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“I hate e-newsletters,” the CEO of a scale-up tech company told me recently.
“Nobody reads e-mail marketing, they jam up inboxes, and cheapen our brand.” This CEO preferred to talk about the PR, content and social strategy for the upcoming product launch.
It wasn’t the first time I’d heard this. Tactics aside, this brings up a significant gap among many B2B and B2C brands: they have no contact or data acquisition strategy. Without one, you will have difficulty competing over the long term.
It’s expensive to go through gatekeepers to reach your audience. After investing time and money to develop your content, you have to pay a lot of money to search engines, social media, and online media to reach your prospects or customers.
Many marketers see this as the cost of doing business. But relying on third parties who are constantly looking for new ways to capture more of your marketing budget is a mistake. A better idea is to think strategically about the cost of acquiring and communicating to these customers.
When you first start out, you have low awareness and few customers. So, you have to rely on paid media. But once you’ve started selling to these customers, your brand awareness and reputation is established and starting to grow. By this point, start transitioning from high-cost paid media to low-cost owned media like your website and email.
Does the information you have about your customers or prospects only come from Facebook, Google or an outlet’s media kit? As great as third parties are, nothing beats having direct access to your customers with your own data.
Acquiring contacts – turning those you interact with into “known” individuals - should be a key part of your marketing program. Contacts will come from visitors to your website, members of your social media communities, or any number of on- and offline tactics. You may want to have standalone contact acquisition programs, or factor contact acquisition into regular campaigns and communications.
Programs like Hubspot use a powerful CRM with sales and marketing automation to capture contacts via forms. Once these contacts are “known,” you can start tracking how they interact with your website, content, and even members of your sales team.
That brings us back to email. Yes, there is a lot of bad email marketing; but there is also a lot of bad advertising, PR, social campaigns and billboard. But the reality is that 60% of consumers state that they have made a purchase as the result of a marketing message they received by email.
Companies that use e-marketing effectively do their homework and respect their audiences. The best examples are personalized, valuable, and vary based on company and category. One company might provide monthly news and updates, another might provide weekly discounts and offers, and another might just nurture leads along using customized content delivered by email.
You’ll find that as your list of contacts grow, email will become the most valuable way to communicate with those you have the closest relationship with. Here are the key components to consider.
Is anything standing in the way of your company building a data acquisition strategy?