Tag Archives: email marketing

Channel Partner Marketing

Is this a Channel Marketing Strategy or building a collaborative relationship?

One of my new customers was asking about a variety of marketing activities he thought needed to be done. As I reviewed what his company had and didn’t have, I started writing a brief email response. As I was writing, it turned into more of a marketing questions and suggestions email. Yes, I know I should have held back and presented it as a high-priced strategy for a Channel Marketing Plan, but I thought it would be more helpful for his company to get tidbits of their needs and what could be done combined with what are they are doing now. It gives the customer a sense of collaboration and builds relationship trust. I hope you find some value in this as a starting point with your company or customers –

Here are 10 Things  to do to Help the Marketing Efforts for Channel Partners:

1. Analysis and Planning – Identify sales and profit by market segment, (rank industries by the greatest need for your product), and which of your products are hot and not – that could help determine growth opportunities. Evaluate competitors marketing, websites, products and services – what are they doing and is it working? Who are your competitors? The marketing program should identify timing of marketing initiatives throughout the year – I typically use a spreadsheet to manage marketing timelines, so channel partners know what is being pushed/featured/announced and when.

2. Channel Marketing Support – You probably have deeper marketing resources – expertise and available funding, then most of your channel partners. Glad to see you are currently providing templates and some optimized product photos for brochures –but you need to have a more organized system for distribution of product photos and text content. What about content and marketing direction for direct emails or case studies? You should consider hosting webcasts and product demonstrations that channel partners can either participate in, or communicate to their customers when they are. Does your company offer co-op or market development funds, to reimburse channel partners for approved marketing initiatives?

3. Build Awareness – A search-optimized website can improve search authority, but awareness is having a presence in your various regions and/or countries to build word-of-mouth and referrals. Marketing and networking - the face behind the blogParticipate in or sponsor business networking events. Are your products unique enough to write as news or press releases, to distribute to local, regional and national editor lists?  Research and seek speaking opportunities at relevant events, like local business organizations and tradeshows. There should be someone at your company that could travel around to speak as an expert authority on your product niche.

4. Webcasts and Live Demos – You really need to develop frequent webcast demos/events on relevant topics. Promote and communicate those events via email and social media channels. Does you or channel partners attend and sponsor local or vertical marketing, relevant networking and trade show events? The home page of the website then could include a sidebar list of upcoming events, (online and at business organization’s meetings). Then we could add an events page to the website with archives that potential best selling tipscustomers and partners could continue to access for additional information.

5. Direct Marketing – The purpose of all marketing is lead generation. So are your sales people managing a customer database with marketing automation software or contact manager? It is really helpful to code, track and report leads to be able to continually improve the results of that process. Are there potential prospect lists of members of associations that you belong to? Belonging to organizations is a great place to start a direct marketing campaign. Ideally you use telemarketing qualification to identify decision makers and contact information, or just sending out marketing info to potential prospects or providing them at meetings is a start.

6. Referral Program – As you know, more than half of business leads is from referrals, or it should be. Ask clients for referrals by requesting references and testimonials. Also, identify highly networked clients and ask for referrals from them as well.  Recognize referrals with gifts and thank you notes. Systematically cultivate and give referrals. There should be a customer testimonial on all most every page of the website.

presentations7. Content Expert – Is there someone at at your company that can be or is the subject matter expert for your niche? They need to be speaking to business groups and organizations as well as develop case studies and white papers, (which are great for social media blogs). Creating surveys and industry studies is also content that channel partners could use for their marketing efforts. Then you could use and repurpose that content for the website, blogging and social media channels. Use the created value-based content for your credentials kit when submitting proposals.

8. Website Improvement and Search Engine Optimization (SEO) – Your website is really the base foundation of marketing programs. A website needs to have content added to it frequently. Search engine bots scan websites frequently, and if nothing has been added or SEO for phrases and keywordschanged, the website is consider stagnant and typically drops in rankings because the website does not have fresh information. Does your site rank on the top page search results for keywords – nope not even close. We need to create a baseline now to compare after future SEO efforts). Then at some point I need to run search engine optimization diagnostics to identify issues and problems – and then fix them. 

9. Blogging – This is a great tool for distributing all of your fresh new content. Blogging has many benefits to a marketing program including helping with search engine optimization. Blogs should integrate with the website and other social media outlets. It helps to build indexed pages for search engines, and distribute content through bookmarking and social sharing.

10. Social Media – Social media is marketing. It can build search engine authority, and generate leads. Do leads come from channel Social media networkspartners, or where do the majority of leads come from?   Build-out social media profiles including LinkedIn personal profiles and company pages, a Facebook business page, Twitter profile, and the YouTube channel profile. After those are created, links need to be added to the your website and blog. It sounds complicated but much of that content already exists in brochures and the website.

 I hope this helps as an overview of potential planning and prioritizing what needs to get done next. It is easy to pick the easy stuff to do, and focus on what can be done now. But also consider Social media consultant fore hire - cost effective and gets results.much of the above is for long-time vision planning, which takes time, and does not have immediate results. The results show up later, which in the long run drive the company to more sales and profits for a longer period of time. Consider if the competition is only doing half of the above, and if you do most or all of it – who is going to win the marketing and sales battle?

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How these “simple tricks” get your emails read.

Whether you’re a millennial or an old dog, here are some easy and new tricks to get higher readership out of your emails.

tricks to writing emails

This blog’s subject line (which could also be an email), uses these 7 tricks that are likely to get more readership:
  1. Putting quotation marks around a phrase or statement increases readership
  2. The word “How” makes people think (rightly) that they will get some advice.
  3. The word “these” makes the advice sound specific.
  4. “Simple” makes it sound easy – and the word “easy” in the subhead also increases readership – because people hate hard work.
  5. “Tricks” makes it seem easy as well.
  6. The phrase “get your emails read” increases readership because it makes the sentence active – that simple approach does the trick.
  7. The word “your” helps, too, because people are interested in themselves.
Eight more tricks you can use …

marketing tricks1. When providing a list, use numbers instead of bullets to increase readership. Readers typically finish reading a numbered list to see if something resonates with them – and refer to the number of solutions or tips like I did using the number “7.”

2. Use the words “you” or “your” it’s certain to increase readership.

3. But that’s not all. (Use bold text for subheads or as an introduction to paragraphs like I did in this long-winded blog – it breaks up lengthy text and creates more visual interest).

Getting people to read your text4. The subhead needs to encourage people to start reading your full story – it’s a bit like an appetizer in a restaurant.

5. Does the use of questions keep people reading?  Yes, because they suggest answers to come, so does a list of specific examples – because when someone suggests something to you, you often say to yourself, “What do you mean?”

6. Did you notice that the paragraphs in this blog vary in length? One is only nine words long. The mind enjoys variety, and the empty spaces allows the eyes to rest.

7. “Use simple words everyone knows. Then everyone will understand.”

email tricks for readership8. Should the writing style be the same as casual chat? Typically it’s more formal – but writing is really nothing more than a well-organized speech. And when you write you have time to think things out and arrange them in ways you cannot in the rush of a speech.

Wether you are new to the game or an old dog learning new tricks, keep your message simple and to the point – because people have little time to dig for what they are looking for.

 

The Best Email Marketing Campaign Tips: 7-10

best practice email campaigns

7. Customers have specific needs and what they consider value-based content. Because of that, it is best to divide the email list of customers into sub-categories which allows you to send even more highly targeted information to you customers – it could be by product categories, geographic location or even by titles of decision makers. The key is to more closely match the customers needs with your messages. Sometimes being made aware of other products they may not normally buy in addition to new versions of what they do buy, would be of value to them and another way to segment the lists. You could also provide referral bonuses for repeat customers or special introductory offers for products they don’t currently buy as a way to test them out.

email strategy of coordination8. Channel coordination. By using the same product promotion, language and images in social media, the website and the email campaign, it creates an integrated approach that enhances the brand and helps the customers remember that product that they may not be currently buying. Reinforcing a message is always a good thing, and if action is required, make sure it is up front so you are not telling a long story before getting to the call-to-action.

9. Test best time to send.  According to direct mail research studies, the best time statistically to send an email is between 2pm and 5pm. The largest volume of emails people get is typically between 10am and 2pm. You could also do an A/B split test for the emails and look at open rates from the email analytics so you can optimize the lists.

strategic email

 

10. Design and layout. Of course the email needs to be visually appealing but where the pictures and graphics are located, the headline, subhead size, and text formatting is a science unto itself. When I worked at AT&T we commissioned an outside firm to do readership studies of ads, website, product packaging designs and other marketing materials. We would have test groups look at the messages and lasers would track their eye movement, as well as we tracked when they stopped reading and lost interest. So designing an email to be effective involves helping the reader to move their eyes in an order that feels natural to them so they read the content you want them to read in the order you hope they will. In a nutshell, people read messages best that are designed in the shape of an “F”. Best at emailingHeadline is read left to right, then down to a shorter width subhead or image, back out to a longer subhead or larger image then down to a narrower width text content. The goal of the headline is to get the reader to the subhead, and the subhead then to the text – but pictures and graphics not carefully placed or sized can interrupt that flow, causing people to skip ahead or bypass key parts of the message. The design is as important as the content of the message – and an effective layout can move people to read the entire message.

Email marketing campaign tips: 4-6

It’s easy to follow just some of these guidelines – send an email out to customers and then check it off the to-do list. That said, all of these suggestions contribute to success. If the subject line isn’t compelling or communicates value, the customer may never read it. If the basic structure isn’t followed as mentioned in the previous email, then again it will decrease the potential for a successful Strategy for email campaignsprogram. Emails are like an offense in football, the quarterback, receivers and offensive line all need to do their part well for the play to work, if one guy is not on the same page, most likely the play fails. It’s the same with an email marketing campaign – all of the details matter. Tips 4-6 below focus on frequency, content and compelling subject lines.

Subject line for emails is critical4. Write knock-out subject lines. Do I have your attention? We could have the best content and message in the world but it may not get read because of the subject line. Writing a subject line is a marketing art – I actually attended a seminar just focused on writing email subject lines, that’s how important they are. The subject should grab the reader’s attention quickly and explain exactly why the message is valuable. Most important, keep it short – around 6 to 8 words because readers on mobile phones only see 25 to 30 characters in the subject lines and laptops around 60 characters.

Let customers know your email frequency5. Frequency. The readers will want to know how often we’ll email them. Whether you plan to email once a week or twice a month, its important to be up front with the frequency information so they know what to expect, (and stick to those expectations). Many times people sign up for informative emails and get deluged with daily emails, so these days people are skeptical, and telling them the frequency they can expect would be very customer-friendly and appreciated.

Email content needs to value in a campaign6. Great content, not just marketing messages. Your customers are going to unsubscribe to your emails if it’s just marketing and advertising messages. The content needs to offer value – new technology, products that help their lives or business, product installation tricks and tips, as well as customer testimonials – all are  value-based messages. Then over time we find out what interest customers the most through the email response analytics (click-through rates, user surveys, etc.). Questions asked in forums, social media or asked directly to your sales staff are also ways to find what content would be of value to the customer. ==> Be careful of sending frequent advertising specials and coupons in email blasts because it could dilute the perceived real value of your products. The content still needs to focus on the value the product is to the customer.

Tips for email marketing

Again, leaving out one of the above tips and not thinking it’s important will result in a sputtering offense, and miss the opportunity for a real score.

10 best tips for email marketing (1 of 3)

Email marketing tips 1-3 of 10 best 1. The first email. First and most important is that the very first email that goes out establishes and communicates the purpose of the email. If it doesn’t communicate value, some recipients might consider it intrusive, unsubscribe or worse – label it as spam. Attention to detail is important. (If you want to develop a consumer email base, provide a sign-up form on your website and  social media sites with an incentive such as a discount coupon for signing-up to build your list. Email tips for business Email-opt-out2. Provide an Opt-out option and a Forward button. It’s frustrating for customers to get emails they don’t want and can’t easily unsubscribe to, plus it’s legally required to do so at the bottom of each marketing email. Bonus – provide a “forward” button so that the recipient can forward the email to another person in the company that might be an appropriate person to also get the email, as well as providing a link for them to also subscribe to the emails. Make sure your business emails are mobile friendly3. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly. Many people these days read their emails on phone and tablets to check in while they are at lunch, after work or waiting somewhere – and are doing so to kill time. It’s an opportunity if the email can easily be read on a mobile device – if it’s interesting to them they will know to read the email on their computer when they get back to the office. If the text is to small they will skip to the next email, if the pictures are not optimized (taking to long to load), they will skip to their next email and may automatically delete it when they get back to the office. Mobile-friendly email many times get read twice – and it doesn’t cost any extra to make it mobile-friendly. Also important, if there is a call-to-action, make sure you link it to text and not a photo that may not have downloaded correctly. If you need help with your email marketing program, click here to drop me an email.