Pay-As-You-Go Email Marketing from MailChimp

Email marketing, although a proven and required part of a marketing strategy, can be costly with most online suppliers charging a hefty monthly sum to use their systems.
Those that operate for free have limitations, usually something like ‘100 recipients only’ which is ok for low level activity but unsuitable for a growing business.

Setting up your own system e.g. using something like PHPList is often tedious and  takes some technical knowledge to set up properly and working just right.

MailChimp, SurveyMonkey’s little brother (or sister, who knows?!), offers a Pay As You Go plan so that you can budget how much you spend on your email marketing campaign. The price plan goes from $15 for 500 credits to $2,500 for 500,000 credits.
This kind of plan is especially suitable for businesses that don’t have a periodic mail-out as credits can be rolled over and the there are no standing fees e.g. monthly charges.

BSM and The Apprentice – an example of free marketing using an effective email signature

BSM (British School of Motoring), a part of RAC, is using an effective marketing technique by adding to it’s outgoing email signature a link it has made to the first casualty of Sir Alan Sugar’s BBC show The Apprentice.

In a RAC email I received today was the following copy as part of the email signature:

A little note on BSM……..which is part of RAC

Apprentice’s Nicholas passes test with flying colours

—————————————

Nicholas de Lacy-Brown, ruthlessly booted off “The Apprentice” by Sir Alan Sugar on Wednesday, has at least one
reason to celebrate: the driving school which taught him to drive, BSM, today reveals that he has passed his test
first time – with no minor errors.

The perfect test pass, achieved by only 0.85% of learners, comes as the latest success for Brown, 24, who claims
he has never failed an exam and regards his “B” in GCSE French as his biggest failure.

This method of marketing is clever because firstly, there is no cost. Adding a bit of text to your outgoing emails costs nothing. Secondly, The Apprentice is one of the UK’s hottest TV shows, having received in the region of 6.5 million viewer’s for the first show of the 2008 series! That means a lot of people will be discussing it at the water cooler and in the hallway; plenty opportunity for BSM to be mentioned in conversation, or at least remembered, as having done something clever like this tie in.

Use Facebook To Run A Free Marketing Campaign

Social networks like Facebook are a marketer’s dream. Social networks, by nature, are viral i.e. they’re built to ‘spread’ ideas, photos, video or anything you can think of to your list of contacts within the site, and they to their list of contacts and so on…

Facebook is second only to MySpace in the number of members it has, however it’s built to be a better viral vehicle for marketing. Whether you’re selling a new product or want to get exposure for a social event, it’s very easy to get ‘eyeballs’ on it using Facebook and what’s more it doesn’t cost anything.

The first step would be to set up a Facebook group for your specific product or service and invite all your contacts to join. When your contacts do join, the feed on their friends’ pages will be updated with that fact and will likely lead to a lot of them at the very least visiting the group page to check out if there’s anything of interest for them. “After all if a friend of mine joined a group it’s more than likely it’ll be of interest to me too” is the concept we’re going for here (you want to be sure to have some compelling copy on the group page to make sure your message is getting across to your ideal market to entice people to join). This will carry on for a while and pretty soon the group will have hundreds of members. And by ‘pretty soon’ I mean within weeks.

Whilst this is going on you want to be sure to have a website, preferably with a descriptive domain name that users can relate to the Facebook group, where members can find more details of your product(s) or services or whatever it is you’re marketing. Why? Because the site is under your control; you’re not limited in what information to host on the site or in what manner. Also, having a website allows you to capture the email addresses of your visitors so you can start marketing to them directly.

Drive the members of the group to the website (it could also be a special page you set up on an existing website created just for members of the Facebook group) using teaser information like articles or special offers/discounts. This will lead to more people joining the group so they can take advantage of the special discounts thereby continuing the viral campaign for you.

That’s it! Using this simple method you’ll be driving traffic to your web site in no time.

Here are a few links to help you set something like this up:

  1. Hosting and domain name for your site (if you don’t currently have one) – DreamHost
  2. A Cynergise article on using descriptive domain names to drive more traffic to your site from Facebook and elsewhere
  3. A brilliant email management tool to help you capture and manage your email list for direct marketing

If you’re setting up your Facebook marketing campaign and web site and need some advice don’t hesitate to contact us – we’ll be happy to help.

When is the Best Time to Kick Off your Email Marketing Campaign?

What is the best day of the week to kick off your email marketing campaign?

Historically, marketing or sales emails that land in your customer’s (or potential customer’s) email inbox on a Thursday morning are shown to have the best conversions.

The thinking behind this is that most office workers, who have regular access to email, start to ‘dial’ down from Thursday morning onward. Thursday is the almost the beginning of the weekend; we’re past the middle of the week and the weekend now looms, getting closer and closer!

Psychologically, this means that our minds are getting set for more fun activity and less actual work. This in turn means longer time spent on the computer doing non-work stuff like reading friends’ emails or checking out the latest on Facebook.

But can we narrow it down even further? A recent survey/study done by a news organisation states that it’s exactly at 3:27PM on a Thursday afternoon that we really begin to switch off from our work. So, could we get better results if marketing/sales emails are timed to land in email in-boxes late on a Thursday afternoon? We’ll try it out and let you know!

Do you respect your own web site?

With the advent of so many social networks like Facebook, Bebo, MySpace etc, many web site owners are losing focus when it comes to their Internet marketing strategy.

Because such social network sites make it easy most of the marketing is done, primarily, through them and this is foolhardy.

Whatever reason your web site exists; to sell products, raise awareness of your services etc, it needs to be at the centre of your strategy with multiple traffic sources leading back to it.

Why? Because that’s where you, as the web site owner, have full control over content and how it’s presented to your potential or current customers. It’s where you can reinforce your brand and make sure that the next time they come directly to your site and not via Facebook or something similar. It’s also where you can capture their email addresses so you can now market directly to them, tailoring your offers to make them more attractive.

And remember, social networks come and go – you may have experienced some success using them at present but the moment they’re sliding downhill and hemorrhaging users you’ll have to repeat all that hard work on the next big site, where your market has migrated to.

It makes more sense to drive traffic to your own site and keep them there so you don’t have to keep chasing after them.

30 Days of Night

To promote their new horror movie “30 Days of Night”, on the Internet, Sony Entertainment have created a web site at www.30daysofnight.com. On the site are 2 ways that they’re promoting the movie and other wares:

  1. An online multi-player game
  2. A email capture form

The free-to-play online multi-player game is crafted in such a way that players can team together and the object is to stay alive for 30 days. This is literal: the game plays for a total of 30 days and every 6 days that your team stay alive a new level is unlocked.
As marketing goes this is pretty brilliant as it means you, as a player, are marketed to constantly for a total of 30 days (providing of course you don’t die at the fangs of a vampire before then!).

The second, more conventional method is the email capture form where you sign up to the Sony entertainment newsletter and are sent periodic mail regarding news, updates, DVD releases e.t.c., from Sony Pictures.

(You have to be 18 to play the game)