E-Mail marketing is a daunting task that can yield mixed results depending on whether or not you are properly conducting your e-mail marketing efforts. It takes a lot of time, energy and know-how to bring this simple yet elegant task to fruition. Today’s article will discuss the basics of e-mail marketing and some tried and true information on how I became an expert e-mail marketer. I myself had dismal results at first but if you apply the knowledge within this post to your future e-mail marketing campaigns you should yield much more fruitful results with minimal effort on your part. I also cannot stress enough not to buy a list, I wasted countless marketing dollars on e-mail marketing because I thought that there was an easy way to do it. This post will focus on the organic methodology to list building and the do’s and don’ts of your next e-mail marketing campaign.
The basic process to e-mail marketing for B2B (Business to Business) is simple and it also works for B2C (Business to Consumer) e-mail marketing because it takes a P2P (Person to Person) approach. You start off with List Building. Follow-up by scoring those leads, then nurture them. Then finally convert them to sales. We must keep in mind that this is a continual process due to churn rate and list fatigue. Your churn rate will average approximately 30% per year, which means that you must continue to grow and nurture your list. For example if you have 10,000 names in 2015, by the time 2018 comes around you will only have 3,430 names on the same list, unless you are consistently rebuilding that list.
There are several elements to a successful e-mail marketing program, according to Tim Peter of Tim Peter and Associates: we should focus 25% on the individual messages, 40% to the list and 35% to the subject lines of those messages. We should also A/B split test the individual subject lines and even messages with a test audience of Approx. 5% to 10% before sending out a mass e-mail so that we know simply what works and what does not.
Let’s go back for a moment to what I said earlier… NEVER pay for a list. So where do we get our list? Customers can provide names at checkout, they can also provide their e-mail addresses in exchange for content and/or webinars. For example, Zappos and other sites use a dedicated opt-in. We can ask for a name and e-mail address at site entry, and there is still a plethora of other methods that can be used to obtain customer e-mail addresses including mobile apps, e-mail to a friend, social media sharing and even business response cards. To put it simply, without a list you have no one to market to!
Lead nurturing deepens your customer’s relationship to your brand. Think of this as meeting someone new, going on a first date, dating, engagement and eventually marriage. This is a successful sales cycle in e-mail marketing. It is not a one-time proposition but rather a steady process that will yield optimal results. Through drip marketing you will irrigate your customer relationships and watch them grow. Drip marketing is evergreen, you will build your content once and resend it as new prospects enroll. You will need to ensure the quality of your brand messaging during each interaction. You can also auto-trigger your drip marketing to reduce costs over time.
Some of the e-mail marketing best practices according to Tim Peter are:
- Define a clear objective for each e-mail.
- Provide clear, strong calls to action for each message.
- Align your copy with your content calendar.
- Test your ratio of copy to images.
- Ensure that your images are clickable.
- Test adding a sense of urgency.
- Create a swipe file that you can go back to from time to time.
- Use metrics just as you would with your website and other marketing efforts.
In regard to your ongoing message maintenance you should segment your list and target content to individual segments as appropriate. You should also personalize everything, keep it genuine and use your best information. Remember to use strong calls to action to remove friction between your customer goals and business goals, this is the Holy Grail to e-mail marketing. There are five critical attributes to an effective call to action:
- Size Matters – Fitts’s Law states that the largest items will get the most attention.
- Verbiage (“Buy Now”, “Learn More”, “Act Now”)
- Style (Link, Link in Text, Button)
Some calls to action work better than others. For example a text-based approach will work fine with a sales letter. We should also keep in mind that not all calls to action are commerce related… at least not at first.
Let’s segue into lead scoring for a moment. Every message sent needs to identify a target customer, this is where segmentation comes into play. You will also need to identify clear metrics. Tracking conversion of high vs. low lead scoring leads will help validate the model. I personally like scoring leads using explicit data points including job title, job role, company size, company revenue, location, prior relationship, industry and the lead source. Some examples of implicit lead scoring data points include content views, if a survey was completed, if blog posts were read, etc. Also don’t ignore negative lead scoring attributes, especially if the customer wants to unsubscribe. Other negative lead scoring attributes could include visits to a career site, negative social media comments, a stagnant list and time decay.
We shall conclude with marketing automation as it can streamline scoring and drip marketing. Marketing automation typically is integrated into modern CRM applications such as Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Salesforce.com. We should use templates for drip marketing initiatives so that we can reproduce our successes. It should also be noted that drip marketing is primarily used on the business to business side but can work well in general because, after all, people want to buy from people.
Do you still have questions on e-mail marketing? The digital marketing experts at Absolute Computer Solutions are ready to assist you with a variety of solutions in regard to e-mail marketing. Contact us today for more information – there is no obligation and consults are absolutely free.