One of the most challenging aspects of marketing online can be working out who your customer is. If you can’t answer that question, it’s almost impossible to make sure your messages and content are reaching the right people.
A wealth of tools exist online to assist you in tracking and reaching people who want to see your product and hear what you have to say. So invest some time into seeing what’s out there, and what’s going to be most useful to you.
Are e-newsletters outdated?
Some online marketing professionals are wary or dismissive of newsletters or e-zines, claiming they’re outdated and usually tossed away on arrival. The truth is, yes, a percentage of your list will instantly hit that delete button without even opening your newsletter. But a sizeable percentage will stop to read, click through, and engage with it as a gateway to your products. In this way, it serves as an extension of your website, which is still your key selling tool. So in short, no, the e-newsletter’s day isn’t quite done yet.
Avoiding the Spam box
A current, professional look is key to avoiding the dreaded spam box or instant deletion. You want your online communications to look professional without ever seeming bland or corporate. You’re selling a leisure product, after all. Make your newsletter visually engaging with plenty of pictures, and links to video if you have it available. Speaking of links, don’t forget a clear link back to your webpage, along with a contact e-mail address. If your newsletter is sent automatically from a ‘no-response’ mailbox, make sure that’s clear, so clients aren’t replying into the void. Designing an engaging newsletter can be daunting on your own, so consider using online tools such as Mailchimp. Many of these can also integrate your newsletter into a broader e-marketing strategy that employs social media and other key tools.
Incentives and exchanges
If you’re appearing at a trade show or another event where you’re likely to meet new clients, have a plan for engaging those attendees. It’s a great opportunity to build your e-newsletter list and get yourself on a client’s radar, but let’s be honest. None of us like filling out surveys or sharing our e-mail information unless there’s something concrete in it for us. Offer an exchange. It could be as simple as entry in a giveaway, or a branded item, known in some industries as ‘swag.’ On that note, swag is expensive, so if you’re going to invest in it, try to choose items clients will use over and over again. Pens are a common go-to, and certainly your client is going to use them (and see your business name) again and again. But so many businesses use them, they don’t really offer much incentive to sign up for a mailing list. The same goes for postcards and other stationery items, and of course, you’re already giving out business cards left right and centre.
Remember, your client is going to leave the event with a bag full of cards and leaflets, and probably pitch a lot of them out. On the other hand, small, practical or collectable items like small flashlights, wearable badges, and bottle openers stand out from the crowd. Anything that feels different and substantial enough to make signing up to a mailing list worthwhile. Sure, they’re more expensive items, but reserving them for people who sign up to your list guarantees you some return on your investment.
Continued online engagement
For as long as the internet has existed, humans have found ways to waste time on it. But that ‘waste’ of time can be enormously beneficial to you. And no, we’re not talking about sinister, behind-the-scenes data mining here. People love to give their opinions, particularly if there’s little to no effort involved, so online polls can be a fun and transparent social media tool. They won’t yield any serious information about your client base, but they do allow you to showcase certain products or destinations, and point the way to destinations or types of product that particularly interest your clients, planting the seed for future content.
A Facebook quiz can be another fun form of engagement. You can even set up an option for clients to enter their email address and turn a quiz result into a potential lead, but don’t force them to do so. Remember, the focus is supposed to be fun, and any exchange of information should be transparent and voluntary. You can also use a site like Survey Monkey to gather more serious data, but offer your clients something in return for investing this time, such as an entry into a giveaway. Lastly, be sure to check the inboxes of your social media pages. It can be easy to overlook messages and potential leads left there.