Make Your Advertising a Two-Way Street

2wayMillenials — the 15-40 year olds who have claimed the Internet as their own — are involved Internet and mobile consumers; the leave reviews, buy based on social media chatter, blog about their favorite companies, and wage war against companies who make unwise or irresponsible business decisions (and increasingly, companies listen).  Advertisement isn’t just about talking to the Internet, but getting your customers interested enough to talk back. You can’t buy a good review, but you can influence the Internet in completely above-board, good-company ways.

The Human in the “From:” field

When you send a direct mail email, you’ll be surprised by the responses you get — instantly. Phone calls asking if the coupon is valid in Michigan. Angry blog posts bemoaning the loss of the Oxford comma. You need to respond immediately, and professionally.

There should always be a personal address in the “From:” field, not a “noreply@.” Don’t use an actual employee’s email address, because they could resign, change departments, etc.

The same way that General Mills told everyone that the cakes were made by a housewife called Betty Crocker, create a name from whom to send your newsletters, and assign an actual human to answer the email it receives.

The Blog as a Community Space

Your blog isn’t only your company’s lectern. Turn on the comments feature, and it becomes a town square. Users will talk to you, and to one another. They recommend sites, products; they warn others about bad products; they ask for help; they become part of the Internet hive mind that solves problems. You become the den mother and master of ceremonies, overseeing, politely policing arguments, ejecting trolls, leaving comments that are highly respected due to your voice of authority as blog-owner and content creator. If you are a fair and supportive blog runner, your company appears timely and interested in your customers’ concerns.

Your newsletter can be just one way to reach your customers. Send weekly roundups of interesting or important posts or comments from the blog, and send links to other blog posts. Continue to send short newsletters, encouraging readers to express their opinions on the blog.

Cross-pollinate your blog.

When a customer has left a positive review for a product he bought, send an email asking him to post a review on his blog. You can’t pay him for this, but you can link to it, which may drive up traffic on both your blogs. The writer can and probably should acknowledge in the review that he was asked to post it, but that’s fine.

Multimedia in Email?

Viral videos, if unique, quirky, and hit the right cultural notes at the right time, can be an effective marketing technique. You can spread work of these vids by email marketing, but it’s not it’s not advisable to embed the vids in your your emails themselves, even if you embed a link. The times when people typically read email — first thing in the morning, lunchtime, morning commute, downtime at work — are not times when they want to wait for a media link to load. If they’re reading email on their phones, they won’t appreciate your data-heavy media device taking time to download its code, and they aren’t likely to play the video in the email.

It’s better to send an email that drives interest in the vid, and then link to a landing page or Facebook. Your readers will probably save the email and click the link at a more convenient time.

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