In our meeting this morning, the Primm team got to talking about the benefits and pitfalls of email marketing in this day and age. A few of us feel overwhelmed by the number of promotional emails we receive every day, while others (probably the ones with better spam filters) find most of the emails less bothersome and even welcome!
There’s no question that spam and promotional emails have replaced the physical ‘junk mail’ that used to clog our mailboxes at home (which makes direct mail a great marketing tool these days!), so how do you make your business sparkle amongst the spam? With tact, professionalism, and a solid strategy, that’s how!
Before you get started with an email marketing campaign, be sure to invest in a reliable third-party mailing program that allows you to easily send mail to a large database and provides you with analytics for each email you send. This way, you can keep track of exactly what is happening with your campaign without a lot of hassle AND learn a great deal about the needs and interests of your customer base.
Here are three tips for using email marketing to your advantage:
1. Construct a reliable, voluntary database
Think twice before buying an email list from a third-party. There is no better way to annoy people than by sending them unsolicited emails. While building an organic database takes more time than buying a database for a certain region or industry, you can be sure that the payoff is much better. If you have a very small database of customer names and emails or you are starting from scratch, there are lots of creative ways to get your customers to volunteer their information.
You can be upfront and put an email sign up box on your website’s homepage, hold a social media contest that requires an email address for entry, or even bring a tablet to your next industry trade show so people can enter their information right from your booth. No matter how you do it, be forthright about how you plan to use your access to their inbox.
Side note: One way to show your customers you respect them and their contact information is to provide easy, one-click unsubscribe. Now, as marketers we obviously don’t want people opting out of emails, but making it difficult or impossible to do so will only irritate your customer. If you find that you are getting a lot of unsubscribes, take some time to reevaluate your content strategy. The number of opt-outs is actually a good measure of campaign relevance!
2. Craft valuable content that really offers something to your customer.
A big part of a successful email marketing campaign is the email’s content. Ask yourself, “What makes me open an email from a business?” Is it an eye-catching subject line, special offers, or maybe interesting company news? All of those things comprise a great promotional email and how you craft your strategy depends on the nature and needs of your customers. What will keep them coming back? Do whatever that is while maintaining variety and consistency.
3. Optimize your emails for all devices.
Just like a website that becomes distorted and broken when viewed on a phone or other mobile device, a poorly optimized email has the potential to throw great content out the window in the minds of your customers. Most everyone receives their email directly on their smartphone. When designing the layout of your email blasts, take into consideration the way images will display on a small screen and how their sizes might affect loading time.
A good email marketing campaign helps your business maintain a relationship with customers via periodic touch-points. In order to make the most of email marketing, the needs and interests of the customer should be the focus of every email you send.