Let's be honest here, most of the small businesses across the country have been hit hard with the recession, quite a few have closed up altogether, while others are running very lean organizations while they endure the current economic downturn.
While it is important to make necessary adjustments and even stay ahead of the financial challenges a small business faces, it is equally important to identify new ways to get in front of customers and prospects, otherwise known as marketing.
One of the most affordable ways to get in front of customers in a personal and meaningful way is with email marketing. Done right, email marketing allows you to connect with customers on a regular timetable and in a valuable way, and is one of the reasons I'm looking forward to ACT! 2010 with its end-to-end marketing capabilities. It is the first time ACT! has included a built in tool for customers to actually build their business using the net. Customers only have to activate the SwiftPage service by choosing the appropriate level based on their needs.
Personal Story: SwiftPage Email has been around for several years, and is the engine powering the ACT! 2010 end-to-end marketing solution. I recently encouraged a long-time ACT! client, who required more marketing capabilities in order to continue using ACT! , to do a marketing test with the SwiftPage addon.The key issue: he had no easy and affordable way to “warm up” his database, and see if there were prospects that would be a fit for his current offerings.
After getting him setup and started with the SwiftPage service, I let him go for a couple days, and then followed up with him. He told me there is a whole new level of activity in the office; calling on targeted leads who have a renewed interest in his company’s products and services as a result of a couple emails he sent to his database using SwiftPage. He now has the capability to interact with contacts in his ACT! database, based on their interaction (viewing, opening, clicking links) in his email.
UPDATE: I just spoke with him on the phone to get an update, and these are two results he is most excited about:
Sales. In less than 1 week, his company closed 4 "deals" as a direct result of the emailing activities done with SwiftPage. This represents a 7-8% revenue increase.
Cleanup. As a result of the call list creation capabilities, and email bounce management features, he was also able to clean up his database, and identify dead leads due to people replying, saying they already had a solution, or were no longer interested, etc. This information allowed him to redirect sales resources away from those who opted out, to those who wanted more information.
He is pleased, and needless to say, we haven't talked about his company leaving ACT! (which, by the way, is highly customized for his business) since then.
For many, this recession has been difficult, and the truth is, some businesses haven't survived. It doesn't have to be that way, with renewed effort on affordable lead generation approaches like email marketing, you can get results faster. Now with ACT! 2010 having marketing functionality built in the product, once activated, my hope is even more customers will experience increased sales and profits.