In the current business climate, survival means being adaptable and resourceful enough to create opportunities where others see none. Easy to say, but not so easy to do when your competitors are also leaving no stone unturned in their own survival efforts. In tough conditions, interaction with your customers is absolutely vital. Interaction makes it easier to judge whether your marketing is working; face-to-face negotiation gives you the chance to close the deal rather than merely talk around it. To fully explore every opportunity, you need a way to talk directly and cost-effectively with your customers and potentials, and to gauge their response quickly. You could invest in advertising; you could spend hours on the phone, or visiting them in person. But is this really the most cost-effective use of your valuable time and marketing resource?
The email newsletter is hard to beat in terms of its immediacy and cost-effectiveness, and is perhaps the reason why electronic forms of customer relationship management are experiencing such unprecedented interest at the moment.
Proctor and Gamble’s CEO A.G. Lafley is reported to have once said, “We have a philosophy and a strategy. When times are tough, you build (market) share.” Building share means staying active and engaged with the market; looking for opportunities rather than running for cover when the clouds of recession gather. The logic behind this strategy is not hard to understand. In difficult times, customers are looking for the best possible deals and competition for every euro of revenue is more intense. The pressures bring existing business relationships under scrutiny and incentivise the hunt for alternatives. This means that while there are clearly threats, there are opportunities too for those with the courage to fight for them. Previous recessions have shown that those businesses that stayed engaged with their customers, kept up their marketing and were quick to seize upon new opportunities gained – and retained – significant market share once conditions started to improve; usually at the expense of their more cautious competitors.
A well-written and presented email newsletter gives you the opportunity to engage with your target audience in a way that no other medium can deliver. It’s versatile, fast and responsive, with a very low unit cost. High-quality content is the key to success: Anyone can send an email, but as PR professionals we know better than most how counter-productive a poorly written or poorly-targeted message can be.
The keyword is “value”: To be effective at building a relationship with your customer or prospect, your offering has to deliver value to them. Nobody likes being spammed, but informative and useful email newsletters are generally very welcome and give you the perfect platform to portray your organisation as being both pro-active in its customer relationships and an opinion leader in its field.
The need for PR or journalistic skills in this environment is self-evident. Companies engaged in this kind of activity are effectively moving into the publishing business and consequently it is vital that content is conceived and delivered with the utmost professionalism if it is to be effective. This is why we’ve launched our own email campaign management system, Eido Direct – to be able to deliver both the content AND the delivery of email communications within the context of a broad PR campaign. Eido Direct allows us to create and manage email campaigns of any size – from tens, to tens of thousands of recipients – quickly and easily. Visit www.eido-pr.eu or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.