If You Aren’t Blasting…

Then you should think about starting.  I’m talking about email blasting your marketing message to current and potential customers.  Think about it: almost everyone has an email address and checks their inbox daily, and a substantial portion of those same people have connected those email accounts to their smart phones and tablets.  This creates an easy, instant and inexpensive way to reach your audience.  Here at DOW Electronics, we send out email blasts regularly and chances are you have received one from us, so we know the ins and outs of making the most of your email initiatives.

THE BASICS

There are a few simple rules you will need to follow before you get started.  In order to preserve email and internet privacy, governing against spam is extremely important.  Make sure all the email addresses you are sending to have subscribed to receive your email blast so that you aren’t flagged for sending unwanted email, which can get you in trouble.  To help with spam, always include your company name and information to confirm the legitimacy of the message.  Also, when setting up your emails, you will need to include an ‘Unsubscribe’ link for those who are no longer interested in receiving your communications.  There are plenty of email services you can use to send your email marketing, such as Vertical Response, Constant Contact and Mail Chimp, which can also provide professional-looking templates and in-depth instructions to ensure you get the most out of each email.

CREATING CONTENT

Even though email marketing is inexpensive (as low as 2₵ per email address), putting out irrelevant or useless information will deter your readers and push them to unsubscribe.  One of the first considerations is the email’s length – think about how much you read in any given email, and how fast you press delete before you get bored.  Creating an email that is too long will quickly lose your readers’ interest, so 5-6 paragraphs should be the maximum length of your email blast.  Second, create a subject line that creates interest for your readers – give them just enough information to entice them, but not too much they don’t need to read the content.  From there, the world is yours – as long as you add in your personal touches and it pertains to your subscribers.  You can include product specials, sales, event information, contest and important company information and updates. By maintaining relevant content, your readers are more likely to stay tuned in to future blasts.

GET FOLLOWED

Ultimately, self-promotion is the best way for people to pay attention to your email campaigns.  Providing a subscription link on Facebook, Twitter and any other social media or networking site can work wonders.  Chances are, if they are following you on one of these sites, they will want to know what you are sending in emails.  Also, an inexpensive free gift, like a free eBook or industry report, is a great incentive for getting people to join and read your e-blasts.  Always ask for email addresses from new or potential clients and their permission to send email communications – the worst they can say is no, but if you let them know that by subscribing to your blasts they will receive frequent sales and specials, they will most likely say yes.

Email campaigns are simply one of the best ways to get your message to your audience – most of us that have email accounts and use them regularly check them more than once a day.  Therefore, you have at least one, if not two opportunities each day to reach your audience with your message, whatever it may be.  And since it is so inexpensive compared to any other marketing tactic currently on the market, you should start taking advantage of the potential return on investment email marketing has to offer.

Working Smart: Email Tips for 2013

Laura LoPresti of LML & Associates is our guest blogger this week, reviewing Email Protocol Tips for 2013.

LML & Associates provides hands-on training introducing Microsoft Outlook as a total time-management solution.  Our training and coaching provides measurable results in the areas of personal and team productivity.  We help busy professionals create a consistent focus on priorities, gain control of their email, improve communications, manage time, tasks, and activities and use Outlook with a ‘business planning’ approach.  Contact Laura LoPresti at (813) 404-2230 for further information.

 

Most professionals receive a new email every 8 minutes and spend more than half of their day “living in their inbox”.  By making some simple changes to our email protocol we can reduce the volume and better manage the emails we receive each day.

 

URGENCY:

  1. Don’t use e-mail for urgent communications.  Use the telephone or speak face to face.  If you must send someone an urgent e-mail, phone them and let them know it is coming.
  2. Establish regular e-mail check intervals with your team, e.g. every two hours, twice a day, or at the top of each hour.  Agree on an appropriate response time for non-urgent e-mails, e.g. by close of business, within 24 hours.
  3. Don’t use e-mail to try to achieve a consensus– it will go on forever.  If an issue isn’t resolved in three e-mails, pick up the phone.

 

SUBJECT:

  1. Compose e-mail subject lines that are specific and decision enabling.  Make the subject of the e-mail “crystal clear”, e.g. “Final inventory numbers needed by Friday” vs. “Inventory”.  And if the subject matter of the email has changed during the back and forth exchange, be sure to edit the subject line before forwarding, replying or filing the email.
  2.  If the email you are sending is less than a line long, simply type the complete message on the subject line of the email and end it with “END”.  This allows your recipients to get your point without even opening the email.

RESPONSE REQUIRED:

  1.  Agree with colleagues on acronyms to use in subject lines so that action items are quickly identified.  Sample acronyms: AR = action required, RFI = request for information (include a “needed by” date in subject line), FYI = for your information and no action is required.  This helps colleagues prioritize which emails need to be processed first.
  2.  Stop sending acknowledgement replies to all e-mails received, e.g. “thanks”, “OK”, “Got it”, etc. are not necessary and just add to the email volume.

LENGTH OF MESSAGE:

  1.  Keep your responses brief.  Those who email you will typically adopt your style.
  2.  Keep to one subject per e-mail.  Don’t lump information on two or more topics into one e-mail – it causes confusion and limits the ability to take action.
  3.  Remove long sections of historical text from e-mails that have been circulated.  Start the email with a concise summary of the conversation to date so that the recipient doesn’t have to scroll down and read multiple pages of emails to determine what the email is about.
  4.  A concise e-mail that does not fill the entire screen with text is more likely to be read.
  5.  Be thoughtful about sending large attachments, especially if your company culture is dependent on mobile devices. Consider using a link to a folder on a shared network or website.

DISTRIBUTION:

  1.  Only copy those who need to see the message.  Do not use general circulation lists which include people who do not need the message – instead, set up your own ‘targeted’ distribution lists.  And if you are being unnecessarily copied on certain types of emails, let the sender know so that they can take you off of their distribution list.
  2.  Do not use ‘Reply to All’ unless specifically requested.  Reply instead only to the originator, who can consolidate all replies and circulate if relevant.
  3.  Be selective about who is placed in the “TO:” line.  The To: line should only include the people who are expected to act on the e-mail.  Being on the “CC:” line means that you’re only being “kept in the loop” and no response is necessary. If five people are sent a request and all are in the “TO:” line, it will not be clear who is actually supposed to take action.

 

HANDLING E-MAILS:

  1.  Use “Out of Office / Auto-Reply” to let people know when you are away.  People may assume you have received and read urgent messages when in fact you are not even in the office.  Indicate you won’t be checking email and refer sender to an alternative contact.
  2.  Treat email like regular mail.  Check your email at regular times in the day (i.e. early morning, midday and late afternoon).  Even if you receive a large volume of e-mails, checking your e-mail more than four times a day, becomes counter-productive.
  3.  Clear your Inbox every day.  Read items once and delete, forward, reply, convert into a task or appointment, or store in a folder for future reference.

 

DOW Electronics Partners with Kenwood

DOW Electronics is very excited to announce that it has partnered with Kenwood USA! Continuing our 12 Volt segment growth, DOW Electronics will be distributing Kenwood’s high quality products to our Florida retailers. This week we’re taking a look at the innovation and quality that Kenwood provides, something our retailers will be very familiar with already.

For over 40 years, Kenwood has relied on its engineering prowess to design innovative, great-sounding equipment that’s easy to use and built to last. Kenwood USA, founded in the United States in 1961 as a subsidiary of Kenwood Corporation of Japan, is recognized for providing products that deliver quality, performance and value. Kenwood has built a reputation for innovation in the consumer electronics market. Included in their many innovations are: first to create an anti-theft car cassette deck that could be slid out of the dash; first with an automatic broadcast sensor system and automatic noise reduction; and the first polypropylene speaker cones.

Kenwood is one of the first aftermarket companies to be able to fully integrate their products with the car’s factory technology using Car Portal for iDatalink* – a real solution for Ford SYNC owners. In a collaborative effort with ADS* (Automotive Data Solutions), a Ford SYNC customer can now keep the existing SYNC features like iPod control, Bluetooth, Satellite radio and 911 assist, and seamlessly interface them with Kenwood’s advanced user interface and Garmin navigation system found on a range of Kenwood DNX receivers to communicate and display the on-board SYNC features of the car. The optional iDatalink interface/wiring harness will give owners of compatible Ford/Lincoln vehicles the best navigation option on the market by adding an affordable Kenwood DNX model as an alternative to expensive factory navigation solutions.

As our 12 volt specialist Mike Eckley explains, “Integration is a huge part of where the industry is heading. The cars now a day are a lot tougher than when I started out in the install bays in the early 90’s and having Kenwood offering products that allow the consumers, retail shop owners and installers integration that fully communicates to the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) installed factory technologies is great”

Kenwood offers innovative features in all of their model ranges. Many models feature dual USB input and blue tooth auto pairing with iPhones. Kenwood offers three full featured multimedia models. The new DNN770HD model features built-in WiFi technology that can access a dedicated cloud-based Kenwood server or content stored on connected smart phone or mass storage device.

“Kenwood offers one of the most diverse lines in the industry, one of the best features is the trickle down technology,” according to Eckley. “This means that features found in the ultra-high end line of Kenwood Excelon in dash cd players, amps and speakers can be seen throughout the rest of the line, all the way down to the entry-level products. This helps tell a good story when talking to the customer.”

Be sure to visit DOW Electronics at Spring Break Nationals during March 2nd-3rd to get hands on experience of the new Kenwood products.

*iDatalink /ADS (Automotive Data Solutions) is another brand proudly distributed by DOW Electronics.