Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in your marketing repertoire, but it you’re not doing it right, you are wasting your time. Our inboxes are becoming fuller by the day, and in this age of information we are becoming more discerning about what we spend our time reading. So does this mean that email marketing is dead? Absolutely not, but what it does mean is that you need to add value when you are sending out emails to your list to make it worth them investing their limited time in reading it.
As small business owners our marketing budgets are limited, our time is limited and our resources are limited. But these limitations don’t have to stop you from making a success of the budget, time and resources that you use.
I receive in the region of 20 email newsletters a day and of those 20 I probably read 2. What is it that makes me read the 2 and not the other 18? The three R’s of email marketing … Relevance, Relationship and Results.
Relevance is a moment in time. A snapshot. It’s very much about where I am right now. Where I am today will not be where I am tomorrow or in a month’s time. As a consumer, my needs change. When an email arrives in my inbox my subconscious goes through a very quick analysis: Am I looking for the type of content that they are sharing? Am I looking for a product that they are selling? If yes, I’ll open the email…
For example, it’s my daughter’s birthday in a couple of week’s time, and I happen to get an email from the Early Learning Centre with a 20% off discount. Fantastic. Perfect email at the perfect time. I will open and click through to the site. The other 10 emails that I received from them before this one, went un-opened and un-read because they weren’t the right thing for me at that time. (But note that I don’t unsubscribe during this period because I know that every once in a while their emails to me are the right thing at the right time.)
So what does that mean from your perspective? It means that if you have a product or service that you are selling, it is worth continuing to send your emails to your list on a consistent and regular basis because even if your clients and prospects don’t need it now, when they do need it and a timely email arrives in their inbox, there is a good chance that they will buy from you. As long as you have a good…
The biggest reason to send email marketing is to create a strong relationship with your list. Email marketing is, hands down, the easiest way to keep in touch with your client and prospect base with the least amount of effort. If your email marketing isn’t building a relationship with your client base then you are missing out on a great opportunity. The exciting thing about email marketing is that when people subscribe to your newsletter, they are ASKING you to keep in touch with them. They are saying to you “I want to hear from you… and I’m aware that you might sell to me”. How great is that?
The next obvious question you’ll have is “how do I build a relationship with my list?”. There is one simple answer. Add value. If you add value to your email list every time you send them an email, they will want to open it and find out what you have to say.
There are lots of ways that you can add value:
- Offer something interesting
- Share useful information / article
- Give a discount
- Offer insight
- Share links
- Share something that YOU think is valuable
Make your email marketing about them and they will want to open and read it. Make your email all about you and your product and they will skip it (unless you’re lucky and it’s what they are looking for at that moment).
After you have sent about 3 emails you should start looking at your ….
The great thing about marketing using online tools is that you can see your results immediately. You can see how effective you are being straight away. Send an email, and within an hour, you’ll know whether you’ve hit the mark. This is why I always recommend using mailing software. Otherwise you’re flying blind. You don’t know who is opening the emails, what they are clicking on and what they are interested in.
For small business owners there are a few DIY options that you can use. www.campaignmonitor.com , www.aweber.com , www.mailchimp.com . These are all effective starting points for your email marketing. A couple Women Unlimited members, www.adskinsynergy.com and www.thefinecottoncompany.com, are doing very well using Campaign Monitor. These services are a great option because they are easy to set up, include a subscription management process and have great reporting after you send the emails. Plus, they don’t cost a lot.
Once you know what people are reading and interested in, you can adjust your newsletter so that it gets better and strong each time. So have a look at your email marketing and figure out if you are doing the three R’s, and if you’re not, adjust immediately!
About the Author: Julie Hall is the founder of Women Unlimited, a website all about business for women and Springmedia, a boutique design agency based in south west London. Springmedia specialises in logos, email marketing, blogs and websites for professional services companies.