Email marketing can be a controversial topic. People will assure you that they would never open an unsolicited email, but the numbers tell a different story. People do read their emails, as long as it adds value to their lives.
If you are considering using email to market your business, make sure you apply the basic principles of marketing strategy. Start with a plan. Know who you are targeting. Above all, be very clear about your message. This applies both to the content you send in each email, and the overall message your email marketing will deliver over the course of a campaign and beyond. Here are some quick hints:
Connecting with your contacts less often than every ninety days is not connecting at all. That is no way to maintain a relationship and it certainly won’t build loyalty or keep you front of mind with clients and prospects.
According to digital agency research centre Lean Labs, roughly every fortnight is best. “It was … able to identify what it refers to as the email frequency sweet spot, where it’s possible to get the most people to see your emails without burning out your subscriber list. How often is this sweet spot - sending emails every two weeks.”
ActionCOACH founder and business guru Brad Sugars agrees, saying contact should not be made less often than every 90 days. In a recent article on SuffolkSocialMedia.com, he said, “Look at your repeat business and customer retention strategy. What offers / strategies do you have in place to retain customers and encourage previous customers to return? Communicate with customers and ex- customers using email marketing at least once every 90 days; ideally once a month.”
Make a list of names
Before you start any marketing campaign, you need to know who you’re talking to. Broadly speaking, this usually covers the realm of persona development and is a useful tool for targeting the kinds of people you would like to have on your client list.
With email marketing, however, you can get a lot more specific. And you must, if you want to avoid the perils of spam-related black-listing.
Since it costs five times less to keep the customers you already have than it does to get fresh ones each time, it makes sense to build a relationship with those customers. Email is the perfect vehicle for that. Sending regular, valuable content to people who already know you will build both trust and loyalty.
Make a list of the names of your clients and prospects, so that you can start building relationships with them online.
Make a list of topics
When you know who you are writing to, it becomes easier to understand what they need from you. Listen to the conversations you’re having with your clients, and the questions they ask most often. If one person has a specific question, chances are good that someone else will share that concern. By answering the question, you’re adding real value.
Remember: if you’re not answering your clients’ questions, someone else will be, which means you don’t have control of the conversation.
Choose email service provider
If you don’t already have a dedicated email service provider, it’s time to choose one. There are a hundred good reasons (probably) NOT to send marketing emails directly from your Outlook account. Some of these include offering people the ability to unsubscribe easily and instantly; and being able to track who opens and shares your content.
Email marketing is a conversation. A key to genuine connection is being – well, genuine. Tone is important, but formal is not likely to be effective. Your readers want to know that there’s a real human being on the other end of the communication, so speak to them the way you would if they were sitting in the same room as you. It can be useful to dictate your first draft into a voice recorder, so that you get that human touch in your writing.
As we’ve already seen, it’s important to connect regularly with your readers. If you can’t commit to regular email missives, it might be better not to try to add email marketing to the mix at all. Unreliable, inconsistent communication doesn’t serve anyone … and it doesn’t reflect very well on the so-called communicator, either.
Decide on your schedule, and stick to it. In fact, this is easier than ever now. You can create a batch of articles and use your email marketing tool to schedule them to go out at regular intervals.
Yes, marketing is about getting leads and making sales. But marketing that works is about offering value. Almost every business out there started because someone saw a need that they could meet. Businesses that manage to maintain that focus on genuinely meeting needs and adding real value are the ones that survive … and thrive.
If your entire email campaign is focused on a hard-sell approach that does nothing but ask people to buy from you, people will unsubscribe. But if you consistently solve problems and show that you truly care about people’s needs, not only will you keep your existing subscribers – you’ll grow your reach as they share the value you’re offering.Read more by Vanessa on the Jellyfish blog