way too many through the week and on Sunday, I unsubscribed!  Certain LinkedIn persons decided I needed to hear what they had to say all weekend long and in the evenings and on holidays especially…I dropped them.

The main problem with email marketing is that it is sooooooo easy businesses forget that the email address represents a real human being and it isn’t just “data”.  Respect that person’s time.  Don’t be responsible for their “email fatigue.”

Always ask yourself this question before you send out email marketing…if I had to pay for this service like I do direct mail…would I send it?  Treat it like you would direct mail…always respect your readers!

Some suggested rules of email marketing:

  • – Address your readers’ concerns.
  • – Don’t make it be a big sales push.
  • – Remember it should be all about what you can do for your customer…not about how great you and your business is.
  • – Experiment with the best time to send it out. I do 7:00 am on Tuesday’s because that is when my readers seem to interact with it the most.  I get a great read rate using this time.
  • – Always include an “unsubscribe” option…don’t force yourself on your readers as this will turn them off faster than anything.
  • – I send out two “Help Me Rhonda’s” a month…one to service advisors and one to shop owners. That is all!  I want my columns to be welcomed…not an intrusion on my readers’ busy time.
  • – Keep it short and keep it simple. This email blast is far too long…but I wanted to answer the question I was asked.

If you have further questions about email marketing (this is just the basics) I have a lot more I can say about it so let me know and I’ll make sure you get the information.  You are always welcome to call or email me and I am here to help you!  Don’t hesitate!

Thanks for your time!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing


Community Involvement (Yes…that is also marketing!)

Rhonda Hiltbrand(Marketing Essentials of the Highly Successful Shop Owner – Part One)

One of my readers has been disappointed in Internet marketing and asked me to write about it.  Below are some feelings he has on the subject; (I am sharing this with his permission).

“The past eight plus years has been one big internet marketing experiment for me. One internet concept after another promised great things and I feel none of it actually delivered. I paid money for a new website and was told this would generate a lot of leads for me. There have been the rare occasion when the website has been beneficial but basically for a service industry like mine, the cost of the website has not generated enough customers to make it worth the price tag. I feel people use it mostly to look up my phone number and hours of operation. It is more or less the “yellow pages” now. Of course, The Yellow Pages was pricy too and didn’t really bring me new customers either.

I post something to Facebook at least once a week and get a few likes but that is from current customers or family and friends. I tried email marketing but the report shows that my regular customers may look at it but then again, they may not. I am starting to realize that certain times of the year I get deletes more than I get viewed. Help me, Rhonda! What can I do?”

I spent time with this reader and gave him some ideas and I thought my other readers might also feel the same frustration he is. I decided to take the next few “Help Me Rhonda” articles to answer this in depth. I discussed this with my staff as well and I will share some helpful tips. If you have been a reader of mine for a long time…you know I always recommend that you “mix it up” as different people want different contact points.

I thought about my most successful customers… those who never suffer from slow times and in fact are booking out weeks in advance. They certainly do have a vast marketing mix and have some other unique concepts they do on a CONSISTENT basis. Here is the first common thread these shops do to stay at the top of their game!

These shop owners participate actively and personally in what we at News Works call, “Community Marketing”. The one common factor with all very successful shops is they are the backbone of their community by sponsoring events. If they sponsor, for example, a sports team. They don’t stop there… they are active with that team. They celebrate their successes by personally attending a few games and treating the team to ice cream or pizza or have a BBQ for them.

  • They are active in their local schools. They hold art contests and give it a theme and pass out trophies.
  • They have car care clinics.
  • They donate a car to a needy family.
  • They are involved in Toys for Tots.

You get the idea. They are well known in their community by sharing themselves. They prove they really care… not by just saying it (though they do that too and put the information in their newsletter… not in a bragging way but thanking others for their participation) but by doing. This creates a family friendly environment with free flowing information that can’t be deleted or scrolled past. It builds a business that will bring in the income you’ve been wanting. People like to do business with a business that cares!

Rhonda Hiltbrand
CEO
News Works Marketing