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Archive for February, 2012

Social Media is Becoming a Necessity (Not Optional)

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Full disclaimer, I believe that social media is currently being over-hyped as a marketing medium primarily because significant metrics are hard to gather and business communication is often a subsidiary focus.  That said, almost every company should have some strategy for using it.  The reason I say this is not from a belief that it will revolutionize your marketing.  The fact is that for many it won’t.  However social media is becoming a preferred platform of communication for many people and therefore needs to be adopted in some fashion by businesses.

This is especially true for trainers, consultants, and business coaches.  Your clients and prospects look to you as a content expert.  They expect to find you making commentary on your expertise and many rely on social media.  If you won’t communicate to them in their preferred fashion, a competitor will.  Furthermore, social media is becoming more important in search engine optimization and will be important to keeping websites ranking well.

So how do I rectify a belief that social media needs to be adopted but also that it won’t have a significant impact on your marketing (at least not immediately)?  By adopting an, “I can say I’m doing it” strategy.  Most trainers, consultants, and business coaches already have communication channels online and through email.  It’s a fairly straight forward approach to integrate these messages into social media.

This strategy can be implemented by any business because it’s leveraging something that is already being done.  This keeps the time/money/effort commitment to a minimum but still communicates to the social media audience in a way that resonates with them.

The other advantage of doing this is it positions you for a more in depth approach down the line.  I have no doubt that social media applications and tracking will continue to improve, making it a vital mix in online marketing campaigns.

Starting out with a basic model allows businesses to build a social media audience where experiments can be done on the best way to leverage your social media channel.  The power of social media isn’t really just marketing.  When fully adopted social media serves sales, customer service, and personal one-to-one communication roles.

The “I can say I’m doing it” approach let’s businesses walk before they run.  When businesses dive in with a full campaign they often get overwhelmed because they don’t have resources in place to consistently use their social media channel.  Since they are stretched thin the effort is usually lacking and results are often negligible.

If you’re already using social media regularly and find that it serves more than a marketing role by being a communication channel for multiple parts of the business, you’ve likely hit a point where there is true ROI and more time/money/effort is warranted.  If you’re not using social media then taking the “I can say I’m doing it” approach is a good way to get your feet wet.

Staying on the sideline of social media is a bad option.  After all, how silly would it be nowadays to tell someone you don’t have a website/email but that you can fax information?  Social media is becoming a more critical piece to the website/email matrix because it’s how many people communicate and is likely to be a business necessity sooner rather than later.

Email Marketing: What to Do About a Mistake

Wednesday, February 8th, 2012

A social media post or a webpage can be immediately updated or removed if a mistake is present. Email, however, presents a unique challenge when an error is sent out.  If an email platform has a retract feature, the results are typically spotty at best.  This means that once an email is sent, there’s really no going back.  When a mistake happens it’s usually a scramble to rectify the situation.  A quick analysis and assigning an action plan is critical for an appropriate timely response.

The first step to dealing with an email marketing error is to stay calm.  Analysis of the error is needed to assign an appropriate response.  When boiled down there are essentially three options when an error occurs:

  1. Ignore It – This is a viable option.  Just don’t make it a default option.  If the error is minor like a misspelled word or grammar error it’s probably best to let it go.  Yes, a few sticklers on your email list might respond but by and large it’s not going to have an impact on your ongoing campaigns. If it’s a small mistake that’s likely to go unnoticed then it’s not worth hitting your lists inbox again.
  2. Targeted resend – If an error affects a subset of your list then a correction needs to be sent only to the affected recipients.  This is often the case if a link is broken or referencing the wrong page.  It can also be the case if you have lists broken into versions (like html layout and text layout).  If you can isolate a group or list then do so.  No sense sending an update to everyone about a broken link.  Rather send the update to the recipients that clicked the link.
  3. Resend – This is the final and most drastic action.  If there is a major problem or the wrong content goes to the wrong audience then a resend is necessary.  Basically if the body of the email contains a significant problem, then everyone who received it will need a replacement.  The resend should be done quickly and include a note in the body or the subject line explaining that this is a corrected version of the flawed email.

Mistakes happen.  Of course reviewing for errors beforehand is the best course of action but every person running an email marketing campaign will have an error go out sooner or later.  The difference between it having a lasting effect and being a barely noticeable issue depends on what the error is and how efficiently the mistake is corrected.