Email is the perfect tool for small town America

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Email marketing is a mainstay for Main Street businesses. It is the perfect tool for such a scrappy group as you who must be resourceful while creatively growing your company.

Let’s break down the reasons why. Here are six, to consider:

1. Email Is Cheap

By cheap, we don’t mean poorly constructed but, rather, the other type, the one that gives a bit of relief to your wallet.

For example, if you wanted to reach out to 10,000 contacts multiple times each month, you would have a hard time spending even $100 with any of the major email marketing vendors such as Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or iContact.

Most vendors load up the features and provide generous contact limits very inexpensively, especially when compared to the price of direct mail or magazine ads, where costs can hit the multiple thousands mark easily.

Email vendors like Mail Chimp help keep costs low.

Email vendors like Mail Chimp help keep costs low.

2. Email Can Make You a Better Marketer

“Main Streeters” have never let not knowing something stand in the way of moving forward. Like marketing for instance. Few local business owners are expert marketers and often rely on trial and error for most of their outreach.

Modern email marketing toolsets excel at building in the knowledge you would factor into your marketing campaigns if you only had the background to do so.

Suggesting a time to send, comparing open rates against similar companies in your industry, and pointing out which messages received the strongest response are integrated into these systems. All you have to do is settle in with a cup of coffee and thirty minutes to review the data, neatly organized for you, presented in the dashboard.

3. Everyone Uses Email

You don’t have to ask if everyone in your market uses email. They do.

Social media is an amazing marketing and engagement environment, but no one can say with confidence that everyone you want to do business with is on social media. Not even Facebook, with its more than 1.5 billion users, can lay claim to that.

With email, nearly everyone, from millennials to retirees, business professionals to sports figures, has email and uses it frequently.

[E]mail gets delivered 90 percent of the time compared with a Facebook post that hits, on average, two percent of fans and followers.

According to Litmus, a web-based email creation, testing and analytics platform, 91 percent of email users check their email at least daily. That blows away any comparable activity level on social and so far exceeds what traditional marketing can claim to reach that it isn’t even funny.

Also, email gets delivered 90 percent of the time compared with a Facebook post that hits, on average, two percent of fans and followers. What’s more, email generates three times the conversion rate of social media and returns a whopping $44.25 for every dollar spent. Now that’s what we call a hard working dollar.

4. Email Expands Reach without Expanding Payroll

If only there were more time in the day, more money in your pocket, and more of you to go around, the better all of this would be. But since that’s not the case, email makes it seem like there’s another you, without actually having to add another employee to the mix.

Email is ideal for carrying your persona into the world with messages that are you, just pre-written and dropped into an automated calendar to send without you having to touch it a second time. More of you would definitely help, but since that’s not happening, there’s email.

5. Email Improves Your Image

As a Main Streeter, you don’t get a pass on looking professional just because your business may be small. First, second, third, and fiftieth impressions matter and, with email, you get to take advantage of professionally-designed templates that make you look as sharp as anyone.

Some email-marketing vendors even make it easy to take what you’ve designed and print it out as a flyer or poster.

Some email marketing platforms, such as Constant Contact, double as a design tool for flyers and posters.

Some email marketing platforms, such as Constant Contact, double as a design tool for flyers and posters.

6. Email Has Low Production Costs

A final benefit of email marketing for Main Street businesses is its ability to keep costs in check. Once subscription costs for the email marketing system are covered, the incremental cost to communicate is zero — no postage, no advertising costs, no printing — nothing.

This makes it an easy decision to use email to share your news, promote your products, and move your business forward, all without the pressure of breaking the bank.

If there is one marketing tool ideally suited to the needs of local businesses, it’s email. These six reasons are proof positive that email is a marketing tool that Main Streeters can rely on to deliver measurable results at a price that fits even small budgets.

Trust. It's What Really Matters

by: Charles Gaiennie on

It's been a great week at The W.L. Gaiennie Company. There are two projects in particular with outcomes that are very personal to the clients and the success of which, is very closely tied to how well we execute our strategies.  In our conversations with these clients, it is very clear that they trust us implicitly to guide and advise them. It's something we take quite seriously and it is our full commitment to honor their trust with results.

What this reminds us of, is that really, all business is founded on trust. At the core of the agreement is the presumption of a buyer or customer or client, that the business will deliver on a promise. Whether its a hamburger or a Lexus or a lawsuit, we all enter into the agreement under the banner of trust. It's when that trust is not fulfilled that the problems arise. It's then that disappointment, frustration and a litany of other responses are triggered.

Today we are reminded of the obligation we have as a company to honor the trust placed in us. Sure we fall short at times but our will is to always strive to exceed all expectations so as to preserve this most precious asset of trust.

Be good. Do good. Call us if we can help.

Newsletter Quick Tips

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Couple of freebee tips when using Constant Contact email tools.

  1. Use the image off of your website in the email.  Most sites have nice looking imagery and using the same images will really boost your branding.  When you are in the image editor in Constant Contact, notice that there is a tab that says “image URL”  Using that you can copy the image URL from anything on your site and insert the actual image without having to upload it.  To copy an image URL mouse over the image and right click then look for View Image Information.  Click that and then copy the image URL and paste it into the block in the Constant Contact image editor.  Very cool and very easy.
  2. Definitely use your beautiful brand at the very top of the email.  When folks view your email they need a reminder that they are in the right place.In the subject line, use something actionable.  Instead of “News from Canine Etiquette” do something like “The Dog Days of Summer from the Dog’s Perspective”  or something actionable and catchy.  

There is a lot of competition for attention so make it interesting enough for someone to stop and read.

Make it a great day.

 

Cause-based Campaigns. What works. What is important

by: Charles Gaiennie on

Insightful tips from our friends at PR Web. 

Today’s consumers are more socially conscious. They choose brands that work to make the world a better place.

Cause marketing goes beyond traditional corporate social responsibility to assist you in positioning your business as socially responsible and a positive contributor to society.

Three things to keep in mind when building a cause marketing campaign:

1.  Authenticity is key.
You must select a cause that supports your brand’s core values. Avon’s “Breast Cancer Crusade” echoes the company’s values, which encompasses the well-being of women. The cause aligns with the company’s mission and connects with Avon’s customers.
KFC’s “Buckets for a Cure” cause marketing campaign did not coordinate with the fast-food chain’s values and ended up being detrimental to brand image. Consumers felt the campaign was a sales gimmick rather than a true concern for women’s health.
 
2.  Integration is an everyday effort.
The needs of your nonprofit partner should be fully integrated into all marketing endeavors. It’s no longer enough to just sign a check. The success of the “(RED)” campaign and its fight against AIDS is in part due to how big-name organizations such as Coca-Cola, Apple and Starbucks seamlessly merged the foundation’s visions and goals with their own.
 
3.  Are you talking to me?
As with any PR or marketing initiative, you must understand your target demographic. The audience for your cause marketing campaign may be more narrow or broad than your traditional customer demographic, so it’s important to do the research and get to know them.
 
Cause marketing is about selecting a cause that resonates with your brand, integrating the cause into your marketing efforts, and talking with the right audience. Doing these three things will ensure that you and your cause partner achieve the campaign’s goals.

Marketing On Zero Dollars Or Less - 5 Ideas To Use Now

by: Charles Gaiennie on

This article is for all of you bootstrappers out there who have more guts and ambition than money.  (I actually love these folks – they are called entrepreneurs!) Here are five ideas that you can use that really cost not much more than time but can have a positive impact on your marketing and growth.

  1. Social media.  OK, you probably guessed this one but really, get a virtual social life and then genuinely share your talents and insights.  If you are real and what you have is of true value, people will pay attention.  Just make sure you are setting up business pages and not personal ones.  It makes a difference.
  2. Get a Google page.  Google pages are business directories that vastly improve your chances of being found when someone searches for what you do.  Having a Google page also renders a nice map of your location and all relevant contact information about you.
  3. Break out the poster board and/or the chalkboard.  It isn’t always necessary to have a big expensive sign to tell the market what you have to offer.  Sometimes a home spun sign can be just the thing and may even come across as charming and approachable. Keep in mind that people do business with people so if your sign shows a little bit of your character, so much the better.  Just keep in mind that your sign needs to be clear and readable no matter how you create it.
  4. Take excellent care of the customers you have already won.  These are folks that have already made the decision to do business with you so treat them special.  There are countless ways to expand your relationship with existing customers that can be as simple as handing them a coupon for a new service or making a product suggestion when they call or come in.  They definitely won’t know if you don’t tell them.
  5. Just get out there.  Of all of the marketing techniques in the world, nothing is as powerful as getting out in the community to encounter the people and businesses that can become your next customer.  Make sure you have a business card though and don’t be shy about giving them all away.  (And for those of you who think I just violated the free aspect of this article with business card printing, free cards can be found as well.)

There you have it, marketing for nothing. Now get on out there and win some new business before this year gets any farther along.

About Charles Gaiennie
Charles is the owner of local marketing and advertising agency, The W.L. Gaiennie Company.
His work as a marketing consultant to business spans more than two decades with hundreds of companies. He can be reached at 985-262-4634 or by email at cgaiennie@wlgaiennie.com

Starting The New Year Off Right

by: Charles Gaiennie on

So. How's 2014 going so far? How's the commitment to health and exercise, cleaning out the closet, reading a new book and learning a foreign language going as we wrap up the first month of the year?  Mmm Hmm.  Thought so.

Look. We all mean well as we flip the calendar to January  but it doesn't take long for the demands that kept you from making changes creep right back in.  So it is with your marketing and how you communicate with your market.

So here's the deal. We are really good at identifying the core components of a good communications plan. Sure we'd love it if you'd let us help but that really isn't necessary. We really want you to see all of the moving parts of marketing stacked up against what you currently do.  It's really that simple. 

Give us a call at 985-262-4634 or complete a short request at www.wlgaiennie.com/free and we'll give your marketing a once over and let you know - in writing - what we see.  We promise to be insightful and helpful with clear direction on what to do next.

So don't worry if getting your marketing aligned was on your 2014 resolutions list  but is fading away fast.  This is one we can help you keep.

Promoting Events By Using Hashtags

by: Charles Gaiennie on

The hashtag is here to stay. No one could have ever guessed only a few short years ago, just how important this little symbol would become. It now dominates social media and the internet. Why? The answer is "semantic analyzing". What does that mean you ask? It gives the big guys, google+, facebook, pinterest, etc. ways to measure emotions

So, how can you use it to your benefit?  The reasons are obvious. Since huge companies are creating branding by using this clever technique, then why can't you? That's right. You know how jingles, songs, catch phrases and mottos stand out in your mind? Welcome to the future of hashtags.

Should you have some big thing that you want to promote, then creating hashtags for the event is the way to go. So, I'm going to give you several tips:

  1. Begin your hashtag campaign several weeks before the event, in order to begin to create excitement
  2. Use the hashtag in your title, on your printed materials, banners- you name it
  3. "Live tweet" from the event to create participation is the way to go!
  4. Use brand association along with your hashtag and event
  5. Keep a monitor on your own hashtag to see how your hashtag is being spread around
  6. After your event, create a transcript from twitter so that others can catch up (this will promote you post event to those who didn't keep up)
  7. After the event: make good use of twitter tools to help you analyze how things went, so you can learn more in the future

When Is The Optimal Time To Post On Facebook?

by: Charles Gaiennie on

There is a lot of information out there as to when is the best time to post on Facebook. What you should be asking yourself is, who is my audience and when are they likely to be checking their feeds?

Here are some facts to consider: 

  1. Today, more people access Facebook from a smart phone or other mobile device, such as an iPad.
  2. 80% of 18-44 year age groups check their Facebook as soon as they wake up in the morning.

Facebook fans will also reach for their smart phones around dinner time.

But, that presents its own set of unique problems. First, there is an onslaught of news feeds being delivered at this same time on Facebook. Then, with others you have to compete with homework assistance, cable news and more. Weekends aren't good at all because there are so many activities going on with families: sporting events, families get together, shopping, etc. You should also never post during working hours, while people are on the job. If your audience is a younger crowd, you should also never post during school hours.

Studies show that a huge percentage of Facebook fans check their feeds just before going to sleep every night. To recap, post when you know that your audience is most likely to engage. To do this, you must know your audience.

However, all of this is irrelevant if you do not post articles that are worth reading. Give your audience something they will be excited to see. Use humor, facts or acknowledgements to keep them coming back for more!

6 Reasons Why Business Need An Ad Agency

by: Charles Gaiennie on

You've seen the movies and t.v. shows. Powerful company executives sitting in a board room having brands and marketing proposals thrown at them. That may very well be the case with the huge companies that immediately come to mind, whenever you think about your favorite products.

But, wait- what about the middle sized and smaller sized businesses? Why on earth would they need to even think about retaining an ad agency? We're glad that you asked, so we are going to give you 6 reasons that those companies are just as worthy.

  1. Advertising agency executives know their jobs, and are properly trained. They know what works and what doesn't. You can rely on their expertise not to waste you advertising dollars where they won't be effective.
  2. Fresh, new ideas are great for creating brand awareness and excitement. It's great to use the skills of someone looking from the outside-in. 
  3. Good, expert advertising is a full time job. Let's face it. You have enough on your plate with day to day operations. Let alone launching great ad campaigns.
  4. Ad agencies keep sales reps honest.  Some sales reps are just out to make a buck. Some may try to sell you anything, not really caring if your money is well spent.
  5. You get to build a close relationship with people who genuinely care about your needs. An ad agency can become like your second family, sincerely desiring to see you succeed.
  6. You will have a greater chance of taking your business to a higher level, realize your dreams and attain your goals.

New Contacts Feature In Constant Contact is Really Powerful and Really Easy

by: Charles Gaiennie on

If we were to pick the single most important marketing tool outside of a website, it would definitely be email marketing from Constant Contact.  Their innovation and ridiculously affordable systems make Constant Contact a must have for any business of any size.  For a mere $15 bucks a month, companies can do some pretty slick marketing including tracking results through the integrated analytic that are simply a part of the system.

What has us really excited now is a change they've dropped into the system that transforms how contacts are managed.  In a nutshell, they've transformed contacts from being simply a name on a list to a full record that can include pretty much anything you want it to contain - name, address, phone, social media contact or whatever information you feel you need to track about a contact.  You can even add multiple notes about conversations or messaging or meetings or whatever.  It's a true contact management system that is simply a part of the Constant Contact package.

Now we know that you know that functionality like this is also available in Outlook or Google docs or in any number of software packages.  What makes this especially exciting however is, this contact system is directly attached to your marketing efforts made through Constant Contact. It's now easy to see exactly what messages were sent to a contact and how or if they responded.  At a glance you now know if your messages are being read and how often. You can also easily begin to examine if there is a pattern to which messages are read and which are ignored.  It's marketing intelligence that can provide you with the insights you need to improve your marketing and make a sale.

A second very cool feature is the ability to associate a tag with any contact.  Suppose you met someone at a business expo in July.  Just create a tag called "Biz Expo July" and associate that tag with the contact.  Do the same for similar contacts from that event and when you are ready to send a followup email, just search on that tag to pull together an instant list of those contacts.  This is a dramatic improvement over the previous method of assigning names to a list that had only one characteristic. It's very cool, very easy and available right now.

If you are one of the two people who receive the Marketing Minute who do not have a Constant Contact account, subscribe before July 30 and we'll do our famous custom website match to make your emails match your website for (drum roll please!) FREE!  It's normally $300 worth of work so well worth it.

For the rest of you, thanks for your support!  :)  

OK, seriously, for any of our existing Constant Contact customers, just add any one additional service like the amazing event management tool, Event Spot, or Social Campaigns and we'll give you the same deal.  Fair deal?  Good!

If you are I 10 south, just give me or Matthew a call at 985-262-4634 and we'll get you going. If you are I10 north, call Andrew at 318-655-2955.

 

© Copyright The W.L. Gaiennie Company 2016