e-me! Why e-marketing needs to be part of your mix in 2016!
e-marketing is still alive and well…
Perhaps it’s even more important than ever before.
Yes, your inbox is jam-packed with all kinds of spammy crap. I get that. I certainly delete my share of random e-mails each day. But I still send out a monthly e-newsletter and targeted blasts to audiences after I teach workshops. Here’s why. If done well, e-mail marketing is:
- DIRECT. You may be posting on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You may be sending out press releases. But e-marketing is designed to be personalized communication. Even if you’re using a mass blaster, individual notes are arriving in people’s inboxes. If you’re doing it right, you know who’s on your list and you’re targeting content to those people you want to reach.
- TRACKABLE. You can know who’s getting your communication, who’s opening it, and who’s responding to it (by clicking on links). If you use a system like Constant Contact, you get incredible analytics so you can figure out when and what to send and how often. You can archive old e-mails and compare results over time.
- INTEGRATED. Your e-mails can easily be shared across a variety of social media platforms. They become an important element of your brand campaign. For example, after sending out my monthly e-newsletter, I re-post it on all my social media sites (and sometimes even boost my posts on Facebook to expand my reach).
- PROFITABLE. If you’re doing a good job of building your database, it becomes a valuable asset. Assuming you have a meaningful connection to everyone on your list, the people in your database are potential leads for your products or services. A qualified e-mail address costs about 15 cents. If you have a great list, you can rent it out (sparingly). Just make sure your subscribers give their permission for third party e-mailing.
- ENTERTAINING and EDUCATIONAL. My newsletter doesn’t just sell our wares. It includes facts and trends about business and marketing.
- MEMORABLE. Someone at a trade show once chased me down the aisle to tell me she gets my e-mails and that it’s one of the few she doesn’t delete. She had attended one of my workshops and I added her to my list. My brand is clearly embedded in her brain now. At first, I was creeped-out, but then I was flattered.
- AFFORDABLE. The cost of an e-mail subscription system is still pretty reasonable. Combined with the cost of a stock art library and the time value for writing and sourcing facts and photos, it still costs way less than print marketing. Plus, if you pay close attention to who’s responding, you can ultimately track ROI. One client (who I had met at a live event) reached out to us after receiving our e-blast. She ended up working with us for a few years. The fee more than covered the cost of e-marketing.
Here are some best practices for starting or building your own e-marketing system:
- Use an application that enables you to easily create your own blasts and track results. Again, it’s well worth the investment.
- Create a year-long content calendar. As if you were publishing a magazine, you should tie your themes to timely topics and seasons.
- Build your database carefully and intelligently. Sort your names into categories so you can…
- Target your messages. For example, if you want to reach a specific audience, you can tailor copy to their needs.
- Stay on brand. When someone gets your e-messages, they should know immediately who they came from.
- Invest in professional copy and graphics. Although some e-marketing companies are sending out messages that “it’s so easy you can do it yourself,” you may not be a writer or designer. Even template systems need the careful eye and keyboard of someone who knows how to capture attention and generate responses. And please be sure to proofread and test on multiple devices. Lots of people open their e-mail on phones and tablets these days. Your beautifully-crafted “note” may look great on a big screen, but you don’t want it to wind up looking like a flea crashed into an Android (or, worse yet, have your lovely images converted to big black blobs that run off the screen).
- Pay attention to subject lines. “Our newsletter” is a major yawn. It doesn’t reference any customer/prospect benefit. Through years of testing, I have a short list of themes and words that guarantee a click. See below too.
- Be interactive and engaging. Keep your messages short and visual…add links and calls to action. Every e-mail should tell a captivating story that draws the reader in. Like a great movie trailer, a great e-mail should leave the customer wanting more (but not wandering off mid-film to get Junior Mints and popcorn…keep them on or near your branded content). Share your e-mails on social media sites too! You can even add it to your signature.
- Do not get too bummed-out if people unsubscribe. Some folks just may not find your content relevant. See #3. You need to constantly be adding new (interested) people to your list. (But be sure you get permission…adding names of random people to your database is not only not smart marketing, it’s illegal.) Make subscribing super-easy too with a button on your website and other references in communications!
- Track, fine-tune, and track some more. Experiment with different days of the week and times of day. Split your list and test different creative approaches.
Most important, do not give up! I’ve been running e-marketing campaigns for my business for over ten years. Although my response rates have gone down over time (due to the glut of do-it-yourself e-mail marketing options and hard sell programs by app providers), I still get new business from that marketing stream. Like all great marketing, repetition and brand consistency (and, of course, a good product or service) results in results.
Some e-marketing facts:
- Need more of a reason to do e-marketing? Here are 70 reasons!
- Our latest e-newsletter.
- Please subscribe to our e-mails. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?)
- How to craft a killer subject line.
- Did I have a baby? We all make mistakes sometimes. I love this company, but this is a great example of how mis-targeting can result in confusion and red faces.