E-Mail Marketing: A Jump Start

E-Mail Marketing: A Jump Start

You have a large database of email addresses, but you don’t know how to use them effectively, nor do you have the time.

Eventually, someone will mention the bright idea of a newsletter and you’ll think, “Perfect. Why not?” You’ll send an email to your clients explaining what you’ve been up to in the office and where your employees went last on vacation.

You’ll do this for a few months in a row and then you’ll put it on the shelf, because you don’t see the benefit.

Here are some pointers for taking your email marketing seriously.

Disclaimer: This will take time, money and resources. However, if you are willing to make an investment, it will result in a solid ROI.

1) Segment Your Mailing list:

“Wouldn’t it be nice if, when people walked into a store, they had a label on them that indicated whether they were new to the store, had visited but never purchased, have purchased once but not again, or have purchased many things on a regular basis? If people had labels like that, the salesperson that greets them would probably say something different each time.”
Mark MacDonald

When I was a kid, my mom tirelessly trained my dad on the basics of organizing a garage, tool chest, or basically anything, with the key phrase: “Like Things Together.” It’s simple and memorable.

In that spirit, segment your mailing list by grouping your current clients or prospects into categories. You may sell bikes, but that doesn’t mean everyone wants a road bike or a mountain bike.

Segment your list by customers who have already purchased a mountain or road bike. If you don’t have that information, it may be good to inquire it when receiving email addresses from your clients.

Additionally, if someone joins your mailing list to know further information about your company, give them the option to learn about a certain aspect of your business on the form.

Ask which type of bikes they would like to learn about and have a drop down menu from which to select. Now your customers or prospects are segmenting themselves from the start.

2) Target Your Audience

“Target audience profiling is no longer just about demographic data, it’s about understanding your audience as real people and actually getting to know them, what they like and where and when they hang out online.”
Jocelyn Kirby

Once you have a segmented email list with “like customers together,” it is much easier to approach those individuals. You know who is interested and what they are interested in, allowing you to tailor the content to those particular classifications.

Now, use that knowledge. Focus on sending information about new mountain bikes in stock to a segmented list of individuals interested in purchasing mountain bikes.

Marketing is all about asking an individual to complete an action, whether it be fill out a form, visit your store, or buy your product.

Half the battle is asking the right people to take the right action. This is accomplished through targeting your audience so you have an educated estimate on which calls to action are reasonable requests.

3) Nurture Prospects

“Lead nurturing, unlike traditional email marketing, is about quantifiably driving revenue by advancing email recipients through a process.”
Mary Wallace

There are also buyers that make decisions over a prolonged period of time; especially when a luxury item is being purchased. It is important to remember that with email marketing, you may not see a direct return for an extended period of time.

Nurturing refers to act of maintaining an ongoing, subtle presence that keeps you at the buyer’s top of mind.

The key is to be consistent, without annoying your prospects. Make sure you’re following up weekly, monthly, etc. so when an individual enters a buying mindset, you are there to guide them.

Know also, though, that you may lose subscribers and understand that is perfectly okay. You don’t close every sale, so don’t feel the pressure to keep all prospects on your mailing list. Some individuals aren’t a good fit, they are no longer in a buying mindset, or potentially, they receive too many emails and partake in an “unsubscribe binge.”

4) Measure Marketing Effectiveness

“To assess your email marketing performance, you must conduct ongoing trend analysis of several key metrics. That way, you can compare each campaign’s performance against your own averages to know whether a specific campaign outperformed or underperformed your internal email benchmarks.”
Pamela Vaughan (click here to access a great field guide to your analytics).

Without tracking, all is vanity.

You should always be monitoring your effectiveness. If you are paying for a mail provider (I use MailChimp and Hatchbuck), make sure you understand the benefits, you are (or aren’t) gaining in return.

Do some research on Click Through Rates, Open Rates, and Subject Line Testing.  Focus on getting your rates up, increasing your email list, and providing the most relevant content as possible so that you get the best out of your email marketing.

Moving forward, remember to be looking for:

  • a dashboard to view your email’s results
  • and the ability to track these results over time.

It’s the only way you’ll ever have a good pulse on your e-mail marketing.

What do you do to maintain your email marketing strategies? Do these broad answers raise any specific questions? Let me know in the comments!

photo credit: donovanbeeson via photopin cc

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