Whatever medium you're using … direct mail, Twitter, Facebook, email marketing, video, or television advertisement, are you:
- Transactional … having a conversation, and are you …
- Transparent … do you say what you say and mean what you say?
Sure, there are lots and bells and whistles you can use in email … and other marketing arenas. The more technology progresses, the more buttons you can embed, and the easier they are to push.
When all is said and done (at the end of the day, bottom line), the only thing that really matters, though, is whether you're able to reach … and convert … prospects into buyers … Buyers into long-term customers.
So … do you need every tool that's out there? Do you need to send direct mail flyers? Do you need to be on Twitter, Facebook, and other social sites? Do you need to send email newsletters as well as promotions and sales material? Do you really even need an Internet presence?
Well … not if you're selling the tomatoes from your field right off the vine, at the corner, only to your neighbors who have been buying those same tomatoes for years and years.
If, however, you're a business with the potential to grow … possibly even go global, then, yes, you want to have a presence on the Internet. You want to use every tool available to you that puts you where your prospects and customers are.
Email, for the time being, is still the world's larger social network. It's still more "relational," more personal, more one-on-one. However, as fast as the technologies are advancing, it may become a secondary social network soon.
So now is the time to find out where your prospects and customers hang out … and then see if you can entice them to invite you to visit with them. Email is a starting point … if they have it. But check out the demographics for who's on Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, MySpace, IM, texting …. If your prospects are there, join in.
You may have noticed my careful reference to talking "with" and not "to" your prospects. And that's for a reason.
It's easy to talk "to" your prospects and customers. It's easy to describe all the wonderful "stuff" you have that they must need.
It's more challenging to talk "with" your prospects and customers. Talking with … is having a two-way conversation. It's asking them to tell you what they want and need, and how it will help them, so you know how to get it for them, if you do not already have it.
Talking with your email subscribers can have a dramatic impact. Use surveys and ask for feedback. Ask them about all the ways they'd like you to communicate with them. This allows you to shape the messages you send in a way that makes it clear you're passionate about getting them what they want, need, or desire. When you're providing material that people will be glad they see or read, they'll read it, and they'll keep coming back. And if they make a purchase and they're satisfied, they'll buy again.
A true willingness to please the customer and their willingness to accept what you have to say because they trust you … very much depends on how you talk with them. Using whatever tools you can find that help you to do it well.