By Guest Blogger, Mary Schmidt, Marketing Troubleshooter
From my "match your marketing tactics to your (best) customers" file
Admit it – were you anxiously awaiting this to pop up in your RSS feed? Are you waiting in breathless anticipation to the next email popping up in your in-box?
No? Well, same here.
Here’s what I do every morning, first thing in the office:
1. Open up maryschmidt email. Delete several unopened. This even when I know the sender. There are several well-meaning people that bombard me with emails on everything from lost cats to unrequested/unneeded meeting notices. Delete. delete. First priority read: the ones without attachments (I'll get to those with attachments later...maybe...if I've not forgotten.)
2. Go to my personal gmail account. Delete majority unopened (yes, even when I love the sender - see above about sending me everything), including several eletters to which I subscribed. (Don't have time now.) Report some as spam. (Google makes this very easy.)
3. Pop into Facebook. Ignore most of the status updates and all of the crap FB has plunked on my page.
Now if I – who loves electronic communication, depends on the Web for my work, and enjoys “social media” – do this, imagine what your customers do…the ones who DON’T make their living on the Web, don’t grok email, and haven’t a clue what “social media” is (and don’t really care. Sure, you fervently believe they should, but the reality is – they don’t.)
To further frustrate you - there are still millions out there who can barely open their email account, much less do anything else, like install effective spam filters “I was getting so much junk; I closed that account.” ?! They also don't trust the Web, so they don't want to sign up with you online either. “I don’t want to give my info to Paypal.” (Yet they shop on Amazon and eBay. Go figure.)
Even “simply” sending them an email isn’t a marketing strategy. This is particularly true with those who still have their email at AOL, for example. You may never make it past their bad boy spam operations. And, the AOlers complain to you ("Why aren't you sending me the info I asked for?") and expect you to fix it - a no-win customer service issue.
Quick Marketing Side-step: Good ol' "quick and easy" email requires some thinking re target, content and positioning just like anything else, if you want it to work. Example: If I'm your target, and you're sending a cold email blast from an AOL address, you'll be deleted unopened and marked as spam (if you ever get to me in the first place). I see such emails as clueless and a waste of time. If you're sending to fellow AOLers - you may get away with it for awhile and even get a bit of biz...IF they get your email at all.
A Facebook page is also NOT a “social media” strategy. Build it and they won’t come….just like they didn’t flock to the bare bones web site the company threw up three years ago and then never touched again.
Now that I've piled on all the negativity - here's the point. Certainly, we've now got great technology tools for marketing. And, the Web provides tremendous opportunities for all types of businesses. But, we also have to consider to whom we're marketing. We've got to go where they are. If you're a retail store selling and servicing sewing machines in Albuquerque and most of your customers are women over 65 - you probably don't need to spend a lot of time writing eletters, tweeting or posting on Facebook. (You should, however, have at least a simple web site, since many people now use Google as a phone book...even if they don't grok all the rest of the Web wonders.)
I know it's web marketing heresy, but...the $$ you're thinking of spending on a social media project? It might be better spent on a customer appreciation event, a (truly) special offer to your long-time customers or a old-fashioned (well-planned, targeted) direct mail campaign.
Ask your customers what they want and need. The answer may surprise you (and save you a lot of time and money on "new" marketing glitz to chase "new" customers.)