A recent study by the Direct Market Association found that email marketing delivers a $38 return-on-investment for every $1 spent. In fact, email marketing drives more conversions than any other marketing channel – including social and search according to a report by Monetate.
I have been using email marketing in my business for over 19 years ((yes, it's been around for that long!) If you've ever attended one of my workshops you may have heard me talk about the importance of your "marketing hub". In the world of marketing, you own two things -- your website and your mailing list. They are the hub. Social media channels are important, but since you don't OWN them you cannot CONTROL them.
Whether you are new to email marketing, or you've been using email to reach your audience for a while, here are 3 ways you can improve your results.
1. Know Your Audience
Not everyone is your customer and your customers are not all alike. Email marketing is a "one to many" tool, allowing you to reach a large number of people through one message yet speak to them individually. Make sure you are writing for one subscriber, not your whole list.
Not this: "To all of you who are looking forward to spring . . ."
But this: "Are you looking forward to spring as much as we are?"
People are more likely to subscribe to your mailing list if they will receive content that is relevant to them. If you owned a pet shop, you wouldn't talk to cat owners the same way to talk to dog owners, would you? In this case, you would segment your mailing lists based upon interest. Ask subscribers if they are a dog owner, cat owner, bird owner, reptile owner, etc. Let them self-select what list they join based on relevant content. Create private lists, too (ie. clients, event attendees, etc.)
2. Less Is More
Creating a robust mailing list takes time. Email marketing is a permission-based tool. You must ask for the privilege of receiving someone's email address. Where do you ask? Everywhere. Ask permission on restaurant menus, packing slips, at the cash register, on event registrations, in person at networking events - and on your website. The amount of information you ask from a subscriber can affect how fast your list grows. In the above graphic, the example on left was from a non-profit's website. Asking for a street address, phone and fax number could be too much information. Only ask for what you need. Would a zip code or state field help you without asking too much? Would adding a birthday field encourage sign ups? Maybe, especially if you offer a birthday surprise!
In addition to the fields you choose for your opt-in form, it's also helpful to let your subscriber know what they will receive and the frequency of the mailing. For example, if you are a yoga teacher you may send daily meditations to your mailing list. This is fine as long as your subscribers want that content delivered to them. Whatever the frequency you choose, be sure to keep your promise.
Why do you open certain emails from brands and skip over some, or unsubscribe (or hit the spam button) for others? The answer is simple - relevant content, stuff that's important to you. It doesn't have to be long, in fact, less is generally more. No one has time to read lengthy emails and people prefer watching video more than reading anything.
In addition to segmenting your mailing list to provide more relevant content to your audience, there are other ways to take your email marketing to the next level. Constant Contact, the company I use and recommend for small businesses email marketing, makes it easy to personalize your messages, from greeting your subscriber by name, to automating a series of emails based on user opens and clicks. Whatever information you collect becomes part of the database used to populate your emails. Going back to the example of the pet shop, if you asked your subscriber what their dog's name is when they sign up, you can include it in your message. Who doesn't like to have someone remember the name of their pet?
By the way, my dog's name is Riley. She's the sweetest Golden Retriever you'll ever meet. You can find hundreds of pictures of her on her Facebook album, "The Life of Riley".
Liz Provo, Mass Marketing Resources.