Most business owners agree—even if it’s begrudgingly— that their business needs to be engaging customers on some form of social media and using email marketing. It’s easy to dive in to these marketing forms—after all “everyone is doing it” and there’s no charge to use the services (we won’t say it’s free because it costs time!).

Click on Abshier Construction’s logo to view their Facebook fan page. They have a fantastic plan in place that includes industry information and education; community events and information about their services. They have an effective mix of planned updates and spontaneous interactions. (They also have a Twitter page!)

But if a social media or email marketing campaign is not done the right way, you might just be wasting your time and resources. We want to help you avoid that conundrum so we’re going to share a little bit of what we at The Belford Group tell our clients about good social media and email marketing.

Hand in hand 

Social media campaigns and email marketing campaigns should work cohesively together and ultimately be used to accomplish two things:

  1. Create community among your customers
  2. Connect your customers with your website. That’s right—even with having a social media presence and an email marketing program, you need to have a good website.

“In today’s information age of Marketing and Web 2.0, a company’s website is the key to their entire business” –Marcus Sheridan, author of The Sales Lion blog

Can you manage without having both a social media presence and an email marketing program? The truth is, yes. But to best leverage the tools your business has at its disposal, we strongly encourage to have both, and a good website.

The 3 Cs

There’s no magic with these words all starting with the letter C (nor are we being paid by the folks at Sesame Street). But we do think this makes it easier to remember!

When looking at your social media or email marketing, consider:

Channel 

Channel in this context doesn’t mean what you have on your TV. It’s basically, what program or platform do you use?

Constant Contact offers email newsletters, event marketing and surveys.

For email, this is a little simpler. The two most popular email newsletter clients out there seem to be Constant Contact and MailChimp. They have similar features but MailChimp is free for small volume users. Constant Contact charges for all services, but once you start having to pay for MailChimp the costs tend to be higher compared to similar packages on Constant Contact.

Mail Chimp offers free email marketing services for low volume senders and low cost plans for high volume users.

Another comparison is that MailChimp is essentially only for sending emails whereas Constant Contact also offers event marketing services and survey services.

 

For social media, there’s much more to consider. You need to take into account who your target audience is and what kind of message you want to convey. Our recent guide to choosing social media platforms can help you make the right decision.

Consistency

It’s simple, make a plan and stick to it. Don’t wait to send an email or update your social media when you remember or when you’re having a less busy time at work. Flurries of activity followed by no contact gives off the wrong vibe … as if you’re saying that your customers who are connected to you online are less important than the ones right there in your store.

“It’s kind of like going to your office, turning on all the lights, turning on your flashing open sign and leaving for the day without telling anyone,” said Terri Davies, founder of Sociability.ca, a Victoria-based company that specializes in social-media marketing, in an article in the Montreal Gazette

By make a plan, we mean develop a schedule of social media updates and email newsletter content and stick to it. (By the way, content management is a great way The Belford Group can help you).

Content

Speaking of content, have you heard the phrase “Content is King?” It’s pretty much true. What you put out there is important. It’s not good enough to just have social media and to consistently say something on those platforms if you’re not saying anything good. You need to be able to express that you have the skills and experience necessary to meet your customer’s needs.

That said, remember our mantra: “it’s not all about you!” Show you are a thought leader in your industry by sharing articles, tips and ideas about your products and services. Only a small portion of your updates should be hard sales pitches. Shoot for 80% great content, and 20% self-promotion.

The same goes for your email newsletters. Here, you can talk a little bit more about what your company is doing, such as events, etc. But it’s also important to share valuable information with customers that solves one of their problems and establishes you as the go-to person for this problem.

Need help? 

The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget …and any medium.

Call us. We’d love to hear from you.