E-mail marketing has always been, and continues to be, an important direct and relations marketing tool. It is not only (almost) free, but helps your brand in effectively reaching out to thousands of leads, prospects, customers, and other groups that are important to your business.
However, this advantage has also become a significant challenge; because it costs so little and is very easy to implement, almost everybody uses this communication tactic. The outcome is an endless flood of promotional messages that clutter the recipient’s inbox and aren’t helping the brand all that much anymore.
At the same time, in every threat lies a potential opportunity. Differentiate your brand and stand out from the crowd. When thinking of e-mail marketing, think “single-casting” not “broad-casting.” Don’t think of e-mail marketing as a tool through which you can reach thousands with the same message, but rather as a tactic that lets you communicate with many recipients at an individual level. The following are a few tips on how to use e-mail marketing effectively so it works for your brand:
Make it personal and direct
Using starting lines such as “dear all” is interpreted by many as “it’s okay to delete me.” You don’t even need a CRM solution to personalize e-mail merges. A simple spreadsheet with the appropriate columns and a word document will generate an endless number of individual e-mails that start with “Dear Ali” or “Dear Mr. Ali,” and so on.
Send different content to different groups
The essence of e-mail marketing is sending out relevant and interesting content that engages recipients. This means however that you have to segment your database into a number of interest groups, and for which you will need a CRM solution that let’s you create custom fields as needed.
Avoid using embedded images in your email body
Many e-mail clients see those messages as junk mail and dispose of them. Even if it doesn’t, the e-mail client will block the display of images and show the recipient a red X instead. At the same time, if you attach images, your e-mails become large in size, which could clog your Internet connection. We really don’t see the need to attach images at all except your company’s logo in the signature line. Keep it short, simple, clean, and straight to the point.
Monitor responses and interactions and update your database accordingly
This is one of the harder parts in keeping your database updated and requires a lot of “human interaction” from your part. There are those who engage with you by replying to and sharing what you send them, and there are others who never react in any way. Make sure you mark the active ones so you can gradually intensify your communication with those, and accordingly increase their engagement. This also entails continuously updating various fields such as your salutation line. For example, you may start out by sending someone e-mails that begin with “Dear Mr. Ali.” Once Ali start interacting with you and a rapport is established, you may want to change that to “Hi Ali” to remove the formality.
Give people the opportunity to opt-out
Sending out frequent e-mail campaigns puts your domain name at the risk of being perceived as a source of spam, especially if people start marking your e-mails as “junk.” Ideally, of course, you would have used a double-opt-in process to get them on your list. At the very least, though, always include instructions at the end of your messages that inform people what they need to do to stop receiving e-mails from your company. And when they do, act fast and remove them immediately.
Time your messages carefully
Sending out e-mail campaigns on a Sunday morning is probably not a good idea. People just got back from the weekend and want to catch-up on their inboxes, starting with important messages first. You don’t want your e-mail to be one of those that are deleted in an effort to clean up that inbox as fast as possible.
Avoid using elaborate disclaimer notices at the end of messages
Who reads those anyway? They just consume precious space and make your e-mail look long and cluttered. Besides, who would want to send something that’s confidential to a large number of recipients? Placing your vision statement or a brief description of your company is a much better use for that space at the bottom of your message. If your legal department insists, place the entire disclaimer on your website and add “Click here to read our disclaimer” at the end of your messages.
In conclusion, e-mail is probably the oldest method of electronic marketing, is still popular, and will remain a favorite tool for many years to come. It’s direct, (can be) personalized, and if written effectively, can generate immense response. But as it goes with all good things in life, be careful how you use it, don’t abuse this tool because it’s free, and focus on quality versus quantity.
About the Author
Pinnacle Business & Marketing Consulting is a results-driven boutique consulting firm that specializes in providing clients with practical and pragmatic solutions to their business and marketing challenges.
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