One of my suppliers sent this out the other day and I thought it valuable to pass along in it’s entirety. Martin Varley is the CEO of a company called Trade Only. They supply a great back end system that allows us to strategically manage many of our client’s needs.
Here is a great article on the “Dos and Don’ts of Direct Marketing”
With so much discussion on email marketing I wanted to share with you and few Dos and Don’ts to help you get a better return from this very popular method of communication. It is worth noting that some email campaigns are getting responses below .001% so on a cost per response if you are using a third party to send blast emails, it might be costing you $800 to have one email opened, might be cheaper to send flowers and a hand written note!
Used correctly, email marketing can be very effective and a low cost way of keeping in touch with customers and prospects whether they be distributors or ends users.
Email Marketing- Do and Don’t
DO: Create compelling content.
Pay particular attention to your email subject line – if you can’t get someone to open your email, you’ve fallen at the first hurdle. Try to avoid spammy words like ‘free’, ‘sale’, and ‘special offer’ and don’t use full caps. Drive action with impactful words and – as a rule – keep it short.
Make sure you have a clear call to action on your email. Too often the action you want your customer to take isn’t clearly signposted enough, or is lacking in motivation. ‘View Details’ is not as strong as ‘Order today for 60% discount’, for example.
Try and focus around one central idea – don’t confuse your customer by bombarding them with multiple sales propositions in a single email.
DO: Send targeted messages
Your customer database should allow you to record detailed information about your clients, including their industry type, location, size, and transaction history with your company. Armed with this information, you can segment your database into groups, for example ‘education institutions in Florida’ or ‘Distributors that have construction company clients’.
The benefit of doing this is that you can send those groups much more targeted email messages, like t-shirts, lanyards, name badges and pens for schools and colleges, and safety products and workwear for construction companies.
The more relevant the content is to your customer, the more likely they are to both open and engage with your email marketing.
What’s more, if you can, you should send the email from a known contact at your organization – the account manager for a particular group of customers, for example, it’s more likely to get opened if the recipient knows the sender versus it coming from as sales@ type address
DO: Test deliverability
As a rule of thumb, subject lines should be short and to the point, however the more targeted an email, the more likely a longer, more explanatory subject line will be welcomed. The best way to tell is to TEST.
Some email programs, like Mail Chimp, make it easy for you to test multiple subject lines to segments of your mailing list; you can then select the most successful, and send the remainder of the database the email with that subject line included.
Don’t rely too heavily on images. Most customers will not see the images in your email unless they click to download them and as so many people look at emails on their smartphones, you need to consider that they don’t like paying for data to download images that they might not have an interest in. This means you need to make sure that your text content works just as hard. Plus having too high a proportion of images to text can mean that your email gets consigned to the spam folder without ever being seen.
Make sure your email is mobile device friendly; about 50% of emails are opened on a mobile, and so it’s imperative that your email is legible, impactful and actionable from a mobile device.
DO: Track results
You should be reviewing open rates, click-throughs and bounce rates as standard. It’s a good idea to not repeatedly email people who never open your emails, as this has a negative effect on your overall email deliverability. Remove anyone who’s not opened your last five emails, for example, and just contact people who are interested in hearing from you.
You might also want to consider having a marketing campaign code associated with your email, so that you can record any quotes or orders that you receive as a result of the campaign. In this way you can better manage your return on investment.
DON’T: Send too many emails – or too few!
It’s up to you how often you email your customers, but be wary of sending out too many. Your clients will get burnt out and end up not reading any of your messages. Once a week, or once a fortnight, is generally considered acceptable.
However, send too few emails and you’ll run the risk of customers forgetting who you are, and having to reacquaint themselves with your company every time.
Equally, if you’re pursuing a ‘chain-sales’ strategy where you’re marketing to them based on their previous order history with you (i.e. they’ve bought a cap from you, would they also like a matching polo shirt), leaving too great a gap between your emails will break that association.
DON’T: Ignore preferences
Simple – if they want to unsubscribe, unsubscribe them, that’s it. This is a legal requirements in some countries and is gaining traction in many states in the USA. Fines are substantial for ignoring a direct request. Also bear in mind that while business to business emails can carry an opt out, rather than being specifically opted in, every customer who flags your email as spam is having an effect on the deliverability of ALL of your emails, so it’s best practice to get permission before sending any mail out.
DON’T: Be inconsistent with your branding
To build familiarity with your products and services, your email format should reflect your website, your catalog, your mailing pieces etc., and it shouldn’t vary wildly from one email to the next. Consistency here will help strengthen your brand values and build trust. The recipient needs to know instantly that the communication is from you and your company before they even open it, its about maintaining your ‘tone of voice’ and brand identity. Think about it, you would not change the design of your proposals or presentation each time you send to a customer, so don’t do it with an email.
Finally, the latest research on email marketing has come up with a couple of interesting facts which you should take into account. Firstly, basic personalization isn’t the hot ticket it was; in fact, putting your customer’s name in the subject line has a negative effect on open rates. Use sparingly, if at all.
Secondly, there’s no magic time in which customers are most likely to open your email any more. Because so many people receive and open mail on their phones, the open rates are actually higher on Sundays than they are on Wednesdays and Fridays. My advice here is just to mix it up and see what your customers seem most receptive to. Look at the reposnse rates and open rates for each campaign and then use your CRM solution to track the quotes and orders that come from these campaigns.