Email List To Marketing Campaign

I descend from a long line of New Englanders and we are known for our thrift. When the collars of his dress shirts frayed with age, my father (who was actually a New Yorker, but knew how to squeeze a penny until Abe Lincoln yelped) would have the dry cleaner turn them. Presto, a few more good years were added to a useful item.

Mom served any leftovers from the big Sunday dinner for Monday night’s supper. If we didn’t finish them off at that sitting, she was not ashamed to serve them again on Wednesday or Thursday evening.

Mom and Dad were born during the Depression and they did not believe in wasting resources. Use it up, wear it out, or make it do was their credo. As we slog through our own recession, it makes good business sense to maximize the use of our available resources.

One resource that we all have at our disposal is our list of email addresses. Consider using them to launch an email marketing campaign. When executed properly, an email marketing campaign is an effective way to communicate with your target audience.

The (sale) conversion rate will probably not exceed 2%, but that matches the results of a typical direct mail campaign. Moreover, email marketing is both less expensive and more environmentally friendly than direct mail.

Use an opt-in list-building approach to ensure that you contact only those who wish to receive your information. Hire a web developer to add a sign-up function to your website home page. When exchanging cards with new colleagues, request permission to add them to your mailing list.

Add your LinkedIn connections, clients, colleagues and selected friends and family members. Always include an un-subscribe feature in your communications, so that those who choose to opt-out can easily do so. Purchased email lists are not recommended, since those people do not know you. Organic growth of your list is best, so take the time to cultivate it.

As you build your list (and before you add a sign-up feature to your website), think about what you should communicate and the best delivery system for your message. What would you like to achieve in your campaign?

Put yourself in the place of the recipient. What information might they like to receive from you? What “call to action” might pique their interest? Is a monthly newsletter something you have the time and talent to produce? Perhaps handy factoids accompanied by links to relevant articles, doled out every six weeks, will be a better fit for both you and your target audience?

However you deliver it, make your content valuable by including relevant and timely information. Make it memorable by adding audio and video clips. If budget is available, make a video of yourself speaking directly to your audience.

Measure the reach of your campaign with the help of internet analytics. Obtain the stats on your campaign’s impact on visits to your website, pages that get the most viewing and other tracking info. However, the real validation happens when you receive an inquiry about your services from a prospective client. Signing a client as a result is, needless to say, the ultimate validation of your campaign.

Email marketing campaigns in most cases require you to supply the content, but you can outsource the project to a fellow solopreneur or marketing communications firm to ghost write your blog, newsletter or other regularly scheduled mailings. It is also possible and quite common to outsource the emailing function only, to a fellow solopreneur or larger entity.

Email marketing campaigns continue to flourish, despite reports of their pending demise. An email marketing campaign provides a low-cost opportunity for you to keep your name in front of people who value and trust your business acumen and remind them that you are a viable player in your marketplace, ready to take on paid assignments.

Don’t Grill Em! 5 Steps Every Grill Dealer Should Know To Keep The Shopping Experience Personal

Five-Step Sales Process Leads To Success

I’ve been in sales and marketing all my life. Whether I’m selling grills, electronics or lingerie (yes, you read that correctly), the following five-step sales process has never let me down. Whenever I’d bring on a new hire, I made sure they learned and practiced this simple formula to successful selling. If you do the same, I guarantee you’ll hear the cash register ring!

It makes sense to greet the customer, but isn’t that so basic?

It is – which is probably why store owners aren’t checking as vigorously as they should to make sure it’s being done. The greeting is the start of a personalization process where customers feel special for walking in your door versus having gone to a big box retailer. It’s amazing the sales opportunities a casual, “Hi, what brings you in today?” will open.

Why is it so important to ask questions? Which are some of the key ones to ask?

Whether or not you successfully close a sale is a direct reflection of the questions asked upfront. Why? You’re pulling data points from customers without them even realizing they’re giving them away. When someone mentions their grill just died, you know you’re going to need to find them something in inventory. If they’re talking about the bonus they get at the end of the month, you know you have time to order in the perfect grill.

Remember that great salespeople listen more than they talk. Ask your question; then zip it and listen. There are no “stock” questions but here are a few common ones to kick-start your conversations.

· * Do you prefer charcoal or gas?

· * What kinds of things do you cook?

· * Did you have a favorite brand in mind?

· * How many people do you typically cook for?

· * Tell me what types of features are most important for you.

Once I get some answers, how do I match the product to the customer’s need?

As the conversation progresses, you’re mentally identifying what products to show the customer. The last thing you want to do is lose a sale by overwhelming someone with too many different models. You’re the expert. Repeat back to the customer what you’ve heard, (“So it sounds like you’re tired of your grill dying on you every couple of years and having to replace it, but you don’t feel like you do enough grilling to warrant a really big dollar purchase. Am I hearing that right?”), then show them no more than two or three grills that would meet their needs in various ways.

At this point, the customer is either starting to nod and say things like, “Yep, that’s exactly what I’m looking for,” or they’re starting to form objections. “I don’t want anything stainless steel.” “I don’t want to pay over $500.”

I expect to deal with objections. What is the best way to handle those?

Overcoming objections is where the art of selling comes in and where most salespeople go astray. When a customer starts listing objections my advice is this: Listen! If you try to talk over your customer, you’ll lose. Often, if given the chance, a customer will talk themselves out of their own objections. If not, the data points you’ve stored away now come in handy. Let the customer express their doubts and then circle back to what they’ve told you. “You said you’re tired of replacing your grill every three years. If you invest a little more upfront, you’ll get a better made product with a better warranty. The grill lasts longer and if something does go wrong, you’re protected down the line. In the long run, you’re saving money investing in one good grill versus what you’ve been doing, which is replacing a cheaper model every few years. We do offer 90-days same-as-cash payment options, if that helps at all.”

How do I close the sale?

There’s only one way to close a sale. Ask for it. “So, are you ready to take that home?” When you ask, you’ll get one of two answers. A “yes” leads to the cash register. A “no,” doesn’t mean no sale. It just means you have more work to do. Go back to asking questions. “OK, what’s making you uncomfortable?” Customers will tell you the reason for their ‘no.’ “I’ve gotta talk to my wife first.” “I’m just not sure I need a grill that big.”

Once you know the issue, you’re back to overcoming objections. If they’re not sold on the product line, direct them to another product or demo different features that speak to their needs. If they need to talk to their spouse, ask if you can follow up with them next week. Not surprisingly, not asking for the sale is the most common cause for missed sales. Ask for the sale and if need be, redirect and ask again. And again. And again.

The five-part process is designed to make sure your customers enjoy a personalized shopping experience. Every evaluation you make of your salespeople should be based around how they perform and carry out these steps.

Trade Show Survival Tips

When you arrive and set up at your first trade show, it’s exciting it can even be an adrenaline rush! You’re here to promote your company, share your product, and network. And trade shows can, in fact, be a great experience and a lot of fun. However, they also mean long hours and some challenging situations to overcome. The following pointers will help you survive your trade show and have a great time in the process!

• Dress Appropriately

Go over your trade show attire from head to toe! When you’re getting dressed your first thought might be appearance, and that’s great after all, you want to make a good impression! But looks aren’t everything, and fun at a convention can quickly turn sour if you’re too hot, too cold, or your feet are killing you. Wear comfortable shoes, and make sure they’re already broken in before the show! If you absolutely have to wear some heels, make sure you bring along a more sensible pair of flats to give your feet a break when they need it. Also, be prepared to be a bit too cool early in the day and overheated later that means you should dress lightly, but have a sweater or cardigan handy for when things get chilly.

• Schedule Breaks

There are a few good reasons for this. First of all, you’re likely to be there for many hours, overlapping at least one (if not more) regular meal time. It’s generally considered to be unprofessional to eat at your booth, so make sure each worker, including yourself, has time to go for meals. It’s also good to schedule time to walk around the show, and even to go outside and get a breath of fresh air. Staying cooped up in a booth can quickly become tiring and drain you of your energy, and you want to be cheerful and energetic when you interact with visitors to your booth!

• Stay Hydrated

Bring along a refillable water bottle. You won’t want to be away from your booth frequently to buy drinks, and they can be expensive or there can be long lines that keep you away longer than intended. Staying hydrated will also help you keep your energy levels up and your morale good. Convention centers are also notoriously dry, and it’s surprisingly easy to lose your voice after just a few hours of talking in such a dry environment. Laryngitis is a terrible thing to deal with at a trade show, so be sure to pack your water.

• Pack a Survival Kit

Once you’re there, you don’t want to be running out for every little thing so pack a few commonly needed items to get you (and your colleagues!) through the day. Eye drops are a good idea, as they’ll help you deal with the dry air. Aspirin or another over the counter painkiller can be a lifesaver, too. Bring an extra water bottle in case someone else needs it, as well. And of course, a great attitude!