Wednesday

Email Marketing Mistakes Not To Make

Great marketing article for all B2B and B2C businesses to consider before hitting the online send button.

Five E-mail Marketing Mistakes that Film Producers and Distributors Need to Avoid


E-mail marketing is tough. A study by Forrester research shows that while 83% of companies attempt e-marketing less than 5% are successful. What's the secret?

Marketing TargetsThere's no secret, per se, but film and video distributors targeting license buyers need to be informed about all the potential pitfalls. A good e-mail marketing campaign demands research, strategy, patience, a smooth follow-up process, and a little high-tech. It's hard to know where to begin, and it's natural to be afraid of making a major mistake and alienating your potential buyers.

On the other hand, a good e-mail campaign has proven time and again to be the most cost-effective way to market, and in the film and video licensing industry, it's becoming a standard and expected practice. Take some time to analyze what needs to be done, let your creativity and passion for your material inform what you do, and you will reach the film/video license buyers who are searching for the kind of content you offer.

To help get you started, we've put together a list of five easy-to-make e-mail marketing mistakes, and How to Avoid Them.

MISTAKE #5: - E-mailing directly from Outlook This is a very basic mistake.

A lot of distributors use "Blind CC" to send to multiple addresses—this is the trick where you send an e-mail to yourself, and put all the other addresses BCC. This is a convenient way to reach a lot of people without revealing your whole e-mail list to every recipient (which is what happens when you CC), but these cumbersome BCC messages are red flags for mail server spam filters. Not only is your message likely going to get blocked, but your entire IP address might be blacklisted. This means that you will never be able to send ANY message to this address again, unless you contact the hostmaster who blacklisted you and beg for forgiveness.

Tools like Listrak, Campaigner, and ExacTarget solve these problems and elegantly handle lists with thousands of names. These services all charge a monthly fee. PHPList and OpenEMM are powerful OpenSource solutions, but require you to provide your own tech support.

The biggest advantage of these tools: they track the e-mails you send. Who opens it, who deletes it, who sends it to a friend, when, and where. You'll need this data to do follow up, segment your lists, and to tweak your campaign.

MISTAKE #4: - Websites are not doing follow-up for you.


When a user clicks on your perfectly composed e-mail they need somewhere just as professional looking to go next. An ideal e-mail gets the reader to click quickly. A landing page (a specially designed webpage for e-mail campaign clickers) doesn't need to be elaborate, but at the very least it should act as a sort of digital sell sheet, offering the extra information a potential buyer needs and makes it clear what they need to do to take the next step. Add an easy to use 'send us a question form' or invite buyers to sign up to a newsletter and suddenly a passive e-mail recipient has become a real prospect.

MISTAKE #3: - Not segmenting your mailing lists.


It's tempting to blast one e-mail to a thousand names, but all marketing gurus insist on targeted delivery. 'Segmenting' your e-mail list means nothing more than dividing it into logical groups and sending different e-mails to the appropriate segment.

Personalizing your e-mails through segmentation can double click-through rates, and becomes more important as you move through the sales cycle. And by personalization here we're not talking about sticking the prospect's name at the top of the e-mail (though that is a nice touch). We're talking about changing the content, sometimes very slightly, to help make your property immediately relevant to the prospect.

In future articles, we'll be offering more tips on how to segment your lists.

MISTAKE #2: - Underemphasizing your categories, and overemphasizing your brand.

Film and video content license buyers receive dozens of marketing e-mails everyday. To cope, buyers have developed methods to sort and evaluate new titles very quickly.

What's the first thing a buyer notices when they first encounter your property?

Unfortunately, it's not your brand. A lot of distributors send out e-mails emphasizing their company logo and profile. While a good brand may help get your e-mail opened, it's not going to help you make a sale. Buyers specialize in different categories and genres. They know how to sell that category, where to sell to that category, and who will buy it.

You need to help buyers understand your title in terms of their favourite categories.

Segment your e-mail list by preferred category and you will have accomplished the single most important thing to successfully winning a buyer's attention. For independent producers and other rights holders without any brand recognition whatsoever, this is probably the most important marketing advice you will hear.

MISTAKE #1: - Not delivering value to your audience with your e-mail.

The best way to reach a buyer is to give them tools that will help them 'sell' your title to their buying team. Buyers need to understand all the opportunities your title offers. Slotting your property into a category is an essential first step, but you can do much more.

This is a big topic, but the idea is very simple: use the web to show your buyer the audience which already exists for your property. Do your homework, and find ways to position your title on the web where audiences live and breathe the category you are selling. Fan sites, social networking sites, online film festivals, and film/video sites can all take their place as virtual counterparts to tradeshows, press releases, and traditional film festivals, all working as venues to showcase your title. By creating this context, you help buyers understand how to position and make sense of your property. It is this context which you will try to communicate in your e-mail.

In conclusion, E-marketing takes time, effort, and experience. Many distributors fear that e-mail marketing is too aggressive, and that it basically amounts to spamming. If done improperly, this fear is certainly justified. The key is to be in your e-marketing campaigns what you are in the rest of your business life: a consummate professional, whose primary interest is in helping your clients succeed.




Daniel Lafleche is the COO of IPEX TV, the leading multiplatform B2B Film and Video online marketplace. Daniel has over 25 years experience in the entertainment industry, combining film and video licensing with internet media. IPEX TV specializes in helping film and video distributors take advantage of the web and reach out to international license buyers. You can learn more at http://www.ipextv.tv



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Sunday

Writing Emotional B2B Sales Copy - What You Must Account For When Copywriting

Marketing is about Emotions
Feeling Professional
Emotions. We all have them. And as marketers we're all taught that you have to appeal to your prospect's emotions in order to get your most-wanted response. When you're selling B2C products like health supplements and consumer newsletters, this is absolutely the truth. But in the B2B world, it's not quite so simple. Here's why…

B2B Buyers Have Conflicting Emotions

True, the B2B buyer has emotions just like the average consumer. Only when you get her over the edge from “I need it” to “I want it” will she make a buying decision.

However, she is still an employee of her company. She must take into account her company's needs when making a decision to purchase your B2B product or service. And her company’s needs don’t always jibe with her own. Here's an example of what I'm talking about.

Let's say Sarah is a software development manager with a medium-sized consulting firm. The programmers that report to Sarah make changes to the underlying software architecture without informing their supervisors. This causes broken builds and missed deadlines. Sarah's boss has told her she needs to buy a change management system for her company.

Sarah knows these problems have to stop, and a change management system will help. She has investigated her options and is leaning toward the market leader in the change management space. It's got all the features her company needs and long track record of past success stories.

There's just one problem…

You Cannot Neglect a Business Buyer's Personal Needs

While this solution is very feature-rich, it requires about 3-4 hours a day for maintenance and administration. Sarah knows her company cannot afford to hire a full time change management person, so the administrative burden will undoubtedly fall on her.

Sarah just had a baby earlier this year and already doesn't get to see much of her family. Her job is too demanding and overtime-intensive. This causes her to seek other options that might not require such an extra duty, but she just doesn't see any other products that meet her company’s change management needs.

Are you beginning to see why the B2B sale becomes so complex?

Selling to a prospect's emotions is very important. But B2B sales prospects have two sets of buying needs that don’t always dovetail with one another. You must address both if you are to maximize your chances to sell big-ticket B2B products and services.

That's why it's important that you hire a B2B copywriter to understand this dichotomy and can address both sets of needs. Business, as well as personal. Very few copywriters can do both in the same promotion with an equal degree of skill. So when you find one who can, hang on to him: he’s worth his weight in gold.

We'll talk more about meeting the B2B buyer's business needs while addressing his personal concerns and emotions in a future post, so keep your feedreader pointed right here at ericlynchcopywriter.com.

by: Eric Lynch

About The Author

Eric Lynch makes it easy to generate leads for your company's products and services. As a talented ericlynchcopywriter.com B2B copywriter - as well as an engineer - he writes effective marcom and sales copy that compels prospects to give you your most-wanted response.

Get your business website found online with a professional internet marketing service provider from Professional Web Services. We provide professional marketing communication that will compel your customers to buy. Not only do we provide B2C and B2B marketing expertise, but Professional Web Services customizes and designs professional websites too.

Saturday

Eight Key Steps to Building B2B Major Account Client Alliances

By Thomas J. Baskind
Managing Partner
Lexien Management Consultants

Audiences who saw the fabled Broadway musical, Chorus Line, marveled at the intricate timing and seamless interaction of the dancers as they mastered the choreographer’s precision steps after many false starts in rehearsal.

At the final curtain, the stage is crowded with dancers whose images are multiplied by mirrors strategically placed about the stage.

That’s a tough scene to match.

In many ways one can view the Chorus Line as a metaphor (sans mirrors) for orchestrating enduring major account relationships, which at their optimum, are enduring alliances.

This is a dance, not of two partners, but of many partnerships developed between business entities. A figurative chorus line of relationships that require timing, integrated movement, anticipation, and occasional improvisation played before a senior management audience expecting considerable return for the cost of the production.

With proper direction and judicious investment of resources, a major accounts initiative can become a resounding revenue hit.

How do you recognize a major account hit in the making?

When your product or service is perceived as an integral part of the customer’s business process, i.e. when “you” and “they” become “us.” Bill Voltmer, vice president of global sales for Factiva, the online information aggregator, looks for an integrated relationship between the account team and the client. Bill believes that “when all is said and done, it is the discipline of the account team to have a live account plan which is documented” that drives and sustains the major account relationship.

When account plans are supported by a measurable, systematic approach which functions as an identifiable common language within and between supplier and client organizations. One method to build the shared planning process is the “Alliance Relationship Model”*, a proprietary process which tracks four developmental account relationship stages, focuses with the client on its business drivers as well as intangible influences and offers a quantifiable measure of the account team’s effectiveness. The model interprets Miller Heiman’s “Successful Large Account Management” guideposts for navigating the major account landscape. It also helps the account team examine the specifics of relationship development as it relates to the customer’s specific, critical needs.

When the relationship supports a mutually beneficial long term competitive advantage in the form of accelerated growth rates, operating economies and increased market share. Here, the client relationship emerges as a strategic partnership, an actual alliance. This is a far cry from the predictable transactional steps of a commodity sales process. Clear client communication, focused interaction and a strategic mindset are essential to achieving a distinct competitive advantage for both partners.

What are the eight precision steps expected from your lead account performers to set and maintain the tempo of a major account relationship?

Your account team leaders should be expected to deliver

  1. Client acknowledgment and acceptance of elevated account relationship
  2. Definition of the mutual benefits or shared value dimension
  3. Agreement on client’s short term and strategic business objectives
  4. Identification and commitment of supplier resources in support of those objectives
  5. Joint client/supplier planning
  6. Supplier and client C-level buy-in and participation
  7. Routine evaluation and re-alignment
  8. Account management continuity

How to measure account team success?

Short of a standing ovation, Phil Hecht, global vice president of sales and strategy development for AT&T’s Signature Client Group, believes that “differentiated value” is at the core of a successful major account alliance relationship and the key to gaining a competitive edge. In his view, the value equation includes not only the long term positive impact of a product or service deliverable to the client, but also the value of best practices that the major account team brings to its own company as well.

Equally as important, according to Hecht, are the internal resources available to major account teams. “Owners of major account organizations need a tremendous support structure to feed its sales talent with business intelligence to understand industry dynamics. Given the significant potential rewards equally significant risks, major account leaders need to be particularly vocal about the resources required to anticipate and respond to client opportunities.”

The Payoff

Financial payoffs to both client and supplier alliance partners can be substantial. Such performances not only reap the loudest applause, they also become long playing hits as they

  • Increase wallet share across the client enterprise
  • Contribute to production economies
  • Accelerate product or service innovation
  • Elevate sales and account management performance standards
  • Establish vertical market CRM leadership
  • Gain a measurable competitive advantage


Now that's really a touch act to follow.

Copyright 2008 Thomas Baskind

*Alliance Relationship Model is a quantifiable major account performance model developed by the author. Thomas J. Baskind welcomes inquiries at tbaskind@lexien.com and (914) 682-2069. Lexien Management is an affiliate of D.E.I. Management Group.


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