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Archive for April, 2012

Online Marketing: Don’t Forget Your Clients

Wednesday, April 18th, 2012

When trainers, consultants, and professional coaches set up or maintain an online marketing campaign, prospects are typically the focus.  This makes sense as marketing to prospects is the most direct way of generating new business.  Unfortunately this focus often blinds trainers, consultants, and professional coaches to another, likely more valuable, group; their clients.  Including communications and exclusive offers to clients within an online marketing campaign is a good way to increase client loyalty and generate referral business.

Usually if clients are factored in to online communications it’s in the form of a client newsletter.  While a newsletter can be valuable, it’s just one channel of potential bonuses that can be offered to clients.  Some added options might be:

  • Client Portal on the Web – Do you have a client only section?  This could be a portal on the website or an exclusive group within your social media.
  • Client Offers – These offers could be free access to paid events, early access to whitepapers or reports, or discounts on materials.  Making the communication exclusive goes a long way toward making the offer credible.  For instance, sending a special email offer works, putting the offer on a public site or social media page doesn’t.
  • Online Supported Referrals – Referrals are a key factor for trainers, consultants, and professional coaches to generate new business.  Having an online referral form process in a client portal or sending a list of hot prospects you’d like to be introduced to can be a good prompt to getting clients in the mindset of providing introductions.

This is a small sampling but are pieces often overlooked by trainers, consultants, and professional coaches.  A client marketing plan can have two major benefits if done well.  It will produce warm prospects while strengthening the bond to your client base.

No Catch Alls in Email List Segmentation

Friday, April 6th, 2012

After an email marketing campaign is running consistently and generating results a natural evolution is to segment the email list into groups and cater communications to the segments.  This is easier said than done.  Deciding which segments should exist and what individuals belong in which category is not an undertaking to be taken lightly.  Identifying and performing the administration of breaking up the list requires a plan.  If the task is undertaken haphazardly there usually ends up being a catch all category that eventually morphs back into a singe list.

The “other” category is the bane of email list segmentation.  And it’s unnecessary because there should no be a catch all category.  The whole point in segmenting lists is to deliver content to set groups that directly apply to defined criteria.  There’s no clearly defined category for “other”.

Resist using a catch all segment.  It’s often created out of frustration with the segmenting process.  Rather allot sufficient time to define what segments are appropriate to meet the specialized communications you envision.  If you find that you are drifting toward a general group then stop and redefine.

Also resist using a specialized group as a place for individuals that are challenging to define.  Every person that falls into a segment must share the same defining characteristic.  The worst thing a segmented email campaign can do is send specialized content to individuals it does not apply to.

Usually if a catch all group exists then all the other groupings begin to morph into the single general category.  That is often because it’s easier for the email list administrator to assign “other” rather than do some digging to see what an individual is hoping to receive or a subscriber isn’t sure which category best fits them so they default to a general list.

If you’re setting a general category in a list segmentation process, stop.  If it comes to it, it’s better to scrap the whole process and save the time rather than break the list up into arbitrary lists and eventually have them converge back into a single list down the line.