Posts Tagged ‘email marketing’

Why Social Media and Not Email for Small Businesses?

Some interesting research suggests small businesses prefer social media over email marketing.  In marketing and sales research conducted by Ripl (mobile application software provider), revealed the following:

  • 55% for Facebook
  • 43% for Instagram
  • 19% for Twitter
  • 41% for creative and graphic design
  • 7% cited email

Email marketing as a marketing channel came in third to social media posts and blogs (websites).

Why Social Media and Not Email?

Of course, the first answer to this question is resources. Small businesses have limited resources.  Not only money, but time, energy and emotions are also in short supply.

Possibly, many of these small businesses have had negative experiences with email marketing. Their email boxes are cluttered and overflowing with sales pitches of buy this or buy that.

Lack of education is another reason.  Unfortunately, many who engage in small business marketing focus on social media even though these providers have a very limited social media presence.

Probably the best and most overlooked reason is these small businesses lack a well researched strategic plan. Without a solid strategic plan, small business owners and salespeople engage in Captain Wing It behaviors where they spray their marketing all over the place and then pray something will stick.

Doesn’t it make sense to track the right things to product the right results to avoid misdirected actions and misguided decisions?

The real WHY behind the preference for social media over email marketing returns not knowing what to track and results in poor actions and bad decisions. Then what happens is social media becomes the fall back marketing action.

If you want to make better decisions, then CLICK HERE to schedule a call with Leanne Hoagland-Smith to learn what options you have that respect your limited resources.

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Blaming an Auto Responder for a Bad Email Speaks Volumes

President Truman said “The buck stops here.” I guess that does not apply when receiving a bad email.

Yesterday I wrote about how a poorly written email headline may send the wrong message as well as giving my brief analysis about the marketing message. I responded to this email and then received an answer from the person who allegedly sent the email.

“Hi, Leanne, Your first line cracked me up. I like the rapid reply, although this email was automatically generated, not a (insert person’s name) original sadly.”

Well that is a new one.  Blame an auto responder for bad email marketing.

Maybe AI (artificial intelligence) wrote the message and then applied this person’s name? 

My return email was “Then I would rethink my auto message responses. Thanks for the fodder for my blog today.”

Here is my quick response to the first email message I received yesterday.

Your subject line FYI is a 100% turn off unless you are advertising for dates.

Please remove this email from your database.

Regardless if the message was automatically generated, your name is on the message. I could care less how it was generated.  Your name, your role and your contact information is what shows not “auto-responder” or “AI Robot 010.”

So if this was automatically generated, who would I really speak to, you or the AI Robot?

Give me a break.  Blaming the auto responder is beyond sad and lazy and speaks to the lack of integrity within the organization and potentially within the person who allegedly sent it.

Taking responsibility for a bad email shows integrity and personal accountability.  Had this person accepted the responsibility, I might have entertained a telephone call with her or him.

As it stands the response shows this is not a company I want to know to want to trust.  Yes people buy first on emotion justified by logic.  The reverse is also true, people don’t buy on emotion and justified that no buy decision with logic.

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Why Are You Email Marketing to Me?

When did email marketing transition from permission based to everyone and his or her brother or sister?  How many times must we unsubscribe from people who have bought email lists to adding our email addresses to their email marketing database without our permission?

Recently a “communications coach” and “life coach” sent me an email.  I never signed up for her newsletter. I never asked for my email address to be added to her database. Yet she is emailing me.

After the second email in 24 hours, I suggested she should gleam her list given I am an executive coach with 20 years of experience as an executive coach. Her response included she had coaches as clients.

My thought was “Well good for you so have I and your point is?”

Then she told me I could opt out.  Funny I never opted in, but now I must opt out.

Individuals such as this one and many more should research permission based marketing.  I know through my list builder, AWeber, I am strongly encouraged to do “double opt in” if I add someone to my list instead of that person signing up by herself or himself.  Even then they must confirm in another email they signed up to the email marketing list.

Of course with the influx of social selling (I find that term beyond ridiculous as 99% of all selling is social), these individuals believe they have the “right” to clog up email boxes with their “free gifts or offers.”  They have never engaged in permission based marketing and this only reveals their lack of professionalism and integrity.

It is one thing if a person opts out of your email marketing database when that person originally signed up to receive your information.  However for your as a SMB owner or salesperson to routinely add names to your email database without permission is 100% wrong!

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Simply Speaking Email Marketing May Turn Off Sales Referrals

Being connected within the sales community, I receive a lot of emails.  This past week I received an email from a colleague who was seeking either my direct business or sales referrals.



The content of his email (see below) took me by surprise because we had actually spoken.

While I don’t know yet if our training methods are right for you and your company, I thought the best place to start would be a short conversation, allowing me to get to know you better.

My initial thoughts upon reading his words were:

  • “Get to know me better”?
  • Did we not talk?
  • Do you not know what I do?
  • Is this how you treat people you know by making irrelevant sales pitches?
  • What would you do if I sent you some sales referrals?

Emails such as this are quite common in the realm of cold calling through email marketing.  Personally, it is not a practice I engage in, but I do know if I believe the sales research this marketing is quite effective.

If the goal is to fill the sales funnel with sales leads, then this suggests to be far more judicious in the actual email content.  Mass emailings have the potential to create more distrust than positive attraction especially when they are worded poorly.

#1 Sales Buying Rule

People buy from people they know and trust.

I so believe in this #1 sales buying rule. Your ideal customers or clients must begin to know you and begin to trust you. This is why content marketing such as this blog, LinkedIn Pulse or other social media sites are so popular.

Sales referrals along with daily prospecting are necessary sales activities.  The goal of both is to work with the #1 sales buying rule not against it. My marketing and selling suggestions today are:

  • Review your email list before sending out a generic prospecting email
  • Tailor your message to your prospective sales leads
  • Get a second opinion on your message to ensure you are not building distrus

Listen to some of my thoughts about SMB sales at Sales Scenario’s podcasts.


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The Implication Permission Based Email Marketing Reveals

Years ago I learned to grow an email list was essential SMB marketing strategy to expand one’s marketing presence and increase sales leads through nurturing marketing. To do so required a permission based email marketing service such as A.Weber.

permission-based-email-marketingBy having a double opt in email service, only those who actually signed up for your email such as a newsletter would receive it. Of course you could add them and then the recipient again would have to approve being added to your list.  Today, people buy lists left and right and permission based email marketing seems to have left the building, much like Elvis.

Today my inbox again was cluttered with numerous unsolicited emails. One was from another another national training firm promising me to make my business “soooo” much better. I had never signed up for this offering probably because I had never heard of them even though they had been around for 25 years (I guess that was to impress me). I immediately opted out and left the following message:

“Firms like yours who fail to engage in permission based email marketing have questionable business values.”

Will this make a difference for this particular business?  Of course, not!

However what would happen if more SMB businesses started responding and opting out instead of ignoring these unsolicited emails? My sense is there just might a a small ripple in the SMB marketing world.

There is an inherent implication within any marketing message as well as how that message is delivered. That implication As noted that implication returns to the positive core values of the business.

It is one thing to stuff the U.S. mail box full of Sunday circular ads or weekly specials.  However to stuff other people’s email in box that collectively costs millions of dollars in lost productivity is beyond rude.

If you want to be the change in the world, then start changing your own marketing behaviors.  Make sure you respect the time of others by not emailing them without permission.  Showcase your values (business ethics) from the very beginning.  Who knows you actually may earn more business through permission based email marketing than your current efforts.

Want better results, more sales with less stress?

CLICK HERE to reserve a time to speak with me.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver for leaders who desire a Forward Thinking Sales Culture. She supports executive leadership in bridging the sales culture gap of people and processes that restricts SMB sales results. If you want to increase sales, then call Leanne at 219.508.2859 central time USA to solve your disengaged employees and ultimately your disengaged sales culture as well as improve your own sales results. Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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Why Must The First Outreach Be a Sales Pitch?

I am so very tired of the daily avalanche of emails or even phone calls where the other person is making a sales pitch right out of the gate.  Really, that works?



The 3 Sales Buying Rules

#1 Sales Buying Rule: People buy from people they know and trust. If I don’t know you, how can I trust you? Why would I then even consider buying from you?

#2 Sales Buying Rule: People buy first on emotion, justified by logic.  If my first emotional response is negative, no logic will change my buying decision.

#3 Sales Buying Rule: People buy on value unique to them.  As a sales coach, why would I even consider your tools that potentially might take income away from me?

Yes I know email marketing is supposed to increase sales. Yet if that initial outreach is handled poorly as in your sales pitch, I can’t see how email marketing works especially with today’s more educated buyers.

Possibly because I believe in relationship selling when the first contact is a sales pitch this sales approach just rubs me the wrong way. Yet from what I have read, many others feel just the same.

Also if we did have an authentic conversation instead of your sales pitch conversation, you might learn that I do people development for executives, managers and sales professionals because I am not into dog training.  We develop people; we train dogs!

You might also learn that my executive coaching practice focuses on mid-size to small business owners experiencing extremely rapid growth.  Yes I work with sales coaching, but usually to have my clients develop further clarity what they do well and then they are better able to apply their talents.

You may also learn I do have some concerns about technology and sales.  People buy from people not from robots with some sales script based upon some technology.

Finally, you might also understand my complete and total disgust with the quick fix being promoted by many who sell sales training or executive coaching tools.  There is no quick fix!

By the way, you could have reached out to me on LinkedIn and said “I just read your blog or heard a podcast and I would like to connect with you. Possibly we can have a quick chat just to get to know each other?”

Doesn’t that sound far better than making a sales pitch in the second sentence of your email as in “exploring our (product name removed) which is heavily used for sales training and coaching skills?”

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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What Wasted Time Actually Reveals

Smart devices keep us connected and reveal a lot of wasted time according to Adobe. Would you believe checking email (both work and personal) is consuming 6.3 hours per day?  As an entrepreneur and small business owner for the last 18 years, I can say my time is probably around 60 to 90 minutes per day.



This email marketing and time management research also suggested that 30% of those surveyed check their email in the morning while still in bed. Some may believe this is due to the fear of missing out, my sense it may be revealing something far more serious.

When we are so preoccupied with checking email or being on the smart phone all the time, we just may not have any clarity as to what needs to be done next. We are mired in the endless activity that really does not move us forward. Yet we feel emotionally satisfied that we are doing something constructive.

This endless checking of email shows we have not properly scheduled our time.  However by checking email we do not think of it as wasted time and it justifies not doing what really needs to be done.

Checking email becomes our excuse not to work.

Email marketing agencies are probably in a dither over this time management research. With email not going away, this opens more opportunities.  For mid-size to small businesses, this spells productivity to economic disaster especially if the business factors in texting which does not appear to be part of this research study by Adobe.

Email has become part of our lives especially for mid-size to small business owners and entrepreneurs.  For me, I check email first thing in the morning at my desk (10 minutes) and several times through out the day for another five minutes each.  I have folders on my desktop and quickly file 90% of all email immediately.  Since my clients and sales leads have or can easily find my phone number, if something is really important they can call me.

If I am working on a project, I close my email.  I then open it at scheduled breaks to ensure my focus is where it needs to be.

Now some may suggest checking email is part of their multi-tasking as when watching TV or worse yet driving.  The human brain is not designed to multi-task and to engage in multi-tasking behaviors reduces overall effectiveness of all engaged activities.

Time was gone is never recovered.

Time is an investment.

Each of use have to decide how to invest our time wisely to avoid wasted time. How we do that is a personal decision and one that requires personal responsibility and accountability.

My question is if you are addicted to checking your email, then why so?  Is it because of the fear of not being connected or the fear of not wanting to do what you must do?

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.



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Sales Barrier – Lying in LinkedIn Email Marketing

LinkedIn is a prospecting goldmine for business to business professionals. Yet some of those B2B professionals are 100% clueless about how to use it especially when it comes to email marketing.



Whenever I accept a LinkedIn invitation I always send a LinkedIn email that:

  • Acknowledges when we meet and asks to schedule a one on one phone call or meeting
  • Asks what prompted the LinkedIn outreach

This process has revealed the clueless as well as questionable ethical behavior including lying of some on LinkedIn who act like they are experts on marketing, executive coaching, sales, fill in the blank.

With some within the LinkedIn community have premium (paid) membership, this entitles them to email beyond the limited number of emails offered within the free membership. By connecting through a first degree connection, these individuals have access to the second degree connections and can subsequently email them in mass. Having received some of those LinkedIn email marketing messages, I can personally attest there is significant lying happening.

Marketing is all about attracting attention and building relationship. The goal is to attract positive attention and build positive relationships.  Misuse of LinkedIn email marketing can achieve just the opposite end result and create new sales barriers.

Finding new sales leads through prospecting is essential to the sales success of any salesperson.  Yet, demonstrating unethical behavior be it in email marketing or sales conversations is a sales barrier and will come back to eventually bite any salesperson by leaving a foul taste within the sales prospect.

Through these unethical sales behaviors some believe LinkedIn will lose its effectiveness.  That will happen if ethical LinkedIn members do not call out those who lie with the purpose to deceive other LinkedIn members.

We as professional salespeople have the responsibility of stopping lying in LinkedIn email marketing.  If we fail to take action, this incredible platform will be left to the scavengers, those seeking the quick fix and we will be having to work even harder to find new sales leads.

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Leanne Hoagland-Smith is THE People and Process Problem Solver. She supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.

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The Rarity of Permission Based Marketing

Maybe it is just me, yet it appears that permission based marketing is becoming as rare as the Dodo bird. Years to even months ago I would receive one unsolicited newsletter or broadcast email a week.  Now, I am receiving them daily and the worst offenders appear to come from one social media site – LinkedIn.

permission-based-marketingJust this morning I received a newsletter from a first degree LinkedIn connection who added my email to his list without my permission.  Then I received two sales pitches from second degree LinkedIn connections who indicated we were connected on LinkedIn. Last week  my LinkedIn email box had over 10 different “sales pitch” emails.

My problem with those who fail to understand permission based marketing is two-fold:

  • Respect
  • Time

When we ask for permission to include people on our various lists, we are demonstrating positive business ethics through respect.  Adding people to your list because you have their email is just plain rude and disrespectful.  As Jane Addams observed:

“Action indeed is the sole medium of expression for ethics.”

Then there is the issue of time.  Time is a constant of 24 hours.  Every second taken away from busy small business owners, executives to sales professionals keeps them from doing what they need to do.

Presumptions cannot be made about many of these emails because the subject line appears to be relevant such as “We’re connected on LinkedIn.”   Possibly a few moments after reading the email, the reader recognizes another “sales pitch.” However he or she may have some confusion as to who the sender is.  Then some additional time is wasted checking out whether this is a first degree connection or another second or third degree connection using email marketing without permission.

To elevate your small business above the noise from those other gray suits does require effective marketing.  Your email marketing must be in alignment with your business ethics and social media marketing etiquette. Sure there are few hard fast rules about email marketing unless you are concerned about the SPAM code and violations.

Permission based marketing reflects these wise words of Wayne Dyer:

“Live one day at a time emphasizing ethics rather than rules.”

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Check out Be The Red Jacket the Keys to Unlocking Sales Success.

This quick read begins by discussing the importance of business ethics.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith supports forward thinking leaders in bridging the gaps between the two problems restricting strategic business growth – people and processes. She speaks and writes specifically to high performance sales people who require a tailored executive coaching solution and to small businesses with under 50 employees where the challenges are more unique and resources more limited. Leanne can be reached at 219.508.2859 central time USA.  Follow her on Twitter or check out her profile on LinkedIn.


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The Real Gaps Between Small Business Marketing and Reality

Organizations continue to depend on their small business marketing to attract attention.  Yet the reality presented by technology and learned behavior (expectations) has created significant gaps.

small-business-marketingExpectation Gap

Email has been proven to be effective in small business marketing campaigns. However email in boxes of ideal customers are flooded with hundreds of messages.  Where the gap exists is within the response time if we take the research by MailTime to heart. Your email marketing email message is competing for time (attention) with all the other inbound messages as well as the outbound messages being sent by your ideal customer.  According to MailTime, 52% of email workplace senders expect a response within 12 to 24 hours and 19% wanted a response within 12 hours.  Patience appears not to be a virtue.

If those are the expectations and your ideal customer is up to his or her armpits fighting alligators, how much time do they have to read your emotionally compelling email marketing message?

Social Media Gap

Social media continue to grow in popularity through content marketing as well as updates through the various social media channels such as LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.  Yet reality is people are overloaded with information and having your message standout is difficult at best.

Research from Strongview and SENSORPRO indicate the following increase in dollars for marketing:

  • Email – 61%
  • Social Media – 49%
  • ]Mobile Marketing – 40%

Companies are increasing spend in email and yet as noted in the email gap it may be harder and harder to grab the attention of the ideal customer. Automated messages through expanded data sources will trigger new messages based on multiple data streams. This suggests In Boxes will become even more overloaded and thus increasing expectations of a response.

Buying Gap

Sales research now suggests that up to 60% of the buying decision is made before a contact or outreach to a salesperson or a company. This buying decision could be because of some email and content marketing, but probably more due to the diligence of the buyer through his or her own research as well as referrals.

Data Gap

Big data continues to grow and influence marketing actions.  Small businesses in many instances have not ever incorporated any data or metrics into their small business marketing efforts. Reliance on demographic history and purchase history still drive many marketing decisions even though understanding psychographics (the why or the motivation to buy) is probably far more important.

The Expert Gap

Yesterday in speaking with a client, he shared with me when his business first opened he was approached almost daily by local marketing and advertising firms who made big promises with big bucks. In his research, he realized many small business marketing firms are still operating under traditional beliefs such as paid advertising, printed glossy brochures.  His firm would never have reached the level it did had he bought into the traditional expert solutions.

The Brand Gap

Years ago a local and very successful business owner shared his definition of brand with me.

Brand is your promise.

Now some marketing firms may find this definition too simple because it takes away a lot of billing dollars for all those fancy logos.   Seth Godin in his daily blog suggested to “spend 10,000 times as much money on your brand as you spend on your logo.”

Many confused logo with brand and this creates the Brand Gap. Your Brand is what matters. Your logo is a graphic representation of your brand.

Strategic Plan Gap

Probably the biggest gap is not having a strategic plan. Some small businesses may have a marketing plan that was created in isolation by some marketing expert.  Your marketing plan evolves from your strategic plan not vice versus.

These gaps are real and continue to exist for a variety of reasons.  The end result is lost profits for small businesses because the focus is on the wrong end of the horse so to speak.




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