Email marketing leader Constant Contact has recently released a list containing a set of insights and trends for small businesses for 2013. These trends revolve around the emergence of SoLoMo (the integration of social media, local merchants using location-aware technology, and mobile device usage), which allows merchants to tailor their marketing efforts – such as content, deals, and offers – specifically to individuals, increasing the chance they will become customers. Today’s social society is a mixed blessing for businesses because social media makes it easy for businesses to engage their customers however, it is also important for businesses to respect the relationship with customers. This is crucial because the increased use of social media means that rather than relying on celebrities and paid testimonials, 3rd-party endorsements combined with social sharing will make loyal customers the best advocates for deals and products in the foreseeable future. That is why it is so important for small businesses to have effective online marketing and social media campaigns.
Although pundits have been predicting the demise of email for years, email still remains the preferred form of communication among consumers. This is because they have control over the messages which come through – whether they act on it, ignore it, delete it, or opt out of it. Email is non-intrusive. That being said, with the rise of email blasts and spam, consumers are becoming more selective with the content they consume. Tip #1: When sending out any email campaign it is important to ensure that the content is of value to the consumer, that the email has a professional look, and that all email blasts should be sent on a set schedule. If these rules are not followed, the consumer will opt-out and never return.
Tip #2: Ensure that all email campaigns are double opt-in to reduce the likelihood that your emails will head to the spam folder. For those unfamiliar with the practice, double opt-in is when a customer first fills in a form to sign up for an email newsletter. Afterwards, an automatic email is sent to the address entered which contains a link to be clicked for the customer to confirm they own the address which was entered. This feature is already built into many email newsletter programs such as Constant Contact and MailChimp so it is unlikely to be a hassle. If you decide to self-host your email newsletters, adding the automated email confirmation can be done fairly easily on many servers.
If your business is not on social media and not using email marketing, now is a crucial time to evaluate the options on the table. Although it might be tempting to just start posting blindly on social networks and sending out email blasts aimlessly because your competitors are doing so, remember that a poorly executed campaign will do more damage than nothing at all. Additionally, not every form of marketing works well for every industry.