Marketing 101 - Working Through the Plan, Part 1

We left off with the need for websites and how a blog might be of help. So, let's continue through our list from "The Overall Plan." Next up is Newsletter via Email.

Newsletters is a very old idea, but it is still a very good one. The goal with the newsletter is not generally to move someone to purchase or to sell anything except yourself. It is a gentle way to stay in touch with your client and prospect base. I suggest they be informative and interesting so that they get a little attention, but if they didn't read the content at all, at least they would see who it came from and have your name in front of them even if for a few seconds. As with my own experience, you will find a number of people who enjoy getting them and who find value in various articles or information you provide. It is just a great way to stay in touch.

It is a perfect place to promote as well, although staying in contact, giving valuable information is still the main purpose. When you promote as in selling, it is better to do less than to do more. I get a huge volume of newsletters that I have signed up for, but when they are selling every time, I click the unsubscribe button. I'm okay with some, but it grows old quickly. Think of it more of promoting your values, ideas, thoughts, shared insights, etc. It will be more effective in the long run and is more likely to get shared with others.

In today's world, the postage and printing and labor involved in putting out your newsletter is costly. Email is a much better way and very inexpensive and even more effective in a number of ways. In addition, you can have links to other websites (like your own) or other information sources. With one click of the mouse, it can be sent to thousands--even millions in seconds. So, get every email address that you can so that this can be a tool for you to use effectively.

There are a number of Internet companies that offer the email marketing newsletters. I use Constant Contact, many people have also used iContact, and many many others. Some have no graphics, just text with links and others have lots of graphics, text and links. Find something that you like and go with it. There is a monthly cost involved, but it is very inexpensive.

It is a good idea to make your newsletter a regularly scheduled event. Once a month is a good place to start. You can also send out special ones with special announcements, offers, etc. It's okay to do some selling now and then. . .

Direct mail. If you think of each piece as costing you $1 for each person the mail goes to, this might help you think of making it as effective as you can to the most targeted audience you can. Even at a bulk rate, direct mail can be costly, yet it can also be effective, so I have always used it but think it through thoroughly.

Sometimes a good, colorful postcard can do very well as a marketing tool. Other times, it might be a letter in an envelope. The possibilities are endless. I recommend that you try many different things and if you are sending to the same group on regular intervals, use different size, shape, color pieces.

Direct mail is a good way to do some soft selling and promote services. It is a way to encourage people to respond by promoting sales with end dates, special offers, etc. Ideally, you want people to respond to something that you send. It is a great venue for promotion. You can promote your website so they can get more information, photos, videos, etc.

The main advantage of direct mail is that you can target your offer to the people or businesses you want to have it. Another reason is that not everyone, including many businesses do much with email or they just don't like email.

Next installment: Give aways, prospecting, networking, service department.

No comments: