Email marketing has gotten a bad rap. Like other innovative technologies that marketers have gotten hold of over the years, it’s become the object of much derision.
Because of this widespread contempt for email marketing, some companies are reluctant to fully embrace the power and effectiveness of email marketing.
That’s too bad, because email marketing is the connective tissue of all Internet marketing. According to McKinsey, email marketing is 40 times as effective at customer acquisition than social media.
Email drives increased website visitors, helps convert website visitors into leads, helps nurture leads into customers and, perhaps most importantly, helps deepen your relationship with customers.
If you can deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time, your email marketing will supercharge your lead generation, sales closing percentages and customer satisfaction (and upsales).
So how do you go about unlocking this mysterious power of email marketing? It’s no mystery. But it does involve some thought and planning.
Here are the three most important things to creating effective email marketing that your prospects won’t hate. In fact, they’ll love it.
Think about your buyer persona. In Adele Revella’s “The Buyer Persona Manifesto,” she offers this definition of a buyer persona:
"It’s an archetype, a composite picture of the real people who buy, or might buy, products like the ones you sell."
Buyer personas are like an avatar crafted from direct interviews with as many buyers as possible. And from their behavior observed at conferences, social media, etc.
If you don’t have one, do some buyer persona research to find out who your real buyers are (sometimes it’s not who you think).
When researching buyer personas, ignore extraneous things about them like hobbies and instead focus on what Revella calls “The Five Rings of Insight™” –
Studies show that email lists deteriorate by about 25% per year. So, a list with 10,000 will have 5,625 viable contacts in 3 years. List deterioration is primarily because people change jobs (and email addresses) and unsubscribe for various reasons.
The way to keep your email list working hard (and on a net growth trajectory) is to segment it. In other words, don’t send the same message to everyone on your list.
Segmentation works. According to research by Lyris, Inc., email list segmentation helps drive results. When marketers were asked to indicate their top three results of using segmented email lists, 39% experienced higher open rates, 28% experienced lower unsubscribe rates, and 24% experienced better deliverability and increased sales leads.
Here are additional examples of segmentation you can do to improve your email marketing results:
A word of caution about email list segmentation: keep it simple. With marketing automation software, the segmentation possibilities are seemingly endless. Don’t go too far in that direction, at least not at first.
The people on your list are at widely varying stages of the customer lifecycle. Are the people on your list researching how to solve a problem? Researching solutions providers like your company? Are they a customer?
The emails that you send to prospects need to overlay (as much as possible) with where they are in their buying cycle.
Email marketing, when done right, can delight your prospects and help build a relationship with your company even before their first conversation with a sales person. But it needs to be all about the prospect – who they are, what information they need and where they are in their buying journey.
photo credit: The Bait via photopin (license) | Charts: HubSpot