It’s easy to make assumptions about consumer behaviour — many marketers believe that sending emails first thing in the morning benefits their open rates as they will be at the top of people’s inboxes when they arrive in the office.
In fact, our research shows that they really need to get to know their sector audience and be aware of unexpected trends — such as the habit people have for opening emails that they receive as the time pressures of the work day ease off on the commute home.
In fact, the best time to send an email is now as people are finishing up at work and heading home: over a quarter (26%) of emails are read if they are sent between 5pm and 6pm — 9% above average.
Our research also shows that autumn is the best time of year to launch an email campaign. Over a fifth (21%) of marketing messages sent between September and November are opened, compared to a 17% average.
We regularly see high volumes of email campaigns being sent around key holidays but this research confirms that they’re not having the biggest impact. It’s worth marketers looking for times when inboxes aren't so competitive and recipients aren't distracted by holidays and festivities.
Based on the research, Pure360 has identified the peaks and troughs throughout the day of when consumers are most receptive to being sent emails. These include the “Hike of Hope” when sending leisure emails is particularly successful, and the “Practical Pinnacle”, the point at which sending finance emails is most effective.
Abi Jacks is head of marketing at Pure360.
Like you and me, superheroes have multiple identities to manage, from mild mannered citizen to super alter ego. In person, the personas are simple to sort out, but online, these identities are spread across the web, each one intended for a specific purpose be it family, business, topic expert or friend. Online, we all are superheroes, and like the superhero, we have huge demands on our time as we make purchases and otherwise engage with content. How can we manage it?
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When most firms in your industry look pretty similar (actually almost identical) then why should people bother to buy from you when they can buy from the competition?
Most service firms, PSFs (Professional Service Firms) and businesses in general make life very difficult for themselves.
The really small ones have no idea how to run a business; they spend most of their time struggling to find clients; the larger ones may be more successful but also struggle to keep clients in an ever-changing world where the clients, competitors and staff seem to be constantly changing their behaviour.
Professional services firms think that the key to success is their technical skill-set; however, they don’t understand:
Most “professionals” have been trained to be technically excellent but no-one has told them how to run a business.
People love buying from an expert — whether you are an accountant, a homeopath or a plumber. And because everyone will know and see you as the expert … they will ask you to do the work and they will pay a premium price!
And there are two additional things that an expert does:
The interesting thing is that these attributes all interlock. Once you clarify your specialisation then you can walk and talk and write about it (using the same case studies or examples) to confirm your expert status. Each element of the “expert model” supports the others.
Experts present themselves as an authority or source of knowledge. They present themselves as “positioners” (where they set out to adopt a specific position in the eyes of the customer) rather than “prospectors” (who are chasing work and clients).
The purpose of most expert activity is to command respect rather than to hustle for business. Often, experts take an education-based marketing approach to attracting new clients; and this education includes giving away valuable information and advice rather than giving a sales pitch.
The mindset of the successful expert is that:
Most people are happy to run with the pack. However, in this age of mediocrity you only have to be 5% better than the competition to stand out … and if you stand out then people remember who you are.
Robert Craven is an expert contributor to Marketing Donut. Robert shows directors and owners how to grow their profits. As well as running the Directors’ Centre, he is a keynote speaker and the author of business bestseller Kick-Start Your Business. His latest book – Grow Your Service Firm – is out now.
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and the list goes on. Building a B2B social media campaign for your business can be a very time-consuming process.
And if you run a small business, you do not have time to manage all those social media platforms yourself. In fact, you’ve probably may only have time to manage one.
On average, it takes an SME nearly two hours a day to successfully run just one social networking site. So should you even try to do it yourself? Or should you outsource your social media? Given the investment of time that is needed to perfect your campaign it is often worth calling upon the experts.
So why should you be outsourcing? Let’s break it down.
Are your competitors bang on the social media trend? Are they forever uploading their company updates onto Facebook and tweeting about the latest industry news? Staying on top of the latest news as well as publishing it can be one hell of a task and that is why many businesses are now choosing to outsource their social media campaign.
Outsourcing means that you have the added advantage of knowing that a professional social media service has the potential to convey professionalism and thought leadership. A good social media service will take the time to research your market niche and explore the key developments within your industry so that relevant quality content is produced on your behalf.
Do you ever read your competitors' tweets and Facebook updates and think, “Why didn’t we do something like that? Why isn’t our content as engaging as theirs?”
Social networking is a form of advertising, and advertising takes a lot of time and consideration. You can share and tweet to increase your social presence, but your posts need to be engaging, witty and smart, so that they integrate business and consumer needs.
With any social media campaign, content is king. Although it may only seem like a quick 140-character tweet or a short Facebook update, it takes time to produce quality content. If you’re a small business or a start up, you don’t have the time to manage your social media activities, yet you want an active presence over all the major networks.
By outsourcing your social media, you’re making sure that your messages are going out, you’re gaining followers and answering questions. All without you needing to invest your time or knowledge into knowing how the networks operate.
How do you know you’re getting value for money when it comes to investing in social media marketing? This is the question that deters businesses from getting started, because obviously you want assurance that your spend won’t be wasted.
An effective social media service involves much more than just liking and tweeting — a good social media service will have the appropriate mechanisms to track the results of your social media activity, and it will be proactive about getting measurable results.
Although social media services come at a cost, your service provider will be keen to demonstrate the ROI, because they will want you to invest with them.
Consider this — if you’re going to do it properly in-house, then you’ll need to think about changing a current employee's job role so that they can invest their working day in social media. Then you will also need to consider who will take on their previous role. This could lead to an unnecessary recruitment drive within the business, which requires investment of both time and money, both of which could leave you with more overall outgoings than you had originally anticipated.
If outsourcing to a dedicated B2B social media service is the best option for your business, undergo full research into the potential company and their services to ensure you’re getting the right package for your business needs.
What do you think? Should small businesses do their own social media marketing? Let us know your views below.
It’s no longer enough to simply measure how many followers you have on Twitter. To actively measure ROI on social media, you should also look at your followers’ profiles and any available demographics to make sure that you’re reaching your target audience. After all, these are your potential net promoters. Thankfully, there are some useful tools to help you do just that.
TweepsMap is a free tool that provides you with a handy map of where your followers are located. It gives you a percentage breakdown in the form of a pie chart and list, as well as a visualised map and list breakdown that can be sorted into countries, states and even cities, for the price of only a tweet.
This enables you to check that the majority of your followers are where your services are located. This won’t be a problem for an online product, but if you are a location-specific service — such as a restaurant, legal practice or local tourism provider, you will need to re-evaluate your Twitter strategy and find out how you’re attracting followers from so far afield.
With what must be a very detailed set of algorithms, Schmap.it takes a stab at your followers’ genders, interests, profession and even work and marital statuses. Seeing as Twitter doesn’t ask its users to select gender publicly, it would be very interesting to find out what indicators they analyse in terms of language to come to this conclusion.This is a fairly comprehensive social analytics tool which you can apply to make sure you’re engaging with key social demographics in your market.
Another fantastic SEOmoz tool, Followerwonk has many applications for the social media user. It has recently launched Social Authority, which analyses your followers’ tweets and influence, creating easy pie charts to track how many of your followers are highly-followed users and how many are not; you can check the frequency and recency of tweets, along with the type — is it a URL, Retweet or @reply. It also generates some nice bio word clouds so you can find out what the key areas your users self-identify in. These tools are great if you need to find out how active your followers are — and therefore how likely they are to retweet your activity.
As with all social media activity, it’s easy to spend a lot of time trying to get it right, and it becomes difficult to measure ROI. But your followers’ engagement with your brand and with other users is a tangible way to measure your progress, so it is worth spending time to get to know them.
Vivienne Egan writes for Brandwatch, the social CRM provider.
Are you doing enough to attract people to your website?
Are you using the right keywords and phrases? Are you active on social media channels? Do you have a blog? Have you tried pay-per-click advertising? Are you sending out an email newsletter? If you answer yes to most of these, then you can pat yourself on the back. But why — when you look at the analytics — do you find that visitors are taking one look at your website and leaving again?
Your website is your online calling card — it is the hub of all of your marketing activity. It is the place that you are driving everyone to in the hopes of converting interested browsers into loyal buyers. But is it up to the job?
Here are eight ways that your website could be putting people off:
Do a “we” and “you” count on your website. Is your copy all about you? It’s time to change the focus — tell your audience what you can do for them. Show that you understand their needs and can solve their problems. And make sure this is crystal clear on your home page.
Many businesses use the About Us pages to write a potted history of the company. Stop living in the past and refocus your content on what you do in the here and now. Describe what you offer clearly, show how you can help and make it relevant to your audience today.
If you run an ecommerce website, work out how many stages someone has to go through to buy from you — and then try and reduce them. Do they have to register first? Is that really necessary? Make sure you offer automatic address look-up options — they speed things up and improve accuracy.
Slow-loading website pages are a massive turn-off. All the research shows that faster speeds lead to more business, it’s as simple as that.
If you’ve got a news or blog page, you must keep it up to date and fresh. If someone arrives on a page and the most recent post is several months old, it looks unprofessional and it could even suggest that you may have gone out of business.
The great thing about a website is that it can provide all the information that your customers needs in one place. So when they make contact, they’ve done their research and are often ready to buy. I was researching hotels online recently and one website was asking customers to email them if they wanted a copy of the latest menu! That is absolutely daft. It’s vital that your website provides the information your customers need so they get the reassurance that will prompt them to make the next move.
It’s tempting to brag about your achievements on your website. But instead of blowing your own trumpet too much, let your customers do the talking. Testimonials and case studies are a great way of demonstrating your credentials and proving that you are the right people to do business with. Without that third-party endorsement, you’re expecting new customers to take you on trust.
More and more of us are doing our searching online via our smart phones. If your site doesn’t look good on a mobile phone — and especially if it’s hard to use — you are alienating a growing number of potential customers.