Joel Byron Barker

A writer with a toolbox chock full of pegs both square and round.

Email Marketing for Everyone

by joel - February 19th, 2009

I just finished a small project creating an email marketing campaign for a local financial company. They wanted to inform CPAs and financial planners of their capabilities so that said professionals would refer clientele.

My clients had created a small list of contacts through sign ups at workshops they teach. They wanted to be able to keep themselves on the minds of their contacts with a regular newsletter.

Mike and Don are fine writers, and I did very little writing for them, but instead researched email marketing companies such as iContact, EmailROI, Emma, and Mail Chimp.  I decided on Mail Chimp for its ease of use and pricing structure.

I think this is a great way for a small company to spend some money marketing.  With an opt-in structure (one in which contacts actively choose to be contacted by you) you can be confident that people getting your message actually want it.  You are not whistling in to the wind.

I came up with some simple guidelines for creating this sort of a campaign:

  • Drive traffic to your site. Make sure there is a call to action of some sort and that it moves people to contact you or get more information.  A good way to do this is to not send articles, but links to articles that are on your blog.
  • Foster a good list of contacts. Put an opt-in form on your site.  Have a sign up sheet at events.  Make sure that you are getting contacts that actually want your information, not everybody.  There is a clear, bright line between email marketing and spam.  Why would you want to annoy a potential customer?
  • A little bit of design goes a long way.  Have a consistent look and feel to your communications.  Use the same template for all emails.  Give it a title.
  • Show value. Have an article that is relevant and timely, or a coupon or announcement.  Give them a selfish reason to view the email in the first place.

I am structuring Mike and Don’s newsletter so that they can take over the next issue without my help.  I do not need to continue to be involved.  Then, it will cost them around three cents a contact to deliver their message. That is a great value for the small-time marketing dollar.

Vint Cerf as marketing guru

by joel - February 15th, 2009

Vint Cerf, one of the fathers of the internet, is always an enjoyable companion. At a recent conference, he really nailed the shift that marketing needs to make in the next few years:

What Google has learned about advertising is that people don’t treat information as annoying advertising if they’re actually interested in the information.

I agree. And it is why I am comfortable working in modern marketing projects. Since the audience has so much more control over the message, advertising has to be related to the audience’s interests. Instead of being intrusive, marketing can be a service to the audience.

Read the entire article at the fantastic site Read Write Web.

It is one of the reasons that I advocate for the use of training as marketing.  Provide valuable information to your audience that simultaneously shows how your product or service works for them.

Alright, he gets it.

by joel - February 10th, 2009
Ever upward

Ever upward

Joel is a writer based in Portland Oregon.  Joel has been writing about technology since before technology was technology.  When he started writing business to business communication, everyone was a-buzz about the invention of bronze.  Now we need to explain how software as a service adds value to the enterprise and what our “solution” is.  Joel is ready for the mission.