Marketing using Business Christmas Cards

Corporate greeting cards can be used in many ways to promote your business and to show appreciation to supportive clients; some traditional and some a bit more creative. However, there are some rules and tips you should keep in mind to get the best return on your investment of sending out a Business Christmas card:

1. Procedure/mailing list

Make sure you keep your company contact information up-to-date on a regular basis and take your time to add new contacts you gain throughout the year.

A good way to control if your contact details are up to date is by including your return address so that the post office will return the card if the address is no longer valid. It will also serve a dual purpose by providing your contact information to your recipients.

2. Timing is everything

Don’t send your cards late, set yourself a deadline. December 15th is a convenient cut-off date for having your cards in the mail. If you’re sending business Christmas cards internationally, they’ll have to be in the mail much sooner. Here are some helpful links for recommended Christmas mailing deadlines: NZ Post, AUS Post, Royal Mail, USPS, Canada Post. If your Christmas card arrives after the holidays, you have just sent the wrong message to your customers. Read more

Cold email introduction – copy this campaign

Want to use cold emails as part of your customer acquisition?  We get dozens of approaches by digital media agencies usually picked up by our clients’ spam filters.

Today we’re publishing one of the better ones as a crib for you to copy for your own use if you want to buy email lists and try to start working cold call emails for your B2B brand.

Here’s the copy

Subject: Oneupweb would like to work with you

Cold Email example text

What do you think?

A short, neat message.  Starts with reassurance – do what you’ve always done.  But we all know how that sentence ends…. “and you’ll get what you’ve always got.”

Nice use of the word “earn” in the second sentence – they are going to work for you to gain trust.  I like that.

The words for the services list are all hotlinks with custom tracking codes – good practice to see where your campaign is working.  I clicked on the link and it took me to a standard page… no special landing site after the page had rendered using the tracking code.

Bullet points

A neat filtering tool is used here.  By quoting fees or likely media costs for services, they filter out any brands who can’t afford to pay $2,000 per month for Search Marketing or $15k for social media campaigns.

Be attracted by the big names they’ve worked for but be put off by the fees = you are not my target customer.

Interesting that it came in to my private email address.  It’s a dot com so maybe the list buyer figured I must be in USA and it’s a long-registered domain (2001 approx) and short so again, it maybe didn’t filter me out for being a person not a business.

Call to action

A question as a call to action is a subtle approach.  Do I think next week is a good time to talk?

Enough time to get into my diary and a question that can be easily answered.  Interestingly, no easy-call buttons for direct line phone numbers added here.  Wonder why?

Footer has company contact information and the usual range of social media links plus an unsubscribe.

What happens next?

We sent a reply – will let you know what happens next.

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Email auto responders – a quick tutorial

I am a fan of email auto responders that send a pre-determined email reply out from your address.  They can be very helpful for new business development as an information tool for prospective customers.

As ever, there are good and bad examples of automatic emails.  Here are four examples we have received recently that can show you the best and worst examples.  Most are from marketing and sales agencies / organisations and so the bad examples make me cry with shame….. there’s so much to improve.

Let’s get to work.

Example 1 – failure message

We got this after trying to email J Walter Thompson in Houston, TX.  Their website didn’t list the office contacts so we used a directory called MacRae’s Blue Book.   This is what came back from our email:

Directory Listings fail message

A request for contact that failed.

  • Check all the free listings services that have your company and office.
  • Update your details if needed
  • Create a unique email address so you can track effectiveness e.g. [email protected] would have worked here.
  • Contact yourselves through them as a mystery shopping exercise at least once a year, preferably 6 monthly
  • Where do email enquiries go?  which phone number do they list and who answers it?

Email effectiveness 4/10

Example 2 -zero information

Membership organisation NYAMA (New York American Marketing Association) whose membership-based services are surely the profit engine for the organisation.  But hey, send them a membership enquiry on their auto form and one week later [hardly an automatic response] this comes in:

Thank you for submitting this form

  • “Thank you for submitting this form.”  Great – send me what I already know I sent you
  • What happens next?  No mention of next steps towards becoming a member
  • Timeliness – this reply came back 5 days after we completed the online form
  • Nothing happened

Email effectiveness 2/10

Example 3 – Inbound emails

When you send an enquiry in to a company’s ‘general’ email whether by form on the website or direct, what happens to that email?

Everyone knows that spammers and malcontents will be using it too – so what reassurance can you give people that their message has got through?

Great information auto-response

  • This one came from a retail marketing agency fronted by a TV celebrity.
  • They have good information about what to expect from the agency, the celebrity and where to get more information free / cheap and also training
  • But the email came from one general email address – they need to split the contact so people interested in the celebrity and people interested in the agency are directed to different places.
  • We wrote back to confirm our interest in the agency and received the same auto-response again.  Irritating.

Example 4 – the perfect first reply

And finally, a look at a nice, short friendly reponse from a media agency.

Perfect auto response email

  • The message gives a real person’s name as a point of contact
  • Sets clear expectations about what the agency will do next
  • Sounds genuinely friendly

Copy this one.

Autoresponders are a good tool to kick off your online marketing.  
Simple. How many emails do you write daily? How many blog posts? You only have to write an autoresponder once. It will then go to as many new recipients as activate the trigger. Forever. It will always go out in the same time format that you set up at the start. It’s easy. You don’t have to think about it. And all the while it keeps up a relationship with your readers. Voilà.

But don’t just take our word for it –  See how it all works by signing up to our Services autoresponder, you’ll see the benefits immediately.

Hire Creative Agency Secrets team of copywriters to set up your auto responder – we know what we’re doing and can give you the shortcuts to great outcomes and customer engagement.

Learn More With The Creative Agency Secrets GUIDE TO AUTORESPONDERS

The Top 6 most popular articles of all time

Top 3 things for Writing a good brief for an agency pitch

‎We did a quick survey yesterday among brand managers to answer the question “What are the top three things you need to do to write a good brief for an agency pitch?”

Move the sales needle, Information integration, Content marketing (Josh Stailey)

What’s the problem, why is there a problem and media neutral so the idea leads the solution. (Mark Watkin)

Understanding, belief and passionate solution. (David Noble)

A fee for the pitch would be a good start. (Gabbi Cahane)

Writing a good brief for an agency pitch

Radcliffe Pitches
Image via Wikipedia

I am researching for a new blog post about how brands brief agencies when they want to run a pitch.

Can you help me?

Top 3 things for writing a good brief for an agency pitch

Worst 3 things for writing a good brief for an agency pitch

Add your answers to comments below, please.

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Twitter competition ideas

There have been a few good quesitons around recently with Public Relations agencies in particular seeking ideas for competitions that can run on Twitter.

Running a competition is a good way of building new followers for social media communication channels – it also helps for brand awareness.  A contest doesn’t need to be expensive, or complex but the prize must fit the audience and be desirable.

Here are a few suggestions for Twitter contests:

  1. Short story – include an opening, middle and end in 140 characters
  2. Announce a photo theme and get uploaded photos on the theme
  3. Trivia question – allow funny, serious and absurd answers
  4. Buy a product and announce the invoice number on Twitter to enter a contest for a free prize
  5. Threadless tweet submisssion for printing on a t-shirt
  6. Collaborative songwriting / include your phrase or name in a song
  7. Joke sharing like the #bandfoodpuns on May 17th
  8. Munich beer contest to promote an expo – visit site and when the beer glass is empty the last person to RT the URL wins

Some marketing management suggestions

  1. Hashtag# the contest so you can track entrants
  2. Unique phrase with retweeting gets topics trending
  3. Contest entry added to follower request builds a following/community
  4. Use the contest to relaunch your twitter identity
  5. Frequent $100 prizes beat a big $500 prize
  6. Short deadline contests create urgency

Twitter competition prize ideas

  1. money
  2. music album downloads
  3. free product from your company
  4. a digital gadget – camera, phone, MP3 etc
  5. gift card from a recognised store
  6. a free service from your company
  7. a trip
  8. pay for a service for them from the winner’s favourite supplier (massage, haircut, car wash, online data backup, membership of a group / team fanclub)
  9. Music prizes – albums, concert tickets,

An example of a current twitter competition

Take a look a the Social Media Experiment at Glastonbury 2010 running now which I learnt about from the Chinwag group on LinkedIn.

The Social Media Experiment will take place on Friday the 25th June between 1pm & Midnight, and will feature a number of comedians, musicians, performance artists and live shows incorporating social media and interactive web technologies.  the prize is the chance to perform live on stage at Glastonbury

In order to win, visitors to the site are asked to join the competition group on Facebook and post a link to prove that they are a in a band, an artists etc. The winning act will then be chosen from the group at random in this ‘flash mob’ style competition.

Thanks to these people for providing me with ideas for the list above Trey Ratcliff, Alexandra Samuel, Internet marketing, Bob Baker, James Norris
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Writing an innovative pitch to a brand

Tiffany & Co. at The Landmark, Central, Hong Kong
Image via Wikipedia

We are often asked about how to pitch a brand in order to win their busienss.

Now a pitch is usually the end of a long process that starts with a chemistry meeting or a credentials presentation.

Here is an example from Razorfish who pitched for the jewellery retailer, Tiffany’s business.

This is an early stage document.  It has high level proposals, few detailed strategy recommendations and a free offer. Razorfish Tiffany New-business-pitch-creative

The good points are:

  • clear alignment with the Tiffany brand promise
  • aligning online and offline customer experience
  • data sharing online and offline (really hard to do well IMO)
  • a sharp offering to drive the future relationship
  • it’s short
  • the offer is risk-free

If they delivered the free workshop and used that to develop ideas for Tiffany – how strong would their offering be if Tiffany decided to make it into a public pitch?  They would have the inside track becasue all the ideas were developed jointly with Tiffany.

Can you do this?

How do you approach new prospects – what can you offer them that  makes it easy to buy and shows off your ideas without giving away your intellectural property?

Thanks to MZ Kagan and Scribd for the idea for this article.

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Social Influence marketing – how it helps your biz dev

Razorfish, the global marketing agency, has released “Fluent” a report on social influence marketing.  There is a big buzz on influence and perception or sentiment analysis towards brands going on recently – and I think it is a small red herring; a phase the internet is going through.  Whether customers buy is the really important metric to know.  What leads to that buying decision is where your business development skills can be put to work.

I had a read through the report – it has a reasonably short summary of findings and a detailed appendix detailing the project methodology (really interesting if you like stats, research and algorithms).

The main statements that affect business development and how you should change your biz dev tactics and strategies are

  • The world expects brands to “do” not just push messages

I think this applies equally to B2C and B2B brands – showing a leadership in a niche can be demonstrated by activity. It needs to be activity that benefits the customer in some way.  I worked with Websters Accountants as they set up their site about auditing service charges for multi-occupied buildings.  We set a strategy for them to “give away” a service of offering an aggregated news feed about service charge accounting.  It’s a subject covered in a range of journals, blogs and websites – bringing together into one place is a service to their customers and prospects.  An example of a B2B brand doing something, not just pushing messages.

  • If actions speak louder than advertising (and they will), what is your brand doing?

Showing off your CSR is no longer enough.  Acting on the brand message, being the public ambassador of what your brand stands for and delivering on your promises in consistent ways (not necessarily kookie show-off ways) is what gets you noticed in the long term.

  • Social influence has an equal effect on active and less active users

This is definitely borne out by Seymour, my 90 year old relation who follows me on Plaxo and declares himself delighted to know what I’m up to.  He’s a reader and a watcher rather than a participant in the conversation.  But be clear, he is “in the conversation” but just not saying much right now.

  • Increased reliance on personal influence networks for purchase decisions rather than branding messages

Obvious really.  When does your belief in the marketing message get most cynical – when you are close to purchase.

  • As customers move through the sales funnel, reliance on word of mouth increases effectiveness the closer to decision you are

As above.

  • Independent blogs carry more weight than corporate blogs – but these are helpful in the awareness phase (page 12)

And so there is a place for corporate messaging – but be clear about where it has influence and where it does not. 

  • Brands must focus on value exchanges

Again, as Don Peppers said – I give you something, you give me something back.  Now that was in the era of early stage CRM but it was in the context of getting data to populate your database…. something only the customer knows about herself.  What can you give me of value and what can I give you of value first?

Take a look at this summary diagram.  Spells it out neatly.

Social influence hasn’t changed – but it has moved online in a way that marketers can track, measure and participate in.  Now that is something worth thinking about.

Actions for your brand / business / enterprise:

  1. What are the characteristics of your marketing communications at each stage of the sales funnel now?
  2. Where do you lack material?
  3. Can you find places online where those conversations are being recorded?
  4. Can you align the conversations and the ‘sentiment’ with your brand to stages in the sales funnel?
  5. Are there ways to adapt your marketing and customer services operations to step into those conversations in an appropriate and brand-aligned way?

influence_fluent

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Guest Post: How CRM Integrates Into Business Development Processes

Adeline Grosrenaud is  London blogger with a blog dedicated to CRM.  It may seem an out of date concept now that the social web is going mainstream, but I asked her to write about how CRM and biz dev proceseses can be mutually supportive.

She has a helpful check list of  metrics that would be worth checking for your organisation.

Here’s what she has to say.

While the term CRM is often just used to refer to CRM software, true customer relationship management is much more than that. A business ought to have a well thought out and written customer relationship management strategy and plan which has involved thorough research if they want to succeed in their given industry.

CRM technology and software has evolved by leaps and bounds over the last few years from starting as basic contact management solutions and now features a huge array of tools and applications that can be used for a variety of business processes. The most important use for most business seeking out a CRM solution is the development and automation of business development processes.

New CRM technology and features that facilitate effective and efficient business development processes include:

  • Ability to quickly and efficiently integrate new business leads from a variety of sources.
  • Ability to automate follow up on new leads quickly and in a organized manner.
  • Automation of up-selling and cross promoting other products and services.
  • Easy integration of new business development managers, representatives and remote teams or call centers.
  • Creating a streamlined platform for communication throughout the company.
  • Instant access to and generation of reports and financial projections.
  • Easy tracking of a wide variety of statistics and metrics.

These CRM features not only facilitate better and faster customer relationship management and sales but can help a business cut costs and improve the bottom line through a simple, streamlined and automated system. Perhaps the most important among these CRM tools for business development is the ability to easily track a wide range of metrics. This includes times it takes for your sales staff to follow up with new leads, how hard they are trying to follow up and convert sales leads and which members of the sales team are performing best. Good CRM programs also enable rapid changes in the business development process whether it be reassigning accounts to another account manager or changing sales letters and scripts and much more. The latest advances in CRM technology also make split testing a breeze. In this tighter economic times this has become even more essential as businesses strive to maximize ROI more than ever before.

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