I’m pretty sure that my email inbox is going to drive me to the funny farm. It’s the only thing that I can never quite seem to get on top of. The other day, I received an email with the subject line, “Stress Management for Women.”
Maybe they know something about me that I don’t, but I’m NOT a woman and I’m definitely NOT STRESSED!!! Ok, maybe just a little bit
The point is, companies are turning to email marketing frequently because it’s cheap and it’s effective. But, recent studies show that about 90% of all email sent is SPAM. I would argue that 5% of the rest is borderline (like my Stress Management for Women email) – not relevant, not timely and to the wrong target.
The problem for small business owners is that we have to try and get our legitimate email to our prospects and customers amidst all the irrelevant junk that’s out there. It’s like being the needle in the haystack, hoping you’re found. Recently, the emergence of Email Marketing 2.0 is giving small businesses a way to stand out and be relevant and found in the email world.
The first key is to realize that traditional email marketing won’t cut it if you’re serious about marketing online. I often equate traditional email marketing practices with a bad sales rep. A bad sales rep will typically memorize the spiel and “data dump” on the prospect regardless of what the prospect says, regardless of the person’s body language and regardless of any buying signals. Bad sales reps are annoying and inefficient because they don’t respond to prospect behavior or adapt the message for different people.
A good sales rep, on the other hand, will listen carefully and adapt the message to each person’s individual needs. Good sales reps sell significantly more because they are always able to share something relevant and valuable to the prospect. They listen, adapt, and respond with the right message for each individual prospect every time.
With old email marketing practices, small business owners are forced to send the same message to everyone on their list regardless of the level of interest they’ve expressed in the product or their place in the sales cycle. These messages can be perceived as SPAM, repelling customers and prospects instead of bringing them to your business in a strategic way.
Email Marketing 2.0
Email Marketing 2.0 is based on the techniques used by good sales reps. Messages should be adaptable, flexible and responsive to the desires of the recipient. Email Marketing 2.0 allows you to actually “listen” to your prospects and customers, track their behaviors and preferences, and ensure that what you send is always relevant and timely.
Imagine that a potential customer receives an email from you and expresses interest in one of your products – your email marketing program should be able to “detect” that interest and make the appropriate change. In some cases you might want the system to automatically send an email with a link to your shopping cart. In other cases, the system might notify one of your sales reps to give them a call. Either way, Email Marketing 2.0 can help you ensure that every prospect and customer gets the message that is right for them.
This is made possible because Email Marketing 2.0 has a built-in customer database (CRM) that tracks all customer activity (just like a good sales rep who listens). Now, prospect and customer data stored within your email system can be leveraged in order to market intelligently to your customers’ needs. The end result? You send more relevant emails to your prospects & customers, they respond and buy more of your stuff, they appreciate you for it and you’re all happier.
The bottom line is that Email Marketing 2.0 gives you the ability to send the right message to the right person at the right time.
How to Make the Shift
A few best practices for changing your email marketing tactics:
- Track when prospects and customers fill out forms, open emails, click links, visit your site and buy products.
- Use that information to tailor messages that are relevant and interesting to your readers.
- Create content that both focuses on your product and gives readers interesting and helpful information.
- Look for a system that automates your follow-up – this will save you time and money.
- Learn how to segment your list based on customer activity.
By using Email Marketing 2.0, small businesses can execute elegantly targeted marketing campaigns in the same way big businesses do, without sending SPAM to their readers. These types of integrated tools are an emerging trend. Find the one that’s right for you and your business.