Mythbusters: Email and Social Marketing are Only for Retailers is part of our blog series where we tackle and debunk common myths in email and social marketing.
I do a lot of webinars and one of the common questions I hear is, “But I work at a non-profit, how does this apply to me?” (you can replace non-profit with mechanic, insurance company, or really, any business). We feature different types of businesses or industries as examples when we do webinars (or blog posts!) but we certainly don’t cover them all. We thought we’d create this post to help dispel the myth that email and social marketing is just for retail or similar businesses.
Here are 3 tips to bust this myth:
Social Media – Facebook and Twitter aren’t just for teenagers or pictures of cats and babies, they’re for businesses too. Even if you don’t have a retail business the message here is the same: it’s all about engagement. Get your customers/clients to follow you and make sure you have posts that keep them interested. Posting about what’s going on behind the scenes is a fun way to keep people in the know about your company. Non-profits can include posts leading up to events, trivia questions about the organization, volunteers, behind the scenes at fundraisers, or even fun pictures. Not a non-profit? How about doing posts that include a spotlight on an employee that customers interact with, new services, tips on car maintenance, home security, summer safety, crazy weather facts (this summer has been full of record-breaking heat, it’s Facebook gold!), fun or funny questions, and of course, pictures. The point is to include information about your company/organization plus interesting and useful information. Think of your posts in thirds: One-third about your company, one-third useful info you’re sharing, one-third fun or interesting info that has nothing to do with your company or industry. We’ve even got a handy, time-saving tool – VerticalResponse Social – that enables you to schedule all your social posts for the month in about 20 minutes.
Send emails – Just like with social media you want to think about engagement and keeping your company/organization top of mind. People may not need a plumber everyday, but when they do, you want them to think of your business. Your emails don’t have to be about promotions or just a newsletter. Much like the rule of thirds for social, you want your emails to contain the same type of information: something about your business, tips or how-to’s, interesting articles or stories, and something fun, like recipes or fun facts. Are you having a special event? Talk about that. Special sale on tune-ups? Include that as well. You don’t have to include a sale to send an email, the point is to mail consistently and provide useful information that keeps your recipients’ interest so that when they need your services you are the first business they call.
Call-to-action – I’ve separated this from email or social media to cover a couple of specific points. A call-to-action (CTA) is what you want people to do. In your emails you may want them to click and make a purchase, download a file, make a donation or sign up for an event. The same applies to social media: you may want your followers to do something, such as liking, retweeting, or repinning your post. And not to be too repetitive, this is not just for retailers selling something. Every email or social post should have some kind of call-to-action; you want your followers or recipients to engage and interact with you. Think about your social posts: I mentioned earlier that you want your followers to be engaged, and one of the ways to track that is if they like, comment or share. So your posts need to ask (or direct) them to do something that causes one of those actions. Your emails also should ask your recipient to do something: read more about an article you’re sharing, make a donation, make an appointment, or volunteer. Keep them clear, easy to follow through on and include only one or two CTAs to keep your readers from getting confused.
These are just a few ideas to help you market your ____ (fill in the blank: non-profit, dental office, insurance company, school, or any other non-retail business). The thing to keep in mind when you’re looking for marketing ideas is to take a step back and look at the big picture. You may not be selling a product like lamps or wine, but you are selling some kind of service, even if you don’t charge for it. Remembering that your clients are your customers should help you apply some of the great marketing ideas and tips that you come across.
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