Thursday, October 18, 2007

Constant Contact

Yes, in marketing, of course people should have "constant contact" with constituents. What I am talking about, and actually wondering about as well, are email marketing programs such as Constant Contact, a company that provides such services as newsletter distribution and other email based communication programs.

I highly recommend such programs for newsletter distribution, however, in my direct business, that is not something I currently offer. I may, if I sign up with an email program like Constant Contact. I heard about Constant Contact at the latest monthly luncheon for the Burlington Chapter of the Women Business Owner's Network - one of my favorite self employed business activities and organization I might add. Every time I go to a WBON event, I learn such valuable and helpful information for operating my independent public relations agency - RachelCarterPR. (I've decided I like the one word identity.)

Anyway, the reason I am interested in a potential email marketing program is for press release distribution. I can see how it would be a plus on one side with eliminating annoying formatting issues and being able to include photos without attachments. However, editors get so much email, that will the majority of them even bother to click the button that allows newsletter content to be read? And, furthermore, they haven't subscribed - email marketing is anti-spam and while there would be an option to unsubscribe, they never subscribed in the first place and the last thing I want to do is annoy the press. For this post I need advice - anyone have any???


Anonymous said...

You're asking two not-quite related items.

ConstantContact and similar services go by so many marketing terms of art that the core focus usually gets lost. These "permission-based" or "opt-in" services help one send content to an eventually well-scrubbed list of captive audiences you know or that has found you, with the ability to customize, track, and measure the results of the message.

Since list/lead generation costs more than retention, the value comes with helping to streamline the former and manage the latter more cost-effectively.

Compared to straightforward newswire delivery, there's no automatic means for "opt-in". But there's no rule saying you have to use one service to the exclusion of the other. You'll still have to work hard to get media folks engaged, but once you have them, you have a better way to capture them.

Permission email can be a stable tool that's provided everywhere you have web presence, and integrated into each website and online service you use to capture specific audiences (in fact that helps you track who found you and how).

Also developing/segmenting content for those audiences works too, once you see who finds you.

Hope this helps to jumpstart some thinking...

Lisa said...

That's tricky. Sending press releases and email marketing in general are two extremely different things. Email newsletters should go to your clients and people who provide you with your email addresses. Press releases are a different story. Media outlets are saturated with email newsletters and other sorts of mass mailings and chances are most of them, if not all of them, get lost in the shuffle.

I guess the advice I would give to you is to find an intern who can help you develop a kick-a$$ media list so that you can target your press releases to the proper market. That is the first order of business for me in any job that I have, and on the down times at work (few and far between though they are) I have my staff update my list for me.

Oh, and in regards to what email marketing program that I use for mass mailings - before I had the ability to send email newsletters directly from my software, I used Cooler Email. It was pretty cool and very affordable.

Here's another thought. What if you picked a few key media outlets and set up appointments with a key person at the station just to chat. Take them out for coffee and pick their brain for what they're looking for, what makes a good story for them, etc. They'd probably appreciate that- and not only that but if you set yourself apart, they may look to you as an expert for different things, particularly if one of your clients fits the bill for a story they're working on.

Just some thoughts, girlie. Email me if you want to chat some more about this.

Shay said...

I used ConstantContact exclusively at the Guardian to manage our weekly news blast (and daily breaking news) summaries, and it worked rather well for us. People seemed OK with the opt-out options if then so desired, and it was easy to manage (from my end) and to make it look like I wanted. At Chelsea Green, we also use it for our monthly newsletter to consumers (about 9,000 people). Hope this helps.

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