Knowing who you are drives everything: An interview with Ian Smith

Knowing who you are drives everything: An interview with Ian SmithIan Smith believes that your business is either remarkable or invisible. He founded the Portfolio Partnership to help owners assess which of these categories their business falls into, and help them become – and stay – remarkable. The practice operates within the niche of scaling businesses.

Ian is also the author of the popular Smith Report blog, which provides advice to small businesses who want to scale, not just grow. The number of subscribers to his blog is growing at a steady rate, and his email notifications of new posts maintain a consistent open rate of around 15%.

Recently, I had a chance to meet with Ian to discuss his thoughts on content marketing, how it has impacted his business, and how he thinks it will evolve in the coming months and years.

Stay Away From a Bad Reputation!

Today we’re introducing a new blog series: Friday Fundamentals.

In these weekly posts, we’ll be going back to the basics of email marketing. We want to help folks new to the email marketing game hit the ground running – and encourage more experienced email marketers to revisit their best practices.

With that said, let’s begin with the four “R”s.  In a white paper presented at the 2013 Email Evolution Conference in Miami, Karen Talavera, owner of Synchronicity Marketing, states that there are four essential “R’s” to good email marketing. Today we’re going to explore R #1 – Reputation.

Are you aware of how your customers and prospects perceive you and your email communication efforts? Have they consciously chosen to receive messages from you, or did you automatically sign them up via a pre-checked box?

Win the Attention of Undecided Prospects

Email marketing is still one of the most effective channels to nurture prospects due to its low cost, and the willingness of buyers to receive email from companies with whom they already have some kind of relationship. According to DemandGen Report, nurtured leads produce, on average, a 20% increase in sales opportunities versus non-nurtured leads. The following lead nurturing best practices will help you build relationships with your prospects:

  • Get their permission. Before sending marketing messages to your prospects, be sure to ask for their explicit permission, preferably via double opt-in, so they do not see it as unsolicited email or spam. This shows respect by giving your prospects a choice, which will set the tone for relationship building and partnership. The success of your email marketing campaign depends on this more than anything else.
  • Automate your lead nurture strategy. Implement automatically triggered campaigns (a series of automated emails called a “drip” campaign) that deliver consistent brand messages at specified time intervals and when leads reach certain milestones. Drip marketing is a strategy that will help you keep your company fresh in your recipients’ minds until they’re ready to buy. Over time, as prospects respond, you’ll learn more about their needs and interests.

Hotelier Email Marketing Challenges & Solutions [Post 2 of 5]

Email marketing is an excellent tool for hoteliers to stay in touch with their guests and prospects. Travel related email campaigns retain a loyal audience and create direct revenue opportunities with past, present, and future customers. In this five part blog series we will address common challenges hoteliers face and explore how email marketing is the most effective solution to meet these challenges.

Today’s blog post highlights how automated email marketing is effective at improving customer retention. Whether you are new to email marketing or looking to refine your email campaigns, learn how you can use email to drive action and increase profits.

Four ways Email Marketing Will Make or Break the 2012 Presidential Election

As the countdown begins for the 2012 Presidential Election, both candidates Romney and Obama have plenty to think about while they plan out their election campaign strategy. A sluggish U.S economy where job growth has stalled, troubles looming in Europe that threaten to produce another sovereign debt crisis, and subtle hints that emerging markets might not be able to sustain global growth are some of the main concerns that the presidential candidates will have to convince the American public they can solve.

The Center Of Attention: Email as a Primary Source of Content

What is The Future of Email Marketing?

What is The Future of Email Marketing?
By now you’ve heard the question: Is email a thing of the past? Social media is a major phenomenon in marketing, and the speculation abounds about how it will impact current online marketing methods.

Let’s answer this with a few questions of our own:

  • Has email made landing pages a thing of the past?
  • Have landing pages made websites a thing of the past?
  • Have websites made telephones a thing of the past?
  • Have telephones made storefronts a thing of the past?

You see where I’m going with this. We’ve all forecasted the decline of postcards, television ads, billboards, and every other type of advertising and marketing method based on what was new. Yet we still receive mail, drive past billboards, get phone calls, and dodge television ads every day. And every time, the new methods turned out to have drawbacks of their own that create new problems and opportunities.

The Social Conversation: It’s About Listening

Late last year, Dell computer opened its Social Media Listening Command Center at their headquarters outside of Austin, Texas. The listening room is just one of many social media marketing strategies that Dell is using. The company has a series of Facebook pages with user-generated content promoting its products; formal ways to incorporate customer-based suggestions into future product features; and a number of Twitter accounts they use to broadcast daily deals.

Other companies using social media sites like Twitter for business include Southwest Airlines who uses Twitter to inform their customers about deals, and Comcast who uses Twitter to resolve customer service issues.

Are you monitoring your brand buzz?

And if not, why not?

Social media has given your customers a place to voice their opinions, concerns, frustrations and praise about your brand, products, and services. The most tech-savvy are using social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, news websites, blogs, product review websites, and other sites where there is social interaction to publicize their thoughts and feelings with the world. This means companies like yours now have an unparalleled opportunity for engaging and connecting directly with these consumers in real-time.

From: sales@company.com (aka DELETE ME)

Delete EmailWhat is the best email address to use for your email marketing messages?

If you’re struggling with this question for your own campaigns, congrats! You’re thinking pretty deeply about optimizing engagement and interactivity with your readers. There are basically two schools of thought: 1) Your readers want a ‘personal’ approach and will respond to an email from their friendly sales executive named Joe instead of an impersonal, faceless corporation, or; 2) Your readers understand your brand and will welcome news and updates from your company, but will feel ‘tricked’ by your attempt to use a personal name.

Notice, in both cases, I assume you have an existing relationship with your readers.