Seminar to focus on email marketing

Chamber-sponsored workshop to be Thursday
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Making the most of social media and email is the focus of a seminar Thursday for local businesses. It’s one of several Auburn Chamber of Commerce-sponsored informational sessions coming up this year. “We’re getting a really good response on this,” chamber CEO Bruce Cosgrove said Monday. “(We’ have) at least 40 — maybe 50 — business people (who’ve signed up).” Speaker Karen Rice, regional development director for email marketing specialist Constant Contact, will discuss “Let’s Grow your Business.” “She is a representative of Constant Contact, but she’s not there selling it,” Cosgrove said. “She shows how you can use email, in general, and Constant Contact and social media to promote your business. … She’s not trying to sign up people to buy it. (It’s in the context of) helpful tools that make it all come alive for you better.” The seminar provides education in best practices in marketing and incorporating technology. “We discuss how to survive in this market and discuss low-cost products designed for small-to-medium businesses and nonprofits,” Rice said. For example, she explains methods to create marketing-savvy e-mails and get them through spam filters. “It is permission based,” she said. “(It’s about) your customers agreeing to receive your information versus seeing you as a spammer. … We provide templates, education and support so (businesses) can create campaigns that get to their (audience) and get opened. (We show how to) partner with our successful social tools. (Taking that step is something) small-to-medium business and nonprofits can find overwhelming. Why should they go social? Do they need to go social and how best to start?” The starting point is looking where you are going to get the best return, she explained. “It’s about engaging and your customers having a satisfying experience,” she said. “They’re going to share it. Social media is word of mouth in the digital age.” It goes beyond Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin. New social sites are coming online constantly. One of the latest is Pinterest. “It’s the hottest topic right now,” Rice said. “It has a huge following. It is a social bulletin board —a place to post and tell a story about you or your business. Folks use it even to share recipes. It is another platform.” She’ll also talk about a downside of social media — negative feedback It’s a major concern for business owners and she’ll show how to manage those situations and turn them into something positive, she said. Another area Rice will cover is social mapping, a product used to create a social campaign on a Facebook page. “The core is email marketing,” she said. “It’s the fire and social media fans those flames. We want them to understand that concept first.” For Cosgrove, the seminar is a good fit locally.. “I think today business people are looking for things that don’t take a lot of time and aren’t a huge investment but valuable information they can use and quickly,” he said. “Constant Contact is one of those you can. Those who are calling and RSVPing are very appreciative of the fact the chamber is putting on this seminar.” The chamber is also planning another ADA workshop, to be held during the next few months. “It’s more of fulfilling something people are talking about,” he said. “We’re not dreaming up things. We’re not doing things haphazardly. We’re in a lot of meetings every week talking to people and a variety of things are discussed. Sometimes things come in that just resonate. And this was one.”