When do I send my emails?

Knowing when to send emails to best effect is an eternal question, and the decision is usually based on a gut feeling. However there is a way to make this a little more scientific using Google analytics. This post on the e-consultancy website shows you how to analyse conversions by time of day, and by days of the week. Once you have this information,  you can make an informed decision as to the best time to send your emails. How to use Google Analytics to find the best time to send emails Using this type of analysis has caused us to re-think the scheduling of a number of our email campaigns

Another Nail in the SEO Coffin!!

Yet again, Google have made a change to their algorithms that will make it harder for companies to manipulate their search results for marketing purposes. Two recent announcements:

  1. Introduction of the ability for users to block entire domains
  2. Inclusion of quality factors into their algorithms

Will potentially have some significant effects on SEO, in that it will move further towards the idea of personalised search results thus limiting the use of the “Ranking Report” much favoured by SEO companies to justify their existence, and mean that tactics such as buying links from “Content farms” will become counterproductive. In my opinion, Google should be praised for these moves. Reading this you might get the impression that I discount search engine rankings when considering your marketing mix. In fact this is far from the truth. I believe good, targeted visibility on search engines is vital, especially for your company name and long tail search terms. What I don’t believe in is putting resources into SEO in isolation. Good rankings are delivered by having a well structured site that clearly sets out your proposition, from your customer’s perspective rather than yours. If you do that, your site should include relevant key phrases, and thus will be indexed for these & should appear on search engines. In terms of monitoring search engine performance, I would advocate monitoring Google analytics (Other analytics systems are available), to assess which media, including search engines, are delivering visits to your site and how these visits are contributing to sales. You may find this post “Does Email Marketing Work?” interesting as it is a real case study that  looks at the impact of various marketing media (Including search engines) on sales.

Handling Comments on Social Media Sites

I received a report in my inbox this morning stating that top brands tend to ignore customers questions & comments on social networks, and that if the comment was negative the tendency to respond dropped further. There is no doubt that the fact that social media sites are interactive & allow anyone to contribute to your “Marketing space” is a major factor when considering how to use them, but I think the results above suggest that many top brands may not taking these media seriously. From a marketing perspective, the fact that your marketplace is engaging with you and taking the time to give their opinion (Good or bad) should be an asset. If the comments are good, then  great,  but what if someone starts posting negative comments about you on your facebook wall. My suggestion would be to engage with them. If they have a gripe with your products or service then you need to take notice. If it is a legitimate gripe then deal with it, work to resolve the issue with that customer, make sure you publicise that it has been resolved and learn from the experience. If it is a malicious or unfounded comment (and in my experience these are few and far between in the SME arena) then by all means respond to it if it is appropriate, but don’t be afraid to ignore it if it is not worthy of response, or remove it is it is malicious or potentially libellous. This type on interaction has to be managed/moderated, but the trick is to do this with a light hand, and to encourage open & frank discussion and honest comment. Much of marketing is about developing a trust between you and your marketplace, and a well managed discussion on a social media site can go a long way to supporting this. If you are seriously planning to use social media in your marketing mix, then be ready to respond to comments and accept that they will not always be good, but the bad ones will usually be honest, and thus need dealing with!! If on the other hand, you are not willing to engage in this way, then I would suggest that you think twice before adding social media to your marketing toolbag!

Marketing Advice for North West SME's

Marketing advice & discussion on LinkedIn for North West SME’s

In over 20 years supporting SMEs in the field of Marketing, one issue that has come up over and over again is how to get good impartial input and advice on marketing without it costing the earth. The other thing I have learned is that there is also a huge amount of marketing knowledge out there in the SME community. To bring the two together we are pleased to announce the launch of the North West Marketing Forum, a LinkedIn Group open to SMEs in The North West and Peak District. In addition to the community advice available, we have also brought together experts in a number of marketing fields, who have committed to giving impartial advice to the group. BSA Marketing – Marketing Planning & Online Marketing Jaeger PR – On and off line PR and Advertising You can be sure that any advice offered by our experts will be in the best interests of your business. To join the Group, simply click here and click “Join”.?

Managing the Email lifecycle

There is no doubt that email is a great way to develop relationships with your customers & prospects, but an understanding of customer life cycles, and how to interact with contacts at each stage of the life cycle is key in developing good email marketing campaigns. With this in mind, you might find this article on the Econsultancy blog interesting: The Five Stages of the Email Lifecycle

Which Social Media sites should I focus on?

In recent times, social media has become a serious marketing tool, but with a growing number of sites, it can become a nightmare trying to keep them all updated with your latest messages. To contain the problem, I would suggest that there are three that you need to take seriously when considering marketing, namely, Twitter, Linkedin and Facebook. Considering Linkedin and Facebook for a moment, I think in the vast majority of cases it is an either/or decision based on that old marketing idea of “your target market”: Facebook – If your target market tends to be individuals in their role as consumers, then facebook is probably the right place to put your messages. Some examples of clients who are effectively using facebook in this way are: Mettricks butchers Fendequip Direct Howarths of Flixton Linkedin – Historically, this has been a site used by individuals to network amongst their colleagues & peers, but it is becoming a useful marketing tool if you are looking to target individuals in the course of their work, hence it tends to be the better choice for B2B marketing. Then there is Twitter. Given the extremely transient nature of Twitter, unless you have a steady stream of things to say, it should be seen as a by-product of Facebook/Linkedin activity, ensuring that posts on these two sites are replicated on Twitter. The other useful thing to monitor on Twitter is “mentions”. Tracking when you are mentioned on Twitter can throw up some interesting marketing opportunities. Good news! There is  a tool to help you manage your activity on these sites. LinksAlpha, is a site allowing you to post simultaneously to a number of social networks through a single interface , removing the need for posting separately to individual sites. Furthermore if you are running a wordpress based blog, there is also a wordpress plug-in that will automatic all copy all your blog posts to your chosen social networks. What could be easier? If you would like to discuss the potential opportunities presented by social media then don’t hesitate to contact us.