E-mail Marketing: Beyond the Basics
Marketing your business is more confusing then ever before. Almost nothing seems to work well anymore. Conventional methods are too expensive for the results they bring. It’s very difficult to continue spending advertising dollars when returns are low, but we all realize that not doing anything is a sure walk to a slow death. Consumers have become numb to the hundreds of messages sent to them by mail, newspaper, TV and radio. Even if they wanted your service, chances are they wouldn’t be paying attention because these conventional methods have become overloaded.
So what does work? The greatest chance for a favorable response is when a business delivers a message to someone who WANTS to hear that particular message, and has the desire and financial ability to ACT on the message. This is why an email marketing program can be effective. Why? Because when it’s built correctly it consists of a group of contacts that WANT to hear your message, and are highly likely to respond to it. In fact they want to hear your message so much that they actually ASKED you to send them!
Email Marketing must constantly evolve to engage clients. It must be worth their while to open a message and read it.
Who are these great individuals? Your current clients of course and others who have an interest in what you produce. These people WANT to hear more about what you do and they want a stronger relationship with your company. At least they are open to it- if you can create something they consider beneficial, worthwhile and interesting.
So it’s simple right? Well, not really. To create something that’s going to produce results is never easy. This method of marketing has to be a dynamic that constantly grows. It must evolve and change and continue to engage your client base. It must be worth their while to open and read this message. It must be beneficial to them – they must GET something from each and every message, and it had better be interesting to read. It must strengthen your relationship with everyone who invests their time with it or it will die. It will just become another thing in the inbox and ultimately you will get the death notice – the “unsubscribe” reply.
What components make a stimulating email program? The answer is many. The most basic are: clarity of message, easy to read and consistency. Your message must be clear because people don’t have the time to figure out what you are trying to say. Don’t give them more than two or three messages in an email and have only one central theme or purpose for each email. Make it easy to read by making sure it’s already open when it hits the mailbox. Most people wont take the time to wait for an attachment to open. Also create a mail format that is inviting to look at, uncluttered and personal in nature. Make the tone of the message feel as though you are talking to one person only, not the hundreds who subscribe. Finally, consistency fosters familiarity. Be consistent in the frequency you send the messages, the type of content in them and the layout of the message. Be easy to recognize.
Here are some other keys to a successful email program:
- Get lots of subscribers.
This is a key to getting response. Attempt to sign up every client you have. Confide in old clients that direct mail has become too expensive and that joining your new email program will ensure they continue to get notice of sales and gallery events. Give them something for becoming a member. Make this new form of marketing appear to be very special. Let it have some real benefits of value like free delivery to new members or a discount on certain types of service. Combine the subscription with a rewards club membership. Do whatever is possible to get as many of your clients as possible to provide their email address.
- Tie the program to your web site in every way possible.
Give readers reasons to go to your site by suggesting follow up tips and information they can get there. Have them visit the site to get a printable coupon they can use in your gallery on their next visit. Have fun contests where they “search” for hidden pictures or information in your site and then win something when they do. Why? Because the more often your site is used the more readers become familiar with your company, your services, talents and team. This strengthens the relationship they have with your company. Of course this means you must have an interesting and interactive web site too. The message here is that all parts of this type of marketing must be in place to support each other and create success.
- Pay attention to the subject line.
It must be compelling enough to be noticed, but overdoing it runs the risk of having it directed to junk mail. Something as simple as an exclamation point in the subject line will often cause this to happen.
- Try to build interaction.
Don’t just rely on sales and discounts to draw subscribers. Develop a format that promotes interaction by allowing clients to voice opinions and preferences on designs and styles that relate to home interiors. Promote feedback and input. A great way to do this is a link to your web site blog where readers can learn more about the personalities on your team and give comments. Promote their comments and give them a chance to talk about themselves and the types of things they like and you will be building relationships with clients that will build a deep loyalty. Incorporate pictures and stories about clients and their projects in you emails to build even stronger relationships.
- Monitor the program.
Like every marketing program, you have to understand it’s effectiveness. You can do this in several ways. First, if you offer a coupon or discount to readers, track them and total the dollars they brought in. Try to limit the discount to readers only- don’t post signs in the gallery that detail the discount, instead create some urgency to read the emails in order to get special sales. Another way to monitor the program is to use a program that records how many of the email you sent were actually opened before they were deleted. This gives you valuable insight into how your message is being perceived. I n addition, you can analyze unsubscribers by requesting a reason why they are doing so when they submit their request.
Email marketing is a fantastic marketing tool. It talks directly to those who WANT to hear what you have to say. It comes directly to the desk of that person, and it comes there almost instantly. If you learn to offer clear messages in a consistent manner that have value and create interesting interaction, you have the opportunity to create a very effective method of marketing. This is the perfect time to create this program- there are many valuable clients out there that want to hear from you.