An open letter on email marketing
Email marketing is far from outdated. When it’s used well, email is a powerful tool for generating leads, converting sales, staying top of mind, and creating long-lasting relationships.
There’s a place for email at every point in the sales cycle, and the potential impact on the intangibles is equally compelling. Brands are using email to foster trust, add value, create buy-in and inspire loyalty.
Dear reader: now what?
Email is good for building brand awareness, connecting with new prospects, establishing leadership, and nurturing existing customer relationships. So the first and most important question is a strategic one: What do you want your email marketing to do? With a clear objective in mind, choosing the right tactical approach is easier. And with email, there are plenty of options:
Newsletters: Establish and reinforce your expertise, keep customers aware and informed, and share news, announcements and special offers.
Promotional Campaigns: Invite prospects and customers to take advantage of sales, seasonal services and other unique offers.
Event Invitations: Event marketing establishes authority, and custom email invitations are an excellent touch.
Lead Nurturing: Keep in touch with prospects and guide them through the sales cycle until they convert.
Surveys: Learn more about your customers’ needs and wants — and use that insight to tailor products, services and future content.
Transactions: A simple “Thank you” and an order confirmation goes a long way in building rapport and boosting consumer confidence.
While there are pros and cons to any marketing medium, email offers a long list of advantages with very little downside — low cost, speed and advanced metrics, to name a few. In fact, one of the only potential obstacles to building volume through email is the tendency for recipients — and more important, corporate firewalls — to treat messages from unfamiliar sources as spam. But with the right email marketing tools — and the right content — businesses can not only reach their readers, but also entice them to opt in.
Think before you send
Once you’ve settled on a strategy and chosen your approach, the rest is fairly straightforward. Here are a few common-sense tips for maximizing your email programs:
Send a consistent message: Email is just one of many marketing tools. Make sure your messaging and content are consistent with your other communications.
Make it personal: Know your audience, and use your recipients’ names. It’s polite, it helps ensure opt-in, and it reduces spam complaints.
Stay on topic: Focus on the most relevant product or service, and mention related offers sparingly and thoughtfully.
Make it quick: Most mobile devices cut off email previews at 35 characters. Write attention-grabbing subject lines, and keep the most important messages above the fold.
Keep a list: Pay attention to unsubscribed and bounced recipients, and honor their requests in a timely fashion.
Be direct: Don’t waste your readers’ time. Acknowledge their needs, present your offer and provide the means to get to a simple transaction. Don’t bombard your audience with generic noise and useless clutter.
It’s all connected: Invite users to engage through your website and social media channels. Get them actively involved in your entire online experience.
Ask, and you will receive: Present a clear call to action. Include ways to subscribe, request more info, or download resources.
Give away your ideas: Establish your credibility and authority by freely sharing your thought leadership. Make your audience seek you out for relevant, insightful information.
Research and develop: Email software and web analytics can show who’s opening emails and clicking through. Use that knowledge to refine your calls to action and create even more relevant content for future campaigns.
A note on technology
There are many good options for email marketing platforms available — including Constant Contact, MailChimp and iContact — that make management simple. Most are user-friendly enough for folks without web design experience to update and add content to branded templates. Just pay attention to the way the service manages contact information and measures results.
Good thinking delivers
Audience. Strategy. Message. Integration. The rules for a successful email campaign are the same as those that govern all of your brand communication. It’s less about which software to use or what offer to promote; instead, it’s about creating clear, consistent messages that connect with your audience and encourage them to respond. That takes good thinking — and that’s our specialty. We’d love to talk about your next marketing campaign. Why not send us an email?