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Archive for the ‘Email Marketing Advice’ Category

'Any Comments?'I’m in sales and I hate losing deals! Any sales person worth their salt should be the same (whether they admit it or not). There are thousands of reasons for not winning a pitch; some valid and some totally ridiculous. Either way, it is the most difficult part of the job…you can spend months – even years – on a pitch and no matter how close you are to winning, you get nothing in this game for finishing in second place.

Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate how difficult it must be from a client’s perspective. No-one likes having to say ‘no’, especially when you know that the other party has put in a lot of work and time on your brief. I can forgive a potential client choosing another supplier, no matter how strange their decision may seem sometimes. What I can’t forgive, however, is when a prospect won’t give any feedback as to why they’ve chosen another partner. Feedback is a vital part of the sales process. It’s what helps companies and individuals grow and improve.  I can bear to lose a pitch (I’m never happy about it, obviously!) if it means the feedback from that process helps me/us improve in the future and win more business as a result. Linda Richardson talks about the importance of  ‘Improving Yourself Through Feedback After a Lost Deal’ and I would agree, providing the client gives constructive feedback.

Giving no feedback at all is inexcusable. Giving nonsense or false feedback is just as bad or unhelpful. Here’s the worst piece of feedback ever: ‘We chose X because they were cheaper. Period.’ Despite what anyone might think, I genuinely don’t believe that anyone makes a decision purely based on cost. If I saw a Ferrari on Ebay ‘Buy It Now’ at £100, would I buy it? No, obviously not.

Here’s the sort of feedback that IS helpful:

‘We chose supplier X based on the fact that their costs were competitive, but they weren’t actually the cheapest. We went with them because one of our marketing team had used them before and was familiar with them. We also know they have functionality X, which we don’t believe you have. Also, they have a partnership with Company Y and we work with them too. We saw 10 suppliers and you made it to the last 3 and we ultimately made our choice based on these key criteria’.

I would really respect the client that gives me that feedback.

If you are reviewing suppliers, I would ask you to map out your feedback strategy before you begin the review and outline this as part of the brief/RFP (all the best ones do). I would also ask that you offer a follow-up meeting, call or structured feedback document to unsuccessful providers. That’s my feedback anyway ;-)

Thanks in advance.

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Email working with social.I’ve written recently on a variety of sites about the life that is still left in email marketing – (see for example Social Penguin). With the variety of marketing channels that marketers have to contend with to reach the customer’s ear, are we missing a trick with the importance of the email address?

J-P De Clerk talks about email being his ‘interaction hub’. ”Skype sends me a mail when I missed a call or when someone left a message. Twitter does when someone sent me a DM. Facebook sends me emails when I received an invitation to be “friends” or a mail. LinkedIn friendship requests and group updates: it’s all in the inbox. FriendFeed connections: inbox. StumbleUpon messages, Digg friends, YouTube subscribers, Delicious, comments on my blogs, statistics, social media engagement data: it’s all coming via email. No wonder my email client is my RSS reader as well.”

A Clickz article talks about how the inbox is destined to become the personal dashboard of many

”The integration of social, mobile and e-mail has already begun to settle inside the inbox. Gmail lets me update my status on Facebook, send a tweet, update my blog, and write an e-mail to my mom – all from the same interface. Yahoo integrates with IM and its “What’s New” tab shows status updates from a wide variety of services. Even a beta version of Outlook 2010 integrates social networking. Facebook and MySpace have announced plans to provide primary inboxes as part of their communities. All of this is now accessible everywhere from PCs to iPads to smartphones.”

Even my own blog and Twitter accounts supply me with news about individuals interested in my thoughts.

Jonathan Macdonald of This Fluid World spoke with great engagement at the eCircle conference in Munich about the focus on the individual or citizen as he put it and that focus does need to include an understanding how they lives around using the technology of today

It seems that we are witnessing a real opportunity for the email address to be the key to the many disparate and yet connected channels that today’s consumer (for want of a better word because being a consumer is just one of the mind sets individuals can be in at any one time) logs in and out of repeatedly and frequently during their day (and indeed night).

Client marketers or their communications agencies can create a master key to each of these channels, and use that in conjunction of a better understanding of a ‘consumer’s’ mind set and the channel they are using at that point to ensure that not only the right message is sent at the right time, but also though the right medium.

Of course there are many challenges on the way – such as multiple email addresses, privacy issue and obviously understanding our customers or potential customers better.

But then Rome wasn’t built in a day

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'Welcome' written in the sand.My colleague Mark Robertson recently wrote a great blog post entitled ‘Hello and Welcome’ on some points to consider when conceiving a welcome programme. I wanted to follow on from what he’d talked about with some hints and tips of my own by providing you with a checklist for devising a successful welcome programme.

But before jumping straight in it’s important to get the overall objective of a welcome email strategy right. It can be helpful to think of a welcome email like a first date! You will probably spend time planning where to go, what to wear and what questions to ask on the date, all with the aim of making the best possible impression. Similarly with a welcome email you should make sure you get off to a good start, remembering that first impressions do count.

Once someone has signed up to your newsletter you need to make them feel valued, reassured and appreciated. If you only confirm a person’s subscription then you’re missing a trick. A welcome programme provides you with the perfect opportunity to engage new customers, drive sales and set the tone for your future relationship.

Welcome email checklist

1)    Say thank you

  • In subject line or in body of email
  • Retain customer loyalty and gain repeat business

2)    Reward your new customer:

  • Voucher welcoming them
  • Free shipping on first order

3)    Reassure, remind and reflect:

  • Confirm their account as it reassures your customer their registration was successful
  • Remind them why it was a good decision to do business with you
  • Every contact you have with your customers should reflect your brand and reinforce benefits

4)    Make yourself known

  • Ensure the recipient knows the welcome message is from you!
  • Include the company name in the sender field, subject line, or both

5)    Other things:

  • Include link back to your website
  • Include login details if applicable
  • Make your welcome message/subscription confirmation timely
  • Highlight key areas of your website

Welcome email exampIes

This site has a diverse range of welcome emails examples here. If you have any interesting welcome emails (good, bad or ugly) do send me a link via the comments box and I will endeavour to use them in a future blog post.

Welcome and Customer Warm-Up Programme Package

A well constructed welcome programme isn’t just simply a question of saying ‘hello’ it is a sequence of optimised messages to new subscribers and if you get it right you might reach date number two!

At eCircle we offer a Welcome and Customer Warm-Up Programme Package. This package aims to make the process of planning a customised welcome strategy and deploying it easier to handle. To find out more about what this package includes then call us on +44 (0)20 7618 4200 or contact us here

You may also be interested to know that we will be bringing out an extensive Email Welcome Study very soon, so be sure to watch this space!

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