Christmas Campaigns That Shine

Christmas campaigns may seem like a gimmick, but they work. That’s because it’s a time of year where people are looking to buy and as a result, customers are far more communicative.

Hellmann’s Christmas Advert

Look reactionary by planning early

Planning early has many benefits. For example, you don’t want to get a campaign stopped behind bureaucratic doors and miss your chance to launch it at the best of times. If your campaigns are pre-approved you won’t miss those good opportunities to launch them when they come by.

Nothing says “viral campaign” like a relevant one that comes out as soon as a meme starts. Start planning your campaigns early, and plan multiple variations for different situations. Then all you need to do is keep your finger on the pulse throughout the run-up to Christmas period and unleash your chosen campaign when the best opportunity arises.

Here’re a few campaign ideas:

  • Relevant product promos – promo your 2015 calendar when advent calendars start getting popular.
  • “Still time to buy” reminders – customers often rush for purchases just 1 week before Christmas, so a little timely reminder can go a long way.
  • Discount codes & free delivery – while most common of Christmas campaigns, a time-liimited discount campaign is often short and sweet enough to catch more attention.
  • Extended returns period  – take the “giving mood” approach and develop a relationship with your customers.

One things for sure, each campaign must decide on a clear goal. Review previous campaigns, check their strengths and weaknesses, then carefully plan out how you’ll support your campaign goals through action.

Focus on increasing dialogue with customers (not necessarily hard sales)

Christmas is a great time to develop customer relationships as well as just push sales. Use the increase of inbox opens and social media interactions to build your email lists and get more in touch with your customers. Outside of capturing emails you could also push feedback forms and surveys to capture behavioural data which can improve all your 2015 campaigns as well.

You could:

  • Simply wish Merry Christmas via email or pop-up box.
  • Run social media competitions that require email opt-ins, but instantly give a discount when a customer enters.
  • Re-engage with past buyers by offering them something special for doing business with you again.
  • Have fun and test out marketing platforms you wouldn’t normally use, potentially opening your exposure up to a whole new crowd.

Offer something DIFFERENT

Make an impact and stand out from the crowd by doing something different. Implementing a wishlist on your website (EXTRA: can use data for targeted mailing!), personalising your promotions and running some exciting social media competitions are a few ways to have your company look both professional, and interested in its customers.

The question you need to ask yourself now is – “what’s the best Christmas campaign for my business”?

7 steps for creating your Christmas marketing campaigns

STEP 1: Collect and assess behavioural data from past campaigns.

This should be as straight forward as going into a database and looking through campaign statistics. If you’re not doing this already, a simple excel spreadsheet and recording past campaign data should be your next course of action!

STEP 2: Think of 5 opportunities/ circumstances for sending campaigns.

These opportunities should be periods around Christmas (start of advent calendars, last week before Christmas, etc). Try to find opportunities that can easily be related to what you offer as a company.

STEP 3: Write up these campaigns.

Carefully plan out each campaign with action lists and then make sure you’ve got the content ready to go for each action.

STEP 4: Schedule campaigns that can be scheduled.

If your campaign is time dependent, schedule it and make an alert to remind you when it goes out. Once it is live, you should still have to take action (such as sharing your campaign via social media), so have that ready.

STEP 5: Create daily Google Alerts for topics that the remaining campaigns can react to.

If you’ve created some reactionary campaigns for the holidays, make sure you’ve got ways of identifying when they can best be activated. We use Google Alerts to track conversations so that we can react to them, and it’s a great way for looking for that perfect campaign launch opportunity.

STEP 7: Recap on all campaigns (analytics and assessment).

Once is all said and done, sit down and have a good look at the results of each campaign and how they went. This is very important as it will help you create more successful campaigns for the future!

 

Looking for fresh ideas and assistance on your Christmas marketing?

Drop us an email and we’ll be happy to brainstorm ideas for you!

Writing and reading long emails

Long copy email as a sales tool – example

Writing long emails

Writing and reading long emails

Writing and reading long emails [Image credit ContactMonkey.com]

There are people who do not favour writing long messages, yet there are others who buck the trend to compress and shorten messages. Because they have a beautiful writing style they “get away” with long messages.

I often read these.

David Baker runs ReCourses – a service advising owners how to run their marketing agency as a better business.
Read this example.
Hi Rebecca,
I came across this interesting statement recently:

“Incorporating interactive can move your firm upstream strategically, especially if you understand that interactive work is really database marketing reborn. Providing [prospects] with interactive opportunities is tantamount to allowing them to emerge incognito from the protected castle to sample the promises before they lower the drawbridge again. In this [case] the consumer has initiated and then defined the sales context. And as a potential buyer he is far more likely to buy because he has reestablished control, first by learning more in an environment where he controls the shape and pacing of the information, and then by giving [you the] permission to sell to him.”

The concepts are important, of course, but what’s most interesting is that it was written in April, 2000, nearly fourteen years ago. I wrote it in an article for Persuading, trying to help agencies like yours understand how digital work should fit within the marketing mix.

There was some real enthusiasm in writing that, largely from the promise that the internet would provide a new era in marketing. It didn’t fulfill that promise, really, as privacy concerns, inept agencies, and lousy UI dominated the lack of innovation.
Enter marketing automation technology (MAT), though, and the internet is finally delivering on its promises. This is especially true in the marketing of professional services, where decisions are more considered and where authenticity and truth can be established via thought leadership content.
While the wait has been lengthy, the pace of recent developments has far exceeded what we have come to expect. MAT is a milestone that will honestly change every single thing about selling your services:
You can establish a funnel to define the most likely path to hiring you.
You can develop the tools to bump leads to the next stage in the funnel.
Prospects will be fully aware of your abilities, your remuneration, and what you won’t do. In the process of discovering that, prospects will self-select themselves out of the running so that you avoid the biggest danger in business development: dating prospects that are not marriagable.
Best of all, it changes the equation from pushing to pulling.
The amazing thing is that—no matter how good you are at selling—if you are in front of a prospect that has already taken the safety chain off the door and invited you in, you can sell. Yes, you can sell. What you hate about selling is trying to convince a prospect that they need you. No more. MAT has changed that for you.
There is so much to learn about this and I hope you will join us in Chicago on March 6 for a packed day of learning MAT, both for yourself as an agency and in your work as an agency for clients.
David C. Baker
ReCourses®, Inc.

Why is this long email effective?

Deconstructing this email the method David uses is this:

  • Open with a statement (the quote)
  • then challenge my understanding by explaining it’s over 14 years old!
  • explain its relevance today
  • Bullet point list of benefits [not features] of the technology
  • Give reassurance of the ‘amazing’ outcomes available to users
  • End with an invitation to buy from him

So that’s a series of subjects that you can use for your next email (whether to a cold introduction or a luke-warm prospect).

A note on subject lines for cold email

I am subscribed to get emails from Nick Johnson from Incite.  His copywriting is exemplary and I regularly find myself wanting to take the actions he requests.

Look at this picture taken from my in box of recent messages I’ve received from Incite.

Cold email subject lines

Cold email subject lines

Did you notice that few of the subject lines actually say what’s in the message.   So if I want to know what it’s about I HAVE to open the email.

some of the message subjects aren’t written with capital letters – makes it look like Nick wrote it quickly and forgot – but it’s more a feature of personal email not mass email and so I think this is clever, if used occasionally.

They clearly experiment with subject lines – one of them is a ‘Newsletter’ and is titled as such, but the content of many of them could be classified as news.

I have highlighted two parts because they show best practice.

The Red box surrounds subject lines in which they’ve included my name.  It feels like it was written just for me – but I know it’s just a personalisation insert from their database – but nonetheless it’s effective.

The Orange box encloses a subject “a quick heads up” which they used twice.  The first one follows the pattern of not saying what’s in the body of the email.  The second is sent with the same subject but as a forwarded (FW) message from Nick’s colleague, Kate.  It is the same message inside, but it makes me think I’ve overlooked the earlier message and so I feel more inclined to open this one.

Very clever people – I recommend you subscribe to their newsletter – Insight and Debate on Marketing Innovation.

Business Marketing Tools Explained: What Are Autoresponders?

emailingWe create email Autoresponders on a regular basis because they’re a brilliant marketing tool. But so many people ask us what an Autoresponder actually is and why it makes sense for marketing your business.

Autoresponders are more than just those out of office replies you get when you email someone sometimes.  They’re automated emails that start based on a defined event.

This means that when your customer does something (an event), the autoresponder sends an email or a series of emails.  Examples include joining a mailing list – triggers a welcome message.  Or buys something online – triggers an upsell offer.

Simple, you might say. Yes, Autoresponders are simple in concept, but they bring you more marketing possibilities than you may realise…

Instant Response Autoresponder

You can set an Autoresponder to simply respond when an action (the trigger)  is performed (like receiving an email). This is great for small tasks like “out of office” notices and “thank you” emails after a customer buys a product or service. However, this side of Autoresponders doesn’t quite go as far as you need it to.  It’s just a single message with no follow-through.

Delayed Response Autoresponder

Autoresponders can be delayed to appear a few hours, days, weeks or even months after the trigger has been activated. These are useful for time sensitive reminders such as warranty expiry and account subscription top-ups.

We got asked by a mortgage broker who negotiates interest rate deals with banks for her clients – she wants to send them a reminder 11 months or 23 months after each rate fix so the client has 30 days to get back in touch with her to fix another interest rate deal for them.

Multiple Autoresponders

A neat little trick with Autoresponders is to make them trigger off of each other in a series. This allows you to build a message that is progressive.  Examples include training workshops and stories.

For example, perhaps you want to teach a customer how to use your service that they subscribed to online – you can set up a series of Autoresponders that trigger one week after each other, with each Autoresponder email covering a different part of your service. Yes they can unsubscribe and yes maybe not everyone would read them. However it increases those odds of a customer picking them up and making the most of your service, which increases your customer engagement and satisfaction.

The Strengths & Weaknesses of Autoresponders

Autoresponders work best as a marketing tool when they are integrated with other promotional activities. But they can do so much more than people realise. Here’s a list of their strengths and weaknesses that might lead you in the right direction if you’re thinking of using them.

Core Strengths…

  • Autoresponders are automated – So once you’ve set them up you don’t need to worry about them at all. They’ll run on their own and continue to spread your information and push your sales pitches long after you’ve finishing creating it. This makes them more reliable than a human!  All those times you’ve forgotten to send emails could have lost you business.
  • Autoresponders are simple – Essentially just emails that can tie together or answer specific customer questions on the fly, they don’t take much of your time to set up and yet help you correspond with many more customers without having to lift a finger.

Core Weaknesses…

  • Autoresponders are made of rigid content –  You can change them once they’re up but they’ll only change for people that sign up to receive the Autoresponder after you changed it.  That being said, you need to create each Autoresponder with a specific goal in mind and align it to that goal.
  • Autresponders aren’t individualised – Personalisation is possible – but it’ll just be <insert name> database personalisation.  Real individually customised messages are out of the question. While you can do the basic [firstname] [lastname] customisation fields, you will not be sending these emails yourself so won’t be communicating with the receiver directly. One way to respond to this is to add a manual, personalised thank you whenever you get a new subscriber.

So go out there and discover ways to integrate Autoresponders into marketing for your business. Need help? Feel free to contact us for a complimentary chat or use our training resources below for detailed examples and different structures of autoresponders…

 

Your guide to Autoresponders: learn how you can use Autoresponders to grow your business


See an Autoresponder in action: An Autoresponder about Autoresponders

What’s the best way to introduce my business by email?

We get asked this a lot and the short answer is that it must be part of a wider marketing / business development plan.  BUT Chalkwardwithin that context here’s our recommendation.

The best way to introduce a company to new buyers using email is this.

  1. Research potential businesses by browsing their websites and finding the names of people who work there. Cross-check the names using Linked In and build a spreadsheet database of prospects.
  2. Write a bespoke introduction email to the recipient which demonstrates you have researched their business and understand their needs. It should not be about sales. The first approach is about research and finding out more about them. Aim to set a time to speak on phone/Skype to find out more.
  3. For those who do not respond. Plan a second email with a gentle reminder of your interest in their business. Ask them to pass the message to the correct person if they are not dealing with suppliers.
  4. If they do not reply, add them to your mailing list and start to send regular, short, informative messages which will help their business (may include some sales messages, but very few).
  5. If you can afford it, send a postal mailing individually to each business with some collateral, samples or testimonials as a follow up. Again, invite them to connect with you by telephone/Skype.

The deep skill lies in writing that first, well-researched email.  It needs to be short, engaging and to create a desire to learn more from the reader.  If you work in B2C this is not a practical solution unless you are a startup, because it’s too time consuming.

Creative Agency Secrets provides email copywriting services, and training to teach your team how to write and execute email introduction programmes.

The Top 6 most popular articles of all time

Email Preferences check box

Email unsubscribe best practice

Today I had a raft of emails from which I wanted to unsubscribe.  It happens.  But the experience was so variable between the different service providers that it’s worthy of a blog post.

Box.com

Box came up first – I don’t use the service and so why are they writing to me.

Box.com dumb unsubscribe

Box dumb unsubscribe

Hit unsubscribe.

They use Eloqua for email distribution and I have to type in my address in order to unsubscribe.

Not good.  You know my address, therefore you should have it pre-populated.

New Breed Marketing

New Breed Marketing came up next – an event in a country where I don’t

Email Preferences check box

Email Preferences check box

live – I won’t go and I don’t want more invites to events that I can’t attend.

Hit unsubscribe.

They use Hubspot for email distribution and I find that I can update my email ‘preferences’ and select to only get their blog posts by email.  Perfect!

Check your own set-up by subscribing to your mail list (I always do this for our clients) and see what your unsubscribe experience is like.  Don’t want to annoy customers.

Top tips for marketing Tradesmen

Are you a tradesman – plumber, electrician, carpenter, builder – and want to do some marketing to get more customers?  We had a meeting today with a new client and talked about marketing.

Tradesman image

Tradesmen [Image credit: http://internet-and-computers.com]

The 3 Marketing Tools a Tradesman business needs

There are lots of choices in marketing, but for a tradesman’s business, there are actually only 3 marketing tools they need

  1. Business cards
  2. A website
  3. A mailing list (email or postal)

Let’s run through these and how to use them

Tradesman’s business cards

Cheap to design and print, these are your number 1 marketing tool when you first start.  They should have accurate information about how to contact you printed in large type with a recognisable business name.

How tradesmen use business cards

Hand two to every customer.  One to keep and one to give to a friend.

Keep them in your wallet, in the car glove box and hand them out liberally especially if you go to a social function or belong to a networking group or business meeting group.

A tradesman’s business website

When you’ve enough cash, buy a website.  A simple 5 page site is all you need to start off.

How tradesmen use a website

It needs to have

  • a header that says your company name and phone number,
  • a home page that describes your business and the geographic area in which you work,
  • a page with your full contact details,
  • a page to describe your specialist skill,
  • a page of customer testimonials,
  • a page about you and your team.

 A tradesman’s mailing list

Once you’ve been working for a while, you will send out invoices to get clients paying you.  This is your chance to start to grow a mailing list.  This is useful because your past clients may refer you to future clients, and sending out mailshots or newsletters serves as a reminder to people about your services, and how to contact you.

How a tradesman uses a mailing list

Keep a record of every customer name, business name, address, telephone and email when you raise an invoice.  If you use an accounting software programme, it’ll save these details for you.

When you get a phone call or email enquiry for a new job, save the contact details.  Check on the phone that you have spelled their name correctly – this is particularly important for email addresses because one wrong letter and the message won’t arrive.

When you do a job quote, save the contact details.

Every month collate all these lists into one place (preferably electronic).  Save the file with an obvious name e.g. August 2014 Mailing List.  Then send out a short message to the whole list using specialist email sending software like MailChimp/AWeber/FeedBlitz. DO NOT USE your email program.  Ask me why not if you don’t know.

Put the date in your diary to send the newsletter every month for 1 year.

Stick to the schedule.

Send that mailing.

Even if it is short and has one photo of a job you’ve done (before and after photos are great), or a customer testimonial – it all adds up.  Over time you will get to having a big list.

Say you do 10 jobs a month and meet 5 new people each month who take a card.  Within 5 years you’ll have over 900 names on your list.  If you do 20 jobs a month and meet 10 new people – you get to 900 names in half the time!

 

That is it.

There are additional marketing techniques that you can add on top of the basic 3 such as outbound mail campaigns, using recommended trades services (Builders Crack, Rated People), creating website landing pages for Yellow Pages and other directory listings, customer satisfaction surveys, freebie giveaways or seasonal special offers.

But don’t do these until you have the basic 3 covered and working well.

For tradesman marketing services, call Creative Agency Secrets – outsourced marketing for busy business owners.

WARNING: Chartered Accountant Magazine is Changing

chartered accountants information We were shocked to hear that a professional NZ accounting magazine is stopping its print edition and going digital only has combined with its Australian counterpart. The Institute of Chartered Accountants Australia (ICAA) and the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants are joining forces and as a result will be moving their regular publication “Charter Magazine” to digital only a new brand known as the “Acuity” magazine.


Additions by Andy Mclean, Publisher of Acuity magazine:

1) Contrary to what your article says, we are continuing to publish our member magazine in print.

2) Our new trans-Tasman magazine is not called Charter – it is called Acuity.

I think where you have got confused is that – having joined forces with NZICA – we have decided to stop producing Charter magazine and replace it with a brand new trans-Tasman magazine named Acuity. But there is no intention to stop printing magazines for our members. Hard copy magazines are still very popular with our members.

Just to clarify – Charter magazine had existed in print, online and as a tablet app for the past two years. Acuity will also exist in print, online and as a tablet app. There is no change in channels for our member magazine; it’s business as usual.


So what does this mean for accounting in the Australasian region? What does it say about future practices and success factors? We believe it says that accounting could benefit from going digital in a broad manner. Digital gives easier access to articles because they can be read on handheld devices as well as being found through online search. We’re hoping that, by making an accounting magazine available primarily online, it will help accounting firms visit the online space more and get familiar with it so to start using it in their own firm’s marketing. The move to digital for print magazines opens up other questions.

Is your newsletter digital?

If you’re thinking of moving your newsletter to digital, you’ll want to answer these questions first:

  • Will the newsletter/ magazine be readable from a mobile device (in terms of both the file being sent and the amount of content on such small screens)?
  • Does it fall in line with your firm’s practices and customers?
  • Do subscribers get email notifications when a new edition is published?

If you have a printed newsletter and want to move it to digital, answer the questions above or even get in touch with us to help you out.

Read RSS on Kindle

If you’re looking at building a blog for the website of your accounting firm, you’ll be pleased to hear that Amazon Kindle now allows Kindle editions of blog posts as well! They build directly from RSS feeds, so you’ve got another way to keep your blog readers up to date. The digital space is certainly moving in directions that accommodate marketing which are ready for any and all accounting firms to use and enhance their reach to prospects. Let us know how you feel about the change to digital for Charter Magazine, and what your Accounting firm is doing to become digitally enabled.

 

Need accountancy marketing help?

Creative Agency Secrets are experts in accountancy firm marketing.  We can tutor you and teach you what to do if you want to do the marketing yourself.  Or we can do the firm’s marketing for you.

Learn more and join our free Accountants Marketing Newsletter

How to improve a ‘cold’ email introduction

Many businesses use direct email and purchased mailing lists for new business development.  It’s a tried and tested technique.

No cold calls

No more cold calls or emails. [Image credit http://muddycolors.blogspot.co.nz/] 

But it only works when you have a VERY compelling and well-written message.

Here’s an example we received

Would you like to have just one invoice to pay every month for all of you property maintenance? And only have to remember one number. Then give us a call and let us and our team do it all for you. From a one off job, or a complete maintenance package that works just for you

I have attached our company profile for you to see who we are and what we do

Also here is a link to our website [included but not hyperlined]

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any queries or quote requests

Kind regards

 

Improve your cold email text

Thanks very much for getting in touch.
As you probably can see I run a marketing business and my eagle eye couldn’t help noticing a couple of things you could improve with your approach email which I just got.

You forgot the company profile attachment.  And the link isn’t formatted correctly to open your website.

But the main thing your email lacks is a strong reason for me (the recipient) to DO ANYTHING.
Take a read of a couple of our blog posts about writing cold emails
Do you see that both give me a reason to reply?

I want to make you an offer

Will you let Creative Agency Secrets re-write your cold email so that it actually gets prospects to reply or click through to your website?
We will show you the techniques that not only get read, they get prospects to take action and start a dialogue with you.
If this sounds like the sort of marketing you’d like to be doing, let’s talk on the phone next week.
I have got time free on [name date] – any time after 10.30 am.
Thanks for your time

 

 

Regards

 

 

Rebecca Caroe

 

 

P.S.  There is no obligation to work with us after the phone call… but we are sure you won’t be wasting your time.

 

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