Tuesday, March 07, 2006

eMail Marketing Made Better

We all use it. It's so alluringly cheap compared to the Post Office.

But most eMail marketing campaigns respond back to us with results under 1%.

So cheap is not the answer unless we learn how to do it better ... and better ... and better.

The first problem begins before we ever create the eMail itself. It starts with the list. And eMail address lists are bottled up like gold at Ft. Knox. The easiest lists to get are with your current customers so you should have a plan in place to get every customer contact's eMail address.

With this list you can do one of three things:
  1. Sell the customer a better and more profitable version of what they already bought from you ... up-sell
  2. Sell them something new ... cross-sell
  3. Keep them as a happy customer ... retention

But if your task is to generate sales leads from prospective customers, the list problem becomes a bigger issue. Rented lists, while flawed at best, still give you broader reach into a targeted segment.

A List Building Blitz

Typically, postal lists with phone numbers are more available. Put your telemarketing department or your sales reps on a blitz program calling to a rented list. When they connect, the pitch is to send them some super-duper valuable, one-of-a-kind informational offer that you will be glad to eMail to them right away.

When you send them the offer to the eMail address they just gave you, be sure to let them know you produce this good stuff all the time and ask for permission to send them more in the future. Now they have opted-in. Never abust this trust cause it having the right to talk is worth a big chunk of that gold in Ft. Knox.

Set aside a few days each month where you dedicate your entire organization to getting more eMail addresses. Eventually, you will have a list more valuable than any other asset at your company.

Three more things to pay attention to:

  1. Make sure the offer is a killer ... the eMail marketing campaign is all about the offer (not about what you want to sell)
  2. Get a great "From" and "Subject" line -- miss this and the eMail will go unopened and your marketing campaign is a bust. You know something like: FROM: The Cincom Manufacturing Business Solutions Team. SUBJECT: A New Offer that Can Improve Your Profit by Millions
  3. Get the eMail creative right ... pay attention to solid direct marketing principles. Put the power in your opening headline and first sentence. Make sure they know immediately about the offer and how to get the offer. Then explain it more thoroughly and close it out with repetition about the offer and how to get it.

One more thing ...

Put all your results into a database. Who opened? Who responded? Who did not respond? What are your follow up actions with each type of prospect? For example, the offer might not have appealed to them so try another ... or the timing was wrong so go again at a different time.

You worked hard to get their eMail addresses so you could send them marketing programs ... but if you are learning things about them, this should make each outbound marketing initiative ever more relevant to their needs.


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