Making email marketing work for you

Email marketing, when used properly, is one of the most cost-effective tools you can use to communicate with your customers, clients, or membership groups. Whether you sell products or services, email is a fast, efficient and inexpensive way to keep in contact with your customers and prospects, make sales, get traffic to your website and boost your profitability. Furthermore, if you use a good email management company to deliver the mail, you can track the effectiveness of subject lines, article headlines or special offers.  But the ability to send email doesn’t mean your mailing will get opened and read. Nor does it mean those who do open the mail will be interested in your offers or click on links to your website.

So what does it take to make email marketing work for your business?

Why is email marketing important? Is it any better than more traditional means of communicating with prospects and customers? 
There is no better, faster, cheaper way to communicate with prospects and customers.  Permission-based email marketing is the most cost effective direct marketing method available with dramatically higher response rates than both banner ads and direct mail – and measurable, immediate results. Email marketing can be used to compliment and enhance every other marketing activity that a business engages in.

Who should be using email marketing? Is it cost-effective for small businesses? 
The real question is, who shouldn’t? Any business that wants to communicate and develop relationships with prospects and customers should be using email marketing. It’s easy and affordable to manage and grow permission-based email lists, and create, deliver and measure the results of email marketing campaigns.

What types of email marketing are there? 
There are two legitimate types of email marketing – email marketing to your own permission-based list and email marketing to reputable opt-in rental lists. Email marketing to your own list is very effective and offers response rates of up to 15% or even higher – particularly in the case of newsletters. Every company – from one-person operations to multi-national corporations should collect email addresses from all of their customers and prospects to build their email list. Companies can do this on their website, on sales, service and customer support calls, at trade shows or events or in a guest book at their office or store. They should always be sure to gain their customers or prospects permission to email to them.
There are email lists available (not unlike Direct Mail address lists), of individuals who have requested to receive promotional messages within selected categories of interest. Be sure to use a reputable list broker.

What’s the difference between a promotion and a newsletter? 
In a nutshell, email promotions are primarily one-way communications designed to achieve a short-term goal of driving traffic and sales. Promotions generally contain one or more direct calls-to-action “click here to buy now,” “sign up today,” “give us a call” to encourage immediate action on the part of recipients.
Email newsletters, on the other hand, are regularly scheduled communications that encourage a two-way “conversation” and include valuable information. While a newsletter can contain some calls-to-action that provide short-term benefits, it is uniquely suited to accomplish the long-term goals of customer retention and loyalty.

When do you use each? 
Both email promotions and email newsletters have their place. Our advice is to use both in your email marketing plan, but treat them differently to maximise the value of each communication type.

You could use a promotion to:

  • Help you get your share of holiday business
  • Boost sales, appointments or traffic in otherwise slow months
  • Promote your brand
  • Clear space for new stock
  • Move excess inventory
  • Get your name in front of a new or existing customer
  • Or, reward your most loyal customers

 

You could use a newsletter to:

  • Build relationships with your customers and prospects
  • Position your company as a valuable resource
  • Obtain and retain the mind share of your customers
  • Educate and inform your customers
  • Build your credibility over time
  • Widen your audience via “word-of-mouth”
  • Begin a dialogue with your readers by asking for reader feedback

If you’d like to make the most out of email marketing then please contact us.