Top 9 Ways Marketing Executives Should Use Twitter to Build Revenues

Even today, with Twitter mentioned in mainstream media daily, many top executives – including marketing execs – are confused or uncertain on how to effectively utilize Twitter to market their business or service. Twitter, the popular “micro-blogging” tool, is not just a service that allows every-day-Joes the opportunity to share irrelevant stories about their day (read: “going to the gym”), but a great tool to increase both revenues and brand awareness for executives. Here are some tips to get the most out of Twitter:

BUILD YOUR FOLLOWING

The first step, naturally, is to have an audience. Celebrities and politicians alike have embraced the micro-blogging phenomenon, leading to its permanent fixture in pop culture. Political campaigns have used Twitter to mobilize armies of supporters, raise funds, and spread the political message.

BUILD YOUR BRAND

There is a delicate balance between being open and honest and revealing too much on Twitter. I tell my clients, “be authentic, not transparent”. Your following will appreciate your authenticity more than your over-sharing.

DIRECT COMMUNICATION

Aside from authentic communication, nothing builds a loyal, dedicated following like direct communication. Several large corporations are able to search (in real time) for their brand and address problems immediately. Never before has a company had such access to their customers. Traditional media houses do not allow for such instant communication to attend to their customer’s needs.

PROVIDE VALUABLE CONTENT

Rather than constantly selling your products, constantly provide great content. Get over the fact that everything produced by your brand is proprietary. In the age of instant access, users have become accustomed to free content (this is both good and bad). The more useful content you give away, the more attention you will gain.

DRIVE TRAFFIC TO YOUR WEBSITE

Twitter is a great vehicle to generate visitors to your company website (or Facebook Fan Page), where you can convert them into customers. Useful content, direct and authentic communication only builds your creditability online and in turn, your brand as a whole.

SPREAD THE MESSAGE

Twitter is potentially the most effective way for marketing communication to turn to marketing wildfire. In recent history, many stories break, are confirmed, and become widespread on Twitter before mainstream media has even heard about it. Your brand can use that type of potential to announce major product launches or other industry news.

MARKET RESEARCH

Never before has any industry had such a measuring tool for any brand or product. Monitor Twitter for your name, brand, products, and competition for a real sense of how your clients view things.

CONVERSATIONS

Twitter is real-time, meaning you have thousands of potential customers and followers standing in your preverbal lobby waiting to hear what you have to say – likewise, they expect you to listen to them. Chat and engage with your followers in a consistent “voice”.

FREE ADVERTISING

Today, people are bombarded with THOUSANDS of advertisements a day. Twitter allows you to reach people who are actively interested in learning more about your brand. This attentive ‘Army of Few But Loyal’ is more valuable than a billboard passively seen by millions

BONUS: FOLLOW OTHER EXECS

Here is a list of other CEOs using Twitter. Follow as many of them as you can to learn how they use it. Take what you like, and leave what you don’t. Not all of them are perfect – in fact, there is no “perfect” way to use Twitter. It is still in the early stages of finding its identity.

EXTRA BONUS: PROMOTE OTHERS

It doesn’t make much “traditional advertising sense”, but Twitter isn’t traditional advertising. Media has change with the introduction of ‘Social Networking’. Use your platform to promote your followers, colleagues, and partners. A ratio of 3:1 is preferred. Social media is not about promoting yourself as it is celebrating the “social” interaction between individuals and brands. See you on Twitter!

Copywriting and Marketing Book Review: Is Freakonomics All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

When I read Freakonomics recently I was a little underwhelmed. It wasn’t what I was expecting after hearing so much praise for it around the traps. Really, does it have any lessons we can glean from the book in the worlds of marketing and copywriting?

So I’ve thought long and hard about should I bother writing about the lessons contained within the book. To me it’s a series of case studies about how people act in their own-self interest when presented with a given set of incentives.

As a direct marketer I am sure that we all know that people act in their own best interests and that if offered an incentive then there is a boost in response rate. There may or may not be a corresponding drop in the quality of responses – that is why we test these sorts of things.

More importantly, it is about the unintended consequences of incentive systems and how people will naturally look to get the best deal for themselves.

I think there is a lesson in this for everyone is the sales and marketing world. I do know of an enterprising salesman working for Oracle software… Every time the quotas were shifted he would plug all the variables into a spreadsheet with the rest of the sales staff watching.

In 15 minutes they would have the exact mix of products and services they had to sell in order to maximise their commissions while minimising the amount they actually had to sell.

Bad for the business but great for the salesman.

The second lesson is about unintended consequences further down the line. Freakonomics details how one change seemingly for the better was hidden and on the surface, anunrelated cause in an completely unrelated trend. Legal abortions and the dropping crime rate.

I’ve recently come to realise that one of the greatest weaknesses of modern humans is our inability to recognise the relationships between things. We are all too often completely blind to them. Things will always happen and there will be consequences, often unthought-of of ones.

Recently I did a little consulting with an energy broker. With a low price of entry and initially, relatively low costs of sale the niche has become an absolute disaster area – everyone competing on price and the market is rapidly cannibalising itself.

While the quality of the copy and the marketing is poor overall in this niche and the economic rewards are few and small. It has gotten to the point that the energy retailers may take years in order to recoup their acquisition costs. Many times longer than the customer will stay for on average. Which means as a direct marketer I don’t want to be an energy broker, and I’m not too keen on the idea of consulting with one or writing their copy.

While many in the market may have gotten a new world view from Freakonomics, I don’t think it’s the revelation that many found it to be. But then again I am a copywriter and a marketer. People doing things in their self interest and watching the flow on effects of decisions is part of what I do every day.

Direct Mail Marketing Tips For Retailers

Direct Mail Marketing Tips to Bring Retailers More Traffic in your Front Door.

Business is lousy. The economy is tanked. You’re looking around your store and saying, “Where is everybody?”

Good News: If you’re a retailer, here are some lean direct mail marketing tips to show you how to get people to show up at your front door. If you’re in a service business, here are direct mail tips that show you how to get your phone to ring. If you’re a restaurateur, I usually get hungry around 7PM. If the campaign works really well, I’ll be bringing a few friends.

1. Track Response of All Your Direct Mail.

Learn what’s working in your direct mail program, and just as important, what isn’t. Leave a memo pad by each phone and when you receive a call – in the very beginning of the conversation – say, “And how did you hear of us?” Write down the response on the memo pad, and throw that slip of paper in a specific drawer and forget about it. At the end of the month tally all the slips up and you’ll have a pretty darn good idea which direct mail campaign brought in the most customers.

2. The Best Direct Mail Campaign Ever: Mail to your house list.

No matter what industry you’re in, what you’re selling, or what type of business you own, your direct mail strategy and your direct response email campaign should have a single priority: to mail regularly to your house list. This is the lowest cost and most effective direct marketing strategy you can have. Hummm… Lowest cost? Most effective? Any questions?

Preferred customer sales, private sales, pre-sale access before you open to the general public – make your house mailing list people feel special. They are. Start by collecting current customer’s names and addresses. If you don’t have a customer “house file” – a list of the names and addresses of all your customers – start one now. This will become your most valuable asset.

Sign people up for your FREE Preferred Customer mailing list at every opportunity! Keep a card by the cash register, and by the front door, or both. Don’t be afraid to recommend to each person that they fill out the card so you can place them on your private mailing list to receive special offers and preferred customer treatment (and prices!)

3. Specify Direct Mail Lists to target your “Best Prospects” and get a customer for $.44

Depending on your type of business, getting new customers through direct mail can be a precisely targeted direct marketing campaign sent only to your very best prospects, with no wasted advertising expense. Send your direct mail to geographic targets (close to your store), demographic targets (people similar to your current customers who like to/can afford to shop in stores like yours), and industry related personnel – in the specific markets you serve (lawn care, hearing aids, etc.).

Additionally direct mailing lists can be specified according to zip code, income, number of children and ages, pets, house value, net worth, and an endless array of other parameters. Think about what characteristics your current customers have, and order your mailing list with people who have similar traits. If you don’t have a great direct mail prospect list, start one of those mailing lists now. Yea, right now.

4. Mail a Gift Certificate

A gift certificate is inexpensive to print, light weight and low in cost to mail. The nice letter you send with it? Same. The goodwill it generates, invaluable. A gift certificate is a double function direct marketing piece. It’s good for the customer and great for you, too. Gift certificates A) bring people into your store; B) offer discounts on selected overstocked merchandise; C) are cheap to print and D) light to mail; E) are naturally easy to track with great precision; and F) always have a high perceived value. They work on both new and returning customers. To make sure people open your envelope, print “Gift Certificate Enclosed!” on the envelope.

Best of all, a gift certificate has a cost only if the customer actually shows up and redeems it. No customer, no cost.

5. A Direct Marketing Campaign to Get Referrals

Feel free to ask any of your better customers if they have friends they would like you to send a $5 gift certificate, with their compliments of course. As an added incentive and as a surprise bonus, mail an additional gift certificate to the customer making the referral. Include a letter saying, “Thanks for the referral.” Then mail the new referral prospect a letter and the gift certificate – compliments of your original customer (and from you, personally.)

This “referral method” is one of the most effective direct mail campaigns on the planet, and is the best way to acquire new (and similar) customers who immediately have faith and trust in you, your firm, your services. Customer acquisition cost from this direct marketing campaign: just $.44 in postage. That five dollar gift certificate? Well, that’s taken off the merchandise or food bill: so it didn’t really cost you five bucks, did it? It was the discounted cost of your wares.

Whether used for new customer acquisition, referrals, or to get customers to return to your store, direct marketing campaigns using gift certificates are one of the most effective uses of direct mail. This is one of the best marketing tips for any business. All your direct marketing campaigns should include some kind of referral marketing techniques and gift certificates make this campaign easy to succeed.

6. Specify Geographic Direct Mail Lists to Precisely Target Your Retail Market

Retail direct mail campaigns usually target a geographic center. Everybody likes to shop in their own backyard. Limit your direct mail marketing to people who live or work within driving distance. That “geographic market segment” qualification of your prospects varies by type of store and average sale. Generally speaking, the larger the ticket item you sell, the longer people will drive to get it.

Reaching people with your direct mail message can get expensive in a hurry, especially if you reach for the wrong set of people who are not shopping for your goods or services. Conversely, since direct mail can be targeted to tightly it can be the most effective and measurable marketing method you can use.