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Archive for October, 2014

Identify and Investigate Target Market Channels

Monday, October 27th, 2014

Do you know your target market? When asked that question most trainers, consultants, and professional coaches can paint a fairly clear picture of what a target client looks like. When asked how they market to that target audience a list of marketing channels or media follows. But is the target market using those channels or media?

The ease in which digital marketing campaigns can be started has created some laziness in investigating which channels are most appropriate for a particular demographic. The thinking is that it’s so easy to set up the channel, we might as well give it a try and see if there are any results.

However, appropriately using a marketing channel typically has a significant investment in time and resources. Getting started might be simple but maintaining the presence in an effective way over the long term is likely not a small investment. Even more damaging is when a focus is placed on “positive” metrics that aren’t drawing the right audience. Some trainers, consultants, and professional coaches personally like using a particular channel and justify its use through irrelevant metrics that have no tangible impact on generating sales or leads.

The flip side of the problem is disregarding a channel because your prospects “don’t use it.” Often times a marketing channel is derided because a trainer, consultant, or professional coach doesn’t personally like or understand that channel. Just because it’s something that you don’t prefer, doesn’t mean that people in your target market don’t like or use it either.

Two clients recently showed the polar opposite in regards to a Facebook campaign.

The first client said, “I tried Facebook for a while. In fact, we did the whole social media thing. We got nothing out of it so I don’t want to waste time with it.” In reviewing what had been done we found a couple months of posts with no focus on building a following. When we pointed out that the Facebook page was never really given time to grow the response was, “That could be but the result was NO Leads. I struggle with the math there. How much effort multiplied by ZERO results in leads?” This outlook was a self-fulfilling prophecy, “Social media doesn’t work so I’ll put only a little effort in. After applying minimal effort there are no results which clearly show social media is not a valid channel for my target audience.”

Another client experienced the opposite outlook. He loved Facebook and crafted several contests to boost his following. After pulling lead data and finding that Facebook was actually the least effective social media channel he responded with, “I’m sure these leads are from Facebook, maybe they are just navigating in an indirect way which is skewing the results.” Upon further analysis we found that only about five percent of his audience was a valid prospect. The other ninety-five percent had liked his page during contests for a free restaurant gift certificate and likely had little or no need for the consultant’s services.

Remember that the best crafted marketing campaign will be a failure if it doesn’t target and reach the right people. Investigate marketing channels and if it appears that your target market is present make a plan to use it. Then be diligent and objective in investigating the data to ensure that the market you identified truly exists.

Gather Client Testimonials

Thursday, October 16th, 2014

ID-100247368Getting testimonials is not a groundbreaking marketing suggestion. However, many trainers, consultants, and professional coaches don’t consistently generate testimonials from their satisfied customers. Here are several ways to make gathering testimonials part of business as usual.

Use Client Emails

One of our best clients at generating testimonials has at least two every month. How does he consistently generate so many testimonials? Simple, if his client sends him an email thanking him, he’ll cut an excerpt out and ask if it’s OK to use that as a testimonial. The answer from his client is almost always yes because the work of writing the testimonial is already done.

Write Testimonials for clients

If you have a client with particularly good results or a great story to tell as a testimonial, try writing it for them. Then send them the testimonial asking for edits or approval. This has the added benefit of reaffirming that the client perceives as much value as you do in the working relationship.

Video Testimonial Recording

If you have regular consulting or training sessions with a client, ask if they’d be willing to shoot a video of their experience. Make it casual and have some prepared questions to prevent the client from rambling. Record more than you think you’ll need and then spend some time editing the most powerful or well shot sections.

Ask for the Testimonial

It’s simple but many consultant, trainers, or professional coaches simply don’t get testimonials because they don’t ask for them. If you want to make testimonials even simpler set up a form on your website where people can input their response. You can even standardize the form in many cases with checkboxes for common benefits clients receive or rankings of what services have been most beneficial.

 

Make gathering testimonials part of your day-to-day activities and make sure to gather them in a variety of media. Often times people default to the technology or style they are comfortable with and neglect other avenues. If you’ve struggled with producing videos in the past, work out a system to create them, seeing and hearing an actual testimonial is a powerful presentation. Just because you can shoot video doesn’t mean that you always should. Make sure to have written testimonials or transcripts for times when text is required or more appropriate

Testimonials can be a powerful marketing tool especially when done consistently. The same testimonial popping up over and over again can make it seem like a trainer, consultant, or professional coach only has a handful of satisfied clients. Gathering testimonials consistently will truly reflect the wide array of people and companies that you count as satisfied clients.

 

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Reusing Articles For Marketing

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Article and content reuse can be a valuable way to save time in producing the quality content that drives productive online marketing. It can also be a crutch that leads to repetition, disinterest, and obsolescence.

It’s rare that I encounter a trainer, consultant, or professional coach that isn’t strapped for time. Any strategy for decreasing the time commitment to sustain marketing efforts is a welcome one. However, in content reuse, what starts as a one-time shortcut often becomes a habit.

In meeting with a trainer recently, I asked if they would need help with content creation. The trainer said, “No I don’t need anything like that. I recycle the same group of articles so we’re set for content.” In asking about the content it worked out that the articles repeated on about a two year cycle. I asked if there was any indication that his audience had lost interest in his articles and he replied, “No one’s ever complained about it. Heck if someone was paying that close attention they’re probably already a client.”

However, in looking over his marketing metrics his audiences engagement was significantly lower than average. While there could be several factors weighing in on that, the fact that he was repeating himself over and over didn’t seem like a motivating factor for people to remain engaged.

If you find you chronically reuse content then you are likely suffering in three primary ways:

  • New articles are not being added to your website so there is not a consistent feed of fresh content to assist in your search engine optimization efforts.
  • Social and email subscribers may not recognize specific articles have been repeated but almost always recognize a similar topic and begin to disengage or ignore the messages.
  • Content online often gets dated quickly and using old articles with current dates can often make you look out of touch. (One of the trainer’s articles referenced cellular phones as a “new” technology)

While some content reuse is often valuable and effective, too much is often a problem. It’s OK to revisit past content from time to time, especially when a time crunch prevents new material from being created. However, be sure to edit it to ensure that the article is still relevant and makes a valid point.

If you find that you are habitually reusing content then it’s time to evaluate your marketing strategy. It’s unlikely anyone will complain about repetitive content, instead they’ll disengage or stop paying attention. Take a good hard look at your metrics, is it providing the complaint that your audience is tired of hearing the same thing over and over?