So, you want to try your hand at email marketing. Good luck.
Most of the millions of marketing emails that are sent every hour, either solicited or unsolicited, to unsuspecting inboxes, end up in the trash. Fact is that the conversion rate with email marketing is low; very low. It is hard enough to get the recipient to open the email yet alone actually reading it and acting on its contents.
So why do so many marketers go down this path? Why do so many fail at it, and what is the secret of the few who are able to use email marketing as an effective funnelling tool and are able to drive sales?
Up front, emails appear to be a cheap form of marketing. It costs nothing to send emails to your list. The email contents can convey mountains of information and it can be presented in a multitude of different ways including a full multimedia presentations. There can certainly be huge bang for your buck.
But what makes the journey from your send button to your potential customer trash the most likely route for your email. What is the real cost of creating content that essentially is just binned in a heartbeat?
Once you analyse it, that cheap email has considerable costs associated with it.
Email marketing must be costed the same as any other marketing campaign that you may launch. You need to determine your return on investment. You need to identify your sales conversion rate. You need to assign a value to the cost of production of your email, the cost of your infrastructure, the cost of creating your email list (including purchasing email lists). Set your goals and measure your results. If they fall way short, then seriously reconsider if this is as effective as what you may have originally thought.
If, after setting your goals and added up all the resources needed to create an email campaign, your next challenge is how to get your recipients to actually open up the email and read what is inside.
Your Distribution List.
Let’s start with who are you sending these emails to. In Australia, the Spam Act is in place to stop unsolicited emails from being sent. This means that you need to compile your email list via other business activities where there is an interaction with your customers, or you need to purchase a list from a reputable source. Either way, the addresses that you send your emails to should have agreed somewhere along the track that they are willing to accept email marketing or newsletter or other information from you. Fail to comply with the requirements of the Spam Act and you could be penalised.
It’s no secret that people change their email address from time to time. You need to periodically verify the addresses that you send information to. It is basically useless sending emails to 1000 people when 950 of them are no longer valid.
Regardless of where your email list was generated from, you need to always give people the option to Opt Out or Unsubscribe. Don’t hide the option by using 3pt light grey font on white.
Keep the subject line concise.
The body of your email is your pitch, not the subject line; however, the subject line needs to at least provide some detail as to the email contents. Subject lines like “Read Me” will be treated like “Delete Me”. Avoid some spam filtering software keywords like Win, Money, Success, Buy, etc.
Ask a question.
Use your subject line to ask a question rather than make a statement. “Want to maximise your social reach?” works better than “Social Reach Maximisation Software Inside”.
I have a general rule of thumb for snail mail. If it is addressed to “The Householder” then it is binned immediately. Same with emails. When receiving a thousand emails a day, the culling process does become quite brutal. Personalise the email and the recipient will at least know that you have gone to the trouble of adding their name to the subject line. It still wont guarantee a swift press of the delete key, but it will have a better chance of not being deleted if it wasn’t personalised.
Make the content interesting.
You are busy, people are busy. We really don’t have enough time to read War and Peace every time an email is received. If you want your email recipients to read your email then make it interesting; use images, graphs, compile your content into an infographic. Try and avoid hyperlinks except for where they are absolutely necessary; 1 or 2 hyperlinks are OK. 10 are not. If using hyperlinks, then make sure that your message is not that extra click away. If your email has been opened, then you don’t want to alienate your reader by forcing them to click again – they might just click away.