Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into action...in a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
email:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning

CRM

You invest in events, send out emails, educate, and send invoices.  But how well do you really know your target audience?  

Beyond the basic demographics, perhaps not as well as you might think.  Do you capture the answers to these questions?

  1. If asked to describe your organization to a third party, do you know what they would say?
  2. If asked to describe your service quality, do you know how they would respond?
  3. Do they view you as strategic, or merely a ‘vendor’ that they must grudgingly pay? 
  4. Are they open to using more of your services, or do they see you only in the narrow context of your current interactions?
  5. Do they know how important referrals are to you?
  6. Connection frequency:  Do you know specifically how often they may wish to hear from you personally over the phone?  Or via email?  Or in person?
  7. Media format: Do they prefer to read what you write, listen to what you say, or watch you on video?
  8. Broadcast Frequency: Do they prefer a weekly newsletter, a monthly one, or perhaps none at all?
  9. Time:  Do they prefer long-form content (books or white papers), shorter articles, or perhaps just 140 character snippets?
  10. Do they want to receive information about your professional development events, industry news, or immediately-relevant action items (or all)?

Too often, we make assumptions about our target audiences: that everyone thinks the same, that they have identical needs, and that they can be served in the same way.  What else explains the ubiquity of the monthly newsletter?   (Does everyone really prefer to read about us monthly?)  Or what explains social media community management that quits at 5pm?  (Does every target user really stop using social media at 5pm? The opposite is true.) 

The truth is that each person or organization typically thinks of themselves as unique: they have a unique history, unique strategy, and unique culture.  

For those that you know well, answering these ten questions is not that hard.  But for newer relationships, it is almost impossible.  The only thing that you know is that (for example) some may be attracted to a daily tipsheet, a weekly newsletter, a monthly newsletter, a short YouTube clip, or one of the other many formats of communication.  And that if you don’t have what they need in the format or frequency they prefer, they will likely give you pass. 

This week’s action plan:  Just because you have always done something one particular way, doesn’t automatically mean that it suits your target audiences today.  Capture the answer to these questions in your database, and then use the data to plan how to deliver what they want. (Hint:  Marketing Automation and Content strategy is the only way to make this happen efficiently.)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

{ 0 comments }

Do you use email every day for marketing and outreach?  Not every email is the same – there are a number of different types, each with a different goal.  How many have you used?  Great marketers know that using the right stimulus at the right time will yield the desired results.  Using marketing emails inappropriately will only annoy the recipient – and drive them away.

Eight email marketing letters:

  1. Buy Now offer:  This email assumes that the prospect is ready to purchase at the precise time that you are ready to sell.  It is vastly overused, usually by list-scraping spammers, and clumsy marketers.  Buy Now is most effective when there is already a relationship, and the prospect has already indicated an interest.
  2. Discovery and Engagement Query:  This type of email is a purpose-written email designed to give you more information: demographic, psychographic, about their challenges, or about their requirements.   No matter the goal, it always asks for some information, and seeks to solicit a response.
  3. Nurture value-add:  A nurture email (sometimes called a “drip” email) is one that gives something of value to the respondent (a tip, a link, a whitepaper, etc) in order to remind the recipient that you provide a particular product or service.  Unlike the Buy Now email, a Nurture email recognizes that the prospect may not want to buy on your schedule: when they eventually are ready to purchase, they will think of you.  The Nurture value-add is a give email, not a sell one.
  4. Trial offer: Many people are unwilling to transact because they are uncertain whether or not you – or your services – can indeed solve their problems.  This type of email offers the prospect an opportunity to test-drive your solution: they get to taste the chocolate before buying the entire box.  There are two different types of trial offers that can usually be made: (1) A free value stand-alone offer, such as an assessment or audit, or (2) Access to an online resource for a defined period of time, usually 2-4 weeks.  (Near the end of the trial, the prospect might get another email, usually of the Buy Now variety.)
  5. The Warm Introduction: Nobody likes a cold call, and it is generally ineffective for that reason.  A warm call – where you are able to get a pre-introduction, is far more likely to bear fruit.  The same holds true for an email.  The Warm Intro email must quickly credentialize (eg what is the common connection between you), explain the reason for the intrusion (for that is what it is), and provide a rationale for engaging in a next step.  This email is even better if it is a third party endorsement, where a mutual contact sends this type of intro for you.
  6. The Friendly Hello:  This is very much like a nurture email, except it is motivated by the existing relationship between you and the prospect/client.  It is designed to begin widening the relationship from one that is mostly professional, to one that is also personal.
  7. Invoice Transmittal letter:  This is the email that contains your invoice.  While they typically are terse, and are often automatically sent by either a system or a clerk, they really are the most important marketing and sales emails you will ever send.  The reason is that the attachment – your invoice – will be weighed against all you have delivered; if there is no reminder of your value, then they may not equate your value with your fee.  The email should summarize the invoice, but in a way that speaks to the benefits provided by the transaction.  (And also thanks them for the opportunity to work together.)
  8. Post-sale thank you:  After the sale is the most important time to say thank you.  Not only does this convey appreciation, but it is a critical opportunity to address any potential buyer’s remorse.  This type of letter must absolutely restate the benefits in the buyer’s language, and in so doing begin the movement of the relationship from being a vendor, to being a trusted advisor.

This week’s action plan:  While all eight seem like common sense, most marketers use them opportunistically.  This week, use them strategically and intentionally.  And if you have the technology to do so, use them automatically.

Marketing Insight #1:  The concepts behind each of these emails are equally applicable to phone calls, and in-person meetings.

Marketing Insight #2:  The Relationship Curve describes a prospect’s journey from awareness, to preference, trial, and commitment.  In previous tipsheets, I have explored the concept of the Relationship Curve from a marketing planning perspective, but this same model can also be used for emails:

  • Awareness:  The Warm Intro
  • Preference:  Discovery and Engagement Query, Nurture Value-add
  • Trial:  Trial Offer email
  • Commitment:  Buy Now offer, Invoice Transmittal letter
  • Post-Commitment:  Post-sale Thank you, The Friendly Hello, (and Discovery and Engagement Query!)

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to www.RandallCraig.com to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
www.RandallCraig.com
:  Professional credentials site
www.108ideaspace
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
www.ProfessionallySpeakingTV.com
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders

{ 0 comments }

Viewpoint: Virtual and augmented reality

by Randall Craig July 22, 2016

Back in the 1960’s, the venue of discovery was outer space, and particularly the race to the moon. In the late 1980’s, Star Trek popularized the holodeck, a virtual reality simulator that people walked into and “experienced.” Today, we have the Oculus Rift, Google Cardboard, and Pokemon Go.  One can debate the merits of these specific […]

Read More

Avoiding tech project failures (2)

by Randall Craig July 1, 2016

Have you ever had a problem – or a disastrous – project in your organization?  When this happens, it is often “clear” that the problem is with the consultants hired to help, and sadly, this is often true. But is some of the fault also with your organization?  While a previous post looked at issues from an […]

Read More

Viewpoint: Microsoft LinkedIn

by Randall Craig June 24, 2016

What do you do if you have a spare 26 billion hanging around? If you are Microsoft, you buy professional social networking site LinkedIn.com.  What do you do if you are an avid LinkedIn user, or if LinkedIn is central to your organization’s engagement and marketing plans?   Be happy, but just maybe, also be careful. Firstly, […]

Read More

Avoiding tech project failures

by Randall Craig June 10, 2016

Has your organization invested in a “game-changing” software project, only to discover that the promised benefits never really materialize?  Or that the implementation was so flawed that the system is regarded as a financial and operating disaster? Sadly, this happens far more than it should… but must this always be the case?  Here are five […]

Read More

Avoiding a disastrous CRM implementation

by Randall Craig May 20, 2016

CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems are known for two things: the promise of driving sales, and the almost inevitable disastrous implementation.  And the same is often true of other big tech projects.  But does this really have to be the case? Here are 12 key items that can make a difference between a successful implementation… or a costly mistake: […]

Read More

Trust Killers

by Randall Craig May 13, 2016

How much does your organization invest in marketing?  Beyond thought leadership and inbound marketing strategies, there is advertising, promotional items, trade shows, CRM, marketing automation, the web and social media.  Any way you look at it, the investment is substantial. Yet despite this focus, and despite all of this strategy, why is marketing so often ineffective? […]

Read More

Ten Questions to Improve Data Quality

by Randall Craig May 6, 2016

Marketing has progressed significantly from the days of direct mail addressed to “occupant”. Or has it? I recently received a snail-mail letter from a major corporation, addressed to Rondo Greg – not Randall Craig. My wife recently received an email addressed to her work address, asking whether her company – a major financial institution – would be […]

Read More

Building Your Marketing Stack

by Randall Craig October 2, 2015

Most marketers think of themselves as builders. Their work grows the organization, grows market share, grows the portfolio of products and services. A bit more tactically, the marketer builds page views, conversions, and social engagement; underlying all of these activities, the marketer builds relationships. But is there merit in growing marketing itself? Not the ad […]

Read More

Nine Key Marketing Automation Sequences

by Randall Craig July 31, 2015

Back in the dark ages of the internet, building “the list” was a best practice for email marketing. The theory was great: send a monthly ezine, sales offers, and any other buzzworthy content down the pipe and a certain percentage of people will “convert.” Money automatically transferred into your account as the list was monetized. Today, however, […]

Read More

Marketing Insight: Big Data and Lead Scores

by Randall Craig May 15, 2015

Often times, the greatest insights happen at the intersection of two areas, and this is certainly true of the intersection between marketing and business development. Typically, what lives here are leads. Marketers develop initiatives that build leads. Then sales “works” the leads, hopefully converting them into clients. This is true, in one form or another, […]

Read More

Digital Opportunity?

by Randall Craig May 1, 2015

The world is changing: it’s getting smaller. Ironically though, the smaller it gets, the more choice there seems to be. In the early 1800s, a trip from Toronto to New York would involve horses, or a stagecoach, 12+ days, and significant risk and expense. In the mid 1800s the trip could be managed by steam […]

Read More

Three types of emails

by Randall Craig January 30, 2015

Look into your inbox, and you’ll see emails that others have sent to you.  Look more closely though, and you’ll see three types.  From a marketer’s perspective, each has its own place, and each has its own purpose. Used incorrectly, they often will have the opposite impact: annoyance, disengagement, unsubscribes, and complaints. Three types of […]

Read More

Social ROI: Connecting Community to Commitment

by Randall Craig October 10, 2014

Do you have a creeping feeling that you will never get an adequate return on your Social Media investment?  If so, you’re probably right. To improve Social ROI requires three key ingredients: the first reduces costs, and the second and third improve return. Improve program efficiency: Swap out experimentation and opportunism with goals, persona-based editorial […]

Read More

Trust: Earning the Right to Ask

by Randall Craig August 22, 2014

How often have you walked in a shop, only to feel pressured into buying something you didn’t really want?  Perhaps you were at a restaurant, and the waiter actually sits down at your table, introduces himself, and asks for your order? Or maybe you found yourself in the position I was in at a Danier […]

Read More

Social Infrastructure

by Randall Craig December 7, 2012

Look around, and you are surrounded by advertisements: which ones catch your eye?  Likely, the ones that are the loudest.  Unfortunately, the race to the loudest is making it hard for anything to get through. One of the key reasons for corporate interest in Social Media is that it is a completely new channel, one […]

Read More

What Social Media Tier are you on?

by Randall Craig November 11, 2011

Every organization – and every individual – can find themselves somewhere on the three-tier Social Media Engagement Index.  Where are you? Level I, Passive:  At best, passive users have a profile on a few sites, but do very little within Social Media except for responding to the occasional connection request.  Benefit: passive users will be […]

Read More