Though it may sit in the shadows of today’s shiner marketing techniques, email marketing continues to be an effective, low-cost way for SMB owners to reach out to, inform and retain current customers. In fact, according to new numbers from Forrester Research, email marketing will reach $2 billion by 2014. And that’s a very good thing.
Email marketing is effective for one simple reason: Customers like receiving targeted messages from companies they care about. They like when they’re emailed about things they’ve already shown in an interest in. And that’s where the email thrives.
Email marketing is all about customer retention. It’s about building stronger relationships with customers who already know you and decided that, yes, they want to keep hearing from you. They want to stay up to date on what you’re doing, they want to hear about new products, they want to hear about hot deals, etc. The messages that land in their inbox help keep your company name in their top of mind and force them to constantly be thinking about you. WebProNews took a look at the Forrester Research and quoted an Epilson brand study that said that 84 percent of recipients like receiving emails from companies with whom they’ve subscribed to their newsletter. Eighty four percent. That’s impressive. It’s hard to get 84 percent of people to agree on anything.
But to keep your messages in your customers’ good favor, you have to target them. The study noted that $144 million will be wasted on emails that get lost in inbox clutter due to a lack of relevancy. How do you avoid this?
You have to craft more targeted emails.
Think like your customer: What do your customers want? What’s their mindset? Do they want to hear about upcoming deals and specials? Do they want a reason to head in store? Do they want educational articles to help them deal with a certain task? If you can understand why they subscribed to your newsletter, you can meet their needs and help them to associate positive things with your brand and emailing. Once you know, craft your content around that message. The best newsletters are the ones that are able to inform the reader while also containing subtle sales cues, as well. You want to get your customer out of their inbox and back onto your site. That’s the goal.
Find a good template: The emailing you send should look and feel like your brand. You want a customer to open it up and immediately feel as if the email is just an extension of your site. When you’re designing the template, remember that most people view their email in a preview pane, so make sure all the actionable items are in full view and that it formats properly. Use images and text so that is easy to scan.
Segment your emails: You should already know quite a bit about your customers based on past actions and behavior. Use your analytics program to help you segment and bucket your customers based on those actions. Then, you can create separate emailings with customized content. The more targeted your email is to a customer, the more likely t hey are to act on it.
Find the best day to send: It’s pretty well accepted that emails sent Tuesday-Thursday receive the highest open and click through rate. Things have a habit of getting “lost” on Monday and are ignored Friday and through the weekend. However, there may be a particular day that works especially well for you based on your industry. Test it and see. Most (if not all) email software will offer this kind of tracking information to help you find which days have the higher open rates. Try some sending campaigns on different days and times to see combination provides the best results.
Write good subject lines: This is arguably one of the most important steps to email marketing because the quality of your subject line will determine whether or not your email gets opened. It needs to use a clear call to action that will pique their interest and make them click through to read the rest of it and get the benefit. If no one opens the email, it doesn’t matter what gold is tucked away inside. They’ll never know. Your subject should only be about 6-7 words, but should inform, intrigue, excite and be compelling and actionable enough that they’ll want to know what’s inside.
Know what NOT to do: You absolutely have to make sure that your emails comply with CAN-SPAM regulations. Lucky for all of us, Dawn Rivers Baker gave us all a great refresher course on the CAN-SPAM laws that exist for email marketing and newsletters earlier in the week. I recommend you give those another read.
Has email marketing been successful for you? What are some of your favorite tips?