Tag Archive: email

Basic Marketing Blunders with Linked In

Basic Marketing Blunders with Linked In
Like me, have you received email invitations like these?

> I’m using LinkedIn to keep up with my professional contacts and help them with introductions. Since you are one of the people I recommend, I wanted to invite you to access my network on LinkedIn.
> Basic membership is free, and it takes less than a minute to sign up and join my network.

I’ve received well over 35 invitations like this, worded almost precisely the same way. The senders have acted surprised and offended that I did not leap to take advantage of this invitation.

Let’s look at the problems in this invitation from a marketing point of view.

* Almost all of the invitations I received were from people whose names I did not recognize. Why would I want to be part of their network? The invitation doesn’t say who they are, who they have access to and how I would benefit from their network.

* What is Linked In, how does it work and what are the benefits of using it? No one has yet explained this clearly in their invitation. You cannot expect that someone receiving this invitation understands what you’re asking them to join or how it would be advantageous to them. It would be helpful to have a paragraph or two describing how it works and citing a specific result the person behind the invitation enjoyed from membership. It may be that people assume that since “basic membership is free,” the typical recipient of this invitation will go ahead and join. But even if it doesn’t cost money, joining would take time. You still need to “sell” people on taking a free action, especially with respect to an activity or organization that may be unfamiliar to them.

* No one took the time to head off possible misunderstandings or objections to this membership. As a non-member of Linked In, I am concerned that joining would open me up to a lot of email and phone calls in which I would have no interest and that would waste my time. Again, you can’t assume that something free is thereby enticing; you need to imagine why someone might have doubts or dismiss the idea and address those objections.

* Using a canned invitation that is almost exactly the same as everyone else’s doesn’t make a good impression. Even if the text provided by Linked In were effective, which it’s not, you’d want to give it your personal stamp.

Other than being irritated that they are apparently encouraging people to send invitations that make little sense, I have nothing against Linked In. Perhaps it’s a useful organization. My point is that its members need to use common sense and fundamental marketing principles to encourage busy, skeptical people to give it a chance.

Marketing Magic: There Two Little Words Can Make A Difference!

Marketing Magic: There Two Little Words Can Make A Difference!
In his classic best-seller, How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie’s second chapter is entitled The Big Secret of Dealing With People. The secret is summed up in this principle: Give honest and sincere appreciation.

Carnegie said there is only one way to get anybody to do anything — by making the person want to do it. How can you encourage customers to say good things about you and give you referrals? By giving them what they and all human beings crave: honest and sincere appreciation.

The Two Magic Words

The big secret of dealing with people (or customers) is often overlooked or forgotten. It’s simply saying “thank you” consistently, personally and, above all, sincerely. These two words work marketing magic because customers want to feel important.

Saying “thank you” is an act of kindness, besides. But don’t say “thank you” for the sake of flattery. It must be sincere. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “You can never say anything but what you are.”

“Thank You” Promotes Referrals

The uncertainty of referrals can be disconcerting. Can you control them? No. Can you influence them? Absolutely.

First you must provide a valuable product or service for customers. (You’re already doing this, right?) But perhaps you can make an even bigger difference in their minds by your continued interest after you’ve delivered the product or service.

Each customer has a different level of satisfaction with your products and services. However, all customers to whom you say “thank you” are satisfied that they’re important to you. This can determine whether you’ll continue a relationship with them and get referrals.

“Thank You” as Direct Mail or E-mail

If you’ve never used direct mail and are considering it, start a thank-you correspondence program. If you’ve used direct mail or e-mail but haven’t sent thank-you letters or e-mails, start now.

The thank-you letter or e-mail to your customers is targeted (you know them, they know you), personal and effective. It’s guaranteed to receive a positive response.

Furthermore, it’s a pleasant surprise if it’s snail mail. They see your envelope. They think, this must be something for me to review, to sign, or worse a bill. Surprise! They’re appreciated; they’re important. And you’re the one telling them so.

Write a thank-you letter or e-mail at every opportunity. But don’t send one with an invoice or other correspondence. Always send it separately.

Writing the Thank-You Letter or E-mail

The thought behind a thank-you letter or e-mail may seem simple, but writing one can be tricky. Here are 9 tips for writing a winning thank-you letter or e-mail:

1. Keep it brief. A half dozen lines (or fewer) are sufficient.

2. Make it sincere. This is crucial. If you aren’t careful, it can sound awkward, even when you’re trying to be sincere.

3. Start with “thank you.” Dear Ms. Johnson (or first name, if appropriate): Thank you for …

4. Make the tone warm, but professional. Be friendly, but keep it businesslike.

5. Reinforce a positive. Jog their memory of a positive aspect of the relationship.

6. Offer your continued support. If I can help, please call …

7. End with “thank you.” Thanks again for …

8. Use an appropriate closing. Sincerely, Best regards.

9. No ulterior motive. Make it a pure “thank you,” otherwise sincerity is jeopardized.

Remember: Saying “thank you” is part of building strong customer relationships over time. Use these two magic words consistently and watch your repeat business and referrals grow.

(c) 2005 Neil Sagebiel

3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails

3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails

3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails 3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails Prospecting emails vs. marketing emails. There is a huge difference between marketing emails and prospecting emails. Marketing emails are usually sent out to large lists–one communication going to many. Prospecting emails are sent out individually—one communication going to one individual prospect. Make sure that your prospecting email sounds like it was written by you and not by your marketing department. 3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails
Be clear. The rule in a cold call, and in a cold email, is that you must be crystal clear. If your prospect does not understand what you are talking about, that prospect will simply delete your email. On the phone, your prospect will say, “I’m not interested” and hang up.
Craft your message. 3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails It is far too easy to type something quickly and then hit ‘send.’ Take time to craft your email and focus it on how you help your customers, challenges you resolve for customers, and/or outcomes you’re able to achieve for customers. You won’t be able to get that email back for a rewrite, so take the time upfront to make sure that you’re communicating exactly what you want to be communicating. 3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails

While these three rules will not guarantee a response from a prospect, following these rules will increase the possibility that your prospect will see you as someone who is credible with an interesting offering, and thus they will be more likely to respond. 3 Rules of Getting Responses from Your Emails

No matter your industry, it’s difficult to get subscribers to open and respond to your marketing emails.

With my emails for Sparring Mind, I’m regularly able to reach 50-60+% open rates and up to 30+% click-through rates.

How can you do this? By understanding what makes your subscribers “tick” with behavioral psychology research.

While I prefer to keep my exact list size private, I simply use the following psychological principles, supported by that research, to consistently maintain such strong rates.

Let’s get into the research!
1) Creating a Call-to-Action that Works

It’s important to get people to click through the first time they open up your latest broadcast (because few people will re-open your message later). One fantastic tactic you can use is to incorporate a sense of “urgency” (that the action should be taken immediately) into your broadcast. It is used by many great copywriters, and it’s simple to implement.

According to behavioral research by psychologist Howard Leventhal, urgency is quite effective – if you actually give people instructions on what to do next.

Leventhal’s research tested the call of urgency by handing out pamphlets to subjects on tetanus disease, holding back none of the graphic detail of its symptoms. To test things however, he varied the pamphlets.

One pamphlet received just the tetanus information.
The other pamphlet had the same information and minimal instructions on where subjects could get vaccinated.

According to Leventhal’s findings, those who received the second pamphlet (with the follow-up info) were 23% more likely to go out and get vaccinated, despite the fact that both groups had received pamphlets on the dangers of tetanus (and the importance of getting vaccinated).

Leventhal concluded that urgent messages have a tendency to be “blocked out” when no information was given on what to do, even if that information was very basic.

What’s this have to do with emails?

It actually translates quite simply: although creating a sense of urgency in your emails is effective for getting people to click through on their first open (and also work in the subject lines to increase opens), if you aren’t following up in the body copy of your email how people should proceed, you’re just wasting a broadcast.

It might seem to “obvious” to include things like, “Click here to read our latest post!”, in your messages, but writing out specific actions gives your readers some much needed clarity on what they should do next.
2) Master the Art of Choosing

Sheena Iyengar, psychologist at Columbia University and author of The Art of Choosing, is known for her notorious jam study on choosing.

In this study, Iyengar tested people’s reaction to different amounts of choices by selling jam at an upscale supermarket. Some days she would offer 24 flavors of jam, and on other days she would only offer 6 flavors.

The result?

Although the 24-jam setup had more “interaction,” the 6-jam setup had 27% more people actually buying a type of jam to buy!

What’s the takeaway for email marketing?

The “less is more” approach is just as applicable to choices in broadcasts as it is for Iyengar’s study, because when people are faced with too many options, they are likely to succumb to “action paralysis,” or as Iyengar would say: choice is demotivating.

When sending out a broadcast, I personally stick to the one email, one goal rule. I only have one goal in mind for each of my individual broadcasts, and only ever ask my subscribers to do a single thing (like visit a blog post) when sending them a message.

When you’re asking for too many things, you’re really asking for zero things, because when people are faced with too many options, they’ll likely choose none.
3) Keep Your Subscribers on Their Toes

Hold up, what exactly does that mean?

In some interesting research from social psychologist Norbert Schwartz, he conducted a test: he occasionally placed a dime on a copy machine for the next person to use the machine to find. Later, he interviewed everyone who used the copy machine about their lives.

Although this was in 1987, it?s still only 10 cents, no big deal, right?


People who found the 10 cents consistently rated their lives as being happier and more satisfied. That?s a big statement for such a small surprise! Schwartz concluded that:

“It’s not the value of what you find. It’s that something positive happened to you. …[this] only works if you’re not aware you’re happy because you found it.”

This is what I like to call “surprise reciprocity,” and it’s something you can utilize to keep your open rates incredibly high.

How? Occasionally, send messages that include nothing but a free gift for loyal subscribers.

I regularly write up lengthy content for my newsletter and get it designed into a sharp looking PDF and release it to readers for free, no “share to get” or other walls to access, just great free content.

You may think that your blog is all the free content you need, but remember the surprise factor here: people expect free content from you blog, but when they receive something out of the blue via email, you?re creating goodwill with subscribers in a way few other tactics can match.

Plus it just feels good to reward your readers.

Business Miscommunication

Business Miscommunication

The customer’s first impression of your company may be determined by you – or your email message. The way you communicate will reflect how others perceive you. Keep and maintain a trusting relationship with your customers by being aware of the type of jargon and technical language you use when communicating.

Your may have internal customers, external customers, or both. These customers put their trust in you. In some professions (such as doctor, financial consultant, banker, CPA, attorney), you have a very specific role as confidant. Regardless of your occupation, recognize that trust refers to how you communicate information, as well as to the information itself.

It’s not just about the information you send. It is also about how the information is communicated. If you send a customer information in an email message that is misinterpreted, you will lose that trust factor.

Trust is difficult enough to earn initially. And, trust is virtually impossible to regain, once it’s lost.

Keep in mind that “trust” may not be the reason a client hires you or a customer buys from you. It may have nothing to do with the initial purchasing decision.

Yet, lack of trust is a viable reason for customers to take their business elsewhere. Lack of trust can also be a factor in firing someone in a corporate environment. Your customer (or your boss) may not even realize that trust is an important factor in your professional relationship – until it is gone.

Email can be an effective tool for building and maintaining trust in relationships with customers and colleagues. You don’t want the use of jargon or confusing terminology in emails to jeopardize that trust.

Remember that your use of technical terms and industry jargon may offend the receiver. It may appear rude or condescending to the reader. That, in turn, can cause embarrassment or even expensive mistakes.

Avoid technical terms and jargon, unless you are certain the reader will understand what you mean. That will lead to healthy, trusting, cost-effective relationships with customers and coworkers.

Business Etiquette Today

Gone are the days when business etiquette meant having good table manners at lunch and not drinking too much at the holiday party (though those are still good rules too). But these days, with business changing as much as it has, the rules of business etiquette need some updating.

Interestingly, whenever I write about the changing workplace, I often hear from readers about the lack of etiquette. I’m not sure why it seems to be such a sore subject for so many people, except that, sadly, business etiquette seems to be fading away.

And that’s too bad.

It may be a reflection of, not only a more lax workplace generally, but a decline in civility and manners more broadly. To some people, manners seem to be an old-fashioned concept — some stuffy idea from when people were not allowed to wear flip flops to work. I don’t think people should disregard their manners and, based on what I’ve seen, neither do a lot of other people. Manners and etiquette are nothing more than society’s rules for a common way to respect and treat each other in public.

Here are the most common workplace etiquette mistakes I hear about and see most often:

Cubicle intrusion: With people today either working in fairly public cubicles, or no cubicle at all, too many people feel like what space they do have is not safe from intruders. Even though a person works in an open area, it does not mean that they don’t deserve some privacy and respect. Leave their stuff alone. Don’t peer over their wall. Knock before entering.

Speakerphones gone wild: An adjunct to the cubicle issue above, in a shared workspace, people can hear your phone calls. Take private calls in private. You also might want to reconsider putting your calls on speaker, as it could result in the whole office getting to hear what a big shot you are trying to be.

Email faux pas: Email is the dominant form of business communication now and it needs to be treated as such. That means, for instance, leaving the emoticons at home. It means understanding that grammar counts – “i” is not the same as “I”. Spell check. Grammar check.

As the old commercial goes – people judge you by the words you use, even if they are via email, so use yours smartly.

Click here to read more articles from small business expert Steve Strauss.

Phone manners, or lack thereof. While we are on this subject, your receptionist is often someone’s first contact with your business. I recently went into an office and the male receptionist said, “What’s up, bro?” Look, I am all for the new casualness (well, mostly, see below), but there has to be a limit. Business is still business. Teach your receptionist to say “please” and “thank you.” Teach them to say, “Hello, how may I help you?” He or she should not drop calls or argue with customers or act bored.

Missed manners: In fact, “please,” “thank you” “pardon me” and “you’re welcome” often need to be taught to all staff, and then reinforced.

And it’s OK to do so.

John Wooden used to start the first practice with the freshman on his UCLA basketball teams teaching how to properly tie a shoe. Why? Because it was not only fundamental (you play on your feet after all), and not only necessary apparently, but it was also a good lesson: Do the little things right and the big things tend to go right. This rule also applies in business.

Customer casualness: Your customers who come in or call are not a pain in the rear or a bother — they are your bread and butter and should be treated as such.

Business too-casual: Business casual is not the same as business sloppy.

Kitchen confidential: If you put something in the refrigerator, you need to eat it or remove it before it goes bad. Leaving it there beyond that (and sometime long beyond that) is not only wrong, but gross. Clean up after yourself. Don’t eat other people’s food. And pay people back when they lend you a buck to buy a soda.

Maxed-out multi-tasking: When speaking to someone in person, no texting, emailing, game playing, or talking on the phone should be tolerated. What does it say when you do that? It says that playing Angry Birds is more important than paying attention to you.

Do you have some business etiquette horror stories? Please share.

About Steve Strauss

Steve Strauss is one of the world’s leading small business experts. The senior small business columnist for USA Today, his Ask an Expert column is one of the most highly-syndicated business columns in the country. Steve is also the author of the Small Business Bible and his latest book is Get Your Business Funded: Creative Methods for Getting the Money You Need. A popular media guest, Steve is a regular contributor to ABC News Now and frequently appears on television and radio. His business, The Strauss Group, creates unique, actionable, entertaining, and informative multi-media small business content.

You can read more articles from Steve Strauss by clicking here.