Effective Email Marketing Strategies

Although most online entrepreneurs are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of email marketing, many do not know how to conduct an effective email marketing campaign. Unfortunately, these people will be very disadvantaged over competitors who are well versed in using subscriber lists to market to prospects.

The purpose of this article is to bridge this knowledge gap and offer some useful tips for online business owners who would like to implement an email marketing campaign to increase website traffic and of course, sales.

If you can afford to do it, hiring a professional to design and implement an effective email marketing campaign, is the quickest way to get up and running. The reason for this is obvious. Not only are such experts well experienced in email marketing, effective email marketing strategies are constantly being developed and adjusted.

Using the services of someone who can dedicate their working life to implementing successful email marketing campaigns means that you don’t have to experience the long and often expensive learning curve in order to achieve the same outcomes.

By being free to focus on your core business instead of having to spend most of your time learning and implementing new internet and email marketing strategies you will be better placed to achieve your business goals. So a professional who can design a complete email marketing campaign for you can provide an enormous boost to your business on more than one level.

However, once the decision is made to use a professional service, the difficulty is actually finding one that is of high professional quality and can deliver the best outcomes. Do not simply respond to a good piece of advertising or a professional looking website. You need to choose a professional who can demonstrate significant, long term experience, show a track record of successful campaigns, pay attention to your concerns, is able to detail and explain the strategies and can agree to a reasonable deadline for your project completion.

One of the most popular ways to use email marketing is to offer an e-course on a topic related to your niche. Ideally, such a course will comprise short, easy to digest sections, be genuinely informative and of interest to your target audience. You can also write the course in such a way that the information can be used to support selling points for various products and services. However, it is very important that you do not use your e-course to directly sell because this could be deemed to be spam. Simply offer information and links they can follow to your website where you can more directly promote your products or services.

Another very effective email marketing strategy is the publication and distribution of e- newsletters. An e-newsletter is simply an email equivalent of a more traditional print newsletter which is distributed conventionally. The cost of distributing an e-newsletter is next to nothing so it is an ideal method of disseminating information and directing readers back to your website. Most of your e-newsletter should be good quality content including feature articles, briefer articles offering helpful tips, and possibly product reviews.

You can also include graphics if you wish, however you need to be aware that people with slower running computers or on slower internet service plans may become frustrated and close the newsletter. Include links to your website pages or to affiliate sales pages and use some soft sell sales pitches to encourage your readers to click through. Although you can certainly encourage people to buy a product in an e-newsletter, you can be more convincing on your own sales pages.

No matter which email marketing strategy you decide on, you will need to monitor your results regularly. While some aspects of your email marketing strategy may be working, others may not be and will need to be replaced or adjusted. You also need to know what aspects of your email marketing campaign are most successful so that you can use them more often or more comprehensively.

For example, you may notice a spike in website traffic whenever a new newsletter is sent out. If this is the case, it might be a good idea to send your e-newsletter out more often. Just by paying attention to what is working and what is not, you can maximize your email marketing success.

Why Small Business Owners Get Better Sales Results From Relationship Marketing

There are 3 major differences where direct marketing, also known as relationship marketing veers sharply away from traditional marketing and advertising.

You’ll see why it’s the most cost effective method any business can do. But especially small business because let’s face it – you’ll never have the money to throw at marketing and advertising that BIG business does. 

And the good news is you don’t have to. These proven principles will work on or offline across the board, for any business, in any media, with any product or service. 

But first let’s be clear that direct marketing is not just direct mail. It includes mail of course, but that was just the beginning it’s now expanded to include all the mediums available today. Remember the media is just the delivery method.  

So here’s the 3 major differences between traditional marketing and advertising AND direct marketing using direct response advertising. 

The first is – Direct Marketing is based on a one-on-one customer relationship which gives the ability to have 2-way communications. 

Unlike traditional marketing direct marketing relies on dialogue. We all know that people do business with people they know, like and trust and that is best achieved by building the relationship. So it’s not the “catch and kill” approach here. 

Getting the contact details of your prospective customer is goal number one because it puts you in control of the communication process.   You are no longer at the mercy of the crowded marketplace when you are “talking” to your list. 

It’s also easier to find more people like them. 

The second is – Direct Marketing always has a call-to-action so the customer is asked to do something. 

And that’s because you “ask” them to take the action you want them to take – either request more information or place an order immediately.   Whatever is the next logical step in your sales process. In fact it’s called “a call to action” or “asking for the order” which doesn’t happen in the traditional advertising model. 

You see there are actually 2 types of advertising. 

The dreaded awareness advertising and the champion “direct response”. 

It’s important to understand this because the biggest mistake I see small business owners make is they copy big businesses. You won’t make this mistake now you know about direct response advertising but naturally people think that big companies are successful so they must know what they are doing and they “copy” their type of advertising. It’s the last thing you should do. 

Big companies use Awareness advertising which is image based advertising or brand awareness. These big companies, with well known brands have expensive ads that aren’t really selling they are promoting their brand trying to get you to “feel good” hoping when you are out in the marketplace making a buying decision, you’ll remember them. 

They never ask their customer to do anything – think about all the ads you see on TV.   It takes many years and many millions of dollars to make an impact. So don’t waste your money on this. You need ads that sell NOW. 

And we’ve all seen those print ads that don’t ask the reader to do anything – just check out the yellow pages. People pay tens of thousands of dollars for just one advertisement, depending on the size.  And what do they do? Put a big fat logo at the top, boring feature after boring feature in bullet points and a phone number at the bottom. All about the company and product and NOT about the customer. 

Direct response ads, on the other hand are all about the customer, their needs and problems because your customer is listening to radio station WIIFM or What’s in it for ME. And they offer a solution, make an offer then ask the customer to “respond” using a call to action. 

It’s obvious the difference this must have on your advertising response and now that you know this you’ll never look at advertising the same way again! 

The third thing is – Direct Marketing results are measurable which means you know what works and what doesn’t. 

Unlike mass advertising you can make an offer in any media and track the results. It’s simple. So once you know what works and what doesn’t you can test other ads or media to try to improve the results and increase your profit margin. 

Tracking can be simple or sophisticated depending on your systems and resources and will vary for online and offline activities. But all you need is a way to identify where the responses came from and count them. 

You can have proven, predictable results to build your campaigns on and who wouldn’t want that?

Email Marketing Secrets That Few Marketers Know and Most Internet Businesses Violate

News of the impending demise of email marketing has been greatly exaggerated. Email remains the true “killer app” of online relationship marketing. Contrary to the assertions of various overnight social media consultants clambering out of the woodwork, email marketing often gives marketers far more control over target selection and greater ability to monetize than social media marketing can.

Knowing this, businesses from local retail establishments to fortune 500 companies have continued to invest money and other resources in their email marketing efforts to tease out greater and greater returns on investment.

Despite their best efforts, many small business attempts at email marketing are severely compromised by some oft-overlooked challenges that very few online businesses ever stop to consider. Mostly because they either do not know that these factors are important, or presume that they cannot afford the solutions to overcoming them.

Problems of small business email marketing

There is no end of consultants, trainers and marketers waiting to tell you about the latest CAN-SPAM compliance techniques, email subject line copywriting tips, how to use spam checkers, the optimal lengths of the email message body, or the optimal frequency of auto-responder messages.

While all the tactics above are important to know and understand, they are being emphasized at the expense of some of the fundamental principles of direct marketing; principles which are far more important to the success of any strategic marketing campaign online. Here’s a list of some of the biggest mistakes of omission you might be making:

1. Poor Message To Market Match

If you utilize permission-based email marketing tactics such as the use of targeted landing pages and email capture forms geared to specific prospects, you may be surprised to hear me say that your subsequent messages or auto-responder sequences are mismatched to such a list.

Unfortunately, the reality is that most of the messages you send to the subscribers on your lists are likely to be unmatched to the verified needs and interests of these subscribers. For many campaigns, the only well-matched message is the first post-capture message when the subscribers receive exactly what they asked for.

This is due to the fact that marketers often do not create processes and systems to segment their lists according to preferences and buying patterns.

2. Poor synchronization with website analytics

Do you closely track your website usage analytics? Do you use tools that show the behavior of your customers and email list subscribers when they go to your website?

Research has shown that only a small percentage (less than 20 percent) of online relationship marketers use customer data from website analytics to trigger messages or sequences in their email marketing programs. The few businesses that can connect things like shopping cart abandonment or web page abandonment rates to their messages, experience greatly increased ROI.

3. Overlooking Lifecycle email marketing programs

These timing-based email direct marketing campaigns are generally overlooked because companies believe that they always require custom programming…and that’s not the case. Certain specialized email service providers have woken up to the need for delivering offerings that perform these functions for small businesses.

Your relationship-building should depend on the stage of relationship the subscriber is in – prospect, engaged customer, past customer in need of reactivation.

I recently received an email from a marketer which noted that I hadn’t clicked a link in over 4 months and just about required I click the link to their Facebook page or they would assume I wanted to be off their list. I got to their Facebook page just on time to see tons of messages from other subscribers asking not to be removed from the list.

I was compelled to click on the link (and re-engage with them) even though I was somewhat indifferent as to whether I remained subscribed to their list or not. That’s just an illustration of how powerful your messages can be when they are tied to tracked behavior. You can offer lead warming information to prospects, special deals to top customers and repeat visitors, and re-activation incentives to former clients who have not clicked through in a long while.

4. Ignoring multimedia, multichannel contact

Email is not the “be-all” and “end-all” of marketing… or of internet marketing for that matter. It is no panacea. The power of your email marketing program can be greatly amplified when it is sequenced and integrated with a multimedia and multichannel approach that includes direct mail, phone calls and other modes of communication.

While an email thank you message may not be noticed at all, a Thank-you by mail from an online marketer tends to stand out significantly from both emails and other direct mail pieces. I know this from personal experience.

If you own a small business and you have not tried combining a mix of email marketing and SMS marketing methods, you may not be getting the best ROI out of your marketing investment.