Too many emails are short on pertinence and benefit copy. This reduces sales for many emailers. But other problems persist. These four recommended modifications to your email activities will improve your results as you implement them.
Limited space constrained the list to four areas. So please add your comments once you have read this post to add your own.
1. Don't send sales messages, sell benefits. Otherwise your email becomes spam to the recipient. It also diminishes your brand.
If you're looking at a new product or service, what appeals to you more? "Our software leads the industry, so you should consider our product." Or "Our software does not require a manual to use, cuts 50% off of the time you normally spend on administrative duties and provides templates for nearly every letter, email or contract you will need in your business."
Or better yet, create three emails featuring each one of the above benefits using testimonials and other evidence that support your message.
Keep the message focused on solving a prospect's or customer's problem. Some call this consultative selling.
2. Control your email volume. Use a CRM system to make sure you balance the frequency and content of all of your emails sent to each prospect and customer.
Build your reputation with your recipient by helping them with useful information even if feels like you are taking time away from selling. In fact, by helping your contacts you are demonstrating that you care about them and understand that you make money only when you solve their problem.
Make sure you have a compelling reason to contact the prospect. That is, do not send an email when the only apparent winner is the company rather than the recipient.
Here are a few turn offs.
- Duplicate emails.
- Emails that come out of the blue from individuals or companies the recipient never heard of.
- Emails offering products and services that the recipient has no proven interest in
- Emails from companies where the recipient made an inquiry or a purchase 2 plus years ago.
- Emails that proclaim something is free when it isn't. In my book, even leaving that impression is a lie and brands the organization as hucksterish.
- Emails that makes the same offer repeatedly believing that email volume will somehow win the day. In the process, you just burned your bridge with the abused email recipient.
We used to say that in telesales, smaller is better. This means that more carefully culled prospect lists that are pre-qualified are more cost effective than bombarding the entire market with ineffective calls to poor prospects. In the same way -- for email less is better. Make every email you send count.
Email messaging is inexpensive, but the toll on your long term effectiveness can cost you a bundle in lost sales if you abuse your email privileges. Don't use a scorched earth policy on your prospects. You will loose in the long run.
3. Know your value proposition. In other words, answer the recipient's obvious question about why he has a problem and how your product or service will solve it. Not only that, demonstrate how you can solve his problem better than your competitors.
Of all the weakness in email (and all advertising for that matter), the lack of clarity on the company's value proposition kills sales. A powerful value proposition represents your elevator speech. It's focused, clear and addresses your most powerful selling weapon.
Here are a few examples listed in Tim Berry's post entitled: "An effective marketing strategy requires focus."
- Michelin Tires: Offers safety-conscious parents greater security in tires, at a price premium.
- McDonald’s Restaurants: Offers convenience-oriented eaters fast meals at competitive prices.
- QuickBooks: Offers user friendly, dynamic accounting software at an affordable price point for small businesses.
4. Include a call to action. Most emailers are getting good at this. But please give your prospects a reason to call, click on your landing page or respond to your email. Direct marketers call this "the offer."
Other than the demand for your product value proposition and the quality of your list, the most important predictor to response is the offer.
As examples, here are a few weak offers.
- To find out more, click here
- Call us for more information
- Please complete your profile
- See us at a store near you
- Click here for a free demo and a 90 day free trial if you respond by February the 21st.
- Register for the DMA Fall conference by August 1 and get a $500 discount
- Get landscaping design for $300 (a $1,200 value) if you set it up prior to the planting season by March the 15th
There are numerous other issues we could talk about to strengthen your email program. But if I leave you with nothing else, please treat your email program as a gift from your prospect that you should never take for granted. Carefully evaluate each email to make sure your prospects and customers are interested in the subject and will respect you more each time they receive one of your helpful and pertinent emails. If you do, then you will see your open rates improve and your bottom line grow.
In just a few short years, email revolutionized marketing. Yet email abuse, spam and sloppy email marketing practices have reduced its effectiveness.
As a result, I routinely pass over email as a viable acquisition channel.
Only double opt-in email sent to customers offers sufficient revenue to warrant attention. There are exceptions, as always. But unsolicited mass delivered emails to prospects often work to the detriment of the advertiser's reputation and bottom line.
As Reggie Brady writes (a recognized authority on the email channel) in her recent Target marketing article entitled "E-commerce Link : Don’t Tarnish Your Reputation!".
"Email deliverability is still a major challenge for marketers… The newest wrinkle is that user behavior can affect deliverability—particularly for consumer mailers.
Many ISPs now calculate a mailer's reputation based on how many email messages are opened and/or clicked. If too many recipients do not open or click, your email may be routed to a bulk folder even if you are white-listed. Conversely, even if you've had higher spam complaints, your email may be delivered to the primary inbox if your opens or clicks are strong".
The government, ISPs and spam filter developers are all working to reverse the tide. But spam and spammer ingenuity continue to grow. In this environment, emailers struggle to keep their noses above the water line.
Other than spammers, the worst offenders are the companies that send their emails indiscriminately or too frequently. Their sloppiness reduces the email channel's potential for all of us.
The best email strategy is the same strategy for all marketing efforts. Marketers should carefully consider the impact of their marketing decisions on the customer first. If they do so, customers will reward them with repeat sales and loyalty.