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Email Marketing Under GDPR: What You Need To Know

By Posted on 5 min read 22 views

Frankly, speaking this action was a warranted one.

Aggressive and abusive email marketing tactics had become quite rampant and even I, from a consumer’s point of view, used to get irritated with the flurry of messages being bombarded from all corners of the web.

Previously, it was the Nigerians we would blame it upon.

But a time came when it seemed the whole internet community was out to get you in your inbox.

Seriously marketers, would you learn the Art of Email Marketing from this article first, please?

So, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which is nothing but giving back power to the data subjects—internet users like you and me—to decide who holds their information, how long and for what purpose, is warmly welcome.

But howsoever helpful it might be for the consumers, this might turn out to a rather nasty prick in the a*** of hard-core email marketers, to be honest.

What does GDPR mean for future email marketing campaigns?

Unbundled: The potential email recipients must clearly know why the data is being asked for.  And remember, it should be separately and distinctly explained, apart from the terms and conditions. Consent will not be assumed as a result of a customer signing up for a service unless that service specifically requires it.

Active opt-in: Clear opt-in boxes need to be used for the data subjects to notice them properly. Pre-ticked boxes will not be sufficient to confirm consent.

Granular: If different degrees and varieties of data handling are expected to be gathered or utilized, each stratus of such data revelation and the consequences of such needs to be elucidated. This measure means consumers will have maximised control over the data that they are submitting for processing.

Named: Marketers must reveal the name of the data-handling organisation and also the third parties who might get access to such data. For example, stating that information may be shared with other car dealers is evidently not enough. Each such car dealer should be named.

Evidenced: Where compliance increases its hold, evidence becomes crucial in cases of disputes. Records need to be maintained for the data subject, and the data, its purposes and its timeline. Even the method of consent needs to be noted. Why? It is to figure out the scope of the consent given by the data subject.

Easy to withdraw: Data subjects must be given the permission and facilities to withdraw their data promptly and without hassle under GDPR. Marketing teams will have to make efforts to facilitate this option to withdraw from email transactions.

No imbalance: This one—that the power distribution between the marketer and the consumer must be equal—is BIG. Marketers must now keep reminding data subjects about what they have given consent to and regularly ask for consent to be renewed or reconsidered. The data subject must always be in control of its data, whatever the situation might be.

The next question that comes up is…

How to send emails under GDPR?

Good question.

And my answer would be, “Do unto others as you would wish to be done unto you.”

It’s that simple, really.

DO ask for permission whenever required — remember, the data owner has the power over it. You are just a tenant and before utilizing the Lord’s property, you must seek his permission, from time to time. It’s better to be safe than sorry, and asking for direct, affirmative permission to contact someone via email is the most secure process under GDPR and E-Privacy legislation.

DON’T send ANY form of an email to anyone who has asked given you such permission. Exclude anyone from your campaigns who do not wish to be contacted, unsubscribed from a list, or opted-out in any other way.

DO study the divergence between B2B and B2C markets, and part your mailing lists accordingly.

B2B emails are usually sent to a particular business email and not to a particular person. Yes, you might be sending the email to the General Manager or the HR Representative. But business email addresses are normally open to the public to get in touch with.

However, it is not so with personal email addresses. You need explicit permission to promote your product or service to an individual unless he is your uncle who stays in Canada.

That said, DON’T add every business email address you get hold of to every mailing list your company uses. Instead, write them a thoughtful introduction, coupled with some niceties, for him to get curious about your products and services on his own.

No aggressiveness, remember!

Then — now comes the serious bit — ask them if they would like to be added to your email list to receive information on the industry or new updates and offers on your products and services.

If they say no, DON’T add them — silence is not consent!

When dealing with one person companies, sole proprietorships or even small firms with a couple of partners, DO follow B2C rules. Just as with an individual customer, you need to ask for explicit consent for opt-in to send them future emails. (Or else, the GDPR dog watches!)

DON’T assume your prospects wants and desires. Yes, this is the irony. The more Big Data helps us know about our prospects, the lesser we are free to act upon it.

Emailing your past customers needs to comply with the acceptable time period customary between two consecutive emails as suitable for the products and services. Moreover, every email should correlate to the nature of the product or service bought for. (You cannot sell dog laces to someone who bought acne removal creams from you before.)

One important point to note:

If you are using ‘intelligent’ email marketing tools and alter campaigns based on the behavioural metrics of the email recipient, you are violating GDPR. You DO need to inform email recipients about this particular finding and that you might be modifying your campaigns based on that data, giving them the option to opt-out or unsubscribe.

Ideally, if you are communicating with new contacts, DON’T be too rigid. Try to engage them with valuable content in various formats like eBooks, white papers, reports, blogs, etc.

The customer is king.

If you remember this always, you will fare properly.

Below is a MarketingProfs infographic you might love if you are a marketer.

gdpr marketing

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What Is Branding? How Is It Related To Marketing?

By Posted on 7 min read 35 views

Dear Reader,

What is branding, anyway? It is regularly tossed around by both amateurs and veterans in the marketing and advertising field as if it was some hot, sexy stuff right out of Hollywood and carried with it a glitter of its own. Branding sounds so glamorous, right?

Well, it’s not. In fact, it’s cold and hard, and extremely precious to the minutest details possible. But it would be hard to deny that there is a touch of humanity to the branding concept. Guess what? That makes defining the B-word almost impossible to people who don’t understand it yet.

However, I aim to achieve the impossible in this letter. So let’s get on with it.

A Few Branding Definitions...

The question is tricky, and I would like to start with Cheryl Burgess’ quote from Blue Focus Marketing: “A brand is a reason to choose.” That’s trite and cute, but no novice will probably be able to understand the concept of Branding from that little quote.

Okay, let’s hear what Mr Leo Burnett has to say: “A brand symbol is anything that leaves a mental picture of the brand’s identity.” Ah! Now we got a far more concrete answer this time.

So, a brand is formed with one or more ‘props’ that instantly help a prospect to recall the personality of a company. The symbols can be anything and everything starting from name, term, design, symbol or anything whatsoever—as per the American Marketing Institute.

Fair enough.

Let’s hear what one of my most favourite marketing authors need to say about it.

A brand is the set of expectations, memories, stories and relationships that, taken together, account for a consumer’s decision to choose one product or service over another. If the consumer (whether it’s a business, a buyer, a voter or a donor) doesn’t pay a premium, make a selection or spread the word, then no brand value exists for that consumer. Seth Godin

As we can understand from the definitions above, a brand is not tangible in nature. So, don’t think you have a brand just because you paid that Fiverr designer $25 to design a cool logo for your website. Brand is all about perception.

Al Ries says, “A brand is a singular idea or concept that you own inside the mind of a prospect.” In Ze Frank’s words, it’s the “emotional aftertaste” that comes after an experience (even a second-hand one) with a product, service or company. More like the hot iron mark on a steer’s hindquarters. Just remember, the business, and not the customer, is the steer here.

branding marketing

My Perception of Brand (Pun Intended)

If you were to ask me, an insignificant marketing copywriter, I would say:

Your brand, in essence, is akin to a living being: it has an identity and personality, name, culture, vision, emotion and intelligence. Or let’s say, your brand is what your prospect thinks of when he or she hears your brand name.  Your brand name brings back a complete snapshot of everything he thinks he knows about you—both factual (e.g. It comes in a robin’s-egg-blue box), and emotional (e.g. It’s innovative and professional). Your brand name, which lives in reality, activates the essence of your brand, which lives in imagination.

I agree with the remark made by Jeremy Miller of Sticky Branding that branding is forming an emotional connection with your customer. That relationship resides in your customer’s mind.

Mr Shakespeare said, “What’s in a name?” I say EVERYTHING.

Now comes the far more important question. Marketers, adjust your glasses, grab a cup of coffee and pay attention now.

How Branding Relates To Marketing

To answer this question, I will have to start by quoting a TSL Marketing article:

“Successful branding yields benefits such as increased customer loyalty, an improved image, and a relatable identity.”

That being said, let us go over the objectives of marketing once.

Objective  #1. Engage with target audience

Look, let me put this straight for you.

Nobody does business with a robot.

Even when a consumer is buying a product or service from a business, which is essentially an artificial person, they are still buying from a “person”.

And to prove that a business is human, it needs to act human. It needs to engage with its audience like a human.

By staying engaged with your target audience, you effectively humanise your brand and also set yourself up as an ideal person to buy from or do business with.

And who achieve this purpose?

Of course, the marketing team—because it’s the numero uno objective of marketing.

Objective #2. Prove industry leadership

When some random Mr Smith opens shop in your niche, the only way to stand out of the crowd is to get on top of the ladder.

This is the second biggest challenge of marketing—to become the first name in the customer’s mind in a particular industry.

Your marketing process including content marketing, that is, content, blog articles, offers, client communications, and social media engagement, should all focus on setting yourself and your company aside as industry thought leaders because when it comes time to open the wallet, people want to do business with them.

Once you are an industry leader, not only will your competitors but also prospects will follow you. They will listen to what you have to say. They will buy everything you say. They will follow you like little-lost puppies (well, maybe not so but still somewhat).

But for that to happen...

Your business needs to come to the front bench of the class.

You need to speak up a lot more than you already do.

You need to be present every day, even when it rains heavily.

Be proactive and participate in every event you can.

That’s when you get that much-coveted attention from both your class teacher and that special blue-eyed blonde you like.

Understood?

Objective #3. Building a loyal following

I didn’t use the word “leads” or “traffic”.

Do you think it sounds too harsh to your prospects?

Suppose, you go over to your favourite cafe, and the waiter standing beside you flatly shouts out to the barista, “Hey Mack, another existing customer arrived. Generate as much revenue from him as possible.” Would you visit that cafe again? I guess no.

That is exactly why I hate business terminology.

Forget about building a pile of leads.

Start building a community.

You don’t need customers. You need loyal supporters of the WHY of your business as suggested by Simon Sinek.

And I hate repeating it. It’s again a part of marketing.

Now speaking of supporters—and loyalty—we have finally reached to the most important objective of marketing.

Objective #4. Establish a brand that your target audience “falls in love” with.

If you have read so far, you are in for a treat.

Because I am finally going to answer one of the most baffling marketing questions now.

Is branding actually marketing? Yes, a resounding yes.

You see, marketing aims towards determining and laying the foundation of your business brand.

But actually, the whole process of marketing is in essence brand building.

Yes, that’s right.

It’s not just the one of the objectives of marketing. It is the ONLY objective of marketing.

Whether you market a product or a whole company, you are essentially moving towards entrenching the brand of the business.

Let me tell you from my own experience and from what most marketing folks will tell you, the very first step is to define the end goal, that is, the brand to be established.

Who are we as a company?

What keywords do people search to find our products/service?

Who are our buyer personas?

What makes us different?

How do we convey our expertise through content and graphics?

What value are we providing?

What makes customers buy from us? What makes them return?

Then, all forms of marketing get executed to make the brand a ‘reality’ in the mind of the customers.

A complete paradox this article has been, hasn’t it? Reality-imagination, beginning-end, branding-marketing...whew!

Your takeaway of the letter:

The brand is the perception someone holds in their head about you, a product, a service, an organisation, a cause, or an idea.  Brand building is the deliberate and skilful application of effort to create the desired perception in someone else’s mind. That’s the first and last goal of marketing.

How marketing does that?

Moving the prospect through various stages to converting them into customers, and finally, into brand evangelists. It starts with Branding, and it ends with Branding. This one sentence pretty much sums it all up.

That’s the reason why David Packard of Hewlett-Packard fame once ironically observed that “marketing is too important to be left to the marketing people.” Because a brand is almost...forever. Many a company became giants and many withered away—all because of one word: branding.

By the way, if you are still confused about what branding is, just go by what David Meerman Scott says:

“Branding is what lazy and ineffective marketing people do to occupy their time and look busy.”

Can’t argue with that.

As ever,
Ron C
Founder, CopyeWriting

P. S. Take the How Strong Is Your Brand Personality? Test here and see where you stand in the Branding game.

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The Greatest Sin Of A Content Marketer

By Posted on 3 min read 25 views

Dear Reader,

I tell you…

If you are doing this, you are committing a GREAT SIN as a content marketer.

Be honest.

Are you following the herd?

What I mean is, are you doing something just for the sake of doing it?

Because others (maybe influencers) are doing it?

Have you mistakenly fallen prey to The Tipping Point theory of Malcolm Gladwell?

If you said yes, I don’t blame you.

“Let’s face it. We live in a command-based system, where we have been programmed since our earliest school years to become followers, not individuals. We have been conditioned to embrace teams, the herd, the masses, popular opinion — and to reject what is different, eccentric or stands alone. We are so programmed that all it takes for any business or authority to condition our minds to follow or buy something is to simply repeat a statement more than three or four times until we repeat it ourselves and follow it as truth or the best trendiest thing. This is called “programming” — the frequent repetition of words to condition us how to think, what to like or dislike, and who to follow.”

― Suzy KassemRise Up and Salute the Sun: The Writings of Suzy Kassem

So yes, you are just being human. I am not that different either.

However, let me put it out to you as bluntly as I can.

You are doing it WRONG!

Why?

The sole reason is that you are a “marketer”.

Why do you think they always ask for ‘creative bent of mind’ when they post that ad on Monster? It’s not for the sake of including it because it sounds so dandy and the company was in lack of better criteria.

It is because…

Your job as a marketer is to disrupt marketing strategies.

You heard that right.

As a marketer, you don’t follow the age-old, outdated strategies on and on. It will diminish business results further over time and you will end up getting handed the pink slip, ouch!

For example, look at the content marketing industry today.

For God’s sake, every Tom, Dick and Harry is writing 2000+ word blog posts. I never knew there were so many “experts” around me—on every possible niche under the sun.

content marketing fallacy

Tell you what, it’s a fallacy.

But I am not going to criticize the industry here. If one likes to pose as an expert in his black suit and speak to a hall room full of audiences, who am I speak against it?

Everyone has right to do what they want to do (at least within restrictions).

However…

If you as a marketer try to follow the herd and spout out long-form pieces one after another, to prove “Who’s your daddy?” theory, you are the Bigger Fool, my friend.

Rather, do something different.

If they are writing 2000+ words articles, write 200 words—but of superior value.

Make it count.

Remember, at the end of the day, your customer desires higher value, he doesn’t go looking for 2000+ words posts or infographics or whatever.

Be different.

Be valuable.

21st Century Marketing Formula: Value + Uniqueness = Success Click To Tweet

As Seth Godin says:

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.”

Can’t beat that. Love his ideology.

Your Content Marketing Takeaway-of-the-Day:

Go in the opposite direction searching for a higher value to your customers.

As ever,
With my best wishes,
Ron C

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Being A Marketer Is Damn Tough BUT…Possible In 9 Simple Ways

By Posted on 8 min read 23 views

Look, whoever said “being a marketer is easy” is the BIGGEST liar of this century. He probably lives in the basement of his parents’ house and could not market his idea to his dad even, because for all I know…

Marketing—I mean, marketing anything, whether it is a new product or rebuilding an old dying brand—can turn out to be the hardest challenge of your life, unless you are eating dinner with the managing director of IBM or recently resigned as a Chief Technology Officer of Twitter.

In the super-competitive market that we live in today, expect to put in all your resources plus at least 80-90 hours per week and still you might find it not to be enough. In short, being a marketer dares you. Being a marketer drains you. Being a marketer punishes you…like you are a pet dog. Whew!

The question is, can you sustain this onslaught on a daily basis? Perhaps not, unless you include some serious productivity hacks in your daily life.

Divide Your Full Day Into Convenient Time Blocks

Whether it’s 15-minutes or as long as an hour, it’s your call. However, you need to segment your whole day and allot each time block to a single task. Read it again, SINGLE task. Do not multitask—it negatively affects your productivity. Do not create a to-do list. Create a schedule instead. You will benefit just like Rebekah Epstein did:

“Not only did this make me feel significantly less stressed, I was getting more done in fewer hours!”

And oh yes, it’s “crucial to make sure you record all your meetings and appointments in one place instead of having them scattered throughout different calendars, notebooks, and apps,” writes Alexandra Weiss, a partner at CA Creative in New York, via email. “Not only will it save time to only have to check one calendar but it will also help ensure that you are not double booking or missing any meetings.”

Keep Distractions Out Of Your Way

If you study some of the most successful marketers in the world, you will find one thing in common: Focus. Stop checking your emails every 10 minutes. Keep your phone on the silent mode or just switch it off altogether when you are working. Take three 15-min breaks to check your emails and voice mails during the day.

Alex Turnbull, CEO-Founder of GrooveHQ writes:

“A sec” probably means a 3-5 minute conversation is about to take place. But the cost of that conversation isn’t just those 3-5 minutes.

Scientific research shows that you need at least 23 minutes to regain attention. Ouch, 23 minutes of non-productively as a marketer—that’s quite a lot!

Preparation Is The Key To Your Marketing Success

Nothing is more than this one. Mr Opportunity might be knocking on the door but if you aren’t there to open it, it’s no use. Mr Opportunity is a fickle-minded and busy person. He won’t wait forever. Prepare beforehand. Start with the end in mind and work on it. So, when the time comes, you are ready to take advantage of it.

As per the words of Eliyahu Goldratt:

“Good luck is when opportunity meets preparation, while bad luck is when lack of preparation meets reality.”

And oh, I have to let Will Smith, one of my favourite Hollywood actors speak here. He is massively successful and just plain awesome at his art, and he says:

“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness [sic] for practice and preparation.”

In the marketing niche, who wins? Not the one with the most talent, but the one who puts in the highest level of effort. Resources matter but only to an extent.

I don’t boast often but I must share this little fact about myself. I became a copywriter long before I even completed my college education. I know a plenty of copywriters who have completed their University education and still haven’t gotten hold of the basics of digital marketing. The problem is, they don’t put in the necessary effort to perfect themselves in their art.

But I did. I spent nights completing the AWAI course and reading the Halbert Letters. Put in the effort, man or woman (I am not a sexist, you see).

Set SMART Goals For Every Quarter Or So

Break down the BIG goal into smaller, achievable and quantifiable goals for the short term. Write them down on index cards and paste them in front of your desk. Not only does it help you to keep focus in your regular endeavours, it ensures that the whole business goes in the right direction.

The trouble with not having a goal is that you can spend your life running up and down the field and never score. – Bill Copeland

In his fantastic book, “Delivering Happiness“, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh describes how offering smaller, but more frequent promotions had a measurable increase in employee satisfaction, even though the final accomplishment was the same. Instead of offering one big promotion every 18 months, for example, the management at Zappos found that offering smaller promotions, say every 3 months, would result in increased employee satisfaction and motivation.

You can take this lesson and apply it to your own life. Take the mountains you need to climb and break them up into smaller hills that you can walk. You’ll be happier and more motivated to start working towards that next milestone on your way to marketing greatness.

Work Urgent Tasks First And Delegate As Much As You Can

This is against popular opinion but involves a far more effective strategy. You measure a task on a 2D scale of impact and effort. You finish the “highest impact, highest effort” tasks first and “lowest impact, lowest effort” ones last. What I mean by that is, you should always reward your mini self by finishing off the quick and easy starts, and leave the most complicated tasks to tackle in the end.

And always delegate the tasks you can. As much as you would like to say to your wife, you are not a Superman or even a Batman. You cannot do everything alone. You need help from your in-house associates. You need help from your outsourced staff. In fact, make sure you do only what you cannot delegate to others.

Remember not to work in your business but to work ON your business. (This is mainly applicable to the C-level marketing executives.).

Maintain Daily Routine Of At Least 1 Hour Yoga (Preferably)

If you ask me, yoga has a unique way of rejuvenating your mind and body and strengthens your Self to take on what comes your way. Every successful marketer comes with a strong, resilient spirit, derived from a healthy body and mind. It’s not sitting at a desk for 9 hours after all.

Bonus Tip: Meditate for at least half an hour every day (twice is always advisable).

Shrimati Bhanu Narasimhan of Art Of Living Center In California says, ““Meditation is the mind without agitation.” It’s about sustaining “mental hygiene”. Stanford Researcher, Emma Seppälä, who is also the associate director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford, says, “It’s very empowering.”

Personally speaking, I meditate whenever I can. And I recommend it to everyone I come across, sometimes even 5-year-olds! (Their moms always love that BTW. I don’t know why.)

Start Your Day By Writing A Journal

Again, this is not what they (pointing at the pop psychologists) will suggest. They say, write the journal by the end of the night—a great way of letting out your emotions and go to sleep peacefully. But as an entrepreneur, you can only sleep peacefully when you have done your day’s work properly.

That happens when you start your day with a little pep talk via the journal. You are basically talking about yourself. You are the patient and you are the psychologist. You listen to your own questions in your “struggling” marketing life (we all go through this) and you yourself start providing answers for the same.

What’s more? Journals can be a great way to start self-discovering yourself.

Paul Smith and Betty Smith, both fashion designers, keep their creativity alive by regularly writing in a notebook. Great writers like Virginia Woolf, Maya Angelou, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Sylvia Path and Alice Walker along with hundreds of writers across time who all kept diaries and journals which has informed their writing and creative productivity.

As the life coach and author, Jackee Holder states:

“Journals are creative portals. Because you’re in dialogue with your inner life when you write in a journal, you solve problems and get creative. Keeping a journal can be both a clearing-house and – in the next word, sentence or page – become an incubator where you tap into your imagination and unleash your creativity and ideas.”

Keep Gathering Daily Lumps Of Gold In Your Knowledge Ville

I cannot stress much on this one. Not only reading stimulates you mentally, keeps you updated with knowledge and builds up your analytical and critical skills, a new study shows that for men, access to books from a young age corresponds to higher earnings over a lifetime.

Now you are listening. It’s not me speaking. It’s Charlie Munger speaking. (If you haven’t heard about his name before, forget reading this letter and Google his name right now.)

“In my whole life, I have known no wise people who didn’t read all the time — none, zero”.

Take the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, who reads 50 books a year, or Buffett, who spends as much as 80 percent of his day reading.

Eat A Live Frog Every Morning. Seriously!

Mark Twain once said, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.” He may not be a young entrepreneur, but his advice still stands over a century later: if there’s something you’ve been dreading doing, don’t let it drag on — just do it and move forward.

Research by Roy Baumeister shows that our willpower starts off high and then depletes throughout the day. Other research shows that starting a goal but not completing it (a.k.a., procrastinating) makes us less effective at the next tasks we perform.

The truth is, being a marketer and watching consumers talk about that old shitty brand in a new light or the sales graph go up every quarter can be a fulfilling life achievement, but only if you make yourself capable of being one.

Or else, know the feeling of drowning? Imagine you are drowning in the middle of the Pacific and nobody is there to save you. That’s how you will feel every day.

You sure don’t want that, do you?

Contently yours,

Ron C, Copy-e-Writing

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Attention B2B Marketers: 8 Types Of Customer Psychology You Need To Know

By Posted on 4 min read 13 views

As per Dawn Iacobucci, a professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and editor of the Journal of Consumer Research: “Companies need to know what’s on your mind. What’s in your heart? What do you really want to do with your life?”

So, true it is! I am no professor for sure but over these years, I have gathered a few lessons which I keep close to my heart.

One of them is, sort of, rule of thumb:

“Numbers don’t mean anything. Your customers mean.”

And herein lies the problem.

Your customers won’t say a thing!

But they will ACT…once a new product arrives in the market or a competitor comes up with a better marketing strategy. And it might already be late then (or so we can assume for the moment).

I have seen many businesses fall into this trip and lose over millions in sales revenue.

Wait a second! In case, you are thinking…these companies had star marketing managers and had market research PPTs dispersed all over their desk.

So what went wrong?

They looked into the numbers, the facts, or the objective aspect of it.

They didn’t care to look into the subjective aspect of it.

Even when they were thinking that their customer is 50 years old, earns $45000 and is a family person living in an urban neighbourhood, they didn’t really figure out what motivates their customer—their desires, their fears, their aspirations. You know, like the way you know your brother or your best friend.

In my opinion—this is something I try to achieve in my marketing work too—always focus on the inner person of your customer.

KNOW YOUR CUSTOMER INSIDE OUT. (Reminding me of Brian Adams’ song.)

To start with, here’s an outline of the 8 types of customer psychology you will deal with everyday.

1.        Actualizers: These people are sophisticated, successful and active. They come with high self-esteem and possess loads of resources. They seek enrichment, growth and self-exploration. Their need of expression is quite strong, and they manifest strength of character and independence. They do not conform to status-, principle- or action-oriented behaviour.

2.       Fulfilleds: These people are mature, reflective and comfortable in nature. They value knowledge, they demand order and they manifest responsibility in their actions. They are educated professionals and are self-assured. They work on principles and prefer personal risks to societal risks. They are conservative people, content with family and careers.

3.       Believers: These people are conventional and conservative. They believe in family, community, nation and the church. They favour domestic products and well-known brands. They have modest education and income but they are self-sufficient and live according to routine.

4.       Achievers: They are successful in their careers and fully in control and content in their family lives. They value structure and stability above all. They are conservative and does not like change in the status quo. They normally go with the big names in the industry. They do not like to take too many risks.

5.       Strivers: These people seek approval from those around them. They possess fewer economic, psychological and social resources. What they desire is out of their reach. They normally emulate higher status people and desire to be stylish. They are normally impulsive and unsure of themselves.

6.       Experiencers: These are the younger generations—impulsive, enthusiastic and even rebellious. They love action and self-expression to the fullest. They seek excitement and adventure, and to some extent, to feed their ego. They enjoy fashion, music, movies, sports, social activities and fast food—uninformed and politically uncommitted.

7.       Makers: These people are realists. They are practical, and value self-sufficiency and family. They enjoy working on houses, repairing furniture and raising children. They are more into equipments for practical purposes. They are conservative by nature and conform to god and government. They prefer privacy though.

8.       Strugglers: They have limited financial, social or psychological resources. They manifest poor health, both mental and physical. They are negative by nature, and focus on how everything is difficult. They focus more on present rather than the future. They are cautious about new purchases and need trust.

Okay, I understand that this is too generic, especially if you are in the B2B industry.

But what I wanted this to be just a start, you know.

For you to start working on creating your own customer psyche chart.

The main thing is, do not neglect their inner psychology.

Want to know how I remind myself of this every day I start working on a marketing campaign?

I just remind myself that I am a consumer too.

I try to place myself in their shoes and see myself playing their role in my mind.

What do I feel?

What do I want?

What do I fear?

The complete life, everything…in a flash!

It’s a nice routine. Try it sometime.

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A Bit Of Marketing Philosophy, Eh?

By Posted on 3 min read 27 views

Philosophy is not my strong point, but I like to sound intellectual when I write these blogs, so I thought I would spend some time with Plato.

Plato discusses a “theory of forms,” and by the term “forms” he really means ideas. The basic idea of the theory is that ideas are a higher form of reality than stuff. Heavy-duty thinking, right? Of course, Plato was a little biased because he was selling ideas and not stuff, but I tend to agree with him anyway.

For example, in addition to being a blogger, I also market business software. The sales team is really selling a giant pile of perfectly arranged ones and zeroes.

Now, we could argue that they’re not selling ones and zeroes, but rather the arrangement of those numerals. Do we really go to the florist to buy flowers, or do we go to buy a floral arrangement?

This isn’t anything new. The old saw is that people don’t need drills, they need holes. (Yes, it amuses me that there is an old saw about drills.) But seriously, who on earth is going to buy a hole? No one, that’s who. So, we can sell saws because they’re tangible, but we market holes because holes are an idea.

Back to our customers. They know they need a hole (or a solution), and they may even jump to the conclusion that they need a drill, or a great big pile of nicely arranged ones and zeroes. On the other hand, they may have a screw loose and not necessarily make that leap. That’s where we come in.

What does all this have to do with Plato? Hang on, I’m getting there.

You see, Plato wrote about the allegory of the cave. In this scenario, there are a bunch of prisoners chained in a cave. They cannot turn around, but they have a fire behind them that casts shadows on the cave wall in front of them. As a matter of perspective, the prisoners regard the shadows as reality and not the objects creating the shadows (which they cannot see).

So let’s suppose a drill and board are situated between the fire and the prisoners, and when the drill makes a hole in the board, the prisoners get the concept without actually laying their hand on the drill.

A salesman might go to these prisoners and ask them if they would like to buy a drill. “Yes,” the prisoners will say. “We can drill through our shackles and get the heck out of here.”

Now a rookie marketer might go to these same prisoners and say, “You dopes, a drill will get the job done, but what you really need are keys to unlocking your shackles.”

Plato had a sage teacher, Socrates. Socrates, the originator of the Socratic method (duh), knew it was far better to teach by asking questions rather than lecturing. So taking a cue from Socrates, the savvy marketer will say, “A drill might work for you but what do you really want? Do you want to get out of this damp cave? Have you considered keys?”

Great marketers will not try to disabuse their customers of their preconceived notions. A great marketer will be informed about potential solutions. They will endeavour to understand their customers’ needs. But rather than pushing a solution on a potentially uninformed customer, they will inform and encourage their customers to draw their own conclusion.

I’ve come to the conclusion that neither Plato nor Socrates had all the answers, but they had some great ideas. I think they would have been terrific marketers.

To your business success,

Ron C,
Owner-Manager, Copy-e-Writing

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6 Email Marketing Best Practices…Take It Or Leave It

By Posted on 4 min read 24 views

In 2019, the average email user is expected to receive 96 emails per day. How can you make your company’s emails stand out?

Are you thinking what I am thinking?

Look, emails can be a great way to build customer engagement and drive sales, but all too often this potentially powerful resource is misused and overused (as is expected, we marketers were never really known for taking our economics classes seriously! We just don’t know when to draw a line. We beat the best strategy to a pulp…always. But that’s best kept for another discussion.)

Okay, so where were we?

Yeah, abuse of email marketing, right.

Improper use of e-mail campaigns is not just a waste of your time and money, it can also wind up driving away customers. Take it from an email marketer with “almost” a decade of experience.

Here are six tips to help you get started with successful, productive e-mail campaigns.

1. Start with a clear goal in mind

This is not just the starting point of a successful campaign—it’s the most important part of planning. Without a clear goal, how can you make your message to the customer clear? A clear goal will include what action you want your customers to take, how you will motivate them towards this action, and which group of your current or potential customers you are targeting with your message.

2. Target the right audience

It doesn’t matter how well-crafted your message is if it isn’t reaching the right people. The segment of your current or prospective customer base should be directly in line with the goal you set for your campaign.

Example 1:  Opening a new physical store

If you’re planning on opening a new physical store, you will want to make your customers aware of this – but, which customers will care? If you’re opening a new store in Arizona, sending this news to your online customers on the East Coast will not be ideal as the news is irrelevant to them. An effective target group would include online customers with Arizona based addresses.

Example 2:  Offering a new product

If you’re trying to make customers aware of a new product being sold on your online store, you will want to target the customers most likely to not only buy the product, and filter out any customers who would not be valuable targets. You might consider building your target group around customers who have purchased items of the same brand before, but have not purchased a similar product recently.

3. Take steps to avoid spam filters

Unfortunately, the prevalence of junk and scam e-mail means that part of creating an effective campaign is taking steps to ensure that your marketing message is not assumed to be spam and filtered out before it ever reaches your customers’ inboxes.

  • Keep your e-mail lists clean. Lists with a large number of invalid e-mail addresses are more likely to lead to future e-mails being considered spam.
  • Have a clean subject line. The most common junk e-mail subject lines are: “Act Now” and “Limited Time Offer.” Spam filters tend to use these as red flags to determine if a message is spam or legitimate marketing. When in doubt about a particular subject line, check your own junk e-mail folder and see what phrases are used there. Similarly, avoid typos, using all capitalized words, or multiple exclamation marks in the subject line, as these are also frequently associated with spam.
  • Don’t use too many images. A high text-to-images ratio is very common in spam. Most e-mail service providers recommend having about a 60/40 ratio of text-to-images in your message.

4. Send your e-mail at the right time

Typically, messages sent overnight or late in the day end up being deleted rather than read. The best time to reach your customers will vary based not only on your industry, but your customer base. MailChimp has done a large amount of analysis on this topic and has a helpful article that covers the best times in detail.

5. Create click-worthy content

Once a customer sees your e-mail in their inbox, the battle is only half won. The effectiveness of your campaign now rests on the content of the message. Consider three things when creating your content: an enticing subject line, an easy-to-navigate layout, a clear call to action.

6. Measure the effectiveness of your e-mails

The most common measurements to look at are open rates and click-through rates. These metrics give you an idea of how many people your message is actually reaching and how many of those customers are actually acting on your messages.

As a marketer, you already know that nothing is set in stone. We create. We innovate. We sell.

However, these are the pointers that have kept the marketing campaigns straight and my clients sane and healthy in today’s tough market.

So, you MAY take the pains to keep this in mind.

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Why Most Email Newsletters Fail

By Posted on 4 min read 19 views
Tools like Curated, Goodbits and TinyLetter made it easier than ever to start a newsletter. Many people took advantage of these great tools and began building lists and curating content.

The problem?

These tools don’t suddenly make people care about what you have to say. Marketers, the chief offenders of bad emails, took it too far this year. Most newsletters flopped, whether the creators are willing to admit it or not.

Here are a few reasons why most newsletters fail along with some suggestions on sending an email that actually works.

They don’t start at the beginning.

Most newsletters send recent posts to subscribers. Regardless of when the subscriber joins, everyone receives the same information at the same time. Dropping a reader into the content slipstream is the easiest way to send a newsletter, but it’s certainly not the best.

A new visitor to your site lacks context. How has your blog evolved? How do you help people succeed? What do other readers know that they don’t?Answering these questions goes a long way towards earning loyal readers.

New subscribers to the Vero blog receive a six-step campaign. The first email welcomes the new subscriber and shares the Vero blog “Hall of Fame.” These aren’t our most-trafficked posts, they are the highest-converting posts.

Next, we send a series of five emails explaining how we can help them succeed. We offer content as well as tips for using our app to send better emails. Within the first few days of subscribing, we send four emails. We want to provide the most useful information we can while the reader’s curiosity is piqued. After this campaign ends, subscribers simply receive our normal weekly newsletter.

Our strategy isn’t perfect, but it’s worked well. More than 50% of the early emails are opened. That’s more than double our weekly newsletter.

New readers need different information. Tailor their initial experience with a simple campaign to get them up to speed as quickly as possible.

There is a disconnect between the audience and the content.

This problem isn’t unique to email marketing, but it’s the reason many newsletters go unread. People subscribe to newsletters for information that will help them succeed in their work or personal life. Promotion, therefore, falls on deaf ears.

This is the exact reason email can’t be viewed as a channel. Email can be used to build relationships at scale, but it requires that marketers move away from a “channel” mentality and towards a “user experience” mentality. That may seem like a subtle difference, but it results in completely different messaging. Marketers that view email as a channel gravitates towards blast emails and promotions. They burn through lists without regard for the subscribers’ needs or wants. Marketers that focus on user experience deliver content that helps the subscribers succeed. They, in turn, are rewarded with loyal customers.

It’s what ad man Bob Hoffman calls “brand babble”:

Modern marketing is operating under the delusion that consumers want to interact with brands, and have relationships with brands, and brand experiences, and engage with them, and co-create with them.

Sorry, amigo. Not in this lifetime.

Make sure the content of your emails is what your readers need. Without empathy, your email is doomed to fail.

It’s sent too often or not often enough.

Creating a publishing schedule is a positive constraint that results in big wins for your business. This starts by setting an expectation during the signup. If you promise an email every day, you better send one every day. And if you promise one every month, you can’t send one every week.

A schedule is a key to creating habitual readers. They must know when to expect your emails or your results will be wildly inconsistent. If you plan to test subject lines and calls to action, send time is a variable you need to consider. Make a promise to your readers and keep it.

Users don’t actually ask for them.

Email marketing is the pinnacle of permission-based marketing. This means you have the privilege, not the right, to communicate with prospects, leads and customers. It’s the #1 reason we see email marketers fail and the #1 reason we see them succeed. As Seth Godin says, it’s all about building trust and earning respect.

It recognizes the new power of the best consumers to ignore marketing. It realizes that treating people with respect is the best way to earn their attention.

If you’re sending your newsletter to trial sign-ups who didn’t explicitly request your emails, you’re breaking that trust.

Respect the inbox, deliver value and you can succeed.

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Branding: What It Is and Why It Is Important

By Posted on 5 min read 18 views

“You do branding? That’s like graphic design, right? Like, logos and websites?” – about 30 people we shall not name.

One common misconception about branding is that it is the same as design. And while design is the visual representative of your brand, it is only an element of your branding. Lately the word “branding” is viewed more like buzzword than a staple part of starting a business.

However, branding is a significant part of your business development. It should be highly prioritized when starting a new company. Your branding will influence how your company does against competitors when it enters the marketplace.

What is branding?

Branding is the practice of creating a name, symbols, or designs that represent who you are, why you are, and how your target audience should perceive you. Its purpose is to differentiate your company from its competitors and clearly display the promises that you make to your customers.

The branding process includes research that helps develop a strategy of how to present your brand to your target audience. This research is then used to create assets that support your brand promise and appeal to your customers.

Doing brand research.

Brand research helps define exactly what you intend the brand to be. It is an essential step that should be done prior to developing any elements to market to your customers. This research ensures that the assets you create attract the most qualified buyer for your products and services.

The two types of research that you should do when building a brand are:

Market Research

Market research is the process of finding information about the competitive market you are entering. You should know who your competitors are, what they offer, how much they are charging, and what unique benefit you can offer to your customers that they cannot. This helps define your company’s value proposition.

Customer Research

Customer research is the process of finding information about people who are currently purchasing products and services similar to yours. When doing product research you should determine what customers are looking for in a product, what they are not receiving from the current provider, and how they will value what you offer.

Developing your branding.

Your company’s branding includes a complex set of assets that collectively establish a relationship with your customers and defines your values. These assets should be deliberate and consistent.

The following assets are part of your branding:

Brand Message

Your brand message is the value that you offer to your customers. This is what makes people relate to your brand and influences them to buy from and follow you.

Brand Tone

Your brand tone is the tone of voice that you want to use when communicating with your customers. It is a representation of your brand’s message. The tone used for your branding will influence how your target audience thinks of and interacts with your brand.

Brand Name

Your brand’s name is the first thing a potential customer hears in reference to your company. It should be strategically developed to clearly define what you do and who you do it for. A customer should not have to guess what your company is about when hearing your name.

Color Palette

Understanding how colour affects emotion allows you to capitalize on the emotional elements of sales. Color is one of the first things that your brain perceives. It will influence the customer’s reaction to your product or service before they learn any detailed information about it. The colours for your brand must be consistent with how you want your customer to feel when they see your brand.

Typography

Typography is the art of arranging type. The fonts you use when branding your company will heavily influence how your message will be perceived. They must be consistent with the tone of your brand.

Logo

A logo is a symbol used to visually represent your products and services. It should incorporate all of your branding elements. Your logo should be a clear, distinct symbol of your brand.

Brand Collateral

Brand collateral is the media, usually printed, that you use to promote your brand. Business cards, flyers, direct mailers, and product labels are all brand collateral. These are used to strengthen your brand’s message and tone and generate customer leads.

Website

Your website is your strongest marketing tool of all. It incorporates all elements of your branding to generate a stronger brand presence in your industry. It is your global voice as it is the most accessible asset you will have worldwide.

Why branding is important?

Branding is important because it makes your brand relatable to your customers. It also creates credibility for your company. Your branding will influence the success your company has in its target market.

It takes 5-7 impressions for your brand to become recognizable to the customer (Action Card). If your branding is inconsistent, even a little, your brand value and message may become lost in your marketing. This will make it harder to produce brand loyalty.

Having strong branding allows the customer to build a connection with you that they can trust. 90% of purchases are made subconsciously (ISPO News). Once you have secured a place in the customers’ mind, it is easier to close a sale.

The colours that you choose for your branding significantly impact your brand recognition. A staple colour increases brand recognition by 80% (University of Loyola).

The strength of your branding plays a huge role when trying to secure funding for your company. 82% of investors see brand strength as an important factor when deciding on an investment (Reuters).

How strong is your branding?

If you did the necessary research prior to starting your brand development, your branding should be generating sales and producing customer loyalty. However, if you are like many entrepreneurs starting, you may have overlooked a step or two. Don’t worry, it’s never too late to rebrand.

Branding is something that has to be monitored actively to ensure that it is effective. Just like the customer, it evolves and you must evolve with it. Well-known companies like Coke-a-Cola and Starbucks have all re-branded at some point or another when their branding no longer reflected their direction or reached their valued customers.

Invest in researching, defining, and developing your brand. Full-service agencies ensure consistency within your development and design processes. They are capable of creating all of the elements seamlessly while being able to monitor the impact that it has on your sales. Because they help create your strategy, they understand your goals and are able to help your brand pivot without losing the company’s core values.

In conclusion, great branding leads to loyalty and sales. Don’t sell yourself short.

To your business success,

Ron C. 
Owner-Manager, Copy-e-Writing

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Relationship Marketing With Solid, Interactive Content In 2019

By Posted on 6 min read 17 views

“I want a relationship with you.”

“Why?”

“Because I love you.”

“Come on, seriously? That cheesy you are?”

“No, I just spoke from my heart, you won’t know…”

Oh, my dear readers, I love you too.

But okay, these are the lines from a very boring Bollywood movie—becoming more of a downgraded version of Hollywood movies these days. Well, even Hollywood movies suck these days.

I know I sound too cynical. Can’t help it, it’s in my nature, man.

Do you still want a relationship with me? That’s great.

Then keep reading on.

Because today, we are going to talk about relationships, I mean, Customer Relationships.

And how well-connected and almost inseparable it is from your Content Marketing strategy.

For many who might not be so well aware of the term…

Relationship marketing is about relationships, of course. Here, the idea is not just getting new customers; it is reaching the right public, the one that’s able to perceive and extract the best out of your solution or product, reaching their goals and total satisfaction. And it goes beyond that, focusing on building and nurturing long-term relationships to increase loyalty and make clients loyal to your company.

We are talking about generating more business opportunities, and yes, we do want to improve the company’s revenue and get a bigger number of clients. However, relationship marketing aims its attraction efforts on:

  1. Your target prospects with fit, able to get results from and with your company.
  2. Identifying opportunities that can really benefit from that purchase.
  3. Creating connections and providing a good communication throughout the funnel
  4. Keeping clients happy and engaged even after the sales cycle is over.

If we take the dating analogy, it is about building a momentum where the woman gets smitten with you, agrees to sleep with you and is still happy to have more of it every day afterwards. She is a happy and satisfied client you have a very HARD-core relationship with.

(God! My examples—complete baloney I know! Forgive me.)

And the most important confession now as a copywriter now…

Can any sales or ad copy ever achieve this? NEVER.

What a sales copy does is, lure the woman or manipulate that 16-year old (underage alert!) to sleep with you once and only ONCE. She might regret it later and not see your face again. Heck! She can complain to the police. Whatever.

But the point is, no relationship is formed. No loyalty is created.

That’s where content marketing comes in.

Content marketing comes in to fill the gap left behind by traditional advertising or marketing methods (We are talking about brochures, flyers, website banner ads, etc).

But How Does Content Marketing Work To Build Customer Relationships?

The short and precise answer to that is: If someone comes to you for advice and you help him again and again, you create a relationship with him.

Forget about selling anything to him at the moment. Who cares! If you have an audience, you will have ready buyers.

According to a study by Robin Buchanan and Crawford Gillies, the increased profitability associated with relationship marketing is the result of several factors:

There’s less dating around. Loyal customers don’t go shopping around and they’re far less to switch. As an added bonus, they’re less price-sensitive because they’re more focused on the value than price.

It’s the foundation of word of mouth. Strong relationships are essential to a high Net Promoter Score — the chance that a customer will happily refer your business to a friend.

Your regulars are your rock. Returning customers buy more and buy more often. They’re often less expensive to serve because of their familiarity with your business and how your product works.

Expansion becomes easier. Longstanding customers are much more likely to purchase ancillary products through upselling and cross-selling.

You reduce the cost of acquisition. Happy customers introduce you to new prospects, reducing the need to paid advertising and costly marketing campaigns.

—      From an article by Gregory Ciotti

That’s what content marketing does for your business.

“What if businesses decided to inform, rather than promote? You know that expression ‘If you give a man a fish, you feed him for a day; if you teach a man to fish, you feed him for a lifetime?’ The same is true for marketing: If you sell something, you make a customer today; if you help someone, you make a customer for life. In every business category, one company will commit to being the best teacher, and the most helpful. And that company will be rewarded with attention, sales, loyalty and advocacy by consumers who are sick to death of being sold, sold, sold.”

— Jay Baer, author of Youtility

So How Does Creating Mind-Blowing, Quality Content Affect Your Relationship Marketing Strategy?

Oh, I can ramble on and on…on this topic. Remember, it’s my job to ramble on in print.

However, I normally like to keep my letters short and to the point (apart from a little frivolous yapping in between). So, in the next 350 or 400 words, I will try to wrap this up.

Reason #1. Content marketing helps you retain long-term customers.

Research has shown that the longer a customer stays with a brand, the more valuable they become. In fact, an annual increase of just 1% in customer retention can equate to a 20% increase in revenue annually. When you work on building relationships with your customers, and not just selling to them, you begin to develop loyalty, which means they’re more likely to stick with your brand for the long haul.

Reasons #2. Content marketing helps you increase the likelihood of referrals.

Regardless of the dozens of different marketing techniques out there today, word of mouth is still the most powerful, with 84% of consumers citing the recommendation of a friend or family member as their most trusted source when making a purchase decision. The more satisfied and loyal your customers are, the more likely they will be to refer your brand to others. The best way to achieve this is through relationship marketing.

Reason #3. Content marketing helps create your “market moat”.

This term coined by me, proudly speaking, means how much market power you have—not based on your market share, access to limited resources or market penetration, but by dint of love and loyalty of your customers. Interactive, engaging content anthropomorphize your brand in the eyes of your target audience which they get into a unique relationship. It’s all in the personality, man.

Reason #4. Content marketing creates a two-sided interaction with your market.

When you’ve got a whole slew of happy, loyal customers in your corner, you’ve got an instant test market at the ready. Whenever you need to try out a new product or propose a new service, your loyal clientele will be there to offer feedback. Want to know how you’re doing? Ask your long-term customers. Their feedback can help you determine what your business’ greatest strengths are as well as identify areas that need improvement.

Content marketing DOES form an indispensable part of any marketing campaign. Yes, short, snappy two-liners look sexy and they do work in their own way, but when it comes to long-term advantages, long-term content, those 1000+ words articles, in-depth videos or podcasts and so on, rules. As @Kit_Smith says: “Content marketing can help you build an audience for the longer term, as good evergreen content will provide years of value.”

For the sole reason that they help to build a clout around you—the denser and the more outstretching it is, the better. And it all starts with one term ‘relationship’.

To your success,

Ron C.
CEO, Copy-e-Writing

P. S. It took me another 600 words to complete it. Whew!

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