Don't Forget Email Marketing

01/01/1970 12:33 AM | Sky Stebnicki

We find that often the most effective digital marketing medium is the most overlooked in organizations seeking to launch or revamp their marketing initiatives. The terms "Internet Marketing" and "Digital Marketing" are often thought to be synonymous with Social Media Marketing; this is not the case.

Social Media Marketing is just one piece of a much larger Internet/Digital marketing pie. Of course, it is an important piece that companies would be foolish to ignore, but it is far from the whole picture. As discussed in our previous articles, organizations first need to define their brand and what makes them different, select a good company name and logo, and build an awesome website as their home base as foundations to executing a successful internet marketing plan.

The very next step in the digital strategy is to start building your email marketing database. "What did you just say?" you might ask in astonishment. "Why would we want to spam people? They already get enough without us adding to the junk, right?" The answer is: not necessarily. There are two things that need to be done to assure your email marketing is well received. Before we look further into how to do email marketing right, lets first discuss why we do it at all.

Why Email Marketing Matters

In short, email marketing is the most effective marketing campaign you have at your disposal! Recent studies have shown that people are spending 90% of their time online reading and managing email. Marketers cannot afford to not be one of the voices in the inbox that users check dozens of times a day. Another survey by econsultancy revealed that many marketers attribute 30% of their total sales to email campaigns.  This percentage has grown considerably in recent years. The growth is due in large part to the fact that users now take their email with them on their phones, making exposure more likely.

Even with all of these impressive stats, not everyone is fairing so well with email marketing. Roughly 50% of marketers in these same studies confess little or no return on their efforts. If you are going to be emailing your customers regularly (and you should be) then it needs to be done tastefully. You must keep yourself from being associated with the much loathed group of "spammers" out there that love to clutter inboxes every morning.

How to Unspam Your Email Campaigns

1. Never Send an Email to Someone Unless They Give You Permission

One of the most common questions we get asked by companies first launching an email campaign is whether or not it is okay to purchase a list of addresses. The answer is always and without reservation, NO! While it can be very tempting to take this shortcut the potential cost is way too high. Users hate receiving email from companies if they did not give permission - that is the very definition of spam. Don't be a spammer, earn your email database. How? By providing incentive for customers to opt in. Give them a reason to give you permission to talk to them.

One common approach is through blogging and/or providing information they find valuable - give it away for free. Another common approach is by contacting past customers you have worked with before, people who already know you. However you go about building your list, always be respectful and above board respecting the privacy of every potential customer. Resist the temptation to shortcut this process and the payoff can be huge!

2. Send Something of Value to Them

Once you have a mailing list, then it's time to start sending email. Here are a few simple but important principles to consider as you design your email campaigns.
  • Let your users know what's in it for them. Too often companies care so much about themselves that's all they talk about. The typical user could care less how excited you are about yourself until you let them know what it means for them.
  • Keep it short and simple, but not too short. Don't "data-dump" on your customers with tons of text and articles. Most users quickly scan; if they can't get the jest of your email in 1-4 seconds you've lost them.
  • Make the design either really amazing or super simplistic - flashy and cheesy email smells a lot like spam.
  • Say something of value in the email; don't just talk for the sake of talking. Nobody likes that face-to-face, and they like it even less in their inbox.
  • Make sure each email has a call to action like "Click here to get started" or "Buy Now." If the content is interesting they have simple instructions for what to do next.

There are entire books written on the subject of effective email marketing, but we find if you can start with the above principles you will already set yourself apart from 90% percent of the crowd - most of which are getting little or no return on their campaign investment.

How to Get Started

The first step in getting started is to find a good tool to manage your email database and send regular campaigns. Netric is a CRM that has mass-email capabilities built in. Other popular email campaign tools are Mailchimp and Campaign Monitor. Any of these tools will suffice for getting started.

The next step is to start emailing updates to your list, even if the only recipient is you and your mother-in-law. The key is to start immediately and continue to send email regularly, making sure to take the time to send something of value. Often the failure of marketing campaigns is simply because companies fail to do it regularly. We recommend a minimum of once per month, and a maximum of once per week unless you are really confident that your users need what you are sending more regularly.
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