7 email marketing tips

Email in a boxIf you’ve grown a healthy list of people who have an interest in what you’ve got to offer you’ll need to do something to build and maintain your relationship with them.  You might have them in your customer relationship management (CRM) system or they might have signed up with your online form and be held in a MailChimp, AWeber, Get Response, Constant Contact or similar online system.  Wherever they are – these tips apply!

Tip 1:              Don’t send out spammy sales pitches.  You hate getting them so why would anyone else take any notice of them.  It’s the quickest way of getting people to unsubscribe (and maybe getting your online system account suspended).  Offer value in every email.

Tip 2:              Create a good subject line – this is what gets people to open your message.  If it says something boring like ‘Acme Newsletter July 2014’ why would anyone except your Mum open it?  Be creative to intrigue your reader and use subject lines that get them to want to find out more.

Tip 3:              Personalise your opening.  Dear Jo is so much better than Dear Customer or, worse, Dear firstname.  If you’ve got people on your list you should know their name, using something generic says you’re spamming them.  If you have not managed to get people’s names during the sign up process, change your form NOW so you do in future, for now don’t use any salutation; it’s better than something generic.

Tip 4:              Start with value that’s relevant. We all get so much information to process these days that anything that doesn’t get attention quickly simply doesn’t get read.  If you know your audience well you can create something that will be relevant to them right in the first paragraph.  If you find it tough to do this then, at the very least, use that paragraph to get them engaged.  This might be talking about their problems and indicating that there is a solution coming.

Tip 5:              Don’t talk about yourself or your company.  You may be proud of the award you just won or the new staff you’ve hired, but your customers (and potential customers) aren’t really that interested.  They’re interested in what they’ll get and how you can improve their lives in some way, stay focused on what’s in it for them.

Tip 6:              Keep it short and simple (KISS).  Don’t fall into the trap of rambling on at length; remember how many emails your reader may have to get through, they don’t have time to read a lot.  Be considerate of their time and they’ll appreciate it.  A good marketing email should be able to get the message across in less than 250 words.  And, yes, I know that the American online marketers write much longer emails than that, but they are for a very specific market and bear in mind they go out in hundreds of thousands.  You’ll turn more people off than you engage with long content.  Stick to simple, plain English and your message will get through better.

Tip 7:              One message is not enough.  Some people are too busy when message 1 lands and simply never get around to reading it.  If you send a series of emails at intervals with the same subject, but different wording you’ll reinforce the message for those who read all the message and still reach those people who miss one or two.  I recommend a minimum of 3 messages, but 5 would be even better at 8-10 day intervals.

If you follow these tips you’ll be when on the way to really effective email campaigns.

How good is your marketing hub?

Marketing hubMarketing spans many activities from audience research, product or service development right through to sales.  However, when most people talk about ‘marketing’ they’re talking about the promotional part of the process.  This is the bit where you are trying to ensure as many people as possible know what you can deliver for them and are excited enough about it to want to get in touch with you.

This part of the marketing mix can include blogging, social media, direct mail campaigns, lumpy mail, promotional flyers, exhibitions, networking, pop up banners, brochures, business cards, newsletters, list building and so much more.  However, there is one thing that sits at the centre of all this – your website.

If your website isn’t ‘sticky’ (attractive with a compelling message) all the other activities can be a waste of time and money.  In today’s world we’re conditioned to check people out online and, for most people, that’s the company website.

So you’ve paid a designer to create an attractive marketing flyer, you’ve paid a copywriter to write a powerful message, you’ve paid the printer to print a few hundred and you may even have paid someone to distribute them for you or invested in a mailing campaign.  Now what?

If you happen to be very lucky you may find that one or two people are actually looking for exactly what you are offering and are on the phone right away (you did include your phone number on the marketing flyer, or course).  Quite a large percentage of the recipients will file the card into the nearest bin!  Some people will think ‘that might be useful sometime’ and file it in a marketing file.  The rest will be mildly curious and want to find out a bit more about you and your company; these people will look online and most will go to your website (which, of course, was also on the flyer, wasn’t it?)

This is where you win or lose.

If the majority of people arrive on your website, look at it for a few seconds and leave again all that money you’ve invested in your marketing flyer have been wasted.  If they stay on the site, sign up for your free report (so they’re on your list and you can continue to market to them), read your blog, look at a few other pages and like what they see, it doesn’t mean they will get in touch and buy today – but they’ll be open to listening to you some more in future and may become a customer down the line when they need what you have to offer.  The stats say that, on average, you have to ask people at least 5 times to buy before they actually say ‘yes’.

So how good is your website at getting people to stay on it?

Check out your analytics to find out how long people stay and make sure there’s a means of capturing their email address for future marketing mailouts.  If your bounce rate is more than 50% you need to start work on making your marketing hub much more attractive.  The problem could be the layout, the colours, the message, the number of options people have, the titles on the menu tabs, the headline (or lack of it) – or many other things.

Remember, everything points at your website – your business card, social media profiles, all your marketing material – it really is the hub around which everything else revolves.  Make sure you’ve got it right.

Sales or Marketing?

So many people get confused about these two – is Sales part of Marketing or does Marketing lead to Sales?  Or is Marketing just another way of saying Sales?

I can’t blame them for getting confused.  I used to work in a marketing department and even I was a bit vague about what, exactly, marketing covered.  From the experience I had in that department it appeared to cover:

  • Writing press releases
  • Placing ads in the media
  • Branding
  • Production of company literature of all kinds
  • Dealing with the advertising agency on all of the above

Then I got promoted and decided to add a qualification or two to my CV – I did a course and was astonished to discover how much more there is to it!

Marketing underpins the whole business operation from:

  • Identifying customer needs
  • Research and development of solutions to meet those needs
  • Promotion of the new product or service
  • Engaging with interested people
  • Presenting the product or service to them
  • Providing ongoing support services.

So, I discovered, sales is actually part of the marketing process.

To my chagrin I also had to learn statistics (I’ve never been good with numbers) to calculate the spread of demographics and buying patterns.  I became familiar with lots of jargon and stumbled through the algebraic equations and mathematical formulae.

Today I work by helping people with parts of the marketing process – the bit where they present their products or services to potential clients in a persuasive way – so I’m part of the sales part.  However, I also spend a good bit of time trying to encourage my clients to identify their customer clearly so the message is better targeted, also to use a number of ways to promote their products and services and engage with interested people.

Today there are many more ways to reach and interact with potential customers using the world wide web.  However, without marketing your business simply won’t survive!  It’s not a ‘nice-to-have’; it’s an absolute essential.

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