One of the biggest mistakes most business owners make is not placing enough emphasis on email marketing. I would venture to guess that the primary reason people are reticent to dive into an email marketing campaign is the “spam” stigma attached to it. I’m not going to talk about spam in this post; we’ve gone over it extensively in posts past. I am going to give you some best-kept email marketing secrets, however, because you really do need to include emailing in your marketing repertoire. Customers prefer email to any other channel when it comes to giving you permission to market to them.
Ah! But that is the key. You need to have your customers’ permission to send them email-marketing material, so make sure you get it – easily. It doesn’t matter if you have an online business, a brick-and-mortar store, or both, you need to ensure your email mailing list sign-up process is a piece of cake; otherwise your customers aren’t going to bother. Have a mailing list sign-up sheet with plenty of pens at your store checkouts, and train your staff to ask customers if they’d like to receive “special deals” via email – see how I just enticed your customer to sign up? Special deals! Make sure your website also offers easy access to sign up for your emailing list; a non-intrusive pop-up sign-up form is a good idea.
Your Sign-up Form
So, let’s talk about this non-intrusive sign-up form for just a second. One thing I’ve been preaching from blog post number one is to keep things basic – a little goes a long way, and this is true with your electronic email sign-up form, too. Save your sales pitch for your emails; don’t clutter your sign-up form with a bunch of mumbo-jumbo your customer doesn’t need to read to simply sign up for your emailing list. Keep it simple by asking for your customer’s name – only insist upon the first name, many people don’t like to include their last name – email address, and include links to your social networking pages so your customer can sign up for those at the same time.
Get Excited About Them Signing Up
I’ve written a blog post on this but it bears repeating. If your customers sign up for your emailing list and you don’t send them a new subscriber thank you email within 24 hours, you’ve just lost their interest… and it’s just plain rude. The power of common courtesy has not fallen by the wayside, contrary to popular belief, and you need to thank your customers for their interest in your business. While you’re at it, give them a bonus in your thank you email to get them shopping right away.
Once They’ve Signed Up… Think Mobile!
I’ve given a few secret tips to get your customer’s to sign up for your email marketing campaigns and now that they’ve signed up you need to think mobile. Recent studies confirm that most people read their emails on their mobile devices; I know I have my nose in front of mine 24/7, much to my wife’s dismay. So, when you begin formatting your marketing emails, you need to keep mobile devices in mind. A couple of things to help you out are to keep your email margins left aligned and use links instead of buttons. Both show up better on smartphones and tablets.
While you’re personalizing your emails to your customer’s devices, personalize the actual emails too. Take a moment to learn more about your customers and what they purchase from you, and then make certain your marketing campaign addresses that… directly… to them. For example, if you’re running a pet supply business, you definitely do not want to send dog supply coupons to cat owners and vice versa. Customize your marketing emails to each customer and you’ll get better results.
Make Certain Your Emails Get Opened
Picture this, in today’s world of cyber-insecurity you get an email in your inbox that doesn’t identify who it’s from. It just says “do-not-reply@CompanyName.com.” What would you do with that email if it hit your inbox (changes are it’ll be spammed)? You’d delete it without opening it. I would too. This is why you need to get personal in the sender’s address also. If your customers know you by name, have your name as the sender’s name, i.e., JohnDoe@CompanyName.com. If they are assigned to specific sales reps, have their name. Whatever you do, have a name! Otherwise, your marketing email won’t be opened at all.
Time Your Solicitations
Don’t overlook the importance of timing in your email marketing campaigns. Sit down with your employees and hash out some ideas as to the best time to send out your emails; talk to your customers, too, and ask them how often they really want to hear from you. Keep in mind your business. If you own a restaurant, for example, sometimes the best time to send a marketing email is in the afternoon, because your customer just might be at work listening to his or her growling stomach and thinking about dinner. You send them a coupon and, voila! Dinner plans are set!
I know I’ve said this a million times but email marketing campaigns are no different from any other marketing campaign, and you need to track their success. Make sure you set up your marketing campaigns to track click-through, printed coupons, and resulting sales progress. That way, you can find out which email campaigns are working the best and run your future campaigns based on their logistics. If you see the afternoon emailed dinner special coupon is bringing tons of customers through your door, keep it up! That’s the point of email marketing.
Be Unique in Getting New Email Signees
The Internet is an amazing tool, and we are all learning the numerous ways to use it to build businesses, so here’s a suggestion: Use this Internet to build your emailing list by hosting free webinars about your business. It really doesn’t matter what you do. You can still host a webinar to teach people about you, why you went into your own business, and why they should become your customers. Send an email to your current list encouraging them to attend and to forward the email to their family and friends to attend. Advertise your webinar on your website and using local advertising resources. Get people to sign up for your email list by teaching them about your business.
Keep an Open Mind
Whatever you do to increase the success of your email marketing campaigns, keep your mind open. Yes, there are some hard-fast rules to email marketing, and if you break them, you might have to answer to the federal government! But, this doesn’t mean that everything about email marketing is cut and dry. Things that don’t work for other businesses might just work for you. And your customers might not mind if you break some commonly understood email-marketing dos and don’ts. Maybe your customers want their email font in hot pink, who knows? Okay… maybe not hot pink. But, my point is to use different approaches, test them, ask your customers for feedback, and then stick with what works. That’s the best kept email marketing secret of all!
By Max Zaron