Jul 14, 2010

The true danger of social marketing.

I've always been a social marketing sceptic even though I myself have (personal) accounts in all social websites I know of.

One of the reasons why I never trusted social marketing was that I've always had that feeling that whenever something was to go wrong, the back draft would be worse than on any other marketing channel.

Some marketing experts foretold the end of email marketing a couple of years ago, saying Social Marketing would kill it, I still believe it to be false, Email marketing is inexpensive, straightforward and highly efficient (if done properly that is).

The discussion could (and probably will) go on for years (until one of the sides is proven wrong).

However, if we take all marketing channels available online or off-line today, most of them grant the advertiser a total control of the message and the means of diffusion.

The only examples where the control is not entire are affiliation (but you can keep an eye on this) and adwords for sites, but even for those, you remain in control of the marketing message, even though you lose part of your control over where the ad will be displayed.

Now, when it comes to social marketing, you message can be edited, changed, and can be forwarded or broadcasted by people or organizations that can really be at the far opposite of what you want to show to the world.

One funny example came up to me today while I was browsing my facebook account...
One of the things with facebook is that it keeps suggesting you, new friends, new pages, new whatever according to your own friends tastes, friends or what they (facebook) consider as somehow linked to what you like.

This information mix sometimes come up with really weird (but potentially harmful) suggestions when it comes to brands or products pages

Here's a couple of suggested pages I had today:

Example 1 : Competitors

 Not sure, the Assassin's creed facebook page is intended to advertise for another game

Here both are music festivals

Example 2 : Hazardous associations
 Shall Air France be happy to be associated with Barack Obama?

And Amazon to Sarah Palin?

Of course the opposite is true as well, the facebook pages recommended might not be happy to be suggested in relation to something else, but here at least you could argue that they get extra visibility, when the pages I'm already subscribed to have nothing to win there.
The list of examples could have been much longer (and the more pages you are subscribed to, the longer) but what really startles me here is that there's nothing you can really do in this case when you are working at the marketing department of all these brands, it all depends on your "fans".

I'm also surprised that knowing this no one has tried "facebook bombing" yet by creating a high number of fake profiles, subscribing to a brand/product then to a competitor... it might come one day.

Jul 7, 2010

Think interactive

One of the main benefits of email marketing is its quickness and the amount of information that can be used to optimize the way you communicate with your clients/prospects.
If the job is properly done you will not only increase drastically your ROI but you will also help your clients and increase their overall satisfaction.

Here's my point of view: If you have a mailing list that you broadcast once in a while with your latest products... fair enough, but you are probably missing the best part of email marketing: Interaction.

Let's take a few examples of what we do in Cabestan with some of our clients, I swear that these examples are very (in Cabestan at least) easy to implement.

Ticket Booking site:
If you have a ticket booking website (or any events related website) and broadcast a weekly newsletter with a selection of events, you are doing good but here is what we do with our events related clients:
Just add on your website a "place an alert" button on each result pages (especially when there are no matching results), this info would then be pushed inside the DB, and an automated daily campaign will be set to scan the latest events' RSS feed daily and send out an email to all users that have today's artists/events in their booking alerts list.
If you do so, you will not only add a new service for your consumers but you will benefit from one of the highest ROI I've seen on email campaigns.
NOTE: this can also be used on an eShop website with alerts on product availability.

Software retailer:
If you sell software or any product that has a limited life time, please, please do set an automated reminder campaign to be sent a few weeks before the licence (or product) comes to an end.
Just keep somewhere inside the DB the purchase date, the rest is just too easy...

Transform your prospects in clients:
I assume here that you are addressing your clients and prospects in a different way and not blast the same email to everyone.
If so (and it is important that you do) then you can still take it a step further.
As a matter of fact, clients bring you money, prospects cost you money. It's therefore quite obvious that one of your main goals as a marketer is to transform as quickly as possible these prospects in clients.
The best way I've found yet is to create a scenario that all your prospects will go through when they subscribe.
This is again very simple to do, all you need is to set a given number of touch points with your prospect until he becomes a client, for example:
  1. Welcome email - D0
  2. Voucher code (valid for 15 days) - D1
  3. Voucher alert - D14
  4. Special offer (like free shipping) - D30
Of course, should the prospect order something at any time, he is then out of the automated campaign and enters the clients list. This is just an example, you can do it your way.

This list of possible interactions is not a closed list, there are plenty of options and possibilities that will depend mainly on your needs, your business model,...

As always if you feel like you need some help, or if your ESP is not offering such services, you can contact me, I will be pleased to help you out.