As the saying goes, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. So how prepared are you for your email marketing campaigns? As with any marketing strategy, a clear plan is often the difference between achieving the results you want, or not.
We recently prepared a series of tips for achieving the most effective email campaign, and we’ve compiled them into one handy place for your perusal. We’ve broken the tips down into 3 clear stages, according to the well-known marketing acronym, STP: Segment, Target and Position. So here goes!
Nailing down in the beginning what your target market looks like, will save time down the line as you’ll only send email marketing messages that are relevant, more likely to get a response and give you a good return in the long term.
1. Segment your marketplace
Think about how you can break down your marketplace into more targetable chunks.
2. There are no hard and fast rules…
…on how you choose to segment your marketplace. Some common segments are: 1) By industry e.g. Solicitors, Engineering companies, Estate agents; 2) By the type of business e.g. large corporates, charities or public sector organisations; 3) By geography e.g. certain postcodes, or regions; 4) By company size e.g. employee numbers or turnover; 5) By service offering.
3. Widen the net
Once you’ve segmented your existing marketplace think about similar industries that could be interested in what you have to offer. Do you work well with professional industries such as Solicitors? Why not consider approaching other professionals, such as Accountants? Thinking outside the box – even just a little bit – means that you’ll have a bigger pond to fish in, and therefore more opportunities to make valuable connections that could turn into business.
4. Don’t forget about your existing customers!
While these people may not initially stand out as being a priority in your new business drive, they should absolutely be part of your email marketing efforts. So too should customers you have worked for in the past. These people are already aware of your business, and may be more open to being cross-sold other appropriate products and services. While new business is exciting and attractive, the cost of retaining an existing customer is a lot less than the cost of obtaining a new one, and by looking after your existing client base you’ll grow your business from the bottom up.
So now you have a good idea of your broad customer base you’ll need to establish how you’re going to get a foot in the door.
When it comes to email marketing this is about establishing the best person to speak with, to give yourself the best chance of converting the business. Sending an email to ‘Joe Bloggs’ in a junior position in a random department isn’t going to get you through the door, but contacting the right director or manager – with the right messaging – just might.
5. Think about the benefits of your product or service
What ‘pain’ does it take away, and whose life will be made easier as a result? Example 1) Got a super slick invoice processing system to offer? The Finance Director might be interested to hear about a system that reduces the number of hours spent dealing with inaccurate data entry. The IT Director will have different concerns, and might want to know that integration and management of the system is simple. Example 2) Offering training and staff development? The HR Director may well be interested as a means to improve staff performance and so too might the MD, but you need to recognise that they’d also be interested in staff productivity, their bottom line and long-term business goals.
6. Don’t forget the power of influence
Within any business there are people that hold a certain amount of sway. Everybody has a different point of view and getting influential figures on board makes your product/service easier to sell. Take example 1 above – the IT Director might not see any immediate value in changing existing invoice processing systems. But by also appealing to the Finance Director who is keen to improve efficiencies, you’re securing the influence they may hold over another’s decision.
7. Consider seniority
Marketing to the right person isn’t about emailing just anyone in your target department. While they may be enthusiastic, emailing the junior Marketing Exec about your PPC and social media marketing business isn’t going to produce as good a result as engaging with the Marketing Director, who is more likely to make the final decision, in a positive two-way conversation.
8. What if your email goes astray?
If your email does happen to land in the wrong person’s inbox, you may find that your emails are forwarded on by the recipient to the relevant person. However, you can’t rely on email recipients to do this – they may simply delete the email if it is not directly relevant to them, or unsubscribe from the list. Making sure you have the correct person’s email address, so you can contact them directly, gives you a stronger chance of making a good impression and beginning that two-way conversation.
Honing in on the right person takes a little bit of fine-tuning, but it means that your email marketing efforts will be targeted and more likely to deliver a greater ROI. Poor targeting, on the other hand, is likely to result in little else than high unsubscribe rates. Also, it’s important to determine which approach is the best fit for your business and your sales process – trying to email everyone in the company could have a damaging effect!
You can’t sell your services and products to people that don’t want them, that’s why the final stage of planning an email marketing campaign is often the trickiest part: figuring out how to position your offering so that it’s appealing to your target market.
9. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes
Think about what would really appeal to them. This isn’t just about blasting out an email every week, offering everyone ‘30% off’ – it won’t make you stand out and your prospects will soon get bored and ignore your emails. That said, if you’ve a list of people who have already bought from you, cross-selling to them with an incentive can help – but keep it smart!
10. Use the right language
Make sure that you’re professional, and technically accurate if the field requires it, and do let your business’ personality shine through – people buy from people after all, not corporate robots! This is especially true when a service or consultative offering is at stake – a professional, personable touch can be the difference between scaring people away and securing the deal.
11. Use the right tone
This is just as important as using the right language. Making inappropriate jokes, being overly familiar (we’ve all had the dreaded sales email or phone call that begins “Hi, how are you today?” – arrgh!), or updating your customers on the shenanigans that occurred at the staff summer BBQ isn’t going to win you any fans – let alone any new business!
12. Make sure your emails, blogs, white papers, fact sheets and website are top notch!
Really well-written content gives your target audience information that they didn’t have before, entertains them and portrays your business as the trustworthy, reliable professionals you are. And what could be a more convincing reason to work with you!
So that’s it! Segment, target and position and your email campaigns won’t go far wrong. Oh, just one more thing to remember – whoever you are marketing to, there’s a golden rule: it’s not about you, it’s about your customers!
If you’ve any questions about email markting, or would like a chat about how it could work for your business just get in touch.