If you’re considering ways to market your new business in 2013, you may be inclined to jump right into the free and popular social media universe. And while social media is certainly not to be ignored as an effective marketing and branding strategy, at Comcast, we encourage you not to overlook the value of email marketing. A December 2012 Bloomberg Direct Marketing Association report shows that email still dominates social media advertising in ROI by 300 percent.
Additionally, when done right email marketing is one way to keep your marketing budget buttoned up. Sending emails is an inexpensive, high-impact tactic to drive business and benefit the bottom line.
Email is a powerful, proven tool for growing a business. To harness its full potential, there are some tricks to boost your opportunities for success. Read on to learn how to leverage this tool to your benefit.
Build an Accurate List
Crafting an immersive, permission-based contacts database is job one. Start with your current customers who often are happy to receive more information from you. They may also refer you to others. Note that people get asked for their email a lot these days and according to network security company Trustwave’s “Spam Statistics” webpage, a whopping 74.2 percent of worldwide emails were spam as of the week ending January 20. Therefore, you’ll need to offer something that will encourage people to provide an email address: maybe a coupon, a promise of special discounts, free samples, a white paper or an informational newsletter.
Other ways to ask for email addresses include forms and flyers distributed at trade shows, traditional mail and of course a form on your homepage and Facebook page.
Ditch the homogeneous email blasts
Just like your social media messages, your email’s greatest power lies in personalization. Online marketing should never be one-size-fits-all. When you branch your email list into smaller groups of like-minded people, you can enhance your relevancy. This takes work. Luckily, email programs with segmentation tools make it easier than ever.
One way to do this: follow the clicks. Watch the analytics that come included with your email program to see what interests your readers. Move those readers to new email lists based on what is drawing their attention. For example, let’s say you own an entertainment venue. Having segmented lists that divvy up singles, couples and local businesses will help you to market speed-dating, date-night specials or company holiday parties.
Now that you know who you’re communicating with, you can tailor your wording by eliminating cheap sales buzzwords and funnel your corporate speak toward your B2B clients. But have some vision and don’t limit your messages to sales pitches. Take command of your reach and take the opportunity to deliver helpful content. AJ Kumar at digital marketing agency Single Grain says in an Entrepreneur.com article, “As customers come to rely on you as an industry expert, you will likely see a corresponding increase in sales.”
Find the sweet spot
There’s a pattern to when most emails are sent and when people open their emails. When you discover the most effective timing just in between the two, your emails will be at the top of the pile when a person opens his or her inbox. Hit send it too early, and you’ll get buried. Hit send too late and your message will begin to spoil after the first hour, according to email marketing firm GetResponse.
GetResponse waded through 21 million emails in the 1st quarter of 2012 to find out when that magic window of time is. Here’s what they discovered:
“One of the most important conclusions is that sending newsletters during readers’ top engagement times of 8 a.m. – 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. – 4 p.m. can increase their average open rates and CTR by 6%.”
In addition, if you reach out less than every other month people tend to forget about you, and the surprise of a communication may result in an unsubscribe. Messages sent more often than once a week may cause readers to get weary of hitting the delete key and cause them to eventually unsubscribe, even if they like your content.
Beautify your content
You want your emails to be as personal as a storefront. With a wealth of affordable email programs such as Constant Contact, MailerMailer, Emma, Mail Chimp, iContact and others, you have hundreds of customizable templates available to you.
Here’s an often forgotten tip: before hitting send, give your subject line some thought. Marketers tend to create the subject line at the last moment even though the subject line often determines whether someone opens an email. Subject lines limited to less than 35 characters tend to grab attention easier than those exceeding 35.