Why your email marketing isn't working and what to do about it.

21 Jul 2015       comment      permalink


Most businesses have a go at emailing newsletters to their customers and prospects, and then wonder why they don't seem to get any business from doing so. Not that surprising really.

Email inboxes around the globe are full of newsletters from businesses. And most of them get trashed, if they even get to their destination.

Because receiving your corporate branded newsletter, telling me about all your services, your latest team member, latest widget sale, staff golf day or charity fundraising event isn’t going to keep me poised over a hot inbox, sweat beads forming on my brow, awaiting your next missive with fervent anticipation.

If I’ve opted in to your email list, its because either you’ve given me something of value in return for me giving you permission to contact me, and / or I’ve been promised yet more valuable information from you over a period of time. And most newsletters - nice for marketing departments to compile - don’t provide value.

Most business people don’t have the time during the frantic working day to spend reading a bunch of newsletters. It’s just not a practical use of precious moments snatched between meetings, phone calls, interruptions and work. If you’re lucky, they may actually be interested in reading the content, and flag it for later, maybe when they’re commuting.

But that really does depend on the type of business and the demographics of the list. And therein lies the rub.

Let me give an example to explain what I mean.

How to email effectively

A friend of mine has a business selling teas. Fine quality teas at that. She sells to both retail customers and wholesales to distributors and the hospitality trade. Email marketing in this and most other businesses requires careful segmentation of the email list.

Providing value to retail customers is about educating them on the different types of teas available, gaining authority reviews of the teas being sold and social proof of the quality. It’s about selling the experience of consuming fine quality tea.

Providing value to the distributors is about identifying the teas relevant to their market, advising on fulfilment and blending options and recommending least cost - best quality options for a range of sales volumes.

In these circumstances, one type of communication does not fit all, and trying to kill all these value points with one monthly communication will also miss the mark.

Much better to craft personalised emails to retail customers, giving incentives to them to try other teas, providing links to blog posts about the teas and inviting them to comment on their experiences.

Distributors, however, are more likely to respond to distributor focused communications about special offers on specific teas, volume discounts and blending options.

In both cases, however, communications should be issued automatically, related to purchasing patterns, personalised to the purchaser, and signed off from an individual in the business.

Why? Because people buy from people and personalisation has the effect of creating a one-to-one relationship, which blanket newsletters don’t.

Sure, if there’s something to shout about, send a broadcast email out, but personalise it. Better still, put the information on your website and link the email to it, giving people a chance to comment if they so wish.

The purpose of these communications is to create engagement. Once engaged, if there’s some form of social proof of the quality of the product or service, your prospect is more likely to buy.

But that’s not where the process ends.

Build the relationship

Once your prospect has become a client or customer, your email communications should also focus on maintaining the relationship, building trust and loyalty.

And for those of your list that have already bought, look to increase the frequency of purchases by offering incentives, exclusive products or service offers.

You’ll notice that once prospects have entered this system, the opportunity is there to add up-sells (offering a higher-priced or bundled product) and cross-sells (other products) too.

In any group of prospects, there will always be a proportion who would be prepared to buy a higher-priced offering than that offered in your communication.

To take advantage of this, you’ll need to move buyers towards the higher-priced option before the final checkout. Making this a one-time-offer (OTO), available exclusively at that stage of the purchasing process, increases the likelihood of the OTO being taken up - since ‘scarcity’ - the fear of losing out - is a huge driver.

And for the rest…

So what about those people on your list who don’t engage? Simple. Get rid. All they are doing is hurting your metrics, and your reputation with the ISPs that send and receive your emails.

It’s all about engagement. If your open rate is consistently poor, your emails will end up in the junk folder.

And face it, if your emails aren’t being opened, then either your email subject lines are poor or you’re sending emails to the wrong people - your targeting is way off.

Get your targeting right, communicate one-on-one with your prospect, provide value in your content and you’ll have a smile on your face.

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