If you need to reach busy professionals, you need a multichannel approach. Here's where to begin.
A while back I wrote a column about how I had conducted inbox feng shui to clean out my e-mail clutter.
Well, like Oprah, I had a relapse. Toward the end of December, I saw that I had slowly gotten myself into to an ungainly situation -- weighed down by more than 5,600 e-mail messages in my inbox.
"Ugh" does not really describe my reaction when I woke up to this fact. I spent the rest of December grimly deleting and filing e-mail. The task took up way too much of my consulting time and, I'm embarrassed to say, way too much of my holiday break.
I firmly resolved I wouldn't let this happen to me ever again. So while I cleaned, I again unsubscribed like mad from anything that had become irrelevant. And this time, I created rules in Outlook for diverting whole categories of e-mail into certain folders (which now I rarely look at because they are filed).
I'm not out of the woods yet. Because my job as a creative consultant and copywriter requires me to stay up to date on a number of topics, I have a steady stream of e-newsletters coming into my inbox. In a perfect world, I'd read them all. In the real world, that's just not happening.
However, I did put one good practice in place: my assistant now prints out the most important e-newsletters for me once a week and I read them whenever I'm on the train or sitting outside one of my kid's tutoring sessions. My assistant also set up an iGoogle page for me, with RSS feeds to some of my most important news sources. Ideally, over time, the iGoogle page will become the information page. The e-mail inbox will become the client communication portal. Meanwhile, Facebook is becoming the place to stay in touch with old friends. And LinkedIn is the place for colleagues to keep in contact.
So now I have four inner sanctums for communication and information -- and it takes a significant time investment to stay current with them all. That means the barrier keeps getting higher for any new e-mail, any new e-newsletters, and the like. You can't get into my inner sanctums now unless you show me you have something very valuable to offer.
What does this mean to B2B (define) marketers? Clearly, if you're going to reach busy professionals like me, you need a multichannel approach:
I'm not what you would call an early adopter. Many of you are probably way ahead of me on this. But I do represent the middle adopter. So if I'm changing my online habits, pay attention and formulate a response; there are legions of other professionals going in the same direction. The only way to reach them is to create an integrated online approach that stays one step ahead.
What integrated, multichannel approaches are you taking to your B2B online marketing? Contact Karen.
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Karen Gedney, an award-winning creative director and copywriter, shared her insights as a ClickZ Experts contributor from 2000 through 2009. She was known for her successful track record of achieving high e-mail response rates for Fortune 1000 companies and leading organizations. She died Nov. 16, 2010.
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12:00pm ET/9:00am PT