Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Recognizing Value

Recognizing Value
Whether via email, social media, your blog or website; when you message your clients/customers/potential clients, your goal is to provide value. But, are you certain they will recognize it? This is an easy one. How do you recognize value from service providers or potential service providers? You want results. You are looking for something that brings quality, enhances your situation; you want things BETTER.
Bear in mind what's valuable to me may not be (perceived as) valuable to others. Value must be customer-centric. Who are you? Who are they?
Let’s look at three kinds of value.

  1. Absolute Value – For some businesses this would consist of your up-front bottom line vision of success for your clients. Some types of businesses express absolute value through coupons or sales.
  2. Hidden Value or Unexpected Value – when the message and the messenger don’t match up in a good way. For instance, your provider is a golf expert but their message is about diet and exercise. It’s refreshing simply because it was unexpected and the golf expert isn’t hammering you with another reason to sign up for their new series of lessons or workshops.
  3. Intrinsic Value - the message is rich with much needed timely information. This requires intuitiveness and research on your part. It connects the offering with something current or customer-targeted. The recipient’s reaction should be, “Cool, how did she know?”, or “This is so needed right now.”
You are going for a match made in heaven when you message. That's what happens when two minds meet by way of Recognized Value.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Little Back-To-School Inspired Branding and Marketing

Here are some must-haves for an "A":
  • your own domain - especially important for email
  • an online presence- If you choose not to have a website, how about a Facebook page as a free alternative?
  • a business card that 1) pops, unmistakably showcasing your business name/type of business, 2) standout features -color, texture, ink, 3) *very important* has a legible font, and proper contact information
  • a logo that is crisp, color-engineered and business type-centric
If you need help with your branding and marketing, contact me now, maryann@sunshowerbiz.com, for your free branding and marketing evaluation.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Motivated Marketing


Motivation Balloon

What (honestly) drives marketing? Brick one is the obvious unspoken-the bottom line, making the cash we want. Passion is a keyword word in marketing culture so that would be another right answer.  But peeling back the layers, to really have successful marketing, it’s the Who of marketing. Who am I talking to? What is their passion? How can what I am selling make a connection with that passion or need and float upwards to success?

Know Your Peeps
Relationship-building, another keyword in marketing culture is meat and potatoes to motivated marketing. Relationships are built on what? Trust. With what as the number one tool? Communication. Trust has no magic recipe. It’s a matter of time  and the experience your “target audience” (peeps) has with you or what they hear about you.

Research to Learn About Your Peeps
Learn about their business(es): look at their websites and social media. Note areas where you (could) come in. What can you shine and polish? What do they need?

Stay in Touch
...by delivering value in emails and posts. Pass on something useful and make it “professionally personal”. Social media keeps your brand alive even if you have more than enough business – being fresh matters.

Three things then, for optimum motivation in marketing based on the Who of Marketing-
  1. Trust + Communication = Relationship.
  2. Invest in Learning.
  3. Be Seen and Heard (from).
Here's a springboard  to get to know more about the Who of your marketing, a brief (no really) survey. You can make your own on SurveyMonkey.com using my same questions if you like. Feel free to complete it, it is not a Sample; it's real. A survey like this can easily be added to your email signature with a simple text (or image) link like this one:
CLICK HERE to complete a four question survey to help me with your business needs.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Keepers

Email Keepers Infographic
I had over 10,000 messages in my non-business inbox, because it does not get as much attention, so it was high time to get it cleaned up. As I sorted by sender and went through unsubscribing and deleting en masse, I learned some things about email marketing that are of value. Naturally, I want to pass that on.

Then I thought, hey why not make an infographic? Of course it had to be Easter-themed - Click to download the infographic and read on as I explain my process of choosing which email senders would be my Keepers.

KEEPERS
  • Love the Product - I noted many of these appeal to the senses, i.e., food, restaurants (um yes indeed).
  • Potential Value - I saw value in the  product i.e., reward points programs I participate in.
  • Interest in Product though I may not have purchased
  • Essentials:  things I’m afraid to miss out on i.e., airline sales and mail from my pc security software company
  • Special Deals on products I purchase or would like to purchase

DELETES AND UNSUBSCRIBES – the cracked eggs 
  • Poor customer experience, either in-person encounter, phone or online ordering.
  • Don’t Recognize Sender or did not subscribe. Talk to me for ideas on how to build your list.
  • Too Many Emails. This one is unfortunate because sometimes this phenomenon can create a lack of interest in a potential customer.
  • Interesting but not enough time to read. I have ways to work around this and get your reader’s attention.
We pay attention to what really matters or has potential for us. There is a lot of competition in your customers' and clients' inboxes, but there are ways to make email marketing work overtime to win them.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Your 2017 Theme for Email Marketing

quality email markeing
Finding an email from HubSpot® in my inbox with an offer for a download to learn more about how to improve my email marketing skills inspired this post. I have (confession time) a love-hate relationship with email marketing on several levels. Yes, I said it, me, an email marketer. And I'm sending out a link to this blog post in an email, of all things!
What do I want? I want quality. But that doesn't always happen in marketing emails I receive, that is certain.  I want the emails that arrive in my inbox, and my contact's and their contact's inboxes to be appealing from the subject line forward.
What have I learned and what can I glean from marketing experts such as those at HubSpot®-what is new and fresh?
  • Subject lines, ‘nough said. Ok, that is not new and fresh, but it is timeless wisdom. If you need a more expanded answer, click here to read “17 Tips & Best Practices for Writing Catchy Email Subject Lines”.
  • Personalize. One way is to use the truth that people identify with faces over logos or product images. If possible and if you deem appropriate, include your pic in the header.
  • Dump stock images. My pet peeve is the overused stock image of the lady with the gleaming smile wearing a headset to illustrate Customer Service. When you do use photos of people, use your own photos of your staff or crew doing what you do. Add captions that let the reader know who is who.
  • Use research to your advantage. HubSpot®’s Pete Caputa shares templates that use careful and thoughtful research to change an email into a virtual meet-and-greet event conversation. Check out his post, “28 Prospecting Sales Email Templates Guaranteed to Start a Relationship”.
  • Segment your list(s) into customer life cycles. HubSpot®’s Eric Devaney suggests customizing content based on your customer life cycles:  Awareness stage, (prospect realized and expressed symptoms of a potential opportunity; Consideration stage, (a person has clearly defined and given a name to their problem or opportunity); and  Decision stage, (a person has defined their solution strategy, method, or approach). Read more in his article, “Content Mapping 101: The Template You Need to Personalize Your Marketing”.
What I love about email marketing is its flexibility and ever-evolving nature. (Well, I love that about anything technology-related.) And I know when I find myself opening marketing emails and clicking on calls-to-action that if I benefit from quality marketing emails, so can my clients. And their clients. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What I Learned From Hurricane Matthew


  • If you can’t find a hotel within a 170 mile radius. you may elect to sleep in your van.  Some people I know drove to Alabama (the nearest Alabama town of any size is 260 miles away) to get a hotel. Us? No thanks.
  • Humility
  • WalMart at 4 a.m...is not much different than WalMart at 4 p.m., but has fewer shoppers.
  • We are a culture of convenience, balking and flailing when without electricity and running water, not to mention technology.
  • Our News4Jax news team is genuinely concerned for us.
  • Governor Rick Scott is a bit scary when a hurricane is coming.
  • The song “Riding the Storm Out” (REO Speedwagon), may get stuck in your head—even though it’s about a winter storm in the Rocky Mountains.
  • Thankfulness - for power, food, internet, news teams, JEA (power company here), having family to weather the storm with, and last but not least, finding a hotel after the storm to wait out the almost 4-day power outage 
  • Hurricane is a silly name for something that does anything but hurry. (I know, “hurry” is not part of the etymology of the word, “hurricane.”)
  • We are not in charge of our world.
  • Most importantly and universally applicable, the Eleventh Commandment: Thou shalt not take life for granted.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

My Favorite Travel Hacks

TSA Precheck
If you haven’t already done so, get this. I used to occasionally get a complimentary precheck status on my boarding pass and finally decided to apply for the paid version. With TSA precheck I go through that short quick line and do not need to be bothered with removing belt, shoes or – my most dreaded – removing the laptop from my luggage with one hand while moving forward in the line! The paid version is $85 and is good for five years of the Easy Button line. The application process is straightforward, but make an appointment.  The office where I had to go had about 10 people there and I was very glad to have an appointment as some had been waiting two hours. Also, make sure TSA Precheck is accepted by your airline. More info here: TSA Precheck

May I See Your ID?
I pack my wallet in my carry-on, but it’s more convenient to keep my driver’s license in my pants pocket for the check-in and security process. Still, it’s easy for that license to slip out of my pocket and be lost. I now slide it in my pocket-size business card holder and that stays in my pocket securely.  I also keep my bank card in there too, so it's handy for my Starbucks stop or anything that may come up.

Zoom Menu
If you don’t have time for a meal at the airport tote a healthy sandwich, muffin or energy bar. I usually have to zoom from the terminal to baggage claim to the ground transportation to catch a bus with zero time to wait in line for food. I make sure to pack my food securely in a plastic container and a Ziploc bag so the aroma  from the sandwich that may be quite appealing to me does not bother other passengers on the plane!

Sensitive Ears
I have a lot of discomfort while ascending and descending. Sometimes it can last 24 hours or more after flying. So I discovered that if I keep my headphones in my ears during those times, there is hardly any discomfort. Sometimes I also use bubblegum.

Freehand
I have a lot of luggage! A backpack is indispensable and is especially helpful after I grab my baggage and continue my journey on a bus that includes a transfer.

Rushing Water
Bring an empty water bottle in your carry-on so that you can fill it from a water fountain when you arrive at your destination. Again this is for when time is critical and you can’t wait in line.

No Ice, Please
Serve me my juice in that little bitty cup and fill it with ice? No thanks, I would rather have more juice.

Flight Attendants
Make their day and be a happy, smiling passenger. Smile and say “Hi” when you board and “Thank you, have a nice day” when you deplane, especially if there have been delays or other negatives.
They could use some encouragement:  7 Things Your Flight Attendant Won’t Tell You