We found this great post on Copyblogger.com, which was written by Sonia Simone. We hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
No one loves blogs more than I do. They’re a great way to build your authority, attract an engaged audience, develop trust and rapport, attract links, and stake your claim in search engines.
I love blogs. But like babies and kittens, two other things I love, they’re also a lot of responsibility.
Blogs take time. You’ve got to write terrific content that stands out from the general noise, promote it intelligently, and cultivate reader relationships. And that’s in addition to everything else you do in your business, from producing your product to getting your taxes filed.
That’s why there’s another content marketing tool that I always recommend having in place — ideally before you write your first blog post.
It’s the email autoresponder.
What is an email autoresponder and why do I want one?
An autoresponder is just a sequence of email marketing messages that gets sent to subscribers in the order and frequency that you decide.
Let’s say you have a seven-part autoresponder that delivers a great tutorial for your potential customers — something that they’ll find beneficial and valuable, and that lays the groundwork for you to make a sale.
That autoresponder creates a great experience for your first subscriber. And it creates the same great experience for your 100,000th subscriber.
It never gets tired. It never needs the weekend off for Father’s Day or Mother’s Day (or Email Autoresponder’s Day).
It never gets bored with your marketing message. It never gets snarky. It never gets sick of newbies.
It delivers your best content, in the best possible order and frequency, to every new reader who finds you. Forever.
That’s why I say it’s the lazy marketer’s friend. Whether you want a day off to head to the beach or a month off for a life-changing adventure, your autoresponder is back home taking care of business.
What goes into a really good autoresponder?
Most autoresponder sequences aren’t all that good, because most of them are about the marketer.
Your autoresponder needs to be about the reader.
The autoresponder’s most important function is to take people who are curious about what you do and turn them into raving fans.
That means an autoresponder needs your best content — the kind of content that makes readers glad every time they click through.
It doesn’t have to be funny, witty, charming, or poetically written.
It has to be damned useful.
It has to solve problems your readers need to solve. It has to give them small, quick wins toward what they want to achieve. And if it can show you’re a nice, relatable, trustworthy person — not just an expert but a likable expert — that’s even better.
Autoresponders make your case for you
You can use autoresponders for anything you need to educate prospects about before they buy.
Explore the pain and problems they’re facing today. Paint the picture of what their life will look like with that problem solved. Address and overcome objections, build trust, outline features and benefits, and create intense desire for what you have to offer.
And if your prospect isn’t ready to buy right now, great email content will keep her “parked” until she is ready … whether that takes her six months, a year, or ten years. As long as you keep adding to the sequence, you can keep prospects engaged and interested until the time is right for them.
Build it first
There’s no such thing as free traffic.
You either pay for web traffic with money — with advertising or affiliate commissions — or you pay with time and creativity.
Blogging is particularly demanding of that time and creativity. So you want to make sure you capture each and every true fan you attract, from the very first days of your blog.
That’s why if you’re starting from zero in a new topic, I recommend you build your autoresponder first, before you start blogging or doing any other social media marketing.
And if you already have a blog going, the second best time to build your autoresponder is today.
How about it?
- Do you have an autoresponder in place right now?
- If so, does it have the kind of content that’s going to turn your readers into raving fans?
- Are you happy with the number of messages in your sequence, or do you think you could extend it a little and deliver even more value?
If the answer to any of these is No, let us know in the comments when you’re going to fix that. You have my permission to be as lazy as you like after you get it done.
What: Social Fresh Tampa is their second event of 2010. This one day conference will have tons of fresh social media success stories and actionable tips. The content will reflect all Social Fresh flagship events with big brands, all specifically for marketing professionals. More case studies, less concept.
When: February 8th, 2010, 7am to 6:30pm
Who: Social Fresh Tampa will have 30-35 speakers split between two rooms of content, stand alone featured speakers and panels.
Eric Kirby, an email marketing veteran, delivered a keynote address Monday at MediaPost‘s Email Insider Summit, where he dismissed suggestions that email marketing may be losing steam while urging marketers to carpe diem and capitalize on social media networks.
Email has been the marketing workhorse for a decade, and that’s unlikely to subside, he said. This endorsement, which is supported with hard data, comes as the industry has dealt with suggestions in 2009 that its long-held, top-tier role is fading.
However companies are using some inventive programs with mobile and social media to grow enhance their email efforts that marketers could learn from, he indicated. Outback Steakhouse, for example, offered a free Bloomin’ Onion to the first 500,000 people who became its fans on Facebook. And its list grew by 125,000 between Nov. 16 and 24.
This and other relieving statistics (including Tiger Woods’ preferred media channel usage) are outlined is this well-delivered and insightful presentation.
Would you believe that e-mail marketing is still in its infancy?
A couple of graphs from MarketingSherpa drive an important point home about the use of e-mail for marketing. It works, it has always worked, and it will continue to work. You just have to know how to use it.
In this graph, “Emailing to house lists” falls behind “Web 2.0 (social network marketing).” However, since fewer marketers are reducing the use of house list email, it should be #1.
I’ll go so far as to state this:
“If you don’t have your email marketing efforts nailed, you have no business investing in social marketing.”
Social marketing has its place, and is not a fad. But, we know so much about good, permission-based email marketing, that it is criminal to ignore it. Don’t let superstitions drive your marketing strategy.
The more sophisticated a marketer you are, the more likely you are to use house list email marketing.
MarketingSherpa has some choice interpretations of this graph:
“Those that see the effectiveness of their email programs diminishing are much more likely to have short-sighted organizational attitudes toward the tactic.
Organizations with investment-oriented views of email reap the rewards. They have higher open, click and conversion rates. In addition, they are much more likely to have a metrics-based grasp of how email works for them. Those with the “email is free” view, on the other hand, are more likely to fall into the group that doesn’t track conversion.”
It is so easy to measure email’s effectiveness, that I would argue that you can’t call yourself a marketer if you’re not watching your results. We call you a spammer.
You’re not marketing if your not measuring.
Essential for any Considered Purchase
If all of your customers buy spontaneously on their first visit and never buy again, then you may not need to invest in email marketing. I don’t know of any business like this.
If your customers take weeks or months to come to a purchase decision, you cannot ignore email. Email is the biggest social network on the planet. Even retirees use email.
Your House List is the list of people who have given you permission to enter their inbox. This means they want what you have, and should be given every opportunity to opt out.
Email Isn’t Promotional, It’s Social
Don’t use email purely to promote sales and discounts. Use it to educate, inform and entertain. If you have a blog, send your most interesting posts via email. Most of us aren’t using RSS. Email is your ticket to growing your blog readership.
Then simply advertise in your own emails.
Get Started Now
It does take time to build your house list, so start now. Email can be fun if you’re sending content that reflects your passion for your company, your industry and your brand.
Then you can start investing in the smaller, less intimate social networks out there.
Ask any CEO if they’d be willing to share profits with a marketing firm or consultant who provided a positive impact to their bottom line. “Absolutely!” is the response that you’re likely to receive. Now ask them how they compensate their marketing agency, service suppliers, or in-house marketing department. Exactly.
Finding a true marketing partner isn’t easy to locate but they’re out there. In fact, they’re becoming increasing more common.
For many businesses, the realities of the current economy have resulted in a reduction in marketing spending and staff. Marketing firms, agencies and consultants too are experiencing general belt tightening. Yet, each has a need to drive revenue. Combined, these factors have created a unique opportunity for both parties.
Marketing firms and consultants who satisfy more fundamental or complex needs such as branding, demand generation and cross-channel customer acquisition (services that are typically provided on a project or hourly basis) are now singing for their supper but they’re eating well.
While some firms have always worked under a performance-driven model, others are now beginning to partner with their clients and truly put their talents, time, and even their money where their mouths are.
Marketing partnerships can be are structured on a long term or month-to month basis and can take virtually limitless forms. The shape it takes is dependent on the client’s goals, offerings, and budget as well the core capabilities of the marketing service provider. However, these arrangements are generally based on a lift in client revenue, of which a percentage is paid to the service provider, or they receive a stake in the company, along with a minimum retainer.
Partnerships of this type are best suited to small and mid-sized companies who are seeking reduce marketing costs and/or acquire more profitable customers yet lack the resources or wherewithal to manage the marketing effort effectively. It also works well with start-ups or companies seeking launch a new venture or expand an existing offering.
There are challenges in establishing successful marketing partnerships however. Firstly, it’s a two way street. Mutual trust and performance weigh heavily on both parties therefore and, unlike traditional work-for-hire relationships, the agreements are more comprehensive and the qualifying process is extensive and may require that you disclose privileged information that goes far beyond your marketing efforts and experiences.
Before you enter into a marketing partnership or start your next marketing initiative, ask your vendor if they’ve built successful companies themselves; if not it’s unlikely that they will be able to do the same for your organization. Learn what services they provide in-house and which services they outsource; excessive outsourcing is likely to be reflected in their guaranteed compensation. As with any vendor-client relationship you’ll want to learn more about their industry expertise and client-partner successes.
Marketing partnerships are not for every organization but for those clients and marketing services suppliers that are willing to share the risk, a good match can often reap greater rewards for all.
Submissions can include original articles, white papers, webinars and podcasts.
Submission Check List:
→ Relevant to direct or online marketing
→ Timely and unique
→ Hosted or your company website or blog (no direct links to PDFs)
→ No overly promotional language
→ Content summary (200 characters or less)
How to Submit your Content:
Please send a link to your submission as well as a content summary to firstname.lastname@example.org. If approved, we will include a summary of, and a direct link to, your content in the weekly newsletter.
As the leading source direct and online marketing user-generated content and resources, mFormer’s readership has swelled to approximately 20,000 marketing decision-makers, from Fortune 500 and medium-sized business, as well as 4,000 marketing suppliers.
Introducing mFormer, a next generation marketing directory and referral service. Built off of years of industry experience, a rock-solid SEO foundation, and a flare for social media mFormer was created with one goal in mind; to align direct marketing and online advertising buyers with qualified suppliers, like you.
With your busy schedule in mind, we’ve made the acquisition of new customers quick and painless:
1) Visit www.mformer.com
2) Select your most appropriate categories
3) Submit your FREE basic listings.
If you’re responsible for demand generation at your organization (or know someone who is) I strongly encourage you to list your companies now.
I normally get annoyed by inspirational/motivational speakers, even the modern flavor, but I must admit I like this guy. What’s your take?
Social marketing is on my mind and by the look of things I’m not alone. You can’t get a feed or pick up a trade publication that doesn’t make reference to social media and its applications for marketers.
From traditional media outlets desperately trying to catch up to the most prolific smores (social media whores). They all have a stance, tip, or prediction.
It’s no wonder, as new users flock to social media and its usage rates soar (especially in the business sector), audiences are getting big, fast.
So you’re interested in social media as a marketing tool? Remember this “you get what you give” has never been more true than in this arena.
In direct marketing, advertising, and online marketing it’s all about the push. Direct mail, email, print, SEM. Push push push. That’s not going to change any time soon. Why should it? It works. It’s necessary. But if you’re going to find marketing success in social media you’ve got to pull them in.
Social media users simply will not tolerate pushiness or thinly veiled solicitations. They don’t have to. There are thousands of credible voices out there willing to offer up their feedback, opinions, and recommendations in near real-time.
So what are hungry marketers to do? Try this. Instead of buying that same old media use tools such as Twitter or LinkedIn Groups to surround yourself with your prospects and give. Your time, your feedback, your expertise, your samples.
Are you a consultant? Offer up free advice to those in your target market. Selling a email solution to non-profits? Pro bono a charity that’s close to your heart.
In this world of hyper sharing and distribution you’ll discover that those you help will sing your praises over and again. Choose wisely and they might even be your next, best customer.