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Relationships are indispensable when it comes to marketing. If you’re having trouble building your business, look at the relationships you are building. People know people. If you want to reach people  you don’t know, work through the people you already know. That takes relationship building. This article gives you some great tips on building relationships for business.


handshake

Successful businesses don’t just communicate with prospects and customers for special sales. Today, making your company indispensable is a vital key to marketing success. It’s a terrific way to add value, enhance your brand and position against your competition. Here are seven relationship-building strategies that will help you transform your company into a valuable resource:

1. Communicate frequently. How often do you reach out to customers? Do the bulk of your communications focus on product offers and sales? For best results, it’s important to communicate frequently and vary the types of messages you send. Instead of a constant barrage of promotions, sprinkle in helpful newsletters or softer-sell messages. The exact frequency you choose will depend on your industry and even seasonality, but for many types of businesses, it’s possible to combine e-mail, direct mail, phone contact and face-to-face communication to keep prospects moving through your sales cycle without burning out on your message.

2. Offer customer rewards. Customer loyalty or reward programs work well for many types of businesses, from retail to cruise and travel. The most effective programs offer graduated rewards, so the more customers spend, the more they earn. This rewards your best, most profitable clients or customers and cuts down on low-value price switchers-customers who switch from program to program to get entry-level rewards. Whenever possible, offer in-kind rewards that remind your customers of your company and its products or services.

3. Hold special events. The company-sponsored golf outing is back. With the renewed interest in retaining and up-selling current customers, company-sponsored special events are returning to the forefront. Any event that allows you and your staff to interact with your best customers is a good bet, whether it’s a springtime golf outing, a summertime pool party or an early fall barbecue. Just choose the venue most appropriate for your unique customers and business.

4. Build two-way communication. When it comes to customer relations, “listening” can be every bit as important as “telling.” Use every tool and opportunity to create interaction, including asking for feedback through your Web site and e-newsletters, sending customer surveys (online or offline) and providing online message boards or blogs. Customers who know they’re “heard” instantly feel a rapport and a relationship with your company.


Read more at: /alexgeo/blog/relationship-building-strategies-for-your-business/

Christmas Email Marketing Tips

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Marketers have been asking how to use email more effectively during the Christmas season, and we found these tips to be of great help. It’s a busy season and you have to do things a bit differently to attract and retain attention.  Work these into your autoresponders and general emails and get better results.


Christmas Tree

Tried & Tested Tactics

Looking back at the nitty gritty and onto your specific seasonal tactics – which marketing tactics have you tried & tested in previous years? Which worked and which didn’t? Which are you going to make a key part of your 2012 and future campaign?

Have a think about some of these tactics, could they work for your organisation?

  • Campaigns with gift suggestions
  • Communicate urgency and catered to last-minute shoppers
  • Send a Christmas e-card to customers
  • Promote online or in-store gift-card redemption
  • Offer more payment options
  • ‘12 deals of Christmas’ messaging
  • ‘Advent calendar’ countdown messaging
  • Exclusive January sales preview alerts
  • Being clear about last order/delivery dates
  • Offer a value-add gift wrapping service

Read more at: http://www.emarsys.com/en/blog/blog/christmas-email-marketing-tips-part-1/

Marketers sent more newsletters, promotions/discounts and free content via e-mail than any other type in 2012, according to a survey from Lyris. List segmentation and e-mail performance reporting led among the techniques employed by marketers to ensure the success of e-mail campaigns.


Harnessing “Big Data” is a well-established priority in the digital marketing space, and one that poses as many challenges as opportunities. For email marketers, segmenting consumers based on their characteristics—and targeting accordingly—is not only a top goal, but one which they have begun to master.

Lyris, an email marketing firm, surveyed US digital marketers with monthly email volumes of at least 50,000, and found that nearly nine in 10 were using newsletters for their email messaging campaigns. Promotions and discounts were not far behind, in use by 86% of marketers, making content and incentives fairly evenly matched tactics.

Asked what techniques they used when engaging in these email campaigns, by far the greatest percentage, 85%, cited list segmentation and targeting. List segmentation was also considered the most successful technique, with a considerable 80%—nearly all those who used targeting—reporting the tactic as effective.

Given the focus on list segmentation by email marketers, and their positive assessment of its impact, it’s not surprising that few struggled with this tactic. Segmenting the email database was considered a difficulty by only 18% of respondents. While plenty of marketers struggle in other channels to interpret information on customers and serve ads and content based on what they’ve learned, email marketers seem to have much more success getting and using data.


Read more at http://www.emarketer.com/Article.aspx?R=1009534

Why Holiday Prospecting Works

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Holidays are a great time to prospect. More people are in a positive, festive mood, and you get to meet more of them as you are out and about. You can use this to your advantage and make your holiday season even more prosperous. Here’s how.


cordless headset

Most salespeople don’t even try cold calling during the holidays. It’s common knowledge that trying to do business between Christmas and New Year’s is a waste of time, because most decision makers aren’t available and the ones who are aren’t in the mood to talk about buying. Yet Mark Hunter, the author of High-Profit Selling, claims that customers obtained during the holidays are on average more profitable than customers acquired at other times of the year.

Let’s tackle the common knowledge arguments first. Holidays are the time when most people choose to go on vacation. Yet that only makes it more likely that decision makers will stay in the office during that time. They reason that by being in an empty office, they’ll have a good chance to catch up on various projects uninterrupted. A decision maker might also remain just so that there will be someone available to take calls and work on any emergencies that occur.

As for decision makers not wanting to do business during the holidays, you’ll actually have a better chance to talk through your pitch because your prospect won’t be as likely to be interrupted by other calls and coworkers. And if you have a good chance to present your case, showing how your product will benefit the prospect, he’ll be motivated to turn off his party mood and get back to work. Decision makers, being less swamped during the holidays than normal, will also be more in the mood to ‘chat’ and that will give you an opportunity to get to know them better.

Because most of the office will be either working shorter hours or out on vacation, odds are thegatekeepers won’t be answering the phones during the holidays. You’ll have a much better chance of having a decision maker be the first one to pick up the phone. So if you have prospects whose decision makers you simply haven’t been able to reach, a holiday is the perfect time to give it another try.


Read more at: http://sales.about.com/od/Sales-Leads/a/Why-Holiday-Prospecting-Works.htm

Should you be Engaging in SMS Marketing?

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SMS marketing is all the new rage among marketers. 98% of messages get read and 70% of them get opened within 3 hours of them being sent. You just cannot match that with traditional email marketing, even when you use your own opt-in list. This article discusses why you should be engaging in SMS marketing.


SMS Marketing message

Couple of “fancy” terms out of the way, first off: “SMS marketing” is just a way of promoting your brand digitally to your customers through text messages. It’s very, very polarizing because on the one hand you get to reach your customers directly and don’t have to wonder whether they got it. It won’t go to their spam folder – even though sometimes it legitimately is spam – and since they’re always carrying their phones around, they’ll see it as soon as you want it to.

Sounds great, right? It’s also even governed by the Bureau of Consumer Protection, meaning it’s regulated by the government. There are rules to follow vis a vis the CAN-SPAM Act, and they’re all clearly stated and easy to follow.

So what’s the problem?

Well, on the other hand is Papa John’s, was, well, allegedly spammed its customers in 2010 with 500,000 supposedly unwanted texts. “Hey, but everyone loves pizza,” you might be thinking. Yeah, sure, but do you really want to be receiving “15 texts in a row, even in the middle of the night.” Do you really want to be woken up and repeatedly pestered into ordering a pizza when you were off dreaming about a delicious new snack item called the pancake bomb?

Anyway, before moving on to your business, the other wrinkle here is that Papa John’s was using a third-party text messaging service called OnTime4U. Both companies are being slapped with a $250 million class-action lawsuit. That’s about $500 a text.

It’s costly. That’s one of the biggest arguments against SMS marketing.

“Most people have messaging plans on their cell phones that limit the number of messages they can send and receive,” explained John Murdoch of Wind Gap Data, LLC. “Exceed your plan limit and the next message costs you 9, 15, 35 cents or more.”
This is different from a sales call because you can decline that. You can’t have texts fall into a digital moat. If someone wants you to get it, you’ll be getting it. Fifteen times, if you’re not careful.

Look, with any form of marketing, it can work or backfire. It all depends on the industry, the product and the execution of the campaign. Via email, Mark Simmons, a digital marketing expert and the co-founder of digital marketing agency Mixed Digital, had this to say:

Retailers have an inherent advantage with SMS marketing. Due to the geo-targeting capability of SMS marketing, potential customers can be messaged when in proximity to the advertiser’s store, be it inside the mall or free-standing. Catching the attention of the consumer with a time-sensitive offer can be extremely effective since they are already in the shopping mindset.


Read more at: http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/inc-well/Should-you-be-Engaging-in-SMS-Marketing-180385651.html#ixzz2EfyK4XD1

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