In today’s digital age, electronic media is replacing more traditional marketing methods. There are three forms, in particular, that wholesalers need to know about. They are E-mail Marketing, Wikis and Social Media. Understanding how to use them can improve your business’s bottom line. Here’s what you need to know.
Direct E-mail Marketing
The sharpest rise in marketing budgets is coming from e-mail marketing, with U.S. firms forecasted to spend $2 billion on this marketing tactic by 2012, according to a study conducted by StrongMail. Why is email marketing gaining so much in popularity? Something called ROI - Return on Investment. The ROI for e-mail marketing is $48 for every $1 spent. It is also an easy tactic to measure success. Industry standards show that a successful e-mail campaign can expect the following open-rates:
• Welcome, thank you, confirm an order – 70-80%
• Newsletters – 30-60%
• Business-to-business e-mail newsletters – 5-15%
• Marketing campaigns using in-house contact lists – 15-20%
• Marketing campaigns using rented or purchased lists – 8-10%
• Business-to-customer promotional e-mail marketing campaigns – 2-12%
• Highly segmented and personalized e-mail lists (B2B, B2C) – 10-20%
• Non-segmented new, trend-type newsletters – 10-15%
• Trigger or behavior-based e-mail campaigns – 15-50%
To get started, wholesalers may want to consider a distribution service. You simply upload your database (email address list) and create an e-mail from one of their templates. They are inexpensive (typically less than $100 per month). Some to consider include: Constant Contact, Exact Target, Benchmark E-mail or Boomerang.
It is important to note that by 2014, consumers will be deluged with more than 9,000 e-mail marketing messages annually. It is an extremely familiar and immediate medium, but it will also become imperative to be relevant and stand out.
Sources: Promo Magazine, Lyris HQ, Direct Marketing Association’s E-Mail Experience Council, Forrester Research, SubscriberMail, MindComet
A wiki is a Web site that allows easy creation and editing via a Web browser using a simplified text editor. Wikis are growing because, at their core, they are about as simple as can be. That simplicity means that people find them easy to use, just like e-mail and blogs. Like e-mail and blogs, wikis also perform a very useful service in a simple way. A wiki allows a group of people to enter and communally edit bits of text. These bits of text can be viewed and edited by anyone who visits the wiki. When you come to a wiki, you are able to read what the wiki's community has written. By clicking an "edit" button on an article, you are able to edit the article's text. You can add or change anything you like in the article you are reading.
Because of their powerful sense of community and interaction, wikis can be important to your wholesale business as a place for your customers to interact and discuss their favorite products or floral design. This enables you to “see” what interests your customers, making it easier for you to stock appropriate items and provide exceptional service. If you are interested in making a wiki you can use a free service, download wiki software or pay for a wiki hosting service.
Sources: Wikipedia, How Stuff Works, CommonCraft, Squiddo
If people want to learn more about you, they go to your Web site. If you want to learn more about them, you go to social media. Consumers have learned to turn to Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to find information, entertainment and most of all, interact with the people who share their interests or can answer their questions. It’s the new water cooler, with 57 percent of Americans spending more time with their computer “friends” on social networks than their spouses.
What Does Social Media Actually Do?
• Generate awareness - Build loyalty through increased two-way communication with key audiences.
• Change behavior - Use new visibility to educate and alter opinions.
• Lead generation - The positive results of changing behavior are the leads that will be generated.
• Increased customer communication - Enables communication with customers through new
channels never before available.
• Establish trust - Increases loyalty with existing customers; create it with new customers.
How Do You Get Started?
Many of you probably already have a personal Facebook page. Creating one for your business is just as simple. In fact, you can search Oasis Floral Products on Facebook, and create one right from our page by scrolling to the bottom left hand corner. There you’ll see a link that says “Create a Page for My Business.” Setting up a Twitter account is just as simple. It’s best to dive right in, set up an account then start using it. This is the fastest way to learn and see the benefits.
Finally, for those of you who are just dipping your toe in the proverbial water of electronic media, here is a glossary of terms that may be helpful.
Bandwidth - A measure for the speed (amount of data) you can send through an Internet connection. The more bandwidth, the faster the connection.
Click - On a Web page, a mouse click on a hyperlink element (such as text or picture) takes a visitor to another part of the Web site.
Web browser – a search engine such as Google or Yahoo that takes you to various sites based on the search terms you enter.
Cookie - Information from a Web server, stored on your computer by your Web browser. The purpose of a cookie is to provide information about your visit to the Website for use by the server during a later visit.
Domain Name - The name that identifies your Web site.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator) - A Web address. The standard way to address Web documents (pages) on the Internet (like: http://www.w3schools.com/)
Download - Transferring a file from a remote computer to a local computer.
Flash - A multimedia format developed by Adobe for use on the Web that enables graphics to move.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) - A compressed format for storing images and one of the most common image formats on the Internet.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) - The language of the Web. HTML is a set of tags that are used to define the content, layout and the formatting of the Web document. Web browsers use the HTML tags to define how to display the text.
HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol) - The standard set of rules for sending text files across the Internet. It requires an HTTP client program at one end, and an HTTP server program at the other end.
Hypertext - Hypertext is text that is cross-linked to other documents in such a way that the reader can read related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol. (see also hyperlink)
I.P. Address - This is an identification number that gets associated to your computer. When accessing Webpages and browsers, or sending out e-mail, the device that you are sending from has an IP address associated to it.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) - Someone that provides access to the Internet and Web site hosting.
JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group) - The organization that promotes the JPG and JPEG graphic formats for storing compressed images.
Meta Tags - Tags inserted into documents to describe the document. Search engines look for these Meta Tags to identify sites that may interest you when you enter a search.
Redirect - When a Web page automatically forwards (redirects) the user to another Web page.
Streaming - A method of sending audio and video files over the Internet in such a way that the user can view and/ or listen to the file while it is being transferred.
ZIP - A compressing format for computer files. Commonly used for compressing files before downloading over the Internet. ZIP files can be compressed (ZIPPED) and decompressed (UNZIPPED) using a computer program like WINZIP.