August 28, 2013 § Leave a comment
E-newsletters are a great way to keep in touch with your clients and potential clients. They can build relationships with an audience who’s already shown interest in your company or field. They’re also economical and easy on the environment.
The key: Make your e-newsletter relevant and reader-friendly.
Format and content are equal partners here. How you present the information has as much effect on engaging the reader as the information itself.
• Attention spans are shrinking, so use brief, clear headlines and short articles.
• Photos, graphics and color add visual interest and can create a particular vibe or feel.
• Use a clean layout and a good balance of short chunks of text with visual elements. Allow space between groupings to avoid a crowded appearance.
• Near the top, it’s important to have two items: social media buttons so readers can share your info with a single click; and a hyperlinked list of contents so they can easily navigate to topics of interest.
• Overall, length should be inversely proportional to frequency. For a weekly newsletter, 2-3 articles is enough. A semiannual or quarterly communication, like the Mississippi Airports Association Flyer, can cover more ground.
• If offering multiple articles, consider making your email simply a preview of the content that links to the full newsletter on your website, as we do for Mississippi State University’s Adkerson School of Accountancy.
• Consider how what you have to offer meets your audience’s interests or needs. Good topics are tips & advice, industry news and coming events. A Mississippi State accounting alumnus, for instance, might see opportunity in the Adkerson School of Accountancy’s report on graduate recruiting events. You can also have regular sections like a product feature.
• Use a casual tone. Even if your corporate image is buttoned-down and formal, this is the place to show readers an approachable, human side. You don’t have to create a false folksiness – just be real.
• Keep it informational, not promotional. It’s fine to mention a product or service that relates to the material, but this isn’t the format for a hard sell.
• The subject line is vital. Readers decide at a glance what they can delete from their crammed inboxes without reading. A topic like “5 Money Skills Your Kids Can Learn” might be an attention grabber for many bank customers. For members of an organization, the group name itself can be a hook. Keep it brief so no words are cut off in the inbox screen.
• Engage readers with a call to action – tell them how to learn more, or submit their own contributions. You can include a special offer exclusive to newsletter readers.
Have you received an effective e-newsletter? Tell us about it!
June 27, 2013 § Leave a comment
Video has a way of connecting with customers that static media can’t always achieve. While there is a place for each form of communication, uses for video are more expansive than ever.
Aside from Google, YouTube is the most used Internet destination.
There are several reasons for the popularity of video:
• It provides a more sensory experience allowing the viewer to see and hear the message.
• It gives the brain what it automatically seeks – faces and voices to read for authenticity of message and emotional connection.
• It allows more information to be delivered more quickly.
Web distribution offers greater freedom over traditional broadcast. Online video doesn’t have to be confined to just a thirty second television commercial. More than ever before, Quest Group is assisting clients in utilizing video to promote their businesses as new opportunities for its use are created everyday.
Are you using any of these avenues to enhance your company’s presence in the market?
• Company overviews or product descriptions can be imbedded in your website.
• Do you have a YouTube site? It is a great location for posting instructional and educational videos as well as your television commercials.
• Is your sales team leaving behind a packet of written material, or a video of your product in action? A customer testimonial is even more believable when delivered on video.
• What do your customers see at your place of business? Do you have ATM machines, gas pumps or simply a waiting room? Video monitors offer a great opportunity to promote your company.
• Are you imbedding video into your social media outlets? Vine, the video-sharing side of Twitter, is extremely popular. Facebook and, most recently, Instagram give you opportunities to share video with a market segment that isn’t watching TV.
Added bonus: Although search engines are constantly changing their formulas, currently the presence of video in a company’s online communications matrix favors a higher ranking.
It’s time for all of us to assess our marketing strategies. Are we engaging our clients as optimally as possible?
April 15, 2013 § Leave a comment
Earth Day is April 22. In honor of our environment, here are a few ways to use social and online media to extend your marketing reach without expanding your environmental footprint. Added bonus: you won’t have to add a lot to your budget to do it.
Use social media to build interactive relationships with consumers. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and others can give them a more personal insight into your company and brand. And don’t just use these outlets for “show and tell.” You can gather information about what people like or want through polls, questions, contests, freebies, photos and videos. Inviting interaction builds trust and creates interest. To be effective, you must post consistently, and always try to respond to viewers’ input.
Social media information generally falls in three categories:
– General – tweet your own or others’ articles about your industry, ask questions (what should our next product be?), request help/suggestions
– Company – show product photos, share staff and customer support information and client news, offer tips on using your product or service, post frequently asked questions with the answers, note press mentions about your company
– Sales/Marketing – promote events, time limited sales, coupon codes, web site specials, store or service specials
E-blasts are a cost-effective way to market directly to an interested audience. For these, keep your message focused and brief, with eye-catching visuals and headlines. Use them to promote a specific service or event. It’s usually best to limit them to 1-4 times per month – any more and recipients may begin to ignore them.
Blogs are another way to promote interest in your company, and they drive viewers to your website. They can be written or in video form and might be educational, thought provoking or simply entertaining. Some people do weekly blogs then promote them via e-blasts to readers who opt in. There’s no need to be elaborate – this is about presence, being in their inbox on the same day every week. Software programs are available to automate the sending process.