Jan 15, 2011

Calls To Action in Email Marketing

I took a persuasion theory class in college.  What I took away from the class was that there are lots of different ways to persuade someone, but they rarely are effective.  One method that stuck with me was what my professor referred to as "the power of suggestion."  In marketing, we might call it a "call to action."

Email marketers may be surprised just how effective a call to action in emails can be.  If you want email receivers to do something, ask them.  I get emails in my inbox every day from companies and organizations wanting me to buy something, attend an event, visit a website, or donate to a cause.  I don't always get emails with a clear call to action.  It probably seems obvious to the writers of the emails what the desired action of the reader is.  That's a bad assumption to make.  It won't hurt your email to include some simple text like "Click here to buy now" or "Visit our site for more information" or "Follow us on twitter and facebook."

Here's a real life example.  A business I did email marketing for did weekly deals through email.  We thought people would forward the emails to their friends because they were pretty good deals and the products had universal appeal.  To my surprise, very few people forwarded the emails.   One of my coworkers suggested I include some text telling people to forward the emails to friends.  It was so simple I didn't think it would work.  I was wrong, forwards skyrocketed. 

I made the mistake of assuming people would know to forward the email on their own, and just didn't want to.  Maybe they didn't think the deal was open to non-email subscribers; maybe it just never crossed their minds to forward the email.  The lesson I learned was to never assume the receiver of your message will know how you want them to act unless you tell them.  Calls to action are so simple, and so effective, you have no reason not to include them.

Jan 11, 2011

Why Should an Organization use Social Media?

If you want a business to start using social media, be prepared to answer this question. Even if your boss is behind it (or you are the boss), people in your organization may still be skeptical of the benefits. There are many answers to this question, but every situation and organization is different. Here are a couple of reasons I’ve given in the past:

1. Stay ahead of your Competitors

Imagine 5 years ago if you’re company didn’t have a website. You would be at a significant disadvantage to all your competitors that did have a website. Now imagine if your company had a website 15 years ago. It wasn’t vital for businesses to be on the web in 1995, but if you were, you were ahead of the curve. As the internet evolved, you were able to evolve with it. Your business had already taken its first digital steps, so by the 2000s, when your competitors were just starting to walk, you were running on the web. Most businesses are in those first step stages still with social media, so if you don’t get on now, you’re going to be walking while everyone else is running. Then when the next big thing in marketing comes around, your competitors will be able to start using that while you’re still figuring out social media.

2. Stay ahead of your Customers

Over the holidays my uncle, who’s an old school marketing guy, told me he thought social media was a great tool for communicating with customers, but didn’t think it benefited a company’s bottom line much. Today, he’s probably not far off. There’s probably a very small percentage of people who use Twitter/Facebook as a primary decision making tool. That percentage will grow, and will grow quickly. A few years from now there’s no telling just how extensively consumers will use social media, and how much they will expect from companies on social media. If you can’t meet the social media savvy consumers’ expectations and needs, they’ll find someone else who can. There’s business to be had right now on social media, and that’s only going to grow.

3. Social Search

Social media can help your SEO (search engine optimization) right now, and all signs point to it being crucial in coming years. Search engines already factor Facebook and Twitter conversations into SERPs. In the future, people may start using Facebook and Twitter as their primary search engines over Google (or at least cut into Google’s share of searches). Just like if you don’t have a website, you won’t show up in Google, if you don’t have a social media presence, you probably won’t show up in social searches.

These are just a couple of reasons every business should start using social media (or maybe take their current efforts more seriously). Social media is still in its infancy. Businesses and consumers will most definitely continue to find more uses for it, giving you more reasons to be on it every day.

Jan 5, 2011


Hi, I'm Ryan Wilson. Welcome to my blog. I just graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in public relations, and am now embarking on a career in internet marketing. My current areas of focus are social media, email, and search. I hope it becomes of some value for others who currently are internet marketers, or who are looking to go into the field. I plan on sharing my experiences as I start my life as a marketing professional, what I find to work well and what doesn't work so well. For fellow young professionals, I want this to be a place where you can follow along on my journey and maybe share experiences. For seasoned pros, I hope this is a place you can find insight from the next generation of marketers. For students, I want to share with you the things I think will give you an advantage when you enter the job market, the stuff that hasn't made it into your textbooks yet.