By: June Bachman, Wendy Ogryzek and Teresa Mitchell ~
One of the best ways to drive sales to your website is by marketing to your email database of contacts. The best way to communicate with your contacts is through email marketing. Sales through email marketing will reach $2.1 billion by 2012 (Jupiter Research). In fact, by 2014 consumers in general will opt in to receive nearly 9000 email marketing messages each year. Simply put email marketing works. This article has two major parts. First are things you need to know to build a strong email contact list. Second are things you need to know to send successful emails.
BUILD A STRONG EMAIL LIST
Make the sign-up process swift and easy:
- Easy to read sign-up process On your website registration page, only collect as little information as you need in the first step name and email address.
- Thoughtful thank you page that loads as soon as the visitors has hit submit Here is your chance to expand on the benefits of subscribing and repeat the expectation of becoming a member of your contact database.
- Welcome autoresponder Send a welcome email thanking the visitor for joining your list and restate the benefits they will receive by participating.
Strategies to Build Your Email Contact List:
- Online acquisition of new email contacts
- Post your sign-up form on each page of your website.
- Add a link to your registration page in each email to your customers, as well as your customer support emails.
- Have a sign-up form on your homepage (above the fold).
- On your Pay Per Click landing page add your sign-up form.
- Colleagues with similar client bases coordinate to send subscription offers to each others lists.
- Advertise in a colleagues newsletter.
- Offer something of value for free
to inspire sign-ups. Ideas include: A great how to ebook, coupons to use on their next purchase, create a loyalty club, or enter those who sign up into a drawing for a prize.
- Rely on your existing subscribers with a send to a friend link/offer.
Offline acquisition of new email contacts:
- Trade shows and events gather email addresses, have a sign-up form at the booth.
- Direct mail encourage others to save trees by subscribing to your email list.
- Ask when chatting on the phone with prospects, etc ask if they would like to be added to your email list to receive newsletters and other promotional materials.
- Speaking engagements have a sign-up sheet inviting attendees to sign-up to receive promotional materials.
Provide value to retain subscribers manage the relationship between you and each member of your contact list.
- Be consistent If you state that you will send out a monthly newsletter then send a newsletter each month!
- Permission Ask potential participants for their permission prior to adding the contact to your database. This ethical approach not only adds to the trust element of you relationships, but it is the law. Better yet use a double opt-in process, whereby the participant must confirm their desire to be a part of your email contact list.
SEND SUCCESSFUL MARKETING EMAILS
At the end of the day
email marketing has a fabulous return on investment. For every dollar spent on email marketing the return on investment is $45.06. Compare this to other internet marketing (such as Pay Per Click, or banner advertising) and for each dollar spent, the return on investment is $19.94.
In general, keep the following information in mind when you are putting together your next email marketing blast.
- 75% of emails are read within the first 24 hours, with 85% read within the first 48 hours.
- The average open rate is approximately 13%.
- The best day to send emails to achieve the highest open rate and highest click rate is Monday
it used to be Tuesday.
Subject Lines Your subject line is like the teaser, or headline of a newspaper article. Your goal is to grab the reader and interest them in clicking open the email to read on. Tell the reader what they can expect to read
and then deliver it.
- 35 characters is the key Emails with subject lines that are 35 characters or less are opened on average 3% more than subject lines that exceed 35 characters.
- Avoid using FREE, !!! or $$$ as often times these are caught by the spam filters
Images Although more people are reading email via hand held devices, many, many more are still reading email on their computer. Use images to make your emails interesting and inviting.
- When using images in your emails, create an alt tag on the image. An alt tag is a brief description of the image. When the image is blocked the alt tag describing the image is shown. If youve ever received and email from COSTCO youve seen great alt tags.
From Email Address Maximize the potential open rate by using a strong from email address.
- Help your emails stand out and not be mistaken as spam by ensuring the from email address is one you know will be easily recognized.
Well Written and Formatted Emails Include your logo and branding.
- Recipients like emails that have a good design, are brief and are comprised of quality writing.
Links The email should be an invitation to visit your website. Include links to a specific landing page that expands on the offer.
- Throughout your email message, include several links to the destination page that contains the specific offer.
Personalization Take the time to personalize the emails that you send. Think of your email marketing as the starting point of a dialogue as opposed to a one way sales message.
- Personalization is tailoring your email to specifically address each recipient. You can accomplish this by including a personal salutation, such as, Dear Judy.
- Use a conversational tone People respond better to conversational language they can relate to, as opposed to strong sales pontification.
Bear in mind, effective email marketing takes time. It is about connecting and building relationships with the members in your email contact database. Remember it will take seven to ten touches before sales begin to take place. Great email marketing is all about empowering your customers and contacts with useful and valuable information. It is presented on their terms. Understanding what your customers and contacts want from you, and providing it via consistent email marketing will increase your sales over time.