Tag Archives: marketing

Ins and Outs of Using Mailing Lists

18 Aug

The key to a successful marketing campaign is getting your message to the right people. How do you expand the number of people you’re contacting or reach out to an entirely new market? One option is to use a mailing list generated by a list company.

General Mailing List Guidelines

Geographical Area: When you buy a mailing list, the first thing you want to do is to define the geographical area you wish to target. Targeted mailing lists are proven to increase response rates. Define your direct mailing list by state, county, city, SCF, zip codes, or even by radius.

Demographics: Think targeted marketing when determining which demographics to use for your mailing list. Who are your best customers? A direct mailing list performs better when you target your prospects based on the demographics of your current customers. Define your mailing list by age, income, gender, length of residence, interests, memberships, and any other attributes desirable to your campaign.

Append Telephone Numbers: In today’s world of multi-channel marketing, consider adding phone numbers to the list. You will pay more but you will have another way to reach your target audience.

Pricing & Method of Delivery: The demographics you choose usually determine your pricing. Once you make your purchase, most companies offer several methods of retrieving the mailing list: 1) a downloadable file directly from your account with the list company; 2)  a file sent via email; 3) files sent on a CD; or 4) printed labels. Pricing may vary by method chosen.

Companies providing mailing lists are a dime a dozen. What differentiates one company mailinglistfrom another? These are a few things you will want to consider when looking at mailing list sources:

Accuracy: How new is the list? Has it been recently refreshed? Does the company offer a guaranteed percentage of deliverable addresses?

Price: Pricing varies by provider. Price shouldn’t be the only consideration, however, as an old list that hasn’t been refreshed in years won’t provide good results.

Type of List: Are you looking for a residential or business list? Consumer? Educational? Companies may specialize in the type of lists they provide.

Usage: Is the list a one-time use only list, or can you use it as many times as you want within a specified time period? Make sure you understand the terms of the list usage before making your purchase.

With so many list companies to choose from, how do you know which company to use? At Mediascope, we have developed relationships with a few key providers based on their service, prices, and accuracy of mailing lists. Contact us at 507-452-5555 and we will gladly help you find the right list for your next mailing project.

You’ve Got It, But Do They Know About It?

15 Mar

As marketers, we sometimes run into people who think that just because they have a great idea or product, everyone will want it. I wish it worked that way, but it doesn’t. Just because you have a great idea, it doesn’t mean people even know about it, much less realize they need or want it.

When you think about it, every great product and service began as a new idea. What makes some ideas successful while others never get off the ground?

There are five stages in a typical marketing/sales cycle: Unaware, Aware, Understand, Conviction, Action. The point of sales and marketing is to move the consumer through these five stages until a sale is made.

1) Unaware

When a new idea hits the market, almost all consumers are at the unaware stage. The product is new so people are unaware of it. The first thing to do is to move people from the Unaware to Aware stage.

2) Aware

Some studies show that it takes an average of seven touches before people recognize and remember something new. Establish a brand and keep hammering it home.

3) Understand

Okay, now that people know about your product, do they understand it? Do they get what it is going to do for them? “Which means . . .” is an important part of marketing. It’s not enough to tell people that this fancy new gadget has seven adjustments; you need to tell them that this gadget has seven adjustments “which means” it has two more than anyone else and can be adjusted perfectly to fit Joe Customer’s needs. You also need to tell consumers exactly what a product or service will do for them, i.e., “this means your life will be better because it will cut your cleaning time in half,” etc. People need to understand the value of something in order to buy it.

4) Conviction

If you have marketed your product correctly and identified what it’s going to do for Joe Customer, not only is everyone now aware of your gizmo, but they are convinced beyond doubt that they need it, or that this is the best option for them.

5) Action

Aha — the final moment. The sale is made. You’ve successfully moved your customer from being totally unaware of your project to taking action to buy it. Congratulations!

Think about the last big purchase you made. Chances are you knew you needed something — let’s say a new TV — but you were unaware of your choices. You visited your local electronics store and looked at the wide variety of choices. Now you are aware of brands and are doing your research to understand what one brand offers over another. Depending on the urgency of the purchase, you may have gone home to do more research until you were convinced you knew what TV was the right choice for you. You then went back to the electronics store and made the purchase (action).

If you have an idea, service or product that isn’t getting enough attention, give some thought to how your marketing efforts fit this cycle. Bringing a new product to marketing without developing a road map to lead consumers through these five stages is a little like winking in the dark. You know what you’re doing, but no one else does.

Two Tips for Saving Time on Social Media

5 Sep

Ask any non-marketing person about social media and he or she will tell you it only takes a couple of minutes a day to maintain business social media accounts. Ask marketers, on the other hand, about social media and they will tell you it takes a big chunk of their day — every day — to do it properly.  What gives?

When done properly, social media connects you with your audience and allows you to engage with them on a regular basis. In order to do that, marketers who are responsible for social media not only need to frequently post items, but they need to answer questions and respond to posts received through social media in a timely manner. Socialbakers, a global social media and digital analytics company, estimates that only 30% of companies are doing social media correctly. Their findings show that 70% of questions received through social media are not responded to, and that the average response time to queries and posts which are answered is 26 hours.

So, assuming that social media is only one of many things you need to stay on top of, how can you more efficiently post and monitor your social media efforts?  Here are two tools which will help.

HootSuite, at hootsuite.com, allows you to simultaneously post to several social media sites. You can select various sites on a per-post basis. Social media choices include Facebook, Twitter, blogs, and Linked In. This free handy tool also allows you to schedule posts which means you can load posts for several days all at once.

Now that your exciting and engaging posts are out there, how do you keep track of activity and know when to respond to a post or question? Do you need to log in to each site several times a day? No, thank goodness!

Nutshellmail.com is a convenient piece of software which sends posts from your social media accounts to your email once or twice a day according to the schedule you set up. It is a free software also and you can keep track of Facebook, LinkedIn, Yelp, CitySearch, FourSquare, YouTube, and Twitter.

Using these tools will help you streamline your social media efforts which means more time for other marketing endeavors. And who doesn’t need more time?

Email Marketing to Mobile Devices

20 Oct

Many people think of mobile marketing as only SMS messaging and mobile ads. However, one area of mobile marketing that cannot be overlooked is email marketing. Today, most decision makers are plugged in 24/7 and may reach for their phones to read email messages from just about anywhere. That means marketers must follow mobile best practices to ensure emails are easy to read on a mobile device or the opportunity to reach a prospect via email may be lost. Here are some tips for successful email marketing campaigns.

Subject Line

As few as 15 characters may be viewable on a mobile device so be sure to keep subject lines short but relevant to the topic.

The Message

According to MarketingSherpa, the average viewer spends only 15 – 20 seconds looking at an email. Build trust by making sure the content is relevant to the reader and matches the subject line. Also, keep your emails short so that readers don’t need to scroll excessively. With that in mind, use only necessary links and images.

Mobile Phone

Make sure emails are easily readable on mobile devices.

From Line

Be consistent in the use of a name or names in the “from” line. Not only are you building trust, but being consistent will help you get past spam filters.

Design

The most valuable space is at the beginning of the email. Don’t fill this space with links and images. Also, keep your email between 500 – 600 pixels wide so that it is viewable on most phones. Use H1 and H2 tags to make headings stand out and help the reader skim the content. And . . . use alt tags to describe images just in case the pictures don’t properly render.

Call to Action

As always, make sure you have a call to action. In addition to other contact information, be sure to include your phone number in the email in order to make it easy for the reader to contact you.

Who Is My Target Audience?

22 Apr

We’ve all heard the saying, “You have to spend money to make money.” The problem is that spending money doesn’t always equate to making money.  Sometimes despite valiant efforts, promotions fall short and fail to garner the response you expected.

So how can you avoid wasting money on ineffective marketing?  Know your target audience!  If you don’t know who you’re trying to reach, your chances of finding, interesting, and motivating specific responses from anyone are slim.

So how do you find your target audience?

Look at Your Current Customer Base

The easiest and most straightforward method of learning about your target market is to learn about your current customers.  Invest some time in recording and analyzing information about them.

  • Do they all live in the same or similar geographic areas?
  • How old are they?
  • Are the majority of your customers male or female?
  • Which customers buy the most?

Do your best to approach this research objectively. Avoid guessing whenever possible, even if you think you already know the answer to a question. You might be surprised by what you find.

Use Government Data

You probably remember the national census that took place last year, but did you know that all the results are publicly available?  As with anything that comes out of the government, the website isn’t the easiest to navigate – but the data available is so good it’s more than worth it.

Fortunately, there are tools available to help you sort through the incredible amount of data available.   Click here to see a list of tools, tutorials, and information on how to get the data you need.

Read Blogs

“The blogosphere” is a wonderful thing.  Since you’re reading this, you’ve probably already discovered that blogs are excellent for learning new skills, gathering information, and problem solving.  If it exists, someone has written a blog about it.

Follow blogs about your industry, and pay close attention to the comments– sometimes comments are more insightful than the blog posts they are responding to.

Read Trade Publications

If you don’t subscribe to any trade publications, you’re missing out.  These articles may hold useful information designed to benefit businesses just like yours.  The comments may offer a chance for you to connect with other people in your industry and form mutually beneficial relationships.

If you’re not sure what publications are relevant to you, or simply want to get some secondary research, Google Scholar is a great place to start looking.  It’s like a regular Google search, but only returns scholarly, peer-reviewed articles.

Use Social Media

One of the biggest benefits of social media is the ability to quickly and cheaply conduct informal market research.  Simply ask your followers whatever questions you want to know the answers to.  As long as you’ve spent the time developing rapport with them, chances are they’ll be happy to help you out.

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