Friend or Foe? How to Make eMail Marketing Your Friend
Not sure if you even want e-mail marketing as a friend? According to Direct Marketing Association research, e-mail marketing generated a return on investment of $43.62 for every dollar spent on it in 2009. Sounds like a pretty valuable friendship.
e-Mail marketing does not have to be a high maintenance or expensive endeavor. There are free or nearly free e-mail service providers (ESPs) available to you and many of them will guide you through the process with tutorials. Your greatest expense is time to plan on the front end. As long as you nurture your program like you would any personal relationship, it will pay off. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.
First, just commit to sending e-mails but understand that the point of sending them is to keep your customers and prospects engaged – so give them reason to stay engaged. Your e-mail program will be successful if you remember to pay attention to these three things: reach, relevancy and regularity.
- Data management is the core of a good e-mail marketing program. Building a list may seem daunting, but once you have a list started you just have to maintain it and build on it.
- A good ESP is key. It will let you know of bounce-backs and bad addresses when you send e-mails; this is the best way to keep your list up to date.
- In building your database, it’s vital to make collecting e-mail addresses habitual. Collect at the point of sale and make sure your Web site makes the “subscribe to our newsletter” page quite visible. Or ensure your sales team understands that adding e-mail addresses in your CRM system as commonplace as a phone number.
- A good e-mail marketing program will offer information that is relevant to your customer or your prospects. At the simplest level, be sure your e-mails contain information about new services or products and a customer testimonial or case study. Keep your contacts informed but let your customers do the selling for you.
- Most of all, make sure your e-mail contains a call to action. This is more than “call us for more information.” It’s making sure your e-mail contains several links that drive subscribers deep into your Web site. Better yet, offer a “deal” of some sort, like free product with purchase, a gift card for business referrals or an entry into your “drawing of the month.”
- More advanced ESPs (like Exact Target) are great for segmenting your contacts into similar audiences. Perhaps your sales base is separated into where someone resides along the sales continuum. If they’re a new prospect you may want to just send general information. But if they’re close to the proposal stage, perhaps you send case studies that are targeted to your prospect’s business challenge or vertical market.
- No matter where a prospect resides within your sales funnel, keeping them engaged is a sure-fire way to make sure your company is at the head of the pack when the time is right to buy. Try to deliver your e-mails at the same time of each month, or on a consistent basis whatever your schedule may be. But have a schedule.
- You should only be concerned about sending too many e-mails if your e-mails (1) are sent to the wrong or irrelevant people or (2) don’t contain relevant information.
- Not only is it important to send your e-mails regularly – you need to evaluate them every time. Most every ESP offers a decent amount of data to tell you who opened what e-mails, when they opened it, if they forwarded it on and where on your Web site they browsed after linking from the e-mail. This information is priceless.