Internet Marketing Management – Tips For Choosing Your “Just Right” Email Marketing Platform

You’ll often hear in Internet Marketing circles that, “The money is in the list.” For that reason, building up a list of email subscribers forms a part of most online businesses’ Internet Marketing management strategy.

Having worked with several email marketing platforms over the years, I thought I’d share my thoughts on various criteria for making a smart choice for a service provider.

Deliverability

First of all, know that ISPs (Internet Service Providers) have the interests of their customers in mind. To them, spam is anything the subscriber doesn’t want in his or her inbox.

Therefore, deliverability of your emails will partly be based on your own reputation, as the ISPs perceive it. Do you build a relationship with your subscribers, creating expectations and meeting them with relevant, value-added content?

However, it’s also based on the reputation of your email marketing service provider. Do they take an active role in meeting CAN-SPAM guidelines and building win-win relationships with ISPs?

It’s worth finding this out, because all the great content in the world has limited value if much of it goes undelivered.

In my experience, AWeber remains a leader in this regard.

Capability and Flexibility

The various email marketing platforms all have their own strengths and limitations.

Do you have a single email list, and want to create a short (five messages or less) autoresponder series for new subscribers? A service such as Constant Contact may work well for you.

Do you want the ability to create multiple, unique lists within a single account? Is it important to you to be able to segment these lists, so that you can adjust your marketing messages to subscribers’ behavior? Do you want a platform that can integrate with other service providers, such as 1shoppingcart.com? AWeber may be the best service provider for you.

Do you sell multiple products and want a particularly robust system that ties together a shopping cart, email marketing platform, POP email accounts, calendar, task management, and more, in a single, cloud-based solution? InfusionSoft may be the answer for you.

Naturally, the best solution is going to depend on your individual needs. The important thing is to think through what your needs are…and what you anticipate them to be in a couple of years. Because it’s a fairly major undertaking to migrate your subscriber list from one service provider to another, you want to find a solution that’s sufficiently robust, without swinging too far in the opposite direction and overbuying.

Ease of Use and Quality of Training

This is highly subjective, of course, but here are a couple of things to consider when you’re choosing the service provider for the email marketing branch of your Internet Marketing management plan.

  • How do you learn best? For example, do you like to learn by reading instructions or by watching videos?
  • If you prefer live training (for instance, by webinar), is this offered?
  • What support does the provider offer to help you hit the ground running with their service? Is this included in the monthly subscription fee, or does training incur an additional fee?

Another place to look is on the service provider’s blog, if they have one. The quality of the content there can give you hints about what you can expect later.

Quality of Technical Support

Finally, you want to be assured that when you’re stuck, effective help is available.

A great way to check on what other people are saying about a service provider is to do a keyword search in one of the major social media channels. It isn’t necessarily a red flag if a problem is noted. In fact, it’s particularly enlightening to see how the provider handles it when a problem does arise.

Other things to think about may include whether technical support is included in your subscription fee, what the support hours are, and where the support is based.

For instance, if you’re on Pacific Time and your email marketing platform’s live technical support is available 9am to 5pm Eastern Time, that’s something you want to be aware of. It’s not necessarily a deal-breaker, but it’s good to know ahead of time. As another example, if you’re going to incur an additional cost for live technical support, does it involve a separate monthly fee, or can you pay by the incident?

Making the Choice

If your Internet Marketing management strategy includes email marketing, you want the solution that provides the best combination of features, ease-of-use, cost, and support. With some good planning and research, you can uncover the best solution for your unique needs.

Copyright 2011 – Nicole Paull

All rights reserved

Get More Customers – Management Tips 4 of 4

So you’ve got hundreds or thousands of people looking at what you have to offer. What now? While generating sales leads is definitely the first step, the leads you get are worthless until you learn to convert them to customers.

It’s time to complete the cycle with five proven methods to increase the number of leads that turn into paying customers.

1. Build Personal Relationships

In today’s fast paced, high tech world, it’s easy to think that sales and marketing have changed from being people to becoming big faceless corporations. Well the simple fact is that people still buy from people.

Think about it. Have you ever walked out of a store because the sales staff was obviously more interested in chatting with their friends then seeing what they could do to help? Have you ever dealt with a rude customer service representative who told you that everything was your fault and they couldn’t do anything about it? Have you ever decided not to deal with a company because the people are not very nice? We all do it.

Companies have come up with all kinds of ways to get people to check out their product or service, but if the people you meet when you walk in are unfriendly or unhelpful the sale never gets made. The people who deal directly with customers need to be friendly, helpful, and take an interest in the real lives of every potential customer who comes in.

Work on making the interaction between sales people and new customers personal and friendly. More than anything else, people buy from people they like.

2. Better Company Image

Never underestimate the power of a trusted brand. When all else fails we tend to go with the names we know and trust. If your company has a trusted image, then the products or services you offer inherit that same trust. Have you ever shied away from what looked like a good deal because it was coming from a company you’d never heard of? I know I have.

So how do you build a better company image? Well there’s a lot to it, but one of the basic elements is familiarity. Familiarity breeds trust. People are naturally wary of things they don’t recognize. So get your name out there, sponsor community events and keep doing it.

Building a strong company image takes time so don’t expect this to happen overnight, but there’s a reason big companies do it. Then next time you watch a commercial for a big company watch for the product promotion. Many times you won’t see it at all; all you’ll get is a feel good message about the company. There’s a good reason they do that.

3. Better Products & Services

Improving your product or service to help the people you are trying to help can increase your sales conversion dramatically. Most big companies spend about 10% of their revenue on introducing new and improved products.

In many of today’s fast paced markets constant improvement is a must. The secret is to pick a specific target market niche, and focus your improvements on that market. If you try to satisfy everyone with your next big improvement you will end up satisfying no one.

4. Targeted Communication of the Value

The more focused a company is on its target customer the more likely they are to succeed. Instead of trying to satisfy everyone, choose a specific market and focus on it; even if your product or service is also a great fit for other markets.

In the early sixties Coca-Cola was outselling Pepsi-Cola by approximately 5 to 1. That was until Pepsi decided to stop trying to sell Pepsi to everyone and decided to focus all of its marketing efforts on the teenage market. They launched the choice of a new generation and hired teen icons like Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie. The result was that in one generation Pepsi went from being outsold 5 to 1, to being only 10% behind Coca-Cola in sales.

More companies have failed by trying to reach too broad of a market than have failed trying to reach too narrow a market. A good measure of whether your chosen niche is too large is to consider whether it is reasonable to expect that 80% of the people in your niche will have heard of you in the next 12 months. If that’s not achievable then you should consider narrowing your niche. Chose you niche and focus on it.

5. Better Follow Up

Most people don’t buy anything as a result of the first contact. It takes time to build the value of a new thing up in our minds to the point that we are willing to open up our wallets. On average you have to contact a person between 3 and 7 times to get a sale, even if you are selling something that person is looking for.

When you follow up, don’t push for a sale. Just ask if they got the initial information, and ask if they have any questions you could help them with. If the offer is something the person would consider, then they appreciate the help in a friendly relaxed way. If it’s not something they are looking for right now, it’s a long shot that you are going to convince them they need it. Your objective is to follow up enough that people who are looking for the kind of help you have to offer will think of you first when they decide to buy. People who don’t need what you have won’t buy; don’t waste your efforts there. Keep your offer on their mind for a while, and the people who need it will respond.

Summary

There is definitely a lot to say about converting leads into customers, but these five management tips should get you thinking along the right lines. Build your personal relationships. Build a trusted and familiar company image. Continually invest in improving your products and services. Target your advertising to a specific group of people. Follow up to keep your offer in the minds of the people who can benefit from what you have to offer.

Internet Marketing Management – Three Secrets to Igniting Your SEO Return on Investment

As I’ve said before, put at its simplest, a good Internet Marketing management strategy is going to make it easy for the people who want what you have to find you.

Like most professionals with a web presence, you likely recognize the value of search engine optimization. After all, who’d turn down organic, highly-targeted web traffic?

So you know where you want to end up on the SEO front. But where does one start?

Secret #1: Keyword Research

Once you’ve nailed down your basic strategy, Internet Marketing management begins with keyword research.

You want to uncover keyword phrases which:

  • are relevant to your product or service
  • generate sufficient traffic to make optimizing for them worthwhile, and
  • have relatively light competition

To generate a list of potential keywords, start by putting yourself in the shoes of your target audience. What words would you use if you were the one searching?

Play around with these phrases a bit. If you add a geographic reference (e.g., ballet classes in Baltimore), how does that affect the level of search engine traffic and competition? What about if you add a gender reference (e.g., ballet classes for girls) or skill level (ballet for beginners, or beginner ballet classes)?

Narrow your choices down to four or five keyword phrases to start.

Secret #2 – On-Page SEO

It will come as no surprise that once you’ve selected your keyword phrases, you need to make sure that you’re including these phrases in your website content.

Remember to write for people first, and search engines second. In other words, when you weave your keyword phrases into your content, you need to do this in such a way that your writing makes sense to the people reading it.

You may find it easiest to limit yourself to one keyword phrase per page when you’re starting out.

Be sure to include your keyword phrase in your first paragraph; your last paragraph; and one to four times in the middle, depending on the length of your page.

But don’t stop there! There are several other places you can incorporate your keywords, such as:

  • Page title
  • Meta description
  • H1 headline (but remember, it must make sense to the reader!)
  • alt-image tag, if you have an image on the page
  • Page URL
  • and more…

Secret #3 – Link Building

Google loves to see relevant, one-way links going back to your website. You can do much to generate these links, so don’t leave this Internet Marketing management traffic-builder on the table!

For instance, taking the earlier example of dance, let’s say a studio owner wants to create a series of videos with ballet tips. She could start by optimizing her videos with keywords.

To show you how this might look, see below:

Fictional Case Example: Madame Fifi’s School of Ballet
Keyword Phrase: Ballet for Beginners

Video Title: Ballet for Beginners – How To Develop Gorgeous Ballerina Posture

Video Description: www. madamefifisballet. com Discover how easily you can start to develop the beautiful posture of a prima ballerina with this fun, ballet for beginners warm-up routine. Check out other great tips at MadameFifisBallet.com

Perhaps Madame Fifi will choose to embed this video in a blog post (remember that blog categories and tags can use keywords, too!). She then publicizes the blog post to her social media followers and friends and submits it to three social bookmarking sites. Just by doing this, Madame Fifi has created multiple relevant, one-way links back to her web presence!

So there you have three secrets to Internet Marketing management bliss. To recap, start with keyword research. Use those phrases to optimize your website or blog for the search engines. Finally, craft a link-building strategy to increase search engine listings and ranking and to create conduits for targeted traffic.