A Healthy Mix of Marketing

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binaire opties recensies When it comes to marketing, it is best not to put all of your eggs in one basket. A healthy mix of print, Web, as well as voice and text messaging helps attract customers from all demographics and backgrounds. There are many benefits to using each method, but the most successful strategies employ a combination.

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Mixed marketing reaches more customers and potential clients because it caters to individual preferences. “Some prefer receiving marketing messages via email, while others prefer social. By doing both, you get in front of as many people as possible and spread your message without having to spend a lot of extra time,” advocates Janine Popick, founder/CEO, VerticalResponse Inc.

People receive multiple emails in a day, meaning many messages are ignored. Rebecca Wilmoth, senior marketing manager, Vocus, Inc., stresses the importance of using multiple channels to break through the noise. While direct mail is often a more costly medium, in many cases it is worth it if used wisely. “It also depends on the audience and the industry,” she adds.

It is important not to overwhelm clients with too many media strategies. The key is staying organized. “You cannot bombard people on several channels,” cautions Michael Cusden, marketing manager, SimplyCast. “You need to make it organized and centralized. Let the software reach people how they want to be reached.” It is also important to remain consistent with wording, design, and branding to provide the viewer with a seamless experience.

Social media is where many potential leads spend their days. Use of these sites is critical to extend reach and establish a brand or presence. Cusden recommends that, at the very least, small businesses provide a place for followers to engage with one’s current email newsletter setup. “This can include automatically posting a newsletter to Twitter, where it includes a way to sign up for a list. In addition, businesses can add a signup form to the company Facebook page to gather new subscribers for email campaigns.”

While social media is an important part of modern marketing efforts, the first task is spreading the word. “No one really goes on Facebook and ‘likes’ a brand that they don’t know, or starts following a company they never heard of on Twitter,” points out Wilmoth. It is important to build a relationship with an audience via email or other methods first. “Sending relevant content and introducing the brand is necessary to establish a relationship so that customers seek additional information on social media,” she adds.

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Marketing solution providers encourage business owners to try a mix of print, email, online, and even voice messaging to reach a broad audience.

SimplyCast promotes its one-stop shop of marketing automation solutions, including email, fax, SMS, online surveys, voice messages, auto responders, landing pages, Twitter, Facebook, and press release submissions. It also provides the tools to gather opt-in data including a Web form builder and list manager, which is integrated with top customer relationship management solutions.

The company highlights the use of its range of tools by explaining the upsides to reaching clients on their ideal channels, and also by making each element integrated. “For us, it is all about needs and communication goals,” states Cusden. The SimplyCast team works with clients to point out opportunities for cross marketing and how it can work with an existing email plan.

VerticalResponse provides self-service email, social media, and event marketing tools to help connect with customers, expand reach, and grow bottom line. It cross promotes products to facilitate better use of mixed media tactics. For example, the company regularly messages email marketing customers with social media tips and VerticalResponse Social discounts. It also produces free educational content, such as a blog, and free guides and Webinars on how to leverage email, social, and events to grow business.
Vocus offers marketing software to reach and engage with prospects and customers through email, search, publicity, and social avenues. According to Wilmoth, it is all about the numbers. After personally testing direct mail only, versus direct mail and email combined, Vocus saw a lift of 30 percent in response rates. Clearly, there is more business to capture using both methods.

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With automated solutions, mixed media marketing strategies are easier to manage. Several small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on such services to reach out to customers through different channels.

In 2008, Johnny Shelby opened Third Coast Training, which provides individualized, one-on-one endurance training, sport-specific testing, and weight loss plans for customers in the Houston, TX area. With fierce market competition, he decided to use mixed media services from VerticalResponse to differentiate himself, build loyalty, and increase referrals among clients.

One of Shelby’s biggest hurdles was finding the time to manage a Facebook and Twitter account. In 2012, he signed up for VerticalResponse Social, which enables users to create and schedule social media posts up to 30 days in advance, track engagement, and respond to comments from one integrated dashboard. For multi-day or multi-week campaigns, VerticalResponse Social provides recommendations on the ideal number of links, questions, quotes, or status updates to publish over the campaign duration.

Not having enough time to spend on marketing is one of the biggest challenges Vocus’ Wilmoth hears from SMBs. “The great thing about using email marketing with social media is that there is a lot of crossover,” she says. In fact, content created for email marketing can easily be repurposed as social media content, and vice versa.

For example, Wilmoth recommends posting all of your email newsletters to your social media networks. “Share testimonials and feedback from social media in emails. Promote offers via both email and social. Make sure to include links so that email recipients have yet another way of receiving messages and staying in touch. Include buttons in emails so that subscribers can easily share information with their social media followers too.”

SimplyCast customers also obtain the benefits of centralized and integrated communication. Users automate the entire process of integrating email marketing and other mediums with one click. When a newsletter is sent for example, it includes social sharing buttons to extend the reach of the message and automatically posts the newsletter to social sites of choice.

EZ Credit Warehouse, a medium-sized online service business, uses SimplyCast to communicate with customers and to locate leads. Email newsletters inform and update existing and potential clients. The company collects user data through these newsletters and through the Web site. From the compiled opt-in data it better targets customers with a preferred method of communication.

EZ Credit Warehouse uses voice broadcasting and SMS for different levels of customer support during the sign up and purchase process. SMS is also utilized to notify customers of credit approvals or when they need to act on secure financing.

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Testing the Waters

It is important for small businesses to consider all the different channels available to help promote business and brand. “It does not just stop with email, direct mail, and social media, but coordinated campaigns with referrals and a Web site geared to build one’s SEO is also very important,” says Wilmoth.

Referrals are a powerful tool, yet are difficult to track and measure. For this reason, SMBs should have a solid referral program and then test different channels to see which work best. “Some channels are easy to set up for free or at no cost, such as social media, but others like direct mail and email campaigns may have more of an impact on the bottom line,” notes Wilmoth.

Vertical Response’s Popick advises entry-level SMBs to approach marketing efforts slowly and wisely. “Do not feel like you have to do everything and be everywhere at once, especially with social media,” she says. Spreading one’s self thin among too many marketing channels sometimes does more harm than good.

The key, Popick shares, is figuring out where most customers are active, and then sharing relevant and interesting content to build a presence. SimplyCast’s Cusden agrees it is important to have a marketing plan in place first to map out one’s goals. From here, SMBs may determine if marketing automation is the best method for them.

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Technology continues to evolve, so too does mixed media marketing strategies. Email, social media, and mobile devices change the way people communicate, but have not eliminated the effectiveness of printed material and personal messages.

The benefit of email marketing used in tandem with other mediums has no limits. Mixed media allows SMBs to build a base of solid leads and repeat customers through various avenues. A smart, integrated strategy consisting of print, email marketing, and social channels is sure to stick out to a larger crowd and keep business top of mind.

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