Email is so common it’s easy to overlook its potential for driving business. It’s easy to get excited about the latest developments with the social media platforms that represent the new(ish) frontier for digital marketing (and we do!). But we don’t underestimate the power of old-school tools.
Facebook may have close to 1.6 billion users worldwide today, but there are 2.5 billion email users and counting. Any medium consumers are 1.5 times more likely to use than Facebook is one marketers need to pay attention to.
“I don’t want to annoy my customers by spamming them,” you say. “I always delete emails like that.”
Right. Because spam is the dark side of email marketing.
Spam = “Email that is not wanted … that is sent to large numbers of people and that consists mostly of advertising.”
So what does email marketing look like when it is NOT spam? Let’s break this down and set some rules.
Problem #1: “Email that is not wanted …”
Solution: Don’t send to people who don’t want it.
Responsible email list-building requires asking your customers whether they want to receive email communications from you. You can do this in person, by phone and on your website. This is a great way to actually build a relationship with your customers rather than annoying them. Also make sure anyone who wants to can unsubscribe later.
Problem #2: “… sent to large numbers of people …”
Solution: Send only to customers who have opted in.
Spammers buy huge email lists and hit them hard, knowing that 99% of recipients will delete the email or never see it because of spam-blocking software. They do it because of the 1% that will respond. You need to do the opposite. It is better to send emails to a select few hundred willing recipients who will welcome your campaign than several thousand who will hate you for it.
Problem #3: “… that consists mostly of advertising.”
Solution: Don’t (primarily) advertise.
But … don’t we want to drive business? Yes, of course! But remember that we’re trying to get people to welcome you to their inbox. Convince them that you genuinely want to solve problems for them. Provide brief content – no more than 20 lines of text – that addresses the concerns of their daily lives. Once you’ve got that down you can include visible but unobtrusive calls to action related to your content.
Spam preys upon impulse. It feels “shouty” and manipulative, which is why people hate it. Good email marketing builds relationship with your customers. It is welcome. It’s a win-win.
There are several options for software out there that help you build lists and create great email, Constant Contact and MailChimp to name a couple. As always, if you need help getting started just let us know.