opinion

E-mail Marketing Strategy Rewards

Joe D

A recent study posted by the folks at Marketing Sherpa revealed that 70% of visitors to your website will end up making a purchase.  Some of them will buy it from you, some will buy it from your competitors, but most of them won't do it right away.  What this shows is the importance of building a relationship with your site's visitors so you will be at the forefront of their minds when they are ready to finally make a purchase. 

This method is known as "lead nurturing" in marketing circles, and is the process of developing a relationship through the use of e-mail marketing mailers that are targeted, relevant and valuable to your customers in some way. The goal of the e-mails is to elicit some type of action from your recipients as a means of engaging with your business voluntarily.  Another study conducted by the folks at Forrester Research showed that companies can increase 50% more sales-ready leads and save 33% per lead just by taking advantage of lead nurturing techniques.

Here are some tips to help you increase your e-mail marketing results:

Build Your List

Before you can successfully market to your list of prospects - you need a list of prospects!  You should build your e-mail marketing list by offering lead forms on your website and encouraging opt-in e-mail address submissions.  The best way to do this is by giving your visitors a reason to opt-in on your list, such as a free e-book download, a request for additional information or some other type of free content. Make sure you specify what you will be giving away. You don't want to create a negative relationship with these prospective customers before you even get started!

Sending Your Mailers

The most important thing to remember when creating and sending mailers is to keep them relevant.  Sort your leads by the topic(s) they were interested in at the time of opt-in.  If they downloaded an e-book with tips for a specific type of product or service, make sure to send them mailers on related topics.  You can also include links to additional products, services or resources that are similar to what they initially marked an interest in learning more about. Be as personal as possible and include your name and return e-mail address in the "from" line of the e-mail, personalizing the message so visitors are reminded why they visited your website in the first place.

Something for Everyone

Make sure to include a little something special in your e-mail that will appeal to your recipients.  Offer a solution to a problem or fill a need with a product or service.  Avoid sending spam-filled mailers that just tout the benefits of your business.  Another good tip is to make sure your e-mail can be read by all.  Don't just create an image ad and send it.  Some mailing services and most mobile-based e-mail clients won't allow images to be shown on-screen.  Some users also opt not to receive HTML-based messages for added security.  Brush up on all regulations and laws regarding spam and make sure you are complying with them 100%.

Conversion Tips

Make sure the call-to-action in your mailer is crystal clear.  Whether you want them to click a link to read a blog article on your website, or you want them to download your latest e-book - make it obvious.  Then route your visitors to a landing page where they can fill in a form, sign-up for additional information or download the Web-based content you are offering.  It's about building a relationship, encouraging clicks and other actions, and establishing yourself as a trustworthy resource that delivers what it promises. 

Is It Working?

Some developers just measure success based upon the number of sales they get at the end of the week.  If you have several different marketing programs in the works - and most businesses do - this type of analytics just won't tell you what you need to know.  Measure specific data such as your CTR or click-through-rate, counting how many people clicked on your call-to-action link in your mailers.  This will help you make adjustments as necessary to improve your CTR. Other data you should look at includes your "open rate" or how many people opened and viewed the e-mail, particularly if there are images or HTML to load; conversion ratios - based not just on sales but on overall clicks and actions; and your unsubscribe rate - it's important to know how many people are opting out of your mailer, when and why.

In the end, the most important thing you can do to improve your business and build a solid reputation within your industry is to develop a relationship with your leads.  E-mail communication is not the only way this can be accomplished - there are many ways to communicate with your leads - and customers. 

Take advantage of every available opportunity via social media, comments, feedback forms and more in order to be pro-active instead of reactive!

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