Why Email Marketing Should Be a Focus for Your Business

When consumers thought the internet was shiny and new, email was the top dog in connecting with friends. Nowadays, email is used for much more – it’s used to share content from companies, and allow the consumers to connect with brands, be it through purchasing products or simply feeling part of the brand’s story.

There are issues with email of course, and for years it has been used to scam unwise users for their hard earned money and fill inboxes with unsolicited spam.

In this day and age, people beg the question of is it still worthwhile for business owners and marketers to connect with consumers via email?

The answer is yes, and there are an abundance of reasons why:

Reaching Mobile Customers

Email marketing shows it’s value for business owners in it’s ease-of-access in connecting with and reaching mobile customers without the investment in new technology. A study by Forrester Research in 2014 showed that 42% of email opens from retailers happen on smartphones – a number which is likely to have improved since then.

It’s also a better way to connect with mobile users than something like SMS for example, as it works on mobile devices other than phones, and there is far more space for content. According to Litmus, around 51% of email opens now happen on mobile, so it’s always important to ensure your content is mobile friendly so you can connect with mobile-users better.

It’s Better Than Social Media for Customer Acquisition

Whilst social media is an important part of any business’s marketing, and it is a great way of interacting with your audience, it’s not a sound way of converting these people into customers or members.

Social Media is important as a first step towards customer acquisition, but email marketing is the way forward in terms of conversion. A study by Custora in 2013 showed that customer acquisition via email had quadrupled over the four years from 2009, and reinforced that it was a growing trend in e-commerce.

Cost Effective

Email marketing is great for allowing business owners to reach a large amount of consumers, or potential customers for next to nothing in costs. This makes it a high choice for smaller businesses instead of channels like TV or Radio.

As well as this, with the correct maintenance of an email list, the return on investment increased through the close relationship that is established with the recipients. Emails generally get a high response, be that opens, clicks or more – so your company or brand is receiving better responses at a lower cost and at a quicker rate.

Easy A/B Testing

 A/B testing is the idea of sending one variation of your campaign to one set of your subscribers, or email list, and a different variation to another set.

The ultimate goal of this is to work out which variation of the campaign generates the best results.

This can vary in complexity and can include different subject lines to see which has more opens, whilst more complex testing could include completely different results. This is available through email clients such as Campaign Monitor and MailChimp.

Application & Examples

To start in the world of email marketing, you’re going to need to do some research. Firstly, you’re going to want to pick the email client that’s going to let you apply your ideas in the manner you want. Then you’re going to need to find contacts to send the email to – by lead generation through your website. Finally – you’ll need to produce content and send this out to the contacts, sometimes segmenting specific content to specific recipients.

An example of email marketing at work comes from InternetRetailing, who reported that leading online chemist ChemistDirect had a 30% increase in revenue in 2013 from email campaigns after changing to an email client.

 

So, there you have it. There are many, many more reasons for businesses to get involved in email marketing that haven’t been mentioned, such as the ability to personalise.

According to Pure360, it’s time you should be taking email seriously.

 

——–

Regan Foy (Twitter / LinkedIn)

Staffordshire University Students’ Union

MSc Digital Marketing Managament Student (Full Time)

Which Social Media Platforms Are Right For Your Business?

Despite what people say, you don’t need to be on all social media platforms to promote your business. However, a lot of businesses fail to harness the power of social media, or waste time using the ‘wrong’ platform for their needs.

By picking the platforms that work for your company and utilising all of the features they have to offer you could be making a bigger difference with just one that you could be with six. Plus there are only 24 hours in a day and for a small business, it can be quite challenging managing all the platforms as well as business activities. But, how do you choose the right social media platform? Let’s get started!

 

WHAT TO CONSIDER?

When deciding which platform is worth investing your time in, there are a few things to consider – your target demographic, the style and ability of the platform and ultimately, what you want to achieve.
Below I’ve put together a list of the key purposes/demographics for the 5 most popular social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram. Take a look and see which is most suitable for your business:

 

FACEBOOK –
Facebook is one of the most popular and powerful social networks out there. It has over 1.28 billion monthly active users. Due to its large number of users, the likelihood of your target audience being online is quite high. The platform has great targeting for both paid and organic content and you can almost completely control the way you want it to look – from the cover photo and profile picture to the about options, app integrations and featured images.
Almost any business can benefit from having a Facebook page. But Facebook isn’t primarily about selling. Facebook is ideal for giving your business a personality. Content works best when you portray your business in a friendly, sociable way. It’s the perfect place to show off what your team members have been up too as well as showcasing your products. “The best ‘bang for the buck’ in Internet marketing today is Facebook advertising. The targeting options are limitless and surprisingly inexpensive for businesses of all sizes.Facebook advertising can help marketers of all kinds get insights into how different demographic groups respond—and for a fraction of the cost of other alternatives,” (Chris Treadaway, co-author of Facebook Marketing: An Hour a Day).

 

TWITTER –
Twitter has become widely popular over the last decade and is known amongst businesses for being the place of conversation. Unlike other social media platforms, Twitter is very ‘in the moment’.
Twitter is the platform for you if you want to reach out to people regarding news, updates, questions for your followers or just want to see what your customers are interested in, choose Twitter.

 

LINKED –
LinkedIn is a B2B social media platform. Just imagine attending your busiest networking event from the comfort of your own office/home. LinkedIn is predominantly a platform that allows you make connections in the business world and utilise them as necessary.

It’s a fantastic platform for recruiters and any professional services. LinkedIn has good targeting options and allows you the make the most of people’s skills.
Service providers are more common on LinkedIn in comparison to manufacturers or retailers, because it’s easier to talk about what your business does, and it’s not a very visual medium.

 

INSTAGRAM –
If your business is B2C and very visual, Instagram is the platform you need to be on. Shops, travel agents, estate agents, designers and more are all on Instagram because they offer a ‘strong visual’ product that people will take an interest in.
Instagram has great integration with Facebook when it comes to advertising and due to its use of hashtags, posts are easier to find and target your customers.
You can drive traffic through to your websites/product pages and also show your company’s personality.

 

YOUTUBE –
We’ve all heard of YouTube, right? It’s the go-to place for reviews, how to’s and entertainment. Almost any business type can benefit from YouTube but it requires a lot of time and skill to build a following and to create engaging videos.
As with all platforms, YouTube can work better for certain industries including retail, health and more. It’s also a fantastic platform for influencer marketing. Not to mention it is the second biggest exarch engine and is still and expanding platform, unlike twitter.

 

So which platform will you be using for your business and why, share your thoughts bellow and thank you for reading this blog post.

 

By Richard Holland – MSc Digital Marketing Student

 

Contact –

Linkedin- Richard Holland

Instagram – Vission Design

Brand –

Instagram – Ricco London

Twitter – Ricco London

Facebook – Ricco London

The Impact of Technology on Business and Communication

I remember the first time I accessed the Internet. It was circa 1996 and I worked as a Research Executive for a market research company. I poured myself a coffee as the computer whirred into life. “Today I’ll show you how to access the worldwide web” said my manager. I watched as she connected a strange looking plug to the phone socket, then opened a “window” on the computer, clicked the mouse and dialled up a connection. Suddenly a high-pitched sequence of beeping and screeching noises erupted from the speakers. It sounded like something was seriously wrong, but as silence returned she exclaimed “that’s it, we’re connected!”

We opened a search engine called Alta Vista (in those days Google wasn’t a verb), typed in the search term “viewing facility London” and proceeded to search for a suitable location to conduct some focus groups. There weren’t many results; a page or two at most. There were no sponsored results at the top of the page, nor advertisements down the side either. In fact there were very few companies with a web presence at all.

St.Helens, England - January 15th 2012: iPad2 in females hands displaying google search engine page. Google is one of the biggest search engines in the world. iPad2 was launched in March 2011.

Shortly afterwards the postman arrived with a pile of post, held together with several thick elastic bands and dropped it onto my desk. Invoices, letters from suppliers, bank statements, bills, CVs from job hunters.  It took me an hour or so to sift through the mail, filing documents appropriately in the rickety wire trays stacked on the corner of my desk – In, Out and Pending.

I loved my job. Loved this amazing new world it opened up for me. Talked enthusiastically about it to my friends and family on long, lazy, work-free weekends. Let’s face it, those were the days when nothing was done from the moment you left the office on a Friday until the moment you walked back through the door on a Monday morning.

In the past two decades technology has revolutionised the way we work. We are a wireless, paperless, fast-moving, connected, global workforce which, like the Big Apple, never sleeps. We are in touch with the whole of the world, twenty-four-seven. Business communications have never been easier or quicker. Isn’t it fantastic?

Well yes, it absolutely is, but it comes at a cost. The connected workforce is less tangible. It’s possible to go for whole days or more, without even seeing or speaking to business contacts. Instead we message them, email them, tweet, post, blog, Google, we Skype and run webinars, we send information and documents electronically. And we’re still messaging, emailing, tweeting and posting once the office doors are shut. From our trains, buses, sofas and sadly, sometimes even our beds. Work can invade our personal lives and the long, lazy weekends become brief gaps in time. We’ve not just changed the way we do business; we’ve changed the way we live.

You could argue that this is inevitable progression in society, much the same as Alexander Graham Bell’s telephone revolutionised both business and personal communications. Personally, I love being part of the connected university. The fact that we are becoming paperless has huge benefits to the environment. I love the fact that I can allow my students the luxury of attending a virtual lecture, a webinar, so that they don’t have to fight through traffic and pollute the atmosphere to get in to university for that day. But I couldn’t do it every day because I still need that face to face interaction with them. We are human beings after all. We can embrace technology and all that it represents, but I still want to do business with people, not machines.

I love to bump into my students in the corridor, say ‘hi’, catch up over a coffee. But like many, I like my personal time away from work too and the struggle to protect this is real.

Technology has indeed revolutionised the way we do business, but a word of warning; don’t forget the human touch. I remember being taught that “people buy people” and despite the digitally connected World that we live in, I still believe this to be true. I also believe that you work to live, not live to work. Technology has allowed work to invade our precious and much needed personal time and we are the only ones who can police that (I have to admit that I am guilty as charged in that respect).

So switch off your laptop, phone, iPad once in a while. Switch them off when work is done. Roll back twenty-plus years, talk to people… and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Technology, Opportunity and Entrepreneurship

Technology has fabulously changed our jobs market since it transformed the production landscape during the industrial revolution, but even more so in the past three decades. Like in the 16th century, many jobs that were once considered crucial are now obsolete, and new job descriptions are being created in the labour market even as many forms of automation are presently being integrated into the production process. One does not have to go far to see how technology has changed our lives in forms of communication, transportation, work and leisure. Your being able to read this article has been greatly enhanced by technology and I as the writer have had to have some basic skills in technology to be able to deliver this article to you.

As an economist, there used to be a time when my profession worried about what humankind would do when we ran out of oil but recent technological advancements have once again rendered that discussion archaic. There also used to be a time when the factors of production were firmly believed to be land, labour, capital and entrepreneurship but some economists will argue that there is a need to include one additional factor of production in the modern era – you guessed it “technology”.

So what does this mean for young people as they decide their future? Should we be scared of this trend? How far reaching will advancements in technology be felt? Humankind has been very fortunate to have been able to grasp the benefits of technology and we have used it to live longer healthier lives, explore space and other planetary objects, and open great doors for the future but we have also made many mistakes along the way. Young people need to wary of this and know that they have to be the ones to decide on how we harness this power and what we use it for.

Business Management students at BMW in Munich

Business Management students at BMW in Munich

My area of focus in economic research right now is entrepreneurship and I became interested in entrepreneurship particularly because entrepreneurs are the ones who combine all the other factors of production to actually benefit humankind. Without the entrepreneur, other factors of production would be idle. Entrepreneurs however need to be somewhat knowledgeable to be able to do their jobs properly. Adam Smith, one of my favourite economists used the example of a small grocery to illustrate this point:

“The owner of such an enterprise [a business] must be able to read, write, account, and must be a tolerable judge too of perhaps, fifty to sixty different sorts of goods, their prices, qualities, and the market where they are to be had cheapest.”

This example shows that a business owner needs a modest amount of education to function profitably. This education might not necessarily be formal but the entrepreneur must know their stuff.

In our current society we are awash with technological advancements and these seem to be changing the way we live and do business. Businesses that have not kept abreast of current vagaries or have been slow to make investments in innovation have found themselves left behind, and entrepreneurs will need to know that they will face the same fate if they do not stay knowledgeable about technological developments that affect their customers and market.

This also presents some opportunities for entrepreneurs as they can be avant-gardists and influencers of the future. Imagine the impact that innovators have had on our current society not just in terms of social media but virtually in all productive fields. The world needs smart means of using its limited resources to improve the quality of our lives, and individuals who can do this successfully will be blessed with the commensurate rewards.

A holistic education is thus needed to be successful in the present climate as well as an open mind and the right sort of social capital. As the saying goes “no one is an island” and “many hands make light work”. Business owners and potential successful entrepreneurs will also be wise not to jump into the water with both feet but to test out their ideas and products carefully before venturing out boldly into the wide world.