Crowdspring.com published a fascinating article called Small Business Marketing: Best Times And Days To Send Email For Opens And Click-Throughs about the timing of emails and inlcuding this fantastic info graphic on figuring out the timing of email delivery.
Here are 7 takeaways from the article:
1) Find an email delivery resource that let’s you deliver the email based on where the recipient is. For instance, it’s good to deliver an email at 9am but if you launch it at 9am EST then it’s 6am PST and those Hawaiians are snoozing away at 3am HST.
2) Sending an email too late in the day means that it gets stale because the vast majority are opened within an hour of being sent. The longer it sits, the less likely the reader opens it or even finds it.
3) The peak opening hours are between 9am and 4pm with the highest opening time around 3pm.
4) Thursday is the best date followed very closely by Wednesday.
5) HOWEVER, know who your target recipient is helps determine the best time and day of the week for you. The perfect example is that at 6am on any cable news station Monday thru Friday, you’ll see ads for accounting firms and other services you’ll never see at 3pm. The appeal is to early-rising executives. That’s good context for your email delivery time and date.
6) Make sure you have your email in recipient’s boxes at least 1 hour prior to peak open times.
7) And, then, there’s this. Scott Stratten, author of UnMarketing posted this yesterday:
Breaking research: the best time to post to your blog is when you have something useful to say. Not “Tuesday”. Not “weekly”. When you have something that is worth the interruption to your readers day to say “You need to know this.” not “I’ve been told frequency is good!”. Respect their inbox. Respect their feeds.
It’s not specifically about email newsletters but I took to heart to mean you can better connect with readers when you send them something of value and meaning to you.
Below is my cool pictograph that I borrowed with the do’s and don’ts of email marketing. Sums it up beautifully.
Strategy and Implementation – A Tasty Combination
Should you think first or do first?
Which came first? Strategy or implementation?
Let me define strategy. Webster’s dictionary says:
2 a : a careful plan or method : a clever stratagem b :the art of devising or employing plans or stratagems toward a goal
Oh, criminey. Now, I have to define stratagem.
1a : an artifice or trick in war for deceiving and outwitting the enemy b : a cleverly contrived trick or scheme for gaining an end
2: skill in ruses or trickery
Oh, jeez. That didn’t work like I planned. I disagree with Webster’s characterization of trickery and ruse because a strategy is none of that. It’s a plan with an outcome in mind.
So, which came first? Some would say strategy. But, that’s not always true is it? Very few businesses have a full-blown business plan, if any at all, before they have their first customer.
You can conceptualize your company but you only really know if it’s a go when you start getting customers. Yet, implementation with no strategy is a recipe for disaster.
So, let’s call it a draw like the chicken and the egg. Both are tasty and work well together. Strategy and implementation do well together, too. And, they feed off of each other. Every time you implement something, you can refine your strategy. Writing this newsletter is a good example of learning as a I implement.
For instance, I wrote an article on editing and using wrong words and then didn’t listen my own advice. Another lesson was adding a table of contents at the top which I didn’t with my first version. Every time I implement, I’m thinking about my strategy of giving great, helpful information…of being a valued resource to readers. So, what’s your intention?
When You Develop A Lead Generation Strategy for Your Business, Ask Yourself These:
- What do you want your customers to perceive you as?
- What do you want to give them that they don’t know they need?
- How do you plan to walk your customers through your sales process? What baby steps do they have to take and what’s the first baby step they can take with you?
If You Are Going To Implement and Engineer Backwards, Ask Yourself These:
- What can I give that valuable to my clients or prospects?
- What’s the best way to reach them?
- Do I have a list that I can start communicating with right away?
Get It Together - Generate Cost-Effective Sales Leads By Integrating Your Marketing Efforts
Definition of Integrated Marketing Communications from Wikipedia:
Integrated marketing communication…boring, uninspired, jargony. It might even win a Silicon Valley Goobelydegook award.
But, I just can’t whiz past it or ignore it because integrated marketing such an important conceptfor your small business marketing. It means your various marketing efforts and media channelssupport one another and are intended to create a relationship with prospects. Media channels include social media, advertising, public relations, online and website marketing, networking, etc.
Branding Can’t Stand Alone
Many marketing folks talk about “branding” or “brand value” as if were some separate arm of marketing. There’s no such separation. In marketing, “branding” is simply the experience or perception that customers have of you and your product/service and it comes from all the points that you touch your customer.
In small business, you can’t do branding alone. You have limited resources and budgets to accomplish a lot. So, generating leads is the most important outcome for your marketing. You really have to do double-duty with what you’ve got. That’s why integrating your all your marketing efforts, media channels, offline and online marketing, is essential and cost-effective. You’ll breath a little easier when you have your marketing tied together.
7 Ideas for Integrated Marketing:
- Facebook and Twitter badges on your website, on your business card or any printed ads.
- Website address in your Yellow Pages, newspaper and printed ads
- Have an event that supports your favorite charity where you can do a joint press release or story to promote the event.
- Announce your marketing event at your next networking event
- Hand out cards or send emails to your customers and prospects asking them to “Like” you on Facebook” and review you on “Yelp”
- Promote your webinar on your Facebook and Twitter postings, in your newsletter and on your blog.
It’s The Message, Not The Media, That Matters
Crafting a worthy message cuts across all media channels
Message Is Not The Media
Yes, your new social media toy is shiny and cool. Everyone, and I mean everyone, is talking about Facebook and Twitter. You cannot turn anywhere and miss the conversation about them. But, those are the media channel from which you communicate. Social media is the means to get your message out, the way to interact. Your MESSAGE is why they engage with you.
Yet, your shiny new toy is pointless if your marketing message – what you say about your business – is boring, irrelevant, over-inflated, misdirected or just plain bad.
Without your strong relevant message and/or noteworthy activities like client successes or new products, it will not matter what media you choose for your marketing. Think of it like the news. While the news can be crazily sensational, it constantly piques your interest.
Your marketing message has to pique a prospect’s interest. They are not dullards. They want to be excited. They are curious. They want to feel safe. Message matters because however a prospect encounters you, they want to know what you do, what you think and how your business can help them.
It is ESSENTIAL for a service-based companies to have a strong message. You have no product that your prospect can hold and they really, really have to trust you to buy from you
Think about your own experience. What’s the last thing you bought? How did it catch your eye? Why that product? Why not something else? Why are you spending your money there? Use that experience to think about what message “they” sold you on and use it to influence your message
Worried about scaring them with a “negative” message? Study after study shows that humans respond to problems better than goals. You won’t be negative or scary if you come from a genuine place of help.
3 Ways To Develop A Strong Message
Answer one of these questions. Write out your story. Cut it down to a few lines or just one. Tell that story to everyone.
- What problems do you solve for your clients?
- What successes have your clients had from working with you?
- What is the most passionate, core idea of your business? What motivates you?
With a strong message, you’ll find others responding to you and trying to help you because they understand you. After all, isn’t that what we all want? A little understanding.
Yellow Pages – So Not Over!
Search Engine Land website recently published an eye-opening article and confession from one of it’s bloggers who’s plotting the Yellow Pages’ imminent demise. After a household emergency, he changed his mind, acknowledging there were times when a Yellow Pages ad made sense. And, in fact, shares some very interesting facts about the Yellow Pages return-on-investment (ROI)
From his article, he said:
- 75% of YP advertisers are service businesses or installed product (think floor covering) businesses. The more service-heavy, the more valuable the directory.
- Businesses that have large, infrequent sales (roofer, divorce attorney, windshield repair) are very likely to receive a big return compared to a donut shop. A roofing customer is out of the market for 20 years after a purchase. That’s a lead worth capturing.
- When the customer’s location is the work site, local SEO is exceptionally difficult to optimize and a directory can assist in exposing a business to their desired service area. About 35% of YP advertisers are home-based businesses that need visibility. The print directory can act as one of their store fronts.
- Categories that are dominated online by national brands and deep pocketed lead generation companies are also big beneficiaries of local directories. Examples are insurance (your local agent can’t outspend GEICO online), pharmacy, finance, real estate and educational institutions.
- But print YP ads aren’t for everybody. Gas stations generally aren’t good YP advertisers because the decision to purchase is habitual, opportunistic, and more driven by price than research.
- Another rule of thumb is research. The more a decision is researched, the better the ad return is.
The instinct of small business owners these days is to join the land-rush mentality of social media, search engine optimization and paid online advertising. All of those are certainly valuable marketing tools. But, don’t get swept up in them and then rush to dump your Yellow Pages.
At least, track your results. Perhaps the biggest point in the article is how infrequent, high-dollar purchases benefit from Yellow Pages. When it comes time to buy these types of products and service, the prospect start anew with a vendor in mind. Scanning the Yellow Pages refreshes their memory and let’s them know who the current players are. If your prospective customer is in the habit of keeping their Yellow Pages, you’ll be in the running. That means, in buying a Yellow Pages ad, you MUST know the profile of your ideal customer in order to decide what to do the next time your contract is up for renewal. Or, you’re wasting money all over again.
Rule No. 3 – Target, Target, Target
If you’re a small business, you’re maybe wondering what the heck does a multi-billion dollar company have to do with me. Yes, they have mega-budgets. But, they are challenged with appealing to millions of people. No small task. You only have to find a few to be successful. And, you don’t need hundreds of data points to do it. If you are liking one of your customers in particular, it’s worthwhile to explore why that relationship works. And, it’s always more about how they behave than most other info about them. If you’re a plumber, a good prospect is not only someone with a plumbing problem. It’s probably someone with an old house and who’s WILLING to hire a plumber. They don’t want to do-it-themselves.
In my new report, 25 Time-Tested Rules of Small Business Marketing, I write in Rule #3 about targeting your market and learning from one of the best target marketers of all, Target department store. Target Stores are geniuses at catering to their clientele. They know exactly who their clients are. According to the company, Continue reading
Tracking Is Not Just For Big-Game Hunters
Yellow Pages or not Yellow Pages. That’s the dilemma of most businesses today. In my view, the one and only way to end the debate is to get a tracking number. And, get one where they also record the calls. Tracking phone numbers for online advertising and Yellow Pages will go a looonnnggg way to tell you what media is generating the most calls. The recordings tell you what type of calls you are receiving.
Yellow Pages will tell you they can do tracking numbers but as of March, 2011, they can’t record the calls. If you can’t record calls, you can’t listen to them. When you can’t listen, you don’t know if the calls you’re getting are actually sales calls. You have to be able to listen.
It’s a very expensive, one-year commitment to make to an iffy lead generator for many small business owners. Increasingly Yellow Pages makes it hard to “quit them”. They throw bonuses at you, Continue reading
Getting Publicity for Your Community Events
Perhaps one of the most frustrating things about local media is getting their attention for your business when murder and mayhem are your competition. Even local, free newspapers who get tons and tons of advertising from their local businesses seem allergic to covering local business news. And, by the way, publishing information on stock market performance, mergers and acquisitions, etc. is not business news. It’s financial news.
Whoo, off that rant. Back to the point. Community events are a wonderful way to connect with your surrounding community, support the charity of your choice and get foot traffic to your location from unexpected sources. And, your local media outlet is much, much more likely to want to cover a holiday-themed charitable event like this one:
PORT ST. LUCIE — Security Self Storage of Port St. Lucie is hosting an “Eggstravaganza” to benefit the Fort Pierce and Port St. Lucie Divisions of the Boys & Girls Club.
“We are delighted to invite the community to support the important work of the Boys & Girls Club,” said Stephen Block, president of Security Self Storage. “In addition to hosting the event, we are donating $5 for every newly rented storage unit during the month of April to the Boys & Girls Club. With great food, games, activities, and prizes, this will be a wonderful day for the family.”
The event will be held on March 20 from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is free and open to the public. Registration begins at 10 a.m. and the event will take place at 501 N.W. Business Center Drive, Port St. Lucie, FL 34986.
Suggested ages for the event are 5 to 12 years old. Food will be provided by Little Ceasar’s Pizza and activities include a slide/bounce house, pictures with the Easter Bunny, face painting, arts & crafts and games and prizes. The Grand Prize is four spring training tickets for the New York Mets.
Over at PRNewswire.com, they have their PRToolkit, a special site devoted to publicity and public relations (PR)news releases for small businesses and entrepreneurs. It’ll teach you how to create a simply composed news release that will garner you attention.
One thing I’d say that would have improved this event itself, and making a stronger story, is that offering just a $5 donation to the Boys and Girls club in April for units rented makes Security Self Storage look stingy. They’d have been better off making the donation throughout 2010 when anyone mentions the Eggstravaganza event or Boys and Girls club. Not knowing their rents, $5 seems pretty low. Perhaps they could offer a $250 donation at a minimum and or a $5 donation per unit up to a certain amount, whichever is greater. Then, when the end of the year came, low and behold, ANOTHER press opportunity for them.
Overall, this is a captivating idea for a community event. Just make sure that your event enhances your reputation and goodwill. And, make sure that you and your charity both benefit from your event.
The Product Can’t Sell Itself
I will admit it…I love TV… and movies and pop culture. You know how people say that they’re smarter not having watched TV or are more successful? Well, I have a family and extended relatives loaded with lots of successful people including some millionaires and they love TV. So, I’m saying BS to “no TV”. Because I love TV, I’ve been watching a show on TLC called Homemade Millionaire. Each week, three contestants vie for a spot on the Home Shopping Network (HSN) to hawk their product. When one contestant said “the product sells itself”, I just about fell off the couch.
I thought she was delusional. The product can’t and doesn’t sell itself and that’s the mistake millions and millions of small businesses make. The product has no voice, no identity, no visibility. If you don’t put it out there, no one will beat a path to your door. AND, if you sell an intangible product, selling and marketing are the ONLY thing you’ve got.
So, here’s the tip. No matter how awesome, whiz bang or unique your product or service is, you need to give it promotion, you need to market it. Is Pepsi better than Coke? Not in my household. But, these guys have two of the oldest products to promote in the United States and they STILL market them like crazy. Coldwell Banker and Farmer’s Insurance are pitching themselves hard despite the age and size of their companies. For what? Getting you to buy two very intangible services – real estate and insurance. If long-standing companies with worldwide recognition are still busting their butts, why shouldn’t you?