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.
Generation Duct Tape Marketing specializes in helping small businesses do a better job of marketing themselves. I found their advice relevant to large businesses as well. A recent series of posts provides excellent sales lead and conversion advice in blog posts written by guest contributors in How Do I Get More sales leads in the Top Funnel.
Here are a few select quotes worth noting.
Unless you're a new business without a very short track record, getting new leads is really not your problem at all. Your real problem is churn. Attrition.
Oh so true. If you lose 20% of your customers a year, then that growth of 10% you needed to keep your business growing requires adding 30%. So make sure you plug up the dike while your generating leads and adding new customers. Otherwise, you are on a treadmill that never progresses.
The irony is, that is exactly what many small businesses are doing with their marketing by placing ads in locations that are unlikely to be acted on, following ill-advised trends or advice to create social media graveyards (which never see the light of any attention or conversation), and assuming that just offering a good product or service will spread.
This is a good advice. Make sure that you are reaching the right audience.
A superb message combined a great product directed to the wrong audience gets you nowhere. And marketing efforts that are not accountable or suck up money and time without proven results is not a luxury any business can afford today.
Do you want to stand out from the crowd? Then follow up. The fact is, most people don't follow up very well, if at all. Good follow-up alone elevates you above 95 percent of your peers.
How many times have you responded to a survey or complained about a service as a customer only to be ignored. Such inattention not only costs you customers, but ill will as well. Requiring an email address (and other personal information) prior to your prospects being permitted to download content. With a gate, each person downloading becomes a valuable sales lead. This is a very typical yet flawed approach.
I can't tell you how many times I wanted to download a white paper or other information only to not respond because I refused to get even more spam. Give your audience a chance to get to know you better before putting up a requirement that only turns prospects off. Better to ask them to subscribe or sign up within the downloaded document after you've had a chance to sell them on taking the risk of asking them for their private information.
In the end, the best way to approach this issue is to test it.
Don't force yourself to use the least effective method. Test into it. Internet testing is much less cumbersome and more immediate than other channles.
Let your customers determine the best approach and test, test, test. There is always room for improving your return on investment in lead generation or any marketing endeavor.