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Archive for August, 2010

Email Marketing Strategy to Promote Events

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

Promoting events through email marketing is very popular.  And why not?  It allows for a targeted audience to receive event information and provides a simple and immediate way to register for the event (or at least it should).  However, because it’s an ideal tool doesn’t mean a strategy doesn’t need worked out.  Plan your email marketing event promotion schedule and stick with it.

Here is an outline for a typical plan:

  1. Identify the Audience and Segment – Will there be a single invite or multiple invites for subsections of the audience?  For example can you send the invite to “Marketing Professionals”?  Or do you need subsets with different content for “Print Marketing”, “Online Marketing”, and “Social Marketing”?  Do those need broken into “Professional” and “Executive” categories?
  2. Account for Logistics – Your email marketing plan needs to adhere to logistic guidelines.  If registration closes a week before the event, sending a reminder on that day is pointless.
  3. Set a Schedule – A send schedule broken up into segments is critical. Setting a schedule really depends on the event. Is it a large event needing months of lead time?  If so, a save the date invite might be appropriate, followed by an invite a month away from the event, and a “last chance” invite a week before the event.  Is it a webinar?  An invite 2 weeks beforehand might suffice.
  4.  Craft the Email – Get all the content together.  Make sure it holds true to any other marketing materials (mailed invites, ads, etc.)  It  needs to have a clear next step which for event emails that is likely a link to more info or a registration page.
  5. Send the Emails – Follow the send schedule making sure that each audience segment receives the right information at the set time.
  6. Track the Results – You’re not going to have a perfect plan to promote your event through email right off the bat.  Track the results so you can tweak your strategy and implement it for the next event promotion.

This is general and can fluctuate from event to event.  However, it gives a good checklist.

The most important thing to keep in mind is to follow the plan.  You likely will be asked or be tempted to do an “on the fly” email for events, especially if attendance isn’t what the event coordinator hoped it would be.  These requests are invariably made right before the event.  If you’re forced into it, do the best you can but be aware that it’s rare to have an impromptu email sent have it be well received.  Successful event promotion from email happens when the email marketer is prepared, knows why and when they are sending invitations, and refines that strategy for future events.

A Marketable Website on a Budget

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

I recently read a very funny web post about web designers claiming to know SEO.  I think the points are fairly accurate and it’s an entertaining read.  However, several of the comments are a great summary of why small businesses have difficulty using the model that the blog advocates.  It’s typically not cost effective.

A single source for internet marketing is often critical to having an affordable internet marketing strategy for smaller businesses.  The other advantage that the comments did not cover is a single contact that understands the client’s business.  When a small business works with someone that has a diversified understanding of internet marketing (assuming they actually are knowledgeable), they can make educated suggestions on what makes sense for that business.  That consulting is worth a lot and since the person is already ingrained in the strategy, it’s not an extra cost.

The blog post does a great job of explaining the workload of different website responsibilities.  Speaking for our firm, we only create web designs by special request and don’t promote the service anymore because staying competent in email marketing, SEO, site and social media maintenance does not make it feasible.  Small businesses certainly need to do their homework before hiring anyone to work on their website, but most simply don’t have the resources or knowledge to coordinate multiple experts into creating a successful internet marketing strategy.

Professional Layout is Not Optional

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

I recently had a client call me out on what they felt was a contradiction.  I harp on content being king.  For a successful site they need engaging content that people will want to consume and they need to present it in a way that is friendly for Search engines.

I must have over-harped because I suggest a redesign for a section of their site that was content rich and growing rapidly.  My client said, “But the content is great.  You always tell me to focus on the content.”  While I agree that content is most important, it can’t come at the expense of a professional layout.

Here’s why.  A poorly designed site degrades credibility.  Users have to have faith that the content is coming from a credible source.  If great content is displayed in an amateurish way, users will move on.

A professional layout is the ring to your content’s diamond.  It supports your content while displaying the information in a pleasing way that let’s users appreciate what you are offering.  A poor layout is like burying a diamond in mud.  It’s still a diamond but no one wants to undertake the work and the mess of uncovering it.