October 26, 2014

Sales and Marketing Advice for Florida business

How to achieve great results from email marketing

Ron Stein | 4/5/2013

Email is not dead. With your inbox overloaded with messages, you probably wish it were. Yet email is still one of the most effective communication channels a business can have when used correctly. Well, unless your target market consists only of teenagers.

No matter if you market to consumers or other businesses, people still check their email. Sure, we’re all texting more, still in 2012 there were 145 billion emails messages sent every day -- and it’s growing. There’s a reason email volume continues to trend upwards.

Texting and social media are fine for casual conversations. Businesses and their customers often require something more -- like email.

Email is very relevant in today’s digital marketing mix because it helps to tie all the other channels you have together. And unlike texting, email has depth and in contrast to social media, email can deliver targeted content. It’s not unusual to get notified via email that there is a message or activity on your Linkedin or Twitter account.

A great email will drive more traffic to your website. An email is a wonderful way to follow up after a text or face-to-face conversation. And the chances of someone taking action on your email message is much, much greater than through Facebook marketing posts.

Maybe that’s why a recent survey reported that over 80% of smartphone users check and send emails regularly.

Unfortunately, due to the massive volume of email people receive, your email can be easily ignored or worse -- marked as spam, never to make it’s way to the prospects you know you can help.

Whether it’s for a follow up or a newsletter you send out regularly, the key to successfully using email is relevancy tailored to the audience. Here are a few actions you can take to achieve great results from your email.

Start with audience focused, relevant content. Of course they know you have something to sell, just give them a reason to like you and see you as the expert to help them out of their jam. Your email doesn’t need a slick design, but it does need to address a topic or concern that readers care about. If for even a second your prospects and customers sense you are more interested in selling something rather than helping and informing, the game will be over before it starts.

Give your audience what they want on an ongoing basis. Email helps businesses truly connect with their audience and keeps companies top of mind. Newsletters in particular offer tremendous value for building that connection. It’s doesn’t have to complicated and you certainly don’t have to be a Pulitzer caliber journalist. Just keep it short, fresh, and real. Write brief articles -- less is more -- that have value, include industry news, and add stories from people who use and benefit from your product or service.

Obsess over the subject line. Seriously, spend time on this. If your subject lines don’t tell readers something they want to know, your email will be trashed in a flash. Arouse curiosity or speak to an emotional need, and avoid hype words or phrases like “free” and “call today to get the lowest prices of the year.” Test and track subject lines by recording which ones get responses and how fast from the time you send them. You should do this for newsletters as well as emails to individuals.

Invite the reader to take action. Although your emails will answer questions, inform, and even entertain it’s important to actively engage the reader and move them to a next step. Many times that will be to simply read the rest of your article by clicking through to your website. Or offer something of value such as a white paper that can be downloaded from your website. And yes, it’s OK to include an offer such as a coupon, free consultation, or the sale of your book. My rule of thumb is that less than 25% of the content should be sales oriented.

Make email easy to use and easy on the eye. A graphic or photo adds a touch of excitement and helps your email look professional. But please don’t get carried away! Only include what’s necessary for information and your call-to-action goals. You don’t want to gunk up your email and distract from the main message. Besides, you’ve got to consider all the possible email platforms out there -- iPad, Mac, Windows, Android – and how your email will display.

Increase clickthrough rates. The key metric for email marketing is clickthrough rate, and there are many things you can control to grow this. Research shows that segmenting your email lists will drive more sales leads and greater revenue. The same goes for personalizing emails and including one or more social media icons with embedded links. Talking about personalizing, engaging people with humor and video content will bring smiles and more clickthroughs too.

There’s no doubt about it -- email marketing faces a lot of challenges. But it continues to be one of the best performing online marketing channels you can use.

Have a specific goal for your email and make sure that all elements reflect that objective including your call-to-action. Stay relevant and you will be rewarded.


Read earlier columns from Florida Trend's business coach, Ron Stein
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Ron Stein is President of FastPath Marketing (www.marketing-strategies-guide.com). He works with small business owners, helping them to energize their marketing and sell more of their products and services. Ron has developed his own highly successful 7-step approach to winning new customers as a result of his experience as a small business owner, corporate CEO, marketing and business development executive, salesman, and mentor at two nationally recognized business accelerators. Ron offers one-on-one and small group mentoring, conducts seminars, and consults. He can be reached at 727-398-1855 or Ron@FastPathMarketing.com.

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