There are lots of important aspects to consider if you are to succeed with this marketing channel. joukjeakveld And if you do get it right, the rewards are high quality leads generated from a relatively low-cost marketing initiative.
So, let’s explore what makes a good email marketing campaign.
Why content is king in email marketing
There are lots of email marketing providers quoting.000xp per email for your broadcasts – but they’re just offering you a machine – not a marketing service.
Granted, a broadcasting facility is needed but that’s the least of your issues if you choose to embark on an email marketing campaign – you want your emails to be read, and in an ideal world, you want to generate a response – that’s where it gets interesting!
So, let’s talk about content – it needs to be intelligent, pertinent, short and to the point, and it needs to address the recipient correctly i.e. customers are not the same as prospects and need to be treated differently.
Want to know about the biggest content pitfall?
It’s not being able to resist the temptation to talk about yourself – what your business does. With this ‘fleeting medium’, you need to show the reader that you have an answer to their problem – so content must be benefit-led. Remember, it’s not about you – it’s about your customers!
So, don’t say “We sell IT systems and telecoms equipment” – say, “How would you like to improve the efficiency of your workforce?”
Here’s why this approach works…
Take Anna, she’s an HR manager, and she heard from Paul, the manager of a recruitment consultant last week. Paul just dropped her a line, via email, to let her know that he has a current salary level survey for her industry and should she wish to learn more, he’s happy to talk. That way she can ensure she holds onto her best staff, and she’s not paying over the odds.
Now Anna feels special, Paul has taken the trouble to get in touch, and a relationship has begun. Paul hasn’t tried to sell to Anna, but next time Anna is looking to recruit, where do you think she will go? And what’s the likelihood that Anna will pass on this information to others in her industry, recommending Paul along the way?
This approach works for any industry, and it can work for yours too.
So, how often should you send out an email broadcast?
Pitching the frequency of your communications right is key to its success – too often and you’ll start to upset some people, not often enough and they may think you don’t care. Actually, they’ll just forget you even exist, especially if your competitors have been in touch.
There are numerous factors that influence frequency:
The nature of your content – if it’s topical – you need to send more often.
If you’re building up intrigue for a launch – you may wish to tease your audience several times over a few days or weeks before your big reveal.
And if you’re nurturing relationships that you hope will turn into business, you need to maintain a sustained presence that’s not too oppressive. You don’t know when your prospect is ready to buy, but if you maintain regular contact, your business will be on their radar when they start shopping.
The best way to decide is to put yourself in the seat of the recipients of your emails – how often do you think they’d like to hear from you?
To some extent it depends on the message – if you have special offers that change weekly, they’ll need to hear from you each week. If you’re nurturing a relationship in a more gentle way with a value message – once a month will keep you on their consciousness without over doing it.
It’s all about planning – who you are emailing, and what it is you want to say.
That’s why targeting your emails is also important. The closer you can target your messages, the more pertinent they can be, and you’ll be able to stay in contact more frequently, because you will be telling them things they’re happy to hear. Email marketing is NOT a ‘one size fits all’ marketing channel!
The quality of your email data therefore is another key factor in the success or failure of your email marketing campaigns.
Why good data matters in email marketing
We all understand one of the basic lessons in marketing – target marketing – identifying who you need to communicate with and how best to reach that audience.
Yet when it comes to email marketing, one of the most common mistakes is to send one message to all – and that’s because it’s cheap and easy to do.
But in most cases it doesn’t work. It results in masses of unsubscribe requests – shutting you out from potentially interested parties – people who may have been interested in your products or service, but who were not communicated with properly.
The last thing you want to do is upset anyone, so be mindful that you are intruding on their time, and make sure you’re doing it in a nice way.
Good data is made up of a list of contacts that meet a certain criteria – those that you have carefully selected so that you can talk to them on their terms. And by doing so, you start to build a relationship that you can nurture until such a point as your contact is ready to make a purchase.
And let’s not forget your customers (those that have actually bought from you) – they are an important asset to your business, and know about your business already. But do they know everything they need to know to choose to buy from you again? You can keep them up to date with news via email marketing – special exclusive offers, sneak previews, trade secrets etc.- they all serve to make them feel special and retain loyalty. But you can only do this if your data is segmented so you know who your customers are – and who of those customers has recently become inactive and need extra attention.
So, it’s important to get close to your data, to understand who is on it, how they are behaving, so you can decide how you are going to communicate with them.
Once you’ve decided who to email, and what to say, how can you maximise response levels? Think of your subject line as a headline in a newspaper, or a magazine advertisement – it needs to catch attention or the article won’t get read. It’s the same with emails.
Are your subject lines doing it for you?
‘This week’s top offers’, ‘Save money on printer cartridges’, ‘Buy software online’ – we’ve all seen them, and they all end up in our junk folders – because they simply do not do it for us!
If you want your audience to sit up and listen, the subject line is the most important part of the email – if it doesn’t catch attention, the rest of the email won’t get read.
Be bold, be controversial, be witty, be intriguing. Keep it short and to the point – and don’t forget to put your subject matter in context and be mindful of the people you are writing to.
Familiarity is OK with warm prospects and customers. It’s not OK with cold prospects, and can breed a resistance from potentially great contacts who are offended by your familiar approach.
“Richard Branson’s got it – have you?”
Wouldn’t you like to know what it is Richard Branson has? This line creates intrigue – it compels the reader to open the email.
Richard Branson has a high profile – now if you’re a PR company and send out an email with a subject line that says – “Do you need more publicity?” do you think it will get the same reaction?
What kind of responses can you expect to receive?
If you do the job well, and pitch your emails right, you’ll receive warm replies that open conversations.
So, is email marketing for you?