Email marketing – what’s it all about?

None of us are strangers to email marketing – we’re all on the receiving end of it every single day.

So, is it just a nuisance or can you box clever and use it to your advantage?

Of course email marketing does work, or else no one would be doing it. But there’s far more to it than just throwing mud at a wall and hoping some of it will stick.

So think about how you make buying decisions yourself. Do you respond to the first piece of advertising that you are exposed to? Probably not.

You’re more likely to do your research, ask friends or colleagues for their advice, and make comparisons between providers online.

So, if you want your business to be in with a chance, it’s a good idea to start work on building relationships that could potentially turn into a sale. And email is great for building relationships.

Maintain a constant, helpful presence
Of course we don’t know when our future customers will be ready to buy, but if we can maintain a steady presence in their consciousness, in a nice way, then we’ll be at a distinct advantage.

And that’s one of the areas where email marketing has its strength. It’s a low cost channel of communication that we can use to keep in touch with our target market.

Use it to educate, inform, even entertain, but don’t use it to sell. The moment we see an HTML email with lots of blocks of colour, logos and pictures starting to load into our in-box we know we’re about to be sold to. And these days, we don’t really like being sold to, do we!

Keep content targeted and relevant

So, let’s consider the content – if we segregate our marketplace well, we know exactly who we are writing to, and that means we can create tailored, pertinent content that the recipient feels has been written just for them.

And that content should always contain a ‘so what?’ factor – i.e. what’s in it for the reader. If content contains the word ‘we’ then it’s not focused on the needs of the customer.

Have you ever received an email asking you to take a look at a new website – so what? It’s of no direct interest, people only want to know how you can help or take away their pain.

So, what other advantages are there to email marketing?

  • You can scoot past the gatekeeper – heading straight for the inbox of the person you want to do business with – the decision maker.
  • You can identify ‘warm’ contacts after a broadcast – just take a look at who has clicked the links in your email to see who’s engaging with you, and what subject is generating interest.
  • Follow ups can happen right away – strike while the iron is hot and follow up on those who have clicked through to your website to find out more.
  • You can test subject lines to see which works the best before rolling out a campaign to a larger database.

And here’s another tip – keep your email short. Respect the fact that people are busy; they don’t have lots of time. Choose your words carefully and use links to pertinent landing pages on your website so they can find out more if they want to.

Good data is a real asset for your business

Do all you can to acquire relevant data – add a data capture feature on your website, perhaps by giving something away for free, and collect contact details of everyone you meet that has potential. Then stay in contact; you just never know when they may be ready to buy or recommend your services.

And where possible, invest in some good quality data to increase your reach and give yourself the best possible opportunity to make new relationships that could turn into a sale.

Email marketing is an important part of the marketing mix, and works best alongside other marketing activity. It is not a quick fix! So, build it into your overall marketing plan and don’t rely on it to suddenly turn your business around. Remember, a buying decision is rarely instant. But if a relationship exists, there’s a much better chance of making a sale.

Posted by Julie Kenyon