Chris Baggot says it very clearly: “Email is the greatest marketing tool in history. If used properly, nothing is more personalized, inexpensive, interactive or easier to execute than email marketing.” That’s a bold statement. Do you agree?
Why Create an Email Marketing Strategy?
You should agree with the statement above most marketing experts put a dollar value on every email address you can email. Thus, email = revenue. Why do I promote adopting an aggressive email marketing strategy? Here’s why:
- you can see who opens and clicks your email and re-act appropriately
- email is the primary means of communication for most people, particularly decision makers
- you can customize your message for each person
- the cost of sending an email is quite low, especially relative to other tactics
Everyone checks their email not everyone watches their twitter or facebook stream. People throw out any piece of mail they don’t recognize. Email is superior
Always Be C…
So what’s the first step to get started with your email marketing strategy? A.B.C. “Always be closing”? In this case, “always be collecting” email addresses. A former business partner of mine said, “An email address is gold!” When you take the perspective of email addresses having monetary value then you’ll realize that you should grab email addresses from 1) everyone who calls in, 2) everyone that requests information, 3) everyone that solicits you, 4) everyone that consumes your content, etc. The list goes on.
Store Emails Centrally
This is where a CRM system is most critical. You don’t just want a spreadsheet that has a single column of email addresses. You need to have email addresses in a single place where you can 1) easily export the entire list and 2) match email address with profile and relationship information. It may also be very helpful if that single system lets you send and document emails.
Invest in an Email Marketing Service
The truth is that CRM systems are not designed to send marketing emails. Therefore you need a separate system. The difference is that you need to be able to capture statistics (opens, clicks) on emails and CRM systems typically don’t. You’ll need to store your email data in this system but it should not replace your CRM and it shouldn’t have any emails that aren’t in your CRM.
Additionally, there are a number of other advantages to a separate email marketing service:
- mail servers that are kept off black lists and monitored for good email deliverability
- track website visits
- automatically send additional other activities
- send HTML and plain text emails
- provide email templates
- capture and report robust statistics
Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Jangomail, aweber and Vertical Response are email marketing service providers I’ve used and recommend for small businesses who are watching their budget. On the enterprise level (i.e. can afford the expensive systems) Eloqua and Marketo lead the pack, in my opinion. There’s a mid-tier set of services out there worth considering including Genius and Pardot. It’s becoming a competitive landscape which means more choice but also more research needed for your email marketing strategy.
Send Value-Added Information
The final aspect of getting started is about what to send. This area opens to a host of other areas about optimizing emails for deliverability, avoiding spam traps, rendering across different email clients, being CAN-SPAM compliant and so on but let’s put those aside. To get started focus on your content. Here are the goals I stick with when it comes to sending email:
- Stay on people’s minds
- Position yourself or company as a knowledgeable, reliable source of information
- Deliver value to your readers by addressing issues on the minds of your potential customers
- Be courteous in terms of how often you send and honoring unsubscribe requests
- Make the information easy to scan and consume.
Email marketing is an investment of time and some resources but should be one of the first tactics in implementing a digital marketing strategy. Drop me a comment on what your email marketing fundamentals are.