Customer Managed Relationships

Seth points out that Disney is thinking differently about CRM. They see it differently. Customer Managed Relationships. CMR replacing CRM. “...our guests invite us into their lives and ultimately manage our presence/relationship with them.” Now that's understanding permission marketing. Who among us enjoys it when a marketer manages our relationship. We'd much rather manage our relationship.

So what's a marketer to do?

Be on all the Channels
Think about the relationship you want your customers to have with you. That's slightly different than thinking about the relationship you want to have with your customers. What channels of communication do your customers want to hear from you? You probably don't know so maybe you need to use multiple channels and let customers choose what's most convenient for them. Some customers will like email newsletters, some will like direct mail, some will like an RSS feed from your blog, and some will like podcasts. The point is that it should be the customers choice. The choice you have as a marketer is to populate the available channels with your message.

Track, Tweak and Be Respectable
When you offer multiple channels respect the choices of your customers. Don't assume that those that listen and respond to one channel will want to hear from you on other channels. For example don't assume that email newsletter readers will want to hear your podcast. It's ok to let them know you have one but it's not OK to send the podcast file in an email. At every opportunity Test and Tweak your message so that you continually improve your use of each channel of communication.

Sounds like a lot of work doesn't it? That's why you should consider outsourcing your email newsletters and blogs to a provider like BeTuitive Marketing where all the Tracking and Tweaking are respectfully handled for you by experts in permission marketing.

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May 8, 2006 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Sales Genius Helps You Track Customer Interactions with Your Website

Sure you can have excellent stats and behavior tracking with your email newsletters but what about the follow-up emails that your sales staff sends to hot prospects and potential customers? Ever wish you could see if your prospects are visiting the web pages you are referring them to? Now you can with a new service that will track customer and prospect behavior based on the emails that you are sending. Give Sales Genius a try during the free trial period to see if it's going to be worth paying a monthly expense for the service.

SalesGenius™ is the first personal web analytics service that lets sales professionals instantly qualify sales prospects by tracking individual visits to corporate web sites, without any programming or IT involvement. The real-time Genius Tracker™ gives you immediate feedback about which sales leads have opened your e-mails and clicked through to your web site, so you can tell at a glance who is most interested.

Sales Genius

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May 3, 2006 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Newsletters: Spreadability

Spreadability is the ease with which your ideas spread from person to person. It's two basic modes are newsletter forwards and workplace conversations. For readers to deem your newsletter of high value it needs to provide ideas that readers can use. Ideas that readers can apply in their own workflows, share with others in their organization or share with their professional networks are ideas that will keep subscribers reading each and every issue that you publish. Once you have the content ideas and you are properly using Themes with Focus and good Summaries it's time to make sure that those ideas are spreadable.

Practical Tips:
Tell Stories: Tell stories of how readers have used, discussed and spread your ideas. Use a sidebar column to profile readers and what and how they are learning from your newsletter. Readers will see how others are benefitting from your newsletter and be inspired to do the same.
Encourage Forwarding: Always include a forward to a friend mechanism. Readers may not use it but it plants the idea in their head that it's OK and a good thing to forward your newsletter to colleagues. Users may forward your newsletter using the forward function on their email application. While this isn't trackable through your email newsletter application it is the spread of your content and newsletter branding.
Blog Them: Continue the discussion about your ideas and content on a corporate blog. Once you move your readers from your newsletter to your blog it's just one click to move them to your corporate site. A blog is a good place for more information about your email newsletter content. You can receive feedback via comments, conduct polls, and drive other behavior through a blog.

Related:
Writing Memorable Newsletters: Summaries

Writing Memorable Newsletters: Focus
Writing Memorable Newsletters: Themes
Writing Memorable and Spreadable Email Newsletters
Storytelling vs. Story-Crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

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November 9, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Newsletters: Summaries

Summaries also called blurbs are important for newsletters for several reasons. Effective summaries serve readers well because they allow readers to skim the headline and summaries of several articles “above the scroll.” Analogous to above the fold for newspapers. Many email publishers simply past the whole text of each article into the body of the newsletter. They assume people will read from to to bottom. While easy, this approach is overwhelming to busy readers. Multi-tasking readers are much more likely to skim and cherry-pick the content they are most interested in. Your newsletter will serve readers better by supporting this behavior. View the top screen of your newsletter as a table of contents with headlines and brief summaries or teasers for your content elements.

When writing these summaries keep in mind that what you are writing should be the two or three talking points that a reader will use to begin a discussion of the ideas in your article. These talking points are what comes after “I just read an interesting article about...”

If you want your email newsletters to add value to your readers lives it's important to write them in a way that makes it easy for readers to discover content they are interested in and help readers remember and talk about the ideas they read in your content. Relevant ideas they can talk about with their colleagues and coworkers are what will keep readers subscribed, forwarding your newsletters and valuing your company as a source for valuable information and know how.

Related:
Writing Memorable Newsletters: Focus
Writing Memorable Newsletters: Themes
Writing Memorable and Spreadable Email Newsletters
Storytelling vs. Story-Crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

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November 7, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Newsletters: Focus

Once you have properly identified a theme for your newsletter issue it's important to stay focused on that theme. Many newsletters will contain one article on theme and then go on about filling the issue with a laundry list of scattered unrelated elements. Your readers are more likely to remember your newsletter as a valuable resource if all the elements of an issue support a particular theme. Everything from the subject line to the graphics, and pictures needs to play a supporting and reinforcing role.

Many publishers feel that each issue needs to “have something for everyone” and so they offer articles on a variety of subjects and themes. In doing this each topic is only addressed on a surface level and from one perspective. A focused newsletter issue provides multiple voices and perspectives and more in depth information. A focused newsletter can easily be labeled and filed for future reference or more importantly forwarded to friends and colleagues who your readers feel would benefit from the theme.

If you want your newsletter to demonstrate your companies thought leadership and industry expertise you should definitely do email newsletters with clear themes and focused content that supports and reinforces those themes.

Related:
Writing Memorable and Spreadable Email Newsletters
Writing Memorable Newsletters: Themes

Storytelling vs. Story-crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter
Surprise and Delight Customers with Easter Eggs

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November 4, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Newsletters: Themes

Remember, a theme for a newsletter is a one word or phrase that encapsulates or summarizes the subject of a given issue of your email newsletter. The theme helps in two ways. First, it helps you develop and filter content elements for the issue. Second, and more importantly, a theme helps your readers to grasp the value you are imparting to them. A well defined theme helps your readers remember your content and consequently your company.

Most publishing teams map out issue themes well in advance. Often times months in advance. This is a by product of the long lead times that traditional publications have. Magazines and print newsletters often require weeks and months for production, printing and mailing. But it's a new day. With electronic publishing it's possible to move much more quickly. In order to deliver the greatest value to your readers the more relevant and timely your theme the better.

How do you develop a theme? Ah, the key question. While many sales and marketing people would be quick to map out a schedule of themes based on the messages and stories that the company wants to broadcast this I think is a mistake. This turns your e-newsletter into an advertisement or worse spam. The best practice for developing email newsletter themes is to get elbow deep in the information and issues that are important to your readers. It's your customer intuition at work. The theme of your newsletters need to come from your knowledge of what your customers/readers want or need to know, not what you want them to know. How you weave your message and offering into that theme is your value as a producer/writer of your newsletter.

Practical Tips:
Talk to your customers - ask them what problems or issues keep them awake at night.
Monitor you customers - Use the Customer Intuition Tools that I blog about to monitor what's happening with your customers, their companies and their competition. Google Alerts and RSS feeds are your friends. Set up folders for each major customer in your newsreader.
Poll you readers - Consider using your permission marketing assets(email lists) to engage your readers in a poll or discussion about issues and topics that are relevant.
Talk to your Sales Department - Develop practices to discover what your sales people are hearing from their customers and prospects. Consider developing a group blog or wiki for capturing this information. Customer concerns questions and objections are a rich source of content ideas for your newsletter.
Monitor the Competition - Subscribe to as many of your competitors newsletters as you can so you can zig when the zag. You want to stand out and provide uniquely relevant and memorable content that will have your readers opening, remembering, using and forwarding your content every issue.

Related:
Writing Memorable Spreadable Email Newsletters
Storytelling vs. Story-crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

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November 3, 2005 in Building Customer Intuition, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Spreadable Email Newsletters

Go to a coworker who subscribes to(but isn't involved in producing)your email newsletter and ask them what the theme and two or three key ideas are from the latest issue. If they can tell you you're on the right track. Now, call a customer and ask them.

If your coworker can't recall and articulate the theme or key ideas of your newsletter how can you expect your customers and prospects to remember what you have to say. I'd argue that two ideas that are remembered are worth much more than five or six that well presented ideas that aren't remembered.

Spreadable ideas are what increases the value of your newsletter in subscribers minds. If your idea is what follows “You know, I just read about...” when a reader speaks up in a meeting or around the lunch table chances are your open rates and “forward to a friend” rates will be increasing. Information, ideas and stories that readers can share and apply to their own lives is the definition of relevant. Relevant is what keeps subscribers reading and talking about your newsletter and your company.

So how do you do it? How do you craft relevant newsletters? Here are some ideas to get us thinking:

  • Themes - Think of themes as the one word or phrase summary of your newsletter issue. This is the answer to the question “What was the last issue of the newsletter about?” For example: The October issue of the BeTuitive newsletter (subscribe here)is about “Storytelling”
  • Focus- Every element of the issue should reinforce the theme. Craft every article, summary, news item, graphic, link, subject line etc. to in some way relate to and support the central theme. Too many newsletters are not memorable because the theme isn't clear.
  • Summaries - We all know that people skim online content. Your summaries or blurbs need to capture your readers fleeting attention. More than that your summaries become talking points when readers talk about your ideas and content. They literally can be the two or three memorable sentences that follow the “You know, I just read an article about...”
  • Spreadability - There are technical and structural issues about constructing email newsletters that aid their spreadability. Most people are very familiar with how to forward email. It's still important to include a “forward to a friend” link because it plants the idea in readers minds and gets them thinking subconsciously who in their relational network could benefit from this content.

I'll look at these ideas in more detail in the days to come. In the mean time go as that coworker what they remember from the last newsletter.

Related:
Storytelling vs. Story-crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

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November 2, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Writing Memorable Spreadable Email Newsletters

Go to a coworker who subscribes to(but isn't involved in producing)your email newsletter and ask them what the theme and two or three key ideas are from the latest issue. If they can tell you you're on the right track. Now, call a customer and ask them.

If your coworker can't recall and articulate the theme or key ideas of your newsletter how can you expect your customers and prospects to remember what you have to say. I'd argue that two ideas that are remembered are worth much more than five or six that well presented ideas that aren't remembered.

Spreadable ideas are what increases the value of your newsletter in subscribers minds. If your idea is what follows “You know, I just read about...” when a reader speaks up in a meeting or around the lunch table chances are your open rates and “forward to a friend” rates will be increasing. Information, ideas and stories that readers can share and apply to their own lives is the definition of relevant. Relevant is what keeps subscribers reading and talking about your newsletter and your company.

So how do you do it? How do you craft relevant newsletters? Here are some ideas to get us thinking:

  • Themes - Think of themes as the one word or phrase summary of your newsletter issue. This is the answer to the question “What was the last issue of the newsletter about?” For example: The October issue of the BeTuitive newsletter (subscribe here)is about “Storytelling”
  • Focus- Every element of the issue should reinforce the theme. Craft every article, summary, news item, graphic, link, subject line etc. to in some way relate to and support the central theme. Too many newsletters are not memorable because the theme isn't clear.
  • Summaries - We all know that people skim online content. Your summaries or blurbs need to capture your readers fleeting attention. More than that your summaries become talking points when readers talk about your ideas and content. They literally can be the two or three memorable sentences that follow the “You know, I just read an article about...”
  • Spreadability - There are technical and structural issues about constructing email newsletters that aid their spreadability. Most people are very familiar with how to forward email. It's still important to include a “forward to a friend” link because it plants the idea in readers minds and gets them thinking subconsciously who in their relational network could benefit from this content.

I'll look at these ideas in more detail in the days to come. In the mean time go as that coworker what they remember from the last newsletter.

UPDATE: Now with link goodness

Related:
Storytelling vs. Story-crafting
Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

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November 2, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Newsletter Reader Maps with Frappr

Frappr-1Here's a nice tool for mapping customers, readers, vendor locations, retailers, etc. Frappr is a free tool that let's users set up groups and members can add themselves quickly and easily.

If you are publishing a blog or a e-newsletter consider setting up a map of your own and asking your readers to add themselves and give you a shout out on this google maps based tool. Very fun.

To see just how easy and fun this is click over and add yourself to the new map of BeConnected readers.

Why map your readers? Next time you travel to St. Louis, San Francisco or Sandusky you'll know you have friends there that might buy you a beer. They might also prove to be excellent local resources.

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October 25, 2005 in Blogging Tools, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Audio Comments for Newsletters

How are you incorporating the omnipresent cell phone into your business? While many look to legislate against what they perceive to be rude behavior with cell phones the fact remains that they are a fact of life. Those businesses that can most effectively leverage their use will win. I've posted before about customer service and the frustration that customers have when seeking to solve a problem but their definitely is a role for automated telephone systems designed to take advantage of the fact that more and more people have a cellphone with them 24/7.

Outbound calls and marketing text messages are still hugely controversial but what about inbound calls and messages? Can marketing encourage calls for additional information, voicemail comments, polls and surveys, contests, sign-ups, etc.

I think there is a real difference when expectations are set up-front. When callers are informed upfront that they're calling an automated system they aren't frustrated by the inability to reach a human CSR.

Give it a try. In your next email newsletter try requesting specific audio comments to a voicemail box or answering machine. Some recipients won't take time to write out an email comment but they just might give you three or four minutes of valuable feedback by voicemail.

Related:
Polite is a Moving Target
Thinking About Customer Service

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October 24, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Storytelling vs. Story-crafting

These days marketing is all about the story. It's the story of the idea that lead to the creation of your business, the history of your company, the creative uses of your product, the experience of your service, the transformation that results from your experience. Whatever it is, it's all about the story and thus the storytelling. The storytelling techniques and venues are constantly changing. Just as mass communication grew through newspapers to radio to television the new media is evolving communication and storytelling. Electronics and internet connectivity are changing the game from mass communication and storytelling to individual communication and story-crafting.

Story-crafting is different than storytelling because the listener takes an active participatory role in how they consume the story. User generated content builds on the base framework created by marketers to create new narratives that are much more powerful and relevant to consumers. A forum or blog comment section that collects customer experiences, tips, recommendations, reviews, suggestions etc. is much more relevant to consumers than traditional marketing speak generated by the in-house copy writers. Trust has shifted. Consumers believe their fellow consumers perhaps more so than the company line.

Today customers or fans self organize into different levels of loyalty and devotion to your product, service or experience. In so doing they seek out different levels of connection to your brand. Some just buy your product, some refer you to friends and colleagues, some subscribe to your email newsletter, still others read and subscribe to your blog, a few subscribe to your podcast and somewhere out there somebody wants to tatoo your logo on their body. There's a hierarchy of brand loyalty and devotion. The examples are obvious and oft written about. Apple, Microsoft, Volkswagen, Disney, Harley-Davidson, Tom Peters, Starbucks, etc.

What's needed today is a comprehensive integrated approach to the use of the new tools and communication channels available to today's marketer. The tools keep coming. It's too easy to just grow haphazardly from email newsletters to blogs/RSS to audio podcasting to video pocasting with wikis, forums, chat rooms thrown in along the way. We're seeing some dazzling failures along the way as companies attempt to use these tools without understanding how best to integrate them into an overarching story-crafting strategy.

Today's marketers need to understand new media tools and just how they can and should be used to allow customers and prospects to enter into a participatory relationship with your brand that allows them to connect at a variety of levels with your ongoing stories. Not everyone will utilize all of your communication channels but their needs to be a strategy so that all the elements move the story forward and don't frustrate customers by simply duplicating messages across different media.

That's why it pays to consider outsourcing your customer communication like email newsletters and blogs to a company like BeTuitive Marketing, LLC because we bring a lot of experience and understanding of these new media tools and can help you craft overall strategies for building your relationships and sales with your existing and prospective customers.

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October 19, 2005 in Advertising, Blog Outsourcing, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Television, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Cellphone Accounts Way Up in India

The world of mobile computing and communication is changing. While Americans learn how to text message the rest of the world is adding users at an astounding rate. Consider this report from Textually.com:

Nearly 2.5 million Indians are buying new cellular phone connections every month, making the South Asian nation one of the world's most promising markets for mobile phone service providers, a senior industry official said Friday. [via The Associated Press].
“The number of
cellular phone users in India totalled 65 million at the end of September, up 53.5 per cent from a year ago, said Sanjeev Sharma, who heads the Indian operation of Finnish mobile phone giant Nokia Corp.

Your global marketing plans better include a mobile marketing strategy. Do you have a mobile version of your email newsletter? Have you segmented your mailing list to send a BlackBerry optimized version?
Textually.com:India Adds 2.5M Users A Month

Related:
How to Send an Email Newsletter
Marketers Need to Segment and Customize Newsletters

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October 18, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Basics of Reading Customers: Birds of a Feather

Does your sales staff complain that marketing isn't sending them high quality leads? Maybe they need to know what good customers look like so they can better qualify the leads they are generating.

Do your CRM systems let your marketing people know what your best customer organizations look like? Often sales and marketing get very territorial about their separate data and systems. Shouldn't marketing people know what the current good customers look like so they can go find similar prospects? If organization A is a good customer it follows that organization B which looks just like organization A would be a good prospect. These organizations may be in different businesses but with similar needs or they may be in the same business yet different geographic markets.

Grouping your customers and prospects into different “flocks” based on criteria that is relevant to your business positions you to begin segmenting your mailing lists so that you can better speak to customers and prospects based on the scale of their operation, value of business they represent, geography, language, etc. Once you have a properly segmented list you can further target your communications to each different segment. Picture a trade show. You talk to each person differently based on what you learn and observe about them.

Properly managing an email newsletter program with numerous versions going to a number of segments of a mailing list adds significant complexity to your email marketing operations. But it's really the way to go. At BeTuitive our systems are set up to handle literally hundreds of different versions of client newsletters. We're finding it maximizes the ROI on email newsletters.

Related:
Basics of Reading Customers: Patterns
Basics of Reading Customers: Tone of Voice

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October 11, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Book Review for Email Newsletter Publishers

If you haven't seen it already the latest BeTuitive Book Club review is up over at the BeTuitive Blog. I am not saying what it is but if you are doing an email newsletter or considering it you don't want to miss it. That Susan Fisher knows her stuff and gives a worthy review.

The BeTuitive Book Club is part of the ongoing effort to bring you high quality relevant content for our own monthly newsletter. If you find that concise easy to read book reviews are valuable guides to help you know which marketing and business books are worth your time, you should sign-up for the free monthly newsletter.

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September 29, 2005 in Books, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why a Reader Forwards an Email Newsletter

Seth's insight into the spread of viral ideas is important to anyone who does email newsletters they want readers to forward to their coworkers, contacts and friends.

For an idea to spread, it needs to be sent and received.

No one “sends” an idea unless:
a. they understand it
b. they want it to spread
c. they believe that spreading it will enhance their power (reputation, income, friendships) or their peace of mind
d. the effort necessary to send the idea is less than the benefits

No one “gets” an idea unless:
a. the first impression demands further investigation
b. they already understand the foundation ideas necessary to get the new idea
c. they trust or respect the sender enough to invest the time

This changes the perspective of the game. It's not what's in it for you as the publisher, it's what's in it for the readers. Does your newsletter provide value to it's readers or just call attention to your latest promotion or sale? It's the value added ideas that people will feel good about spreading.

Seth adds another insight that helps you shift your thinking from “Us” to “Them”:

Notice that ideas never spread because they are important to the originator.

Take a hard look at your email newsletter efforts and ask yourself who are these ideas important to. If you want your message and the source of your messages(your company) to spread you best pay attention to the value of the message presented.

Seth: What Makes an Idea Viral?

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September 27, 2005 in Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Webinar Q&A and Building Permission Email Lists

I just sat in on Todd's webinar. Fantastic information but even better was the Q&A that Todd had with attenders from all over the world. One caller asked a good question about building an email list. Todd gave him some good advice about the usefulness of using an opt-in list broker. There's not much ROI to be had there. Better to partner with industry trade publications who maintain smaller yet more targeted lists.

One of my favorite techniques for building an email list is to extend your hand full of value for your potential subscribers. Give them a free taste of your expertise through a blog or a white paper that presents your unique viewpoint or approach to solving problems for your customers. A well written white paper properly promoted can drive traffic to your website and subscribers to your email newsletter. Once you have a high value article or white paper it makes it easy to ask clients and prospects to visit your website to download a copy. On the download page you can offer to register them to hear from you regularly through an email newsletter. The download needs to also include a link to subscribe or opt in to receive your newsletter.

That said I want to encourage you to be a part of Todd's next webinar coming up on October 5th at 1 p.m. central time. Be sure and be ready for the Q&A time. Want to be sure you get a reminder alert? Sign-up for the BeTuitive Newsletter and you'll hear more about this and other upcoming webinars. Of course if you don't find value to the newsletter after a few issues you can always unsubscribe at any time.

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September 8, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Four Steps to A Fantastic Email Newsletter: Free Webinar Today!

Todd Smart, President of BeTuitive Marketing, LLC has been giving talks lately on Four Keys to Creating Fantastic Email Newsletters. Today at 12 CDT he's doing a free webinar talking about the four keys and more. A great way to spend your lunch hour.

Free Webinar
Today 12 CDT
Four Steps to Fantastic Newsletters
Todd Smart

Sign Up for the Webinar by email

If you haven't done the Webinar thing, come on along it's easy. Simply email Sarah and she will send you a URL, a phone number and pin number. At the appropriate time you go to the URL and dial in on the phone number. You'll see graphics on the website and hear the audio on your phone. Cool, no?

Related:
Todd Smart: FAQ on Email Newsletters
How to Send an Email Newsletter
Sign-up for the BeTuitive Monthly Newsletter

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September 8, 2005 in Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

How to Send an Email Newsletter

A lot of people are getting started with email newsletters. It's because permission marketing e-newsletters work. Not only do they communicate important information about a company and their offerings or promotions they can provide a wealth of information if they are tracked properly. Many new email marketers are challenged by success. Most marketers start with a smaller list and simply use rudimentary tools to create and send small scale bulk email newsletters. The challenge comes when you need to scale your list and your sending capacity. Common tools like Microsoft Office and Outlook can only handle limited lists.

When you are figuring out how to send email newsletters don't forget that a successful effort will lead to growth of your list and the importance of the content you include. When your list grows significantly one of the opportunities you have is to segment your list based on identifiers of your subscribers. Why should everyone receive the message in the same way? If you self publish, this can complicate your life dramatically. You need to compose multiple(perhaps hundreds) of different versions of each issue of you e-newsletter, you need to segment your list and send those different versions to the different segments. You can see how this complicates the administration process.

While that's taking up your time you need to produce high quality content that performs. If you are struggling to keep up with a successful newsletter you certainly don't want the quality of your newsletter to vary from issue to issue. If your quality dips subscribers will unsubscribe in droves. Producing and writing a consistent high quality email marketing newsletter takes a lot of planning and time.

All of that and we haven't even talked about the opportunities for specific sales lead information. Properly designed email newsletters can provide trackable click streams that can be interpreted to determine real sales leads for your sales departments.

All of this gets overwhelming. So you look for solutions. One option is to get some more sophisticated email software that has some increased functionality for sending email newsletters. These can be extremely costly for individual companies and present new administrative headaches as you now have a new learning curve to deal with.

A better option is to go with an outsourcing company who can utilize state-of-the-art software to compose, manage and send your newsletters. An outsourced solution to your email marketing can provide a full solution from list building, segmentation management, content creation, bulk email sending, sales lead mining, performance reporting, etc.

Sure you could add staff and sophisticated software or you can get started and achieve your ROI targets faster by outsourcing your efforts. We're not talking about off-shoring, we're talking about taking just three minutes to request a pricing quote from a group of email newsletter professionals in Chicago. Requesting a price quote simply begins a dialog about how BeTuitive Marketing LLC can create a solution that helps you grow your relationships and build your business.

Related:
FAQ on Email Newsletters
Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Email Newsletters
Marketers Need to Segment Their Lists

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September 6, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Todd Smart: FAQ on Email Newsletters

Hey, no kidding, I am more and more impressed with the BeTuitive Newsletter. I am not on the team that publishes that baby so every month I get a chance to read it fresh just like everyone else who has signed up for it.

This month's issue has several great items in it. I am going to link to one of them but if you find it valuable you should take just two minutes and make sure you sign up to receive future issues directly.

In the August issue Todd Smart, President of BeTuitive, presents some insights into the use of email newsletters for marketing. It's a great piece responding to several frequently asked questions about email newsletters. Here's just one answer that I found interesting:

How do we decide on content?

Todd: You must make the recipient's life better in some way with the information you provide. It's different with every business. The surest way to go about it is to ask referral sources, prospects and customers what their pain points are. Ask them: “What information would be so valuable to you right now that you'd be willing to pay for it?” Create, find or buy that information — and then give it to them for free to grow your relationships.

What content to put into your newsletter is only part of the whole picture. Is also important to understand how your newsletter can work for you:

How do you turn what people are reading into leads?

Todd: What I know for sure is this: What people read is a leading indicator for future purchasing.

Take me — I'm not a car guy, and I don't seek out information on cars unless I'm in the market for one. Then, when I'm looking to buy, I buy magazines and look up all kinds of information to help me make the right decision. Anyone with the power to track my reading behavior would know that I'm looking to buy a car.

For instance, we have a client who wants to measure interest in Voiceover IP. So, we run articles in their newsletter with headlines like, “Pre-planning for VoIP.” That information
[click-thrus] can easily be fed to sales as a lead.

Todd has more valuable nuggets to share. Read these and also find out four keys to doing a great newsletter.

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September 1, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Today's To-do Items

After seeing the pictures coming out of the gulf states here in the US in the wake of Hurricane Katrina I'd like to encourage you to take up an office or company wide collection to donate to the Red Cross. Ten people giving ten dollars equals $100 for disaster relief. Once you've done that consider other ways you and your company can assist your customers, suppliers, family members, etc. who are in the areas hit by the devastating storm. The right thing to do in these situations also builds good will with your customers and prospects. We see it in the advertising of consumer companies. Why not do something remarkable as a company and have a really good story next time you sit down to write a email newsletter.

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August 30, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'm in For it Today

I am headed to the airport later today for a quick weekend getaway to attend a wedding. The airport goal, as always, is to deal with as few humans as possible. I'll be using ATMs, Kiosks and any other automated system I can find. It's not that I don't like interacting with people, I really do. The reality is that it's a lot faster to move through people-less. People are busy answering questions and handling customer problems. They often don't have the time or interest to deal with the routine traveller. Some are better than others but overall I have found that the kiosks and automated systems work faster on average provided you have learned to use them properly. A few minutes learning a new system can save a lot of time in the future. It's the same reason I always prefer the self checkout systems where available.

Are any of your customers struggling to use your automated systems? From your website to your telephone system automation is pervasive in today's business environment. An FAQ about your automated systems would make a great content item for an email newsletter.

On Monday I'll let you know how things went.

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August 26, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Top 5 Reasons to Outsource Your Email Newsletter

Sarah Eaton has been doing a great series on the top reasons to outsource your email newsletter. This is great advice. She's only part way through her list so you'll want to grab the BeTuitive blog feed so that you can read the rest as she post's them.

And the number five reason why it's a good idea to outsource your newsletter?  It combines elements of some of our previous ideas (as seen below).  <b>You get a designer, an editor, a writer, a list manager, a strategy team.  You get all of those things, for the price of hiring one person to work on your newsletter for you in house</b>.  That's right: a whole bunch of brains for the price of one. 
5.  Multiple brains for the price of one.
4. 
Design that pops and complements the custom content.
3. 
Professional writing and editing services at your disposal.
2. 
You're working with experts; you can let go of the worry.
1. 
Because you're so flippin' busy

This is great advice for anyone just starting out to create an email newsletter or anyone looking for a way to work smarter not harder. The first step is to check out BeTuitive and request some Pricing to see how outsourcing can save the day and better serve your customers.
Multiple Brains for the Price of One

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August 25, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Useful Tool: r|mail for When Newbies Need RSS

RmailThese days we are all looking for ways to streamline our data consumption habits. Many people are using aggregators to surf RSS feeds.

Others are still wondering what Blogs are. If you are reading a few blogs and news sites and not yet ready to jump to Bloglines, News Gator or a standalone aggregator there is a tool that you can use to subscribe to ann RSS feed by email. This be a good first step into understanding the usefulness of RSS feeds.

r|mail equips you to receive RSSn feed updates by email. This might be useful as you transition from email communications to blog/feed based customer communications.

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August 22, 2005 in Blogging Tools, Blogs, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Tips for Email Marketers

Clickz has a nice article on some backend basics for email newsletter publishers. These are the kind of things that complicate the whole process of doing an email newsletter. There is a lot more to it than just writing a newsletter and then pushing send. List management and ISP relations are a great reason to outsource your email newsletters to a trusted partner who can bring experience and expertise to your interactive marketing.

Clickz on important bsics for email publishers

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August 16, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Customer Intuition Tool Roundup

One of the things we are known for here at BeConnected is tools and techniques you can use to develop your customer intuition. The web is full of tools you can use to keep abreast of the latest developments with your customers, competitors and industry thought leaders. Since we have a lot of new readers I thought I'd put together a round-up of tools you can use to develop your customer intuition.

If you are looking for ways to write a relevant and high value email newsletter these are some tools you can use to find great content resources. These are the kind of tools that put the interactive in interactive marketing.

Weather, Weather Everywhere - a look at how organizations like Disney and 7-Eleven use weather to predict their customer behavior.

Senegal Whishes for Rain in France - Related to the above link is this story about how tele-marketers use weather patterns to shape their calling patterns.

Staying Alert to Your Customers - My favorite technique for using Google to develop your customer intuition.

Knowing When Customers are Online - A tool for tracking the online presence of contacts and customers.

Finding Employees of Customers Online - A clever Google hack for finding websites of people who work for or at certain companies.

Connecting with Birthdays - Using birthday data to enhance your connection with your customers.

How Much TV Coverage are You Getting - A service to track mentions of you, your company, customers or competitors on television.

If you like thee seven tools and techniques be sure you grab the BeConnected feed on the side bar and stay subscribed for new tools and techniques.

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August 11, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Television, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Todd Smart: Marketers Need to Segment and Customize Newsletters

Direct Marketing reports on Todd's recent talk at the ExactTarget eMarketing Excellence Summit in New York. Todd is “on tour” bringing BeTuitive's insight to cities across the country with ExactTarget this summer. Click here for more information about the ExactTarget eMarketing Excellence Summit.

“When we segment lists and do hundreds of versions,” the response rate is double or triple what it would be otherwise, Smart said. In fact, BeTuitive has one client that wants more than 2,000 versions of its newsletter sent each time.

DM News on Todd Smart

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August 10, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Centric, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hyundai Develops Customer Intuition Through On-line Analysis

Hyundai is working hard to develop their customer intuition. They use a lot of IT stuff to keep their ear to the ground to hear approaching customers.

For Hyundai, watching what car shoppers are looking at online is one of the ways it stays in touch with would-be customers. It runs the E-mail polls with a few $600 licenses for the Zoomerang online-survey-management tool. It has invested even more in the technology to establish a “shopper quantification” program that combines outsourced clickstream analysis from Compete Inc. with a custom tool built using Hyperion Solutions Corp.'s Brio business-intelligence software, which tells Hyundai how it's doing with online car-shoppers. The tools let the company know “what's going on in the digital channel to make packaging, pricing, and marketing decisions,” says Paul Whitworth, director of strategic planning and brand development.

The service provides Hyundai with data on shopping activity at more than 30 automotive sites, which is extrapolated to represent overall auto shopping. Hyundai uses that data to measure indicators such as share of shoppers, closing ratios, and cross-brand shopping trends. The custom tool also accumulates and analyzes data from Hyundai's Web site to offer insight into demand for colors, models, options, and other product variations. The two data sources are mapped against each other.

The results have kept Hyundai from making ill-informed decisions. In May, sales were flat compared with April, but Hyundai's custom-analytics tool indicated that demand among shoppers for information on its Sonata sedans was double what it was in April. Further investigation uncovered the source of the disconnect: Hyundai didn't have inventory with the colors and options that shoppers wanted. “In the old days, we'd have said, 'Oh, we don't have enough demand,' so we'd have offered another customer rebate,” Whitworth says. Instead, the company adjusted its dealer inventory to better match what buyers were seeking.

Analysis of the digital behavior of your customers and prospects isn't just for B2C marketers. B2B marketers find understanding the digital “clickstream” of customers and prospects very helpful in optimizing their sales and marketing activities. If you are doing a blog or an email newsletter you should see just what's possible in analysis and tracking. One of the advantages of outsourcing email newsletters and blogs is the analysis of the “clickstream.” An outsourced solution puts content creation together with measured results together in one responsive unit. Results from one newsletter can easily shape and inform the next issue.

Might be worth about three minutes to submit some simple info and get a price quote for an outsourced email newsletter solution.

Information Week on Finding the Customer

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August 2, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Tom Peters: WallopWalmart16

Tom Peters recently offered this list of strategy points for smaller businesses competing with the big guys.

Here's my WallopWalmart16 list of “musts” if you are a “little guy” (one-person accountancy, restaurant, community bank, etc) out to eat the Big Guys' lunch:
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Niche-aimed. (Never, ever “all things for all people,” a “mini-Wal*Mart.)
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Never attack the monsters head on! (Instead steal niche business and lukewarm customers.)
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”Dramatically different.“ (La Difference ... within our community, our industry regionally, etc ... is as obvious as the end of one's nose!) (THIS IS WHERE MOST MIDGETS COME UP SHORT.)
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Compete on value/experience/intimacy, not price. (You ain't gonna beat the behemoths on cost-price in 9.99 out of 10 cases.)
*
Emotional bond with Clients, Vendors. (BEAT THE BIGGIES ON EMOTION/CONNECTION!!)
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Hands-on, emotional leadership. (”We are a great & cool & intimate & joyful & dramatically different team working to transform our Clients lives via Consistently Incredible Experiences!“)
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A community star! (”Sell“ local-ness per se. Sell the hell out of it!)
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An incredible experience, from the first to last moment—and then in the follow-up! (”These guys are cool! They 'get' me! They love me!“)
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DESIGN! (”Design“ is a premier weapon-in-pursuit-of-the sublime for small-ish enterprises, including the professional services.)
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Employer of choice. (A very cool, well-paid place to work/learning and growth experience in at least the short term ... marked by notably progressive policies.) (THIS IS EMINENTLY DO-ABLE!!)
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Sophisticated use of information technology. (Small-”ish“ is no excuse for ”small aims“/execution in IS/IT!)
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Web-power! (The Web can make very small very big ... if the product-service is super-cool and one purposefully masters buzz/viral marketing.)
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Innovative! (Must keep renewing and expanding and revising and re-imagining ”the promise“ to employees, the customer, the community.)
*
Brand-Lovemark* (*Kevin Roberts) Maniacs! (”Branding“ is not just for big folks with big budgets. And modest size is actually a Big Advantage in becoming a local-regional-niche ”lovemark.“)
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Focus on women-as-clients. (Most don't. How stupid.)
*
Excellence! (A small player ... per me ... has no right or reason to exist unless they are in Relentless Pursuit of Excellence. One earns the right— one damn day and client experience at a time!— to beat the Big Guys in your chosen niche!)

You can be all of this and still have the problem of communicating all this ”coolness“ to clients and prospects. Tom's advice is right there. ”Sophisticated use of information technology.“ That of course would be the use of Blogs and Email Newsletters to tell your stories.

Good stuff that.

Tom Peters: WallopWalmart16

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July 29, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Seth Nails Part of the Whole Non-Fiction Book Thing

Seth covers important ground in understanding the whole world of non-fiction(including business) book world. What needs to be added here is more information about pitching your books to bloggers.

Don't get me wrong. This is a must read as the principles that Seth points out need to be understood. He's right on the mark when he says:

If you don't promote it, no one will. If you don't have a better strategy than, “Let's get on Oprah” you should stop now. If you don't have an asset already--a permission base of thousands or tens of thousands of people, a popular blog, thousands of employees, a personal relationship with Willard Scott... then it's too late to start building that asset once you start working on a book.

Seth's advice:

Build an asset. Large numbers of influential people who read your blog or read your emails or watch your TV show or love your restaurant or or or...

Then, put your idea into a format where it will spread fast. That could be an ebook (a free one) or a pamphlet (a cheap one--the Joy of Jello sold millions and millions of copies at a dollar or less).

Then, if your idea catches on, you can sell the souvenir edition. The book. The thing people keep on their shelf or lend out or get from the library. Books are wonderful (I own too many!) but they're not necessarily the best vessel for spreading your idea.

Are you seeing this, people? You need to build a permission asset, an email list or a audience of subscribers to your blog. The only way to do that is to provide the highest quality blog or email newsletter that you can.

Seth Godin: Advice for Authors

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July 21, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Blogs, Books, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Email Content: Potentially Lifesaving LifeHack

If you are writing an email newsletter you are probably always looking for good newsletter content. I have recommended before that you Open with a Lifehack. I still think it's a useful strategy for developing newsletter content. Anytime your newsletter can provide even a little useful information to your subscribers they will have new reasons to stay subscribed to your email newsletter.

Here's a good example. Seems an english EMT has started a campaign to encourage people to add an emergency contact entry to their cellphone address book. This way emergency personnel will be able to call your spouse or family member or anyone that you designate if you are too incapacitated to give your own contact info.

While you do this for yourself consider adding this tip to your next email marketing campaign.

Mobiles 999 contact idea spreads:

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July 18, 2005 in Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Ten Years Ago at Amazon

The web has come a long way in ten years. Here's a screen shot of Amazon's home page from 10 years ago.

We all forget how fast things change on-line. Ever look back at your earliest email newsletters to see how you have grown (or not grown)

You know, If you feel like it's taking more of your time than you bargained for to produce your e-newsletter maybe you should consider what outsourcing it to BeTuitive can do for you. The first no obligation step is to fill out a pricing request by clicking here. It takes just a few moments and can set you on the path to regaining your valuable time and focus for your core business functions. BeTuitive focuses on providing world-class newsletters with custom content from leading industry writers. If you're running out of quality content ideas look to BeTuitive to provide your newsletter with fresh relevant content.

Fill out that pricing request and learn just what BeTuitive can do for you and your mailing list.

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July 14, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Word of Mouth Marketing

One of the best things you can do with a blog or email newsletter is equip people with talking points and compelling stories to repeat when talking to their colleagues about you, your company, product, service etc.

Marketing circles are a buzz about word of mouth marketing these days. (oh, the irony) The recent piece in BtoB Magazine carries a definition of three types of word of mouth marketing.

The first, influencer relations, involves educating important constituents-media, analysts and, increasingly, bloggers and other emerging online influencers-about your company and its products. The second, viral marketing, is the concept of seeding your market with a great, often quirky, idea that gathers a life of its own and spreads through audience interaction. A potential third category, [Keith] Bates said, is evangelism by company experts and, even better, highly knowledgeable (read, highly credible) customers.
Blogs and email newsletters are a great way to do all three.

[BtoB Magazine on Word of Mouth Marketing] via

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June 29, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Our Leader Speaks: Learn Emarketing Best Practices

Todd_bw_1If you are in Chicago this Thursday you'll want to check out the eMarketing Excellence Summit, June 30, 2005 at The Westin Chicago River North Chicago. The Summit is sponsored by on-demand email software provider ExactTarget, along with the Customer Relationship Management Association (CRMA), Chicago Interactive Marketing Association (CIMA) and the Chicago chapter of the Business Marketing Association (BMA). Todd Smart president of BeTuitive Marketing LLC will be a featured speaker. Not only does Todd have a lot to say about permission marketing he brings the same perspective and experience of a serial entrepreneur that keeps him busy training and mentoring entrepreneurs throughout the US, Europe and Asia.

For more information visit eMarketing Excellence Summit

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June 28, 2005 in Blogs, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Since When is 2003 the "latest news"

Ever have that not so fresh website feeling?

I am so tired of going to websites that feature links to their "latest news" only to find that it's a link to a pdf of their fall 2003 print newsletter. I suspect it's the result of the original web designer that had the good idea to put the company newsletter online. The decision makers agree that it would be cool but they don't realize that they are crossing from static web brochure to fresh regularly updated content. They don't realize that now more than ever people expect current fresh updated content on the web. Email and blogs are teaching people that they can expect the latest information and content online.

If you are one of those with a moldy old newsletter online I'd encourage you to either update it or remove it from your site. Do it right now. Go on....I'll wait.

Of course, we here at BeTuitive would love to help you find a way to publish effective email newsletters that can provide really fresh relevant content with minimal time and effort on your part.

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June 20, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Revenge of The Seth

Could it be Revenge of the Seth?

Seth Godin answer's a critic and in so doing summarizes why we should all be marketing with the modern tools of permission marketing like blogs and email newsletters.

Marketing is not about trickery or even insincerity. It's about spreading ideas that you believe in, sharing ideas you're passionate about... and doing it with authenticity. Marketing is about treating prospects and customers with respect, and realizing that it's easier to grow the amount of business you do with happy people than it is to find new strangers to accost.

Smart one that Seth. Imagine if he worked for your competition.

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June 20, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Blogging Tools, Blogs, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Eight Ways to Be A Good Customer

Sarah Eaton over at my sister blog BeTuitive talks about being a good follower. That got me thinking. I talk about developing tools and systems that help you know more about your customers. In a sense leading your customers. As a customer are you a good follower?

Eight ways to be a good customer:
Participate in Customer Intuition Systems - Be sure you are on the company's mailing list. Make sure that they have accurate contact information for you. Subscribe to their email newsletter.
Speak Up - If you are a satisfied customer let them know. Write an old fashioned letter. It's hard to pass around copies of a voicemail or recorded call center call.
Offer Constructive Criticism - If there is a way they can improve a product, service or experience offer them constructive criticism. Even great companies have many areas that can stand improvement.
Link To Them - Of course, I'll assume you have a e-newsletter or a blog. If you like a company or product say so by linking to them and talking about why you like them.
Comment on Their Corporate Blog - show your support for a company or product you like by being active in the community and conversations they are fostering on their blogs and newsletters.
Respond to Surveys and Questionaires - If a business you value asks for your input give it to them. Yes, we're all busy these days but your input might make or break a new initiative that you would value or conversely it might save you pain and loss of time in the future.
Reffer a Friend or Collegue - Share your good experiences with your network. What goes around comes around. This is a pathway to discovering new great people to do business with.
and, of course
Buy Their Product, Service or Experience - Continue to support the businesses you value by being a repeat customer.

These are basic elements of building B2B sales relationships but it is surprising to me how few people follow even these basics.

Update:Jackie Huba adds to the conversation in More on Being A Good Customer.

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June 1, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Centric, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Customers Have More Power

CheapgasPeople are making new tools that give customers increasing power to make purchasing decisions. A software developer has created a truly useful program. Cheap Gas scraps the gas price information from gasbuddy.com and maps it using Google maps. It used to be that a customer had to drive around in search of the lowest price for gas. Not any more. Now customers can check the web before the head out for gas.

Everywhere business models are being upended by customers gaining the power of aggregated product, price and service information. What's a business to do? How do you keep customers who are tempted by lower prices or different product selections elsewhere?

It's all in the relationship. Are you constantly developing your relationships with customers and prospects? Just like gas stations need to be easy to pull in and out. A B2B business needs to be visible and accessible. Are you using blogs, RSS and email newsletters to be easily found by prospects and customers?

Take a minute and Google your company name. Are you the first result? At least in the top ten?

How are your customers going to find your business?

Don't forget about Cheap Gas when you are traveling.

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May 19, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Surprise and Delight Customers with Easter Eggs

If you are looking for a way to surprise and delight your customers (and, really, who isn't?) you might consider adding easter eggs to your product, service or experience. Yes, even your email newsletter. Kathy Sierra has a great piece making the case for Easter Eggs:

A good easter egg is a playful, hidden or disguised feature that, when discovered, can offer surprise, delight, entertainment, humor, novelty, or an "I Rule" experience.
She does however offer a warning:
Until you've nailed the fundamentals--the things users want, need, and expect--don't bother trying to "surprise and delight" users. That just pisses 'em off.
So let's assume that you have the basic nailed. That's a big assumption, I know.

Crafting appropriate Easter Eggs for your marketing communications requires a huge amount of customer intuition. You need to know what will surprise and delight your customers and what they will simply consider lame. Think about going to the movies. If you really love the movie you are willing to wait through the credits to see some bloopers. Especially created bloopers that spoof classic bloopers like Pixar adds to their films. Conversely, if you didn't care for the movie or actively disliked the movie you won't be interested in anything more.

Finally, Kathy has a good list of the characteristics of good Easter Eggs:

They get users involved as a participant rather than a passive spectator.

They get users to spend more time

They're remembered (you can use easter eggs to enhance learning)

They DO NO HARM!

Their discovery is NOT a required part of the experience. If it is, then it's not an easter egg, but simply a part of the product.

They give users the "I Rule" experience of being clever enough to "get it", especially if it's in plain sight, but requires "insider" info to recognize it.

They're entertaining in some way (this is largely the point of making them)

They do NOT need to be funny, although they often are.

At BeTuitive we have an Easter Egg in our own monthly newsletter.

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May 11, 2005 in Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A Word About Frequency

One of the most important things to do when figuring out how to do a email newsletter is to figure out the right frequency to send your newsletter. Anything is possible, of course. Some newsletters publish daily, some weekly, some monthly and some quarterly. What's important is figuring out how frequently you can communicate with your customers and prospects in a way that consistently adds value to the relationship without becoming an irritant.

Part of the answer is the quality of the content. Fresh insights and valuable education are a must. If your issues are full of repetitive marketing speak readers won't value them. Remember people pay attention to what is new. They also value education and information apart from constant sales pitches.

Another piece of the puzzle is watching carefully what the measurements have to reveal. I mentioned the article about understanding newsletter metrics below. Watching the ups and downs of your open rates and click-thrus will tell you about the value your subscribers place on your newsletter.

Stats that indicate a high open rate and click-thru indicate that your content is valuable and relevant. You may consider ways to increase your frequency. You may want to experiment with special issues.

Stats that reflect declining open rates may indicate that subscribers don't find value in your newsletters.

Stats that reflect high open rates with low click-thru rates indicates that subscribers are open to hearing from you but aren't finding relevant content.

These are simple interpretations of complex measurements. The point is that developing and maintaining a dynamic newsletter that adds value to your business is a challenge. It's much more than writing a new sales brochure every month.

Reading the tea leaves of newsletter measurements is as much art as science. One of the values of outsourcing your email newsletter publishing is having experienced list managers who can help you understand just what is happening with your newsletters.

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May 10, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Understanding Newsletter Metrics

In the BeTuitive Newsletter this month Sarah Eaton has written a great primer to help people understand the basics of some important email marketing metrics. Understanding delivery rates and open rates is key to measuring the success of your email newsletter.

Nowadays marketing professionals can describe themselves as both mystics and mathematicians. Now we have numbers rolling off spreadsheets and coming out of our ears.

When it comes to newsletters, there are certain numbers we're fed continuously. We cling to these numbers like we're drowning. (If they go away, we might be forced to consult runes and draw archaic symbols in the dust again.)

Now that we have numbers, we don't need anything else. Numbers don't lie. They are numbers, strong and solid and true. These numbers speak to us of our success or failure.

The above paragraph is unquestionably true, but only if you add the word "accurate" before the word "numbers" each time.

The trouble with measurement in the e-marketing world is that everything is so blooming complex. There are so many behind-the-scenes variables that go into creating that poor little number on your spreadsheet that taking it at face value doesn't really do it justice.

Here are just a few of those variables, stripped down for your skimming pleasure:

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May 9, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don't Do It Unless You Measure First

Marketing Vox points to a study showing the importance of measuring email marketing efforts. Many publishers simply push their content out to subscribers and count the ROI as brand awareness, customer education, name recognition and other soft metrics. They are missing the power of measurement inherent in email marketing.

With the right email marketing service provider a lot of hard data can be captured about your customers. Beyond simple open rates you can know who is reading each article. This is hugely valuable information as you shape future issues and sales efforts. If you are running articles promoting a particular product but no one is reading it it's time to reconsider your product offering. If you are experimenting with sales pricing and you receive huge interest reflected in the metrics then you know you are on the right track.

Don't publish if you aren't going to measure the results.

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May 4, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Know Your Audience

Presentation coach Scott Rayburn has some good advice for speakers and email marketers alike:

Know your audience.

That doesn’t mean learning people’s names and birthdays and favorite movies before you speak to them.

It means investing the time to determine how the people in your audience relate to one another. What commonalities exist? What burning issues might they be facing?

For an audience to be willing to let you enter their world, you first must demonstrate the thoughtfulness of a good guest. Make inquiries. Do your homework. Then acknowledge who they are and what they value as a community of people.

Neglect to do so, and you may be left knocking at their door, your message unheard, your objective unfulfilled, your opportunity lost.

Here at BeConnected we have a whole category of posts detailing Customer Intuition Tools that can help you research, track and relate well with your customers. Use these tools wisely to look for patterns and commonalities that can help you develop better interactive marketing materials.

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April 28, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Change Something: Be Remarkable

Seth makes a great point relevant to email marketers. People are interested in things that change. His two examples are bank signs that give you dynamic real time updates on current time and temperature and Gmail that frequently increases the amount of storage space users have access to. People are attracted to what's new and changed.

This is an important point for those who are publishing and/or writing email marketing newsletters. If you aren't providing new content and fresh ideas people will ignore your efforts. Can you formulate change plans for your offerings? You should have a plan for changing how you present your information so that your offerings are fresh and remarkable. Saying the same things in the same way month after month will quickly get your newsletter ignored by readers looking for fresh and new.

In order to be remarkable your product, newsletter, service, experience must be worth talking about. We see this all the time. If Gmail launched with 100MB of storage it wouldn't have been remarkable. It launched with 1GB. At the time that was remarkable! Recently, Google upped the ante and increased storage to 2GB. Again, something remarkable.

Are you doing remarkable things? Are you doing a remarkable newsletter to tell your clients about it? Want to?

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April 21, 2005 in Blogs, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Eats, Shoots & Leaves: Book Review at BeTuitive

Sarah Eaton at Betuitive has a nice review of Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation by Lynn Truss and reviewed by our coworker Susan E. Fisher. This is a part of our BeTuitive Book Club.

Susan knows her stuff:

Do you realize the impact you are making when you introduce errors in your electronic messages? Do you even realize the errors you make? Of course, there’s a difference between simply slipping up with a typo and making a grammatical error out of ignorance. Those typos can be forgiven, but ignorance is unacceptable.

Still, the prospect of reading a grammar book may sound as appealing as drinking cod liver oil. It’s something we know is good for us but seems a bit old fashioned, and we fear it may leave a bad taste in the mouth. Truss serves grammar to us with a spoon full of sugar (much like that upright symbol of British civility, Mary Poppins.) "Eats, Shoots & Leaves" opens with a title that is a reference to a joke and keeps you amused along the tidy, 204-page way.

(You see, there's this gun-totting panda that enters a bar and "eats, shoots and leaves." The bear, it turns out, is merely fulfilling his destiny as defined by a punctuation-challenged wildlife guide. The guide reads: "Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves.")

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April 7, 2005 in Blogging Tools, Blogs, Books, Creating a Company Newsletter, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Finding Pictures for Email Newsletters

Speaking of using images in your email newsletters. Here is a great round-up of sites offering free photos and visuals for a variety of uses including e-newsletters.

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April 5, 2005 in Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

More Good News from Gmail

Google gave a gift to Gmail users by upping the storage capacity to two gigabytes last week. Google also gave a gift to email newsletter marketers by adding support for HTML messages in Gmail accounts.

Why is this important? Email newsletter marketers use images in the HTML to track reader behavior and interest in the content of the messages. If you are looking for some specific actionable results from your e-marketing efforts consider outsourcing the production sending and results tracking of your newsletter efforts. Click here to see some sample newsletters.

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April 3, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Four Keys to Permission Marketing

Seth gives it up in four sentances:

I told her that the first step was to offer something in your email newsletter that people would actually want to read. That the second step was to promise people exactly what you intended to give them. And the third step was to create content that was so remarkable that people wanted to share it. I explained that if you take your time and keep your promises, it'll build if it deserves to build.
Easily said difficult to understand harder to do but he's right their are no short cuts. Quality of content is what matters. You need content that your audience wants to read.

We face this everyday preparing world class email newsletters for our clients. We have some good strategies and insights into how we can provide relevant content for our client's subscribers. Why not see us in action by subscribing to our own monthly email newsletter? You can do so quickly and easily right here.

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March 23, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Good News for Newsletter Publishers

Marketing Vox points to some good news for e-newsletter publishers:

DoubleClick reported that the last quarter of 2004 saw the highest ever orders-per-opened-email (0.35 percent), despite seeing lower email open rates. That represents a 14 percent rise over the same period the year before. DoubleClick noted that more and more email applications fail to load graphics when people open their messages, making it difficult to track the real open rates. Click-to-purchase conversions came in just shy of tying record levels, rising to 4.8 percent.
The important thing here is to realize that quality matters. If an email newsletter is of high quality(worth reading) and relevant to a reader it will be successful. Sometimes doing a high quality effective e-newsletter is beyond your capabilities in terms of time and staffing. Ever wish someone could just take the newsletter off your plate?

If you are interested in learning more about outsourcing your email newsletter marketing explore the BeTuitive website where you'll find some sample newsletters and an opportunity to spend three minutes to get a price quote.

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March 17, 2005 in Blog Outsourcing, Building B2B Relationships, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Which Channels Are You On?

Are you experimenting with new ways to communicate with your customers? Are you educating yourself on the opportunities presented by new technologies like podcasting? Are you thinking about starting a blog? Wondering if there's more that can be done with your email marketing newsletter?

Sure there is information overload but there is also the opportunity to communicate faster and better than your competition. Not everybody uses every communication channel but each customer uses a mix of channels that work for them. Now is the time to broaden the available formats for your message. E-newsletters work. Blogs work. Podcasting works. It's still too early to say what the preferred channel is for your business or industry. Why not be remarkable and experiment with these new channels. It might just catch on.

Who's to say that a weekly Friday afternoon podcast of restaurant reviews, movie recommendations and a few relevant business ideas or stories wouldn't do wonders for your company image and keep your business top of mind on your customer's commute home at the end of the week. It's infotainment on a personal scale.

As you walk around the office today listen for good "radio" voices. I'll have a lot more to say about podcasting in the days and weeks to come.

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March 16, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Cold Calling Tips

Kevin Stirtz has some good common sense advice for those using cold calling to build their B2B businesses. One of the best ways to pre-qualify your leads is to work off a list of those contacts who have subscribed and clicked thru on the content of your email newsletter marketing efforts. Properly written and distributed an email marketing campaign can provide incredibly detailed information and customer intuition that will help your sales staff know what your customers are interested in.

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March 10, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Weblogs, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Airline Websites Not Intuitive About Customers

Further evidence that airlines need help with their efforts to intuit the needs and wants of their customers. ClickZ reports on a study evaluating the customer experience of both airline and travel agency websites. The results are telling:

"But online agencies are also creating a better overall online experience for customers and this is a significant contributor to the success of these sites over airline sites. The airlines are just not fully capitalizing on their loyalty programs and direct ties to the customer."

Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity, in that order, were the top three ranked sites in the study, scoring significantly higher in terms of customer experience and conversion than any airline site with the exception of Southwest.

Budget carriers Southwest and JetBlue outranked market-leading airlines in terms of both customer experience and conversion.

Airlines are not capitalizing on their direct connections with their customers. How are you capitalizing on your direct connections with customers? Would they rather buy from someone else because the experience is better or the interface easier? Time to take a close look at your own operations.

While you are at it, take a look at your competitors. Are they doing anything new this week? Have they started a blog? What does their e-mail marketing look like? Could you be doing a better job?

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March 8, 2005 in Blogs, Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Corporate Blogging, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Centric, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Traveling? Google the Weather Forecast

GoogleweatherTraveling on business or pleasure this week? Calling a customer? Calling Mom? It might be helpful if you knew the local weather. Google has added a four day weather forecast to it's search results. Just type weather plus the city and state .

If you are writing a e-newsletter this might be a good practical tip to include. We all know how hard it is to consistently develop and write useful content for corporate newsletters. If you can consistently provide practical useful information your readers will consistently open, read and click-thru your marketing newsletters.

Google continues to provide useful tools that can help you develop your customer intuition.

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March 6, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Creating a Company Newsletter, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Travel, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Why Email When You Can IM? Outlook Plug-in Makes it Easy

I've mentioned before about how AOL Instant Messanger AIM can be an excellent Customer Intuition Tool. Collecting AIM Screennames is an excellent way to discover the online habits of your customers and prospects. Being able to see when key contacts are online can give you great insight into when to press send on you email newsletter marketing efforts.

Beginning today (Monday 2/28/05) America Online is offering a free plug-in for Microsoft Outlook Users that will enable them to see which of their contacts are online and available to be contacted by IM.

This function will enhance communication with contacts. Email exchanges can more easily be converted into IM chats when online presence status is available within the email environment. While this will enable faster and perhaps more natural communication, environments that need a "paper" trail of communications will require a user to actively save chat logs when chatting with coworkers, prospects and customers.

Overall this is a great step forward for AOL in spreading the use of IM in the workplace.

Get the plug in here.

Read the USA Today article here.

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February 28, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to Send an Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Opting-in at the Chicago Auto Show

2005_cas_logoThis past weekend I went to the Chicago Auto Show. Over the years this show has become more and more interactive as car makers attempt to scale their customer intuition efforts. It used to be that sales people from area dealerships staffed displays. There's no selling at the show but reps could collect contact info and follow-up with prospects after the show. Now trade show renta-reps dressed all in black collect addresses to mail or email brochures to prospects. Carmakers are trying various tactics to get information and a conscious or unconscious opt-in from show attenders.

Some use attractive premiums like, no kidding, giant red stuffed animals to get people to register for a free drawing. Others use higher tech methods like offering "free" pictures that require visitors to visit and register at manufacturers websites to receive their "free" picture.

These real world practices are analogous to the online challenges of opt-in e-newsletter marketing. Some offer cool premiums that drive sign-ups but have little or nothing to add to a potential customer relationship. Some use bait-n-switch like tactics to offer something for free that comes at a hidden cost. Others engage people as people and offer a fair and reasonable exchange of value that begins a lasting relationship.

So where are you on the scale? Are you building a big list with a high churn as people opt-in for a premium and then opt-out just as quickly? Are your list building tactics bordering on deceptive? As people get savvier to the techniques of list building it becomes more and more important to market real ongoing value to opting-in.

Beyond links to privacy policies, no spam pledges and required opt-out or unsubscribe links it is important to be transparent in presenting the value of being open to hearing from you in the future. Are you just looking to send out brochures and promotional email or are you looking to build a lasting mutually beneficial relationship? How do your prospective list members know what you are doing?

February 22, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Building Customer Community, Building Customer Intuition, Business Marketing, Creating a Company Newsletter, Current Affairs, Customer Centric, Customer Intuition Tools, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, Email Newsletter Outsourcing, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Google Tips

GoogEverybody uses Google for a wide variety of things. Not everyone knows how to get the most out of it. Here's something useful that you can recommend to customers, friends and coworkers to help them polish their Google search skills. It's a tip sheet for Google. This would make a good content item for your next opt-in email newsletter.

February 18, 2005 in Building B2B Relationships, Creating a Company Newsletter, E-Marketing, Educating Clients and Prospects, Email Marketing, Email Newsletter, How to do a Newsletter, Interactive Marketing, Marketing Communication, Newsletter Marketing, Opt-in Email Marketing, Strategic Internet Marketing, Web/Tech, Writing A Newsletter | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack