Email marketing remains one of the most viable ways for many companies to get their message ‘out there.’ Set up correctly and with the will to take time to learn, virtually any business can make cost-effective use of emails to reach existing and potential new customers. This is especially true for small businesses.
It’s knowing how to get started and avoiding the common pratfalls that can take up so much time, energy, misplaced effort and might even stop you in your tracks. That’s where we help.
Email Marketing Objectives
The point of email marketing is to build a list of contacts who are interested in hearing from you and to help them find what they want from you. The email is not a direct sales tool, though on occasion it might serve this purpose.
The email is your chance to inform, educate and entertain and in doing so, build up a relationship that might have a profitable outcome in the future. Planning your messages should not be considered in isolation a day before the next email is scheduled for delivery. Email content should be designed to support the different marketing initiatives being played out on the website and offline too.
At the core of any successful email marketing approach must be the notion of ‘permission.’ It matters that you have obtained the email address legitimately. Our approach is to start collating ALL the emails you have in-house, be they on paper or spread around various databases the business maintains (e.g. accounting systems, marketing databases, press lists, postage lists and so forth). You could also consider online lists where the email address is shown on the website – if it’s their in public view, you can use it. We don’t buy lists – we tried a couple of times and it was a waste of time, effort and money.
The next step is to validate the email address as being ‘live’ and interested in hearing from you. The only way to do this is to send an email and see what comes back. It would be highly likely that a lot of emails addresses will not exist anymore, bounce or be rejected some other way. The content of the email will also make a big difference to this and is what we talk about next.
Distribution – getting your emails seen
When you send a mass email out the plain fact is that most of them will never get seen let alone read. To be poetic for a moment, emails reaching their targets are a bit like newly hatched turtles scurrying to the safety of the water. Your email will have to avoid server blacklists, spam/junk filters, personal preferences and numerous rendering issues just to get to the recipients inbox, where there is no certainty that they will see the email, let alone read it.
Getting your emails read
Pithy commentary, helpful information and relevance are the building blocks a good email. Consistency helps too and is important for training readers to recognise your emails when they come in without deleting them. An attention-grabbing headline will help, too; maybe not “Freddie Starr ate my hamster”, but you get the point– keep it relevant.