You’ve probably heard the familiar saying “It’s better to ask for forgiveness than permission”. All too often I hear from many marketers and business owners who find themselves in this unfortunate position when either just starting their email marketing programs or trying to build their lists. This month’s email marketing conundrum explores the problem of how to begin sending to a “never-been-emailed” list, especially if it contains email addresses that may have been obtained without clear permission or were gathered offline such as from business cards, membership lists you have access to, contest entry forms, prize drawings at events, LinkedIn, etc.
There couldn’t be a better time to strategize final changes and improvements to your 2013 email marketing programs as you ready them for launch. In fact, while many of your new year’s email plans may be firmly sketched out, it’s not too late to give them a final polish with these insights and tweaks. Knowing where to amplify, adjust or even contract can take your email marketing programs from “ho-hum” to significantly greater impact on your bottom line in 2013.Here are my top five recommendations for boosting email marketing results and impact in the coming year. Stay tuned in January for even more ideas to make 2013 your email program’s most successful year yet!
Get New Blog Posts by EmailAssuming you have interesting - if not remarkable! - content on your blog, your readers will be interested in coming back to read more so make it easy for them. A common method that alerts subscribers when you have new posts is RSS (it stands for Really Simple Syndication). Readers can subscribe to your RSS feed and see in their RSS reader when you have a new post. However, many people still don’t use RSS, so give your readers an option to receive new blog posts via email.
It’s been said before and it bears repeating; when it comes to those traditional three pillars of direct response marketing “the gold is in your list”. So, it pays to treat it like the treasure it is. In Part 1 of this series I explored ways to attract new prospects to your list. Still, the reality for many marketers and business owners is that the majority of their email list subscribers are customers, not prospects. They are people with whom we have an existing (and hopefully, positive) business relationship. All the more reason to protect your treasure. Yet that Achilles heel of email customer lists remains: it seems impossible to get the email addresses for 100% of your customers. With few exceptions, (say, you sell only online and email address is required on every sale) some customers are just never going to hand over their closely guarded email address (or the specific address you want). Others now prefer to communicate with you on social media (largely Facebook and Twitter). Still more are happy to stay old school – they want phone and direct mail communication. Send ‘em their catalogs and coupons and they’re content.
How often and what to send are top questions facing any email marketer today. Yet all too often, frequency for the sake of frequency alone trumps relevancy in this channel. It's a classic catch-22: email works so well it runs the risk of undermining its own potential. Email programs tend to start with slow and cautious frequency, produce easy ROI, and become stars. Management assumes if some email is good, more must be even better. Yet as with all good things (wine, chocolate and pizza come to mind) increased consumption eventually leads to a point of diminishing returns. The correlation between cost and benefit is neither linear nor constant.