Making Email Marketing Work For You
Email marketing. Should framers be using it? How much should they use it? Why should they use it? How is it done effectively? These are good questions. But after about five years of using this type of marketing, the answers are getting very clear to me.
Let’s start in the beginning- should framers use email marketing? Yes. I’m sure of this because it works. It works partly because traditional marketing like direct mail, newspaper, cable TV and radio are becoming less effective than ever before. The plain truth is that marketing to the general public never produced the returns we hoped for in our industry.
Why? Because in order for advertising to work, two things must exist. First, the person you are trying to reach must desire to hear what you are talking about. Secondly, they must be in a position to act upon it. The market for potential customers in our industry just doesn’t work well with these two conditions. Only a small percentage of the population even wants to hear about custom framing and an even smaller percentage is ever going to act if they do listen.
Email marketing’s ability to interact directly with people that want your message makes it a perfect opportunity for custom framers.
That’s why email marketing can work for framers. The concept is built upon sending messages to those who have already said they want to hear what you have to say, and they have proven they have the ability to act. Why? Because basically they are your customers. They already know they want what you offer! That’s a great thing!
I know what you are thinking. Why is that so great? I already have those people doing business with me anyway. True. But probably not to their fullest potential. And even if they are, the marketing you have done to them in the past has been far more expensive and less frequent than an effective email program. The key is convincing yourself that using email as the primary source of your marketing is a worthwhile endeavor. If you believe that, then you can get your team to help make the transition.
To make this happen, you must understand that email is just part of the program. What you are really developing is an e-marketing program. Part of the effectiveness of email marketing is its ability to grow your website as a marketing tool. In return, your website should reinforce the effectiveness of your emails, blogs, company facebook and all other social media you can use to grow e-marketing.
The most basic function of website support for your email program is to sign up new clients that want to receive your emails. This is the core of you new e-marketing program- the people who want to get your messages. So to begin, you must convert all the clients in your POS system to email clients. This takes work. Don’t take shortcuts and just enter them into your website data base without permission. That will hurt your program. You need permission from each and every client because they may not want your emails. If they don’t, you will experience a high amount of un-subscribes and resistance to your efforts.
The best way to do this is to have your team ask every client. This can be done as they come in, but phoning them to explain your new marketing program and then verifying their correct email address is the best method. Having correct email addresses and permission really helps you avoid the blacklists of email providers and sets a solid base for your program.
Give your team the ammunition to make the new program exciting to those they are trying to sign up. Remember, if you can convert your clients to email marketing, you will save thousands of dollars in traditional marketing costs, so you’ll have some money to spark up incentives to join. Try giving out special savings to new signups. Offer discounts on services like delivery and installation. Try offering a $5 bonus to each team member who gets someone to signup for the new program. Above all, make it policy that every new client sees the advantages of being part of this marketing.
What kind of things should you talk about in your emails? First, make a plan. Decide what kind of emails you want to use. You can offer newsletters that give broad insight into several areas. You can offer postcard type emails with coupons or promotions. You can also use email to celebrate client birthdays.
Remember how we talked about using each area of the program to reinforce the other’s effectiveness? When using email coupons or promotions, use a link to the actual printable version of the coupon back to your website. This drives website visits and gets clients used to visiting your site to save money.
Another very important part of effective emails is to focus on your clients. Remember that people don’t really enjoy reading about your company. I know it’s hard to believe because we really think we are unique and special, but the truth is people find talk about your business boring. Instead, talk about them- the customer. Tell stories about customers and their projects. Better yet, have them tell it and include a picture of them.
Keep emails fresh and beneficial to the reader. This marketing works because clients want to hear what you have to say, but they won’t keep wanting it unless you bring some benefit to their lives by providing it.
How often do you send emails? Way more often than a typical form of marketing. For one thing you can afford to and for another they benefit those who receive them.
Keep track of your un-subscribers and the percentage of those who don’t open your emails. If they are on the rise you may be sending too many emails or most likely your content isn’t beneficial.
I recommend using an ESP (email service provider) for your email program. They will help you avoid spam filters, and they provide an infrastructure that helps with firewalls, feedback loops and bouncebacks. They also help you stay more current with your list and provide lots of cool feedback about the effectiveness of your emails. Remember though to not just find an ESP that handles your email separately from your website. That can cause double work with entering client signups into two programs and makes it harder to use your social marketing programs to reinforce each other.
My company, Framing Concepts, uses a program that connects the clients that signup for our emails on our website to our email program. This is ideal and it sets the stage for adding additional platforms of social marketing like blogs and facebook within this e-marketing program.
E-marketing is here to stay. Its ability to interact directly with people that want your message makes it a perfect opportunity for our industry. If you haven’t created an e-marketing plan, there is no better time than now. It’s a great way to save money and increase the number of times you can talk to your clients. Remember to plan it out and commit to focusing on your clients. Provide tons of benefits for subscribers and get as many subscribers as you can. The results will be well worth it.