OK so I recently attended an excellent 3 day course on marketing with some of the brightest marketing minds on the planet. Truth is this app was actually released before I went on the course as I have been studying marketing/copywriting for many years as well as running google adwords campaigns for myself and other people’s businesses.
As I work in the SME sector I am acutely aware of the issues facing small business owners. Hopefully this app gives you concise, cost effective and actionable things to implement within yur business.
Go check it out here
Serious about growing your business or perhaps understanding how you can radically increase revenue on your advertsing spend without spending any more money? Then you must attend EADIM 2011, a 3 day marketing event this October in London to meet, and learn from, a legend in the field of direct marketing and copywriting, the unimitable Drayton Bird.
You will receive a full year’s education kicked off by three days of live training in London by internationally recognised teachers and practitioners. Many are regarded as the authorities in their field of expertise.
This is followed by an interactive series of webinars.
At the end of this course, you will understand the principles and practice of direct and interactive marketing for any product or service.
You will also know how to deal confidently with any of the processes and decisions that lead to successful campaigns and greater profit.
Upon successful completion you will:
- Understand the principles, strategies and tactics of direct and interactive marketing, online and off
- Know how to establish and manage a marketing budget for optimum Return on Investment
- Know how to plan, implement and evaluate successful campaigns – online and offline
- Be able to exploit data and build profitable relationships with your customers
- Have a broad understanding of all aspects of direct and interactive marketing in all media, for all normal types of organisation in all circumstances
- Understand what makes the difference between successful and unsuccessful creative in all media – and know how to judge it
- Know what is happening in all the latest media and forms of marketing
I have just finished reading a whitepaper from a Sage mid market reseller extolling the virtues of the ‘integrated’ nature of Sage 200 suite. Essentially this product is marketed as an all in one financials and CRM package. However the truth is somewhat different.
What you have here are two completely different products that have been developed and operate on two different platforms. On the one hand you have Sage 200 financials, this is a windows application written in .Net which talks to a SQL Server database. With it you have Sage CRM MME which is a web application (for the technically minded written in a mixture of an ISAPI DLL and some classic ASP) also talking to SQL Server (but a different database to the financials).
So what you essentially end up with are two loosely (and I do mean loosely) coupled applications that only share a basic amount of information which is of limited use! What if you wanted to write to all your customers who had bought, lets say an iPhone and you had a really desirable iPhone add-on you wanted to market to them, you could then create a campaign around that, build your offer and communicate it couldnt you? Wrong! not possible as you have no financials information you can view (apart from screen popping orders and quotes from CRM) from CRM, so there you go, don’t believe the hype!
Many organisations I work with are looking for a CRM implementation but are not always sure why. I am very bullish about CRM because I have never seen it used properly (and there are specific reasons for this) nor does it generate a measured return on investment. Simple fact is most CRMs end up being nothing more than glorified contact manager. Or in the case of Sage 1000 just a over-complicated and long winded way of maintain customers and suppliers. If you want to generate money from your CRM then you need to be doing the following;
a) Creating customer ‘segments’ based on demographics/purchase history
b) Create relevant and compelling offers to a specific segment
c) Communicate the offer via email/mail merge
d) Track response rate
I would bet money you are missing a crucial link/data you need to be able to perform this, please drop an email and I’ll tell you why!
I get to work in alot of vertical markets because of what I do. Today I was with two guys who work in and around the motor trade. We were looking at creating some software that can incentivise your existing base to increase their spend by setting ‘uplifted’ sales targets. It was something I had never seen before. So here’s how it works. You create a campaign and lets say that campaign runs for three months starting tomorrow (02/07/2008). You then select what customers you want to add to that campaign. Then using historical financial data you get the sales figures for each customer for the same period in the previous year (or go back 2,3,4 years). You then apply a percentage uplift to each customers historic sales and this then becomes their target for the current campaign. Now where it gets really interesting is you also take your current gross profit figure and then apply that to the uplifted sales figure. What this will do is tell you how much in actual revenue you will receive from each customer if they hit target.
Lets look at an example. Customer X has sales for the same period of the previous year of £100K. We use an uplift of 20% which means that customer has to hit £120K of sales during the current campaign. If our average gross profit is 30% then we make £6K if they hit target. So of course we can incentivise the customers to hit this target with some really compelling (and quite expensive) prizes in the knowledge of how much money there is to play with. And of course if they dont hit the target they dont get the prize!
The flippent answer would be one that generates a definative and repeatable return on investment! There is going to be a cost for any email marketing, whether it be the design of the layout of the email if you need to make it look enticing, or using a third party service which charges a subscription fee. Before you do anything though consider;
- How targetted are the prospects on the list?
- How well written is the copy? Are you starting with a compelling, benefit oriented headline?
- How compelling is the actual offer?
Always remember to do small scale tests first. if you have a list of 10,000 prospects why not come up with two different emails (same offer, different copy in the email) and send email A to 100, and B to another 100 and compare the results.
If you are going to use a third party service then check they offer costs on a ‘per subscriber’ and not ‘per email’ basis. If you are being charged per subscriber it means you can email the list several times for no additional cost. One great service which does that and offers a whole lot more besides is GetResponse
There has been a huge uptake in customer relationship management (CRM) systems over the last couple of years. All businesses from small to large have been clamouring to select, buy and implement CRM as it is seen as a ‘must-have’. But I wonder, how many businesses have actually measured their return on that investment? How is your CRM system delivering benefit not just in operational process but in additional sales and new customers? Sure your CRM will tell you how many leads have been won, the status of those leads, which salesperson brought in that lead. It will also tell you how many and the potential value of any opportunities arising from that lead. But of course the real crux of the matter is you need to measure/test/refine/repeat the effectiveness of your campaigns.
And there lies the problem, whilst most CRM systems on the market allow you to create a campaign against a list of customers it is the segmentation of your customers that falls down. Why? because even if you do have an integrated CRM and financials system the chances are you cannot create what I would term as dynamic campaigns. I had this very request a few weeks ago from a Sage CRM customer. “We want to be able to create a campaign based around customers who have bought product x”. Can the system do it? No! Can it be made do it? Absolutely. Here are 4 examples, from hundreds of possible, dynamic campaigns you could be using (but probably won’t be);
- Customers who bought product x
- Customers who have spent more than (or less than) x pounds, dollars, euros
- Customers who have bought within the last 180 days but not within the last 90 days
- Customers who have only bought once from you
So the key is getting at your financials data and using it to create customer segments that are meaningful (and hopefully responsive!) to an offer in the campaign.
This is an often asked question and is a constant challenge for start-ups/small businesses on a tight budget. Having spoken to many SME business owners the same word keeps cropping up…..Referrals.
Why? well for a start the cost of acquisition is virtually nil, unless of course you have had to provide some form of incentive to get the referral. Secondly you have been recommended so your prospect hasn’t been given the hard sell but has received a more gentle approach. You can actively seek out referrals, the marketing guru Jay Abraham actually wrote a book that details 93(!) referral systems that you could, and should look to implement in your business.
The other area to look at is existing business. How often do you communicate with your customers? Do you communicate with your customers? What triggers do you have in place to monitor if a regular buyer stops buying? Running a business is a time-consuming thing and our best intention is to make regular contact but this normally slips. Many business owners ask “Won’t my customers get fed up with me keep sending them stuff?”. Potentially, yes, but you can minimise this. How? Make sure your communications are relevant, informative with a genuine and compelling offer.