When I talk with clients about an email marketing campaign, I hear several common responses.
- I don’t want to annoy my clients with too many emails!
- I don’t want to SPAM anyone and hurt our reputation.
- I hate receiving sales emails, and my clients do too.
- I don’t think email marketing works anyway.
This is one area where I am inclined to agree with my clients based on my personal experience. Email is not an effective way to market your products to me. I struggle to keep my head above water in my inbox, and the last thing I need is more email newsletters clogging things up. I would say that I never buy anything from email, but that wouldn’t be true because I just bought the heart rate monitor that my wife had been looking for from a Slickdeals email. Oh, and I also bought a Groupon for Slice Pizza from an email.
Other than that, I haven’t bought anything from email in at least a week. Now that I think about it, I have read several blog posts that were featured in email newsletters that I subscribe to. I unsubscribe from a lot of email newsletters, but there are some that are important to me either personally or professionally.
Okay. I guess I’m going to have to admit it. Email is a very effective way to reach me with your marketing message IF you are trying to sell me something that I am interested in or if you are creating content that I find value in.
But isn’t that the point of marketing? Getting your message to people who care about your product, service, or content? We all think that we hate email marketing because we receive too many emails from companies that we don’t care about. But when we really think about it, there are products and services that we truly want to hear about.
As a marketer, the goal is to find the group that cares about what you do and the content that you create. When you do, there is almost nothing more powerful than email marketing. I see the spikes in Analytics over and over again when monthly newsletters go out for my clients. Why do we see these spikes when 80% of the recipients don’t open your email?
We see these spikes in traffic because email is the most effective method for reaching the 20% who care enough to read your message.
How do we reach these important clients through email without alienating others or hurting your brand? Let’s look at some tips for effective email marketing.
Tip #1: Create High Value Content
It really is all about content. Share your expertise through compelling and engaging posts to a blog on your website. Some customers may want to receive an email update every time you post a blog, others may want a monthly newsletter featuring your recent posts.
It is not easy to create compelling content, but when you do, you are 90% of the way there.
Tip #2: Use Your Website as a Hub
Some marketing emails really make me wonder if the company is just trying to give me Carpal Tunnel Syndrome from the amount of scrolling required. It is very important to remember that you only have a few seconds to catch a reader’s attention. Instead of including long articles in the email, share the key message and then link to your website for more. This helps readers scan for the content that connects with them without having to scroll forever to get past the articles that they don’t care about.
Once a reader hits your website, you have a much better opportunity to effectively present calls to action for a next step. This will increase your conversion rate compared to depending entirely on the email to present your content.
Tip #3: Build a List of People Who Care about What You Do
Whether you have 100 email addresses or 10,000, make sure that your list is made up of people who are interested. Once you start creating quality content on your site, add a button with a call to action that says “Would you like to find out when we post more articles like this one?” or “Get updates from our blog.” This makes it easy for people who find value in your content to subscribe.
Also consider targeted lists. Do you have customers who have purchased particular products or services that might be especially interested in certain kinds of updates? Create groups in your email list so that you can send content to specific segments that would benefit.
There are no shortcuts to a good email list, but there are a lot of best practices for building a good list over time. Subscribe to our blog for more information on this kind of strategy in the future!
Tip #4: Be Consistent
Don’t send too many emails, but don’t let your list get stagnant, either. I don’t have a rule of thumb for email frequency. I think it is a good idea to send something at least once per month, but I don’t ever recommend sending an email unless you have something to say. I recommend starting with a plan for creating high value content. Once the content starts to flow, you can look at how that flows naturally into an email strategy.
I have always thought that email isn’t an effective method for reaching me with your marketing message, but my purchase and browsing history says otherwise. The fact is that email marketing can be a very effective way to connect with me IF I am interested in your product or service AND the content is compelling. For companies that meet those criteria, email could be the most effective marketing tool in the toolbox.
Even though I still like to complain about email.
Do you need help with your company’s content plan or email marketing? Contact us today!