Comments often heard when you mention email marketing during a strategy meeting with customers include: "I don't want to send spam to my customers", "Mailing is so impersonal" and "I always delete them the minute they come in". Social media and mobile devices were predicted to take over the task of email marketing and this type of marketing seemed to be dead and buried. A few years ago, these arguments could well have been good reason to leave well alone in terms of email marketing but in the past few years, mail tools have become so advanced that we need to take another look. So why should you use email marketing? In this blog, I'll give you five good reasons.
You have a list of people who would like to hear from you
What could be more valuable than a list of email addresses from people who have voluntarily registered to receive a newsletter? They have already indicated that they'd like to hear from you! Have you ever thought about that? You have a list of customers who want to hear about your company's news and/or what you are selling. Email marketing gives you direct access to these people!
Pitfall: make sure that you create email added value for this unique customer. He or she must feel personally addressed by your email. If they feel like the email is over-generalised? They'll unsubscribe.
You can create a personal contact moment
Personalisation is a huge benefit that you can take advantage of with email marketing. You can make emails really personal by storing a great deal of data for a record (customer) in your database. Link your CRM system and your online sales environment to records so that you know exactly what and how often they have bought something. On this basis, you can easily segment markets which you can target with email marketing and thus ensure that your customers only receive emails containing products and information which applies to them.
An example of how it often works at the moment: Several months ago, I bought an SLR camera from Nikon after conducting a great deal of research. I wanted to subscribe to the newsletter because, ultimately you have to collect and buy a whole range of lenses. Twice a week, the store sent me a newsletter with their competitive offers. However, 95% of the newsletter was full of products that had nothing to do with my Nikon camera. I certainly didn't need different brands of lenses or offers on new SLR cameras once I had bought my camera. So I unsubscribed from the newsletter. But it's a huge, missed opportunity. If they had sent me (and all other Nikon users in their database) a mailing in which at least 80% of the newsletter applied to my purchase, I would have happily received it, read through it and also, more than likely, bought a lens or two.
You can create the perfect emails by testing
You may, of course, not quite know how to best present something in a mail. Are you for instance not quite sure how to create the perfect subject line? Then you're not alone. Regular testing allows you to further optimise your newsletters for your customers in terms of the best ways of presenting your products and services.
In Clang, for example, you can send out two versions of an email to part of a group (e.g. each with a different subject). A winner of this test is then chosen and the system can send the winning mail to the rest of the group.
Previously, I have written a blog providing a beginner's guide to testing; this offers advice on how and why to test emails.
You can follow the customer life cycle perfectly
How great is it to be able to follow a customer's entire life cycle? To see when he/she logs in and puts a product in their shopping trolley but hasn't checked out, for example. A reminder email can create lots of extra sales as long as it sounds like a 'gentle reminder' rather than a hard sell.
But what is even more appealing, is the ability to follow someone through the various phases of their life. This could involve a children's toy shop, for example.
It begins with a birth wish list: we obtain data about date of birth, gender, and even details of the people who have bought something from the list. Why would you not want to use this data? Granny and Granddad will be really grateful if they receive a few nice suggestions a week before their grandchild's birthday, for a present that is suitable to the child's age. Or maybe, six years later, it's time for Holy Communion or the spring holiday is fast approaching? Why not send an email with suggestions for gifts that suit the relevant event and the child's age. There are many moments in a child's life (St Nicholas, first day at school, etc.) when you could present perfectly suitable gifts to the appropriate person(s). If you're going to get involved in this sort of thing though, you have to make sure that your database is up to scratch!
Need to sort things out? Then automation can really help.
Everyone reads their email several times a day
Just think of yourself; how many times do you read your personal mail? I certainly read mine about 5 times per day: on the way to work on the train, in my break, on my way back home and then throughout the evening when I'm using my laptop. And let's not even mention how often I check my work email. But it's true; I'm not sat around waiting to receive emails from companies who are trying to sell me their goods or services. That is why it is hard to determine the moment at which emails should be sent. Much has been written about this, but you will have to conduct your own tests to find out for yourself.
One more pitfall: make sure that your email is optimised for mobile devices because where do you read most of your emails? That's right! On your smartphone! Over half of all mail is now opened on mobile devices and that's a lot of mail! Failing to optimise for mobile devices is fatal for the CTR and means that people will be quicker to unsubscribe from your newsletter.
Emailing is not easy but if you would like to do more with email marketing than just sending out the same newsletter each month to all of your customers, then we can help you create a strategy for sending personalised and effective emails to your database.