SMWLDN Spotlight: Annette Iafrate, Vice President & MD, UK at Constant Contact

constant contact

This year for Social Media Week London, we’ve got some amazing partners, and learning more about each of them inspires our team and challenges how we at SMWLDN do what we do.

Bringing on Small Business Sponsor, Constant Contact has been no different.

Learn a bit more about them with us, as we talk with Annette Iafrate, Vice President & Managing Director, UK at Constant Contact Constant.Through affordable and easy-to-use marketing tools, Constant Contact helps create and grow customer relationships. And now, they’re here to help strengthen and grow how we support small businesses in this area.

1. The global theme for SMW 2012 is "Empowering Change through Collaboration." How will Constant Contact be addressing this is its sessions?

In London, Constant Contact’s sessions will educate attendees on how real change and business value is possible through social media. We’ll be providing examples of how local small businesses have successfully enabled change through collaboration and, most importantly, how attendees can use social media, email and event marketing tools to drive business success – so bring your questions and be ready to discover how collaboration can change small businesses.

2. What have you observed to be the biggest challenges facing small businesses in the digital space and what advice would you give them?

Perhaps one of the biggest challenges is getting to know customers on a more personal level because so much of the digital space is driven by online interactions. For this reason alone it’s important to connect with your customers at every entry point that they find your business. Whether it’s your website, Facebook business page, Twitter feed or blog, for example, make sure your content is focused on making the community’s online experience relevant and personalised, just as if you were welcoming them into your shop in person.

Some tips for doing this are to ask permission to contact them via email, providing a few samples of your email newsletter before asking for their contact information to read more of your content, and proactively answering frequently asked questions.  They should feel free to browse and learn before you ask for their permission to connect.

3. What have you observed to be the biggest challenges facing charities in the digital space and what advice would you give them?

In London, I’d have to say that the biggest challenge is that sheer number of charities in the city, so differentiating the causes and missions can be difficult. However, when charities enable site visitors, communities and supporters to easily share a ribbon or logo on their sites or pages, or use social media to effectively engage influencers who will support the cause, charities can see a tremendous uplift in terms of awareness and visits to their site.

4. If you could pick one piece of advice to share with new businesses / charities, what would it be?

Only one? Let’s see. That would be to spend time identifying who your most ardent fans are and cultivating relationships with them. Engage them when they visit and buy from you and take steps to move the relationship and dialogue online. Just remember to make it worth their while by sharing great content and exclusive deals.

5. How is email marketing changing and what is the biggest need for small businesses and organisations in this area?

One of the biggest needs for businesses is to be able to continuously track in detail how successful different campaigns are. After all, if you’re investing time into developing the content, you should close the loop and see if your subscriber rates are going up, who is opting out, who is opening your messages, and how often they get forwarded. By taking a closer look at metrics like this, you can create even more relevant and targeted messages, and ultimately make customers look forward to the next email they receive from your business.You can RVSP to Constant Contact's events right here:

Jump in and join the conversation on twitter #SMWCC and follow our partner @ConstantContact or leave your comments below.

Photo (c) Constant Contact