Mobile Marketing – The Next Big Trend

Businesses are often on the look-out for alternative forms of advertising that will be fruitful and friendly — meaning, these new mediums have to be effective and budget friendly.For sometime now, a form of mobile marketing known as text messaging has been one of those guerrilla advertising techniques being used by many. But with the development and launch of smartphones and its capability of accessing the internet anytime and anywhere, suddenly text based marketing or SMS has become a hot item again.Studies have shown that over 95% of text messages sent are opened and read within minutes of being received. On this basis alone, it can be safe to presume that mobile messaging is a very efficient method of communication with a high deliverability and read rate. If used for marketing purposes, the messages sent to mobile phones have a higher chance of reaching the intended audience compared to sending the same message using other marketing methods — e-mail marketing, direct mail marketing and even cold calls.Unlike e-mail marketing, text messages are sent directly to one’s mobile phone. And whether we would like to admit it or not, leaving the house without our mobile phones nowadays is unthinkable. Consequently, no matter where the recipient is the marketing message gets to its target immediately.So how do businesses get involved and take advantage of this “renewed” mobile marketing tool?Mobile marketing is personal in nature. Similar to e-mail marketing and social media marketing it involves relationship building. First and foremost prospective clients have to give your business permission to include them in your marketing campaign by choosing to sign up or “opt-in” to receive your messages. Businesses can encourage more and more opt-ins by providing value added services, special discounts and promotions.As simple as this may sound many businesses have overlooked the possibilities offered by such a powerful tool. Once your business starts generating interested leads through “opt-ins” you can begin using these lists to interact with your potential market and hopefully convert them to becoming regular clients. Once they begin to receive your updates, coupons and mobile offers many followers will actually look forward to receiving marketing updates from your business especially if they have received excellent service.Still unsure if mobile marketing will be the next big thing? Well, don’t hesitate because even social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter have special mobile versions of their sites and special applications to enable their mobile users to interact as if they were at their computer. If they see the importance of ensuring mobile users have access to their sites via their smartphones isn’t it time that you ensure that your company’s website is mobile friendly as well? Give mobile marketing a try.

Email Marketing for Small Business: Tips to Maximize Results

Email marketing is a great tool for any business- but especially for small businesses. Email marketing allows you to reach an essentially unlimited number of customers, clients and prospects- and it allows you to do so at a fraction of the cost of direct mail campaigns. But like anything else, if you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s easy to make mistakes. Below are six tips to help you get started:

1. Don’t do it alone. Many business owners try to run their own campaigns directly from their email outbox. It’s tempting to save money wherever you can, but if you’re serious about email marketing, use a service like iContact or Constant Contact. Basic plans are very affordable, and you will save yourself an incredible amount of time and frustration. In addition, you will be able to use an attractive layout, branded with your company logo and colors.

2. Make sure you have permission. Don’t be a spammer! Make sure that you do not send emails to anybody that did not choose to receive them. Sending unsolicited marketing emails will make your company look bad and could get you blacklisted by many email providers. Your mailing list should be “opt-in”, meaning recipients choose to join it, rather than choosing NOT to join. Also, be sure that each email has an “opt-out” link where recipients can choose to stop receiving your emails if they wish.

3. Keep them short, catchy and professional. Don’t get carried away- nobody wants to read an essay! Instead, make sure you have a catchy subject line and a couple of strong sentences that communicate your message clearly and concisely. If the purpose of the email is to persuade recipients to buy a product, visit a store, or subscribe to a service, be sure to end with a strong call to action.

4. Don’t end up in the spam folder. Unfortunately, thanks to the barrage of spam we all receive, spam filters have become more and more aggressive. It’s not uncommon for legitimate emails to be filtered into a junk or spam folder. If you’re using an email marketing service, you should have the option to “spam check” each message. Take advantage of this and make sure you follow their recommendations.

5. Don’t overuse video and sound. Videos and sound effects can be used very effectively in a marketing campaign, but they can also be overused. Many people are quickly scanning their emails and don’t have the time to watch a video. And if they have music playing, nothing is more annoying than unexpected blast of sound from an email! Use video and sound sparingly, and make sure that they DON’T autoplay.

6. Have a plan. If your email marketing strategy consists of waking up one morning and deciding to send out an email, it’s not going to succeed. A good email marketing plan is like telling a story- and you can only do this if you plan it out ahead of time. Don’t try to sell something every time you send an email… mix in holiday greetings, updates and other non-sales material. Each time a client or prospect opens your email, you have a golden opportunity to strengthen your relationship. Make sure you take full advantage!

Email marketing is a great tool for a small business… but only if it is done right. The tips above are far from an exhaustive list, but they will get you started in the right direction!

Ways to Make a Direct Mail List Work

With the advent of email, telemarketing and social media marketing many business owners and companies have come to believe that using direct mailing lists is an outdated and unresponsive form of marketing. In truth, however a direct mailing list can still be a powerful and highly effective way to generate sales and develop a brand or business. A direct mail-based campaign offers potential customers a physical piece of communication, such as a newsletter or brochure, which they will be able to absorb and which holds their attention in a way that emails or telephone calls won’t always do.

Many companies can and may successfully run direct mailing lists-based campaigns in-house, but for some it is better to outsource them to external companies in order to see results. If your business needs assistance with things such as creating, running and managing a campaign, there are plenty of affordable packages offered by professional marketing companies that can be suitable for you depending on your budget and your requirements.

All sales techniques and business development strategies do have their own inherent barriers to buying, but to make direct mail work for you it’s important to remove as many of these barriers as possible. Ask yourself some very specific questions about your direct mail campaigns, and be brutal with your answers. This will enable you to identify any possible barriers that prospects may find, making it a lot easier for you to remove them and improve the efficacy of your direct mail campaigns.

Your campaign, even though it is being carried out with the aim of developing your business, really does need to be customer-centric. Basically, before you even try to carry out a campaign you need to really understand what the needs and requirements of your audience are so that you can provide as much value as possible to them in your campaign. Direct mail will only be successful if it is meaningful, both to your business and to your audience. This may mean that you will need to take a different approach with the content that you are mailing out to prospects, if for example they need a particular service or product from you it will be more meaningful to send them information about that rather than more generic company brochures.

The efficacy of any direct mailing list-based campaign, as with all marketing and promotional efforts, depends on who is being targeted with the mailing list as well as the content that your mailing list will provide to them. Precision is required at these times, first to ensure that your mailing list contains the details of genuine prospects that will be happy to receive your promotional information and who have a specific interest in your company and its offering. Secondly it’s required to ensure that their details are checked and up to date. You will also then need to create a campaign to engage and hold their attention as well as choosing the most appropriate methods of communicating that to them.

Mailing information out to prospective customers and clients is a process that will take time; however you want to make it as easy as possible for recipients to contact you to ensure that direct marketing still works for you in the 21st century. You could set up and promote a dedicated charge free response telephone number, for example, which would work effectively when contacting consumers in their home. If your campaigns are business to business, including your business cards in any mailings will give potential clients your direct contact details. Similarly, postage paid return envelopes can be of benefit to recipients who will choose to reply in that way.