It is amazing to realize that, for the most part, those under 40 years old have never known a world without email. Today, it is hard for most of us to imagine life without it. It helps keep us connected with friends and family, we can easily share files and images, and now we can even legally sign documents digitally through email. Of course, it didn’t take marketers long to discover how cost-effective email can be in reaching potential customers. This, of course, led to an abundance of spam, negatively impacting the strategy. Consumers quickly learned to identify spam and instantly delete it or have it sent to a spam file unread. This caused some marketers to abandon the process. Others have reacted by adjusting to the marketplace and making adjustments to their strategies.
Why should marketers reexamine their email marketing tactics? First, consumers have made adjustments in how they treat marketing emails, so adjustments need to be made by marketers. Secondly, there are tremendous returns on investment when email campaigns are properly conducted. Recently, a survey by Direct Marketing Association and Demand Metric indicates that email marketing can have an ROI as much as four times higher than other marketing strategies, including social media. That is impressive and worth pursuing.
The key? Remembering that email is not a customer acquisition tool as much as it is a communication tool that can help build relationships. It is those relationships, then, that deliver consumers through the consideration, conversion and recommendation phases.
An article written by our CEO takes a deep dive into how to build stronger relationships and better engage consumers through email campaigns. Christine uses the old adage, “it is better to give than to receive,” in creating effective, high ROI email campaigns. She points out that while many marketers “talk” to consumers, it is far more effective to initiate a two-way conversation. This gives them more and better ways to come to you. These “better ways” may include offering valuable information, product-related tips and tricks, shareable discounts, or by inviting them to provide their thoughts, opinions and experiences on social media.
Some marketers have a reluctance to any approach that does not provide an instant ROI. Alemany’s approach, however, is based on the fact that it is far better to build loyal customers through email than to make a single, quick sale and having future emails sent to spam filters or instantly deleted. These are customers worth investing in. It also brings to mind another adage that can apply to email marketing; “patience is a virtue,” and “it is better to pass by a nickel to pick up a dollar.”
Building a “giving” email marketing strategy starts with segmenting lists to refine your target to your audience. This not only leads to better customization, but recipients have a much better sense the email was destined for them and their needs. This helps build those powerful and eventually profitable relationships.
Once a list is segmented, build a content map to deliver the most valuable and relevant information to users. This could be in the form of infographics, a white paper or newsletter. An email marketing schedule should follow, usually based around special or significant occasions that may impact your subscribers or your products. These could include holidays, conventions and seminars, new product introductions and more.
Of course, ultimately, you will want to measure and monitor results. These “results” should include much more than just sales. It could include shares, subscribers, social media likes, responses to surveys and polls, and other forms of connection. Adjustments to campaigns should be made according to results.
Consumers want to do business with those they feel are knowledgeable and trustworthy. Building relationships through a giving approach is a powerful way to build those strong connections. It positions you as an approachable expert in your field and a natural, easy-to-make a choice when it comes time to make a buying decision. People still buy based on their own reasons, not reasons provided them by a marketer. Give them more of those reasons to do business with you, and they will respond.