We don’t often give a lot of attention to email marketing. It isn’t flashy and cool like social networks. We don’t necessarily get immediate feedback from email like we do with our social networks and blogs. But it’s hard to ignore email marketing when business to consumer (B2C) marketers report an average of 256% ROI from the channel — pulling in $256 for every $1 invested. (MarketingSherpa 2011 Email Marketing Benchmark Report).
When was the last time you considered your email marketing program?
Of course, there’s a good way and a bad way to do email. If all you do is spam your customers and friends with ad after ad, you’ll get no results at all. That’s because people are coming to regard their inboxes as valuable real estate. They’re a lot more choosy about what they allow to fill their inboxes. But if you crack the code, and provide emails that people want to get, you can experience great results from a thoughtful email marketing program for your business.
So what makes and effective email marketing program? Here are some tips:
- Make sure your email list is permission based. There are lots of ways to get a list of emails. Make sure yours is legal! People MUST give you permission before you’re allowed to send them marketing messages. Ask each person you sell to if they’d like to be on your list. Give people the opportunity to sign up on your blog or Facebook Page. But DON’T just add all your friends to your email list, and don’t assume that every person who hands you their business card wants your newsletter. If people haven’t opted in, your messages are considered spam, and it’s against the law for you to send them.
- Segment your list. You may be marketing to different types of people. For example, perhaps you’re trying to reach generation Y with your opportunity, but you’re trying to reach a middle-aged mom with your products. These are two very different groups with two very different needs. Why would you send them the same email? Instead, create different lists for people to sign up for. You might offer one place where people interested in the opportunity could sign up for a “special report,” while customers could sign up for “recipes, deals, and discounts.” Each person signs themselves up for the appropriate list, and then is sent messages targeted to that group. When the message is consistently relevant to the subscriber, they’re a lot more likely to convert.
- Keep it short and bulleted. People are busy. Most people will scan your message before deciding to read it. So how do you get their attention? Well first, make sure it’s short. People aren’t going to read a novel. Write your email newsletter, and then cut it in half. Then, highlight the most important points in bullets, and bold the main ideas of each bullet. Use a clear image to highlight each main idea. What you’re doing is making it easy to scan for the main ideas quickly. You’re a lot more likely to get people to invest in your message if they see the value in it quickly.
- Make it valuable. Face it. People are NOT going to read a regular stream of ads. They’re just not. Their inbox real estate is too valuable for that. So include one value-driven message in each of your emails. Answer a question, provide a useful tip, etc. Give people a reason to open each email that you send, because there’s something in it that they can use right now without spending a dime, every time.
- Invite them to share. Ask people to share your email messages with their friends. They may not think of it themselves. But if they’ve found value in your newsletter or other email message, they’ll often be willing to pass your message along. So ask them to, at the bottom of every message.
- Track your stats. Does your email program allow you to see what is resonating with your subscriber list? If it doesn’t get a new one! I like Aweber (affiliate link) but there are several programs out there. You need to know what your subscribers are clicking on, so you know the type of content that resonates with them, and can follow up appropriately. Only when you know what they like can you repeat it. So check the stats on all the messages that you send. It will make you a much better email marketer.
Email marketing allows you to provide consistent follow-up to customers you’ve worked with in the past, as well as providing value to people who may work with you in the future. It’s an essential marketing component to your business. Make sure you’ve got the tools in place to do it well.
How do you use email marketing in your own business? Does your company provide you with tools? Do you have your own tools? What tips and techniques would you share? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.
And if you’ve found value in this article, why not subscribe to my newsletter? I send it out about once a month, and include a valuable article each time that helps you use social media for your direct sales business. Would love to have you join us, and tell a friend!