The New Year is here and it’s time to get going on that marketing resolution to “be more active.” In our last newsletter blog, we mentioned the importance of kicking off 2016 by focusing marketing strategies on trends for this year. To set the stage for your business’s continued success we highly recommend that you spend some time getting more information about your audience. But what exactly does that entail, you ask? Well here’s our breakdown of a few strategies with an in-depth look into acquiring more knowledge about your customers. Email Marketing is Alive and Thriving with the Right Approach Yes, email has been around for a long time, and guess what? It’s not going anywhere. According to fairly recent research from Marketing Sherpa, 91% of Americans do in fact want to receive promotional emails. Email marketing remains the number one way to connect with your audience, to get them to take action. Be sure to make an email marketing plan for 2016 because it will continue to play a huge role this year. However, the times they are still a-changin’. People are on their smartphones now more than ever and you can bet they’re checking emails from their devices. So, when leveraging the awesome power of email, you must make sure that your efforts are also mobile-friendly. The most important part of having a successful emailing marketing strategy is the actual email list itself. You actually own your email list. So, if all of your social media sites were to disappear tomorrow, you would still have your email list and you would still be able to contact your customers. Don’t Let an Email List Stagnate Having a cycle of new customers, clients, and prospects continually opting in to receive information from your business is crucial for improving and growing your email list. An effective growth strategy includes covering all of the places where people interact with your business where you could be collecting email addresses and then making it easy for people to join your list. Here are several ways you can cast a wide net that will deliver the new contacts that you need to grow your audience. Have a signup sheet at your place of business Make sure the signup form on your website is accessible from every page Add a signup form link to your social media sites like Facebook and Twitter Have an automated signup tool like Text-to-Join or Scan-to-Join Promote your email list in all printed materials Collect email addresses when people register to attend any events that you host Be sure to collect information from people when they redeem a deal that you’re offering Get Smart About How You Collect Email Contacts Take an inventory of your current email collecting efforts and ask yourself these questions: What’s working? What’s not? Where can you make improvements? Make changes where they’re needed to bring your efforts into the marketing landscape of the new year and then add any new efforts from the above list. Then re-evaluate at least every quarter to ensure that your list is growing and that your efforts aren’t being wasted. You’ll make smarter decisions and extend the reach of your emails when you’re able to identify your list building strengths and weaknesses Engage with Your Audience Across Multiple Outlets In today’s marketing world, an email strategy is just one piece of the whole pie. In order to gain as much information as you can about customers, you must connect with them across many different avenues. This includes being active on as many social media sites that you’re able to maintain and that are relevant to your business. It also means getting to know people face to face and through phone conversations. Don’t be afraid to ask questions of your customers that may help you make vital decisions down the road. Keep good notes! Study Your Customer Analytics Companies have spent tons of money doing market research and surely your business isn’t the exception. With technology that constantly changes consumer behavior and research methods, you need to keep up with the pace. Customers are now armed with more information, given more choices than ever, while becoming more demanding and less loyal. Given the current shift in how consumers shop, it is crucial to keep up with how we research their wants and needs. Thankfully, today’s technology is even better at enabling companies to employ powerful analytical tools. So, take the time to research and review your customer analytics to better understand and engage customers’ needs today and anticipate their priorities tomorrow.