A few weeks back I wrote a post, “Time to Euthanize email Marketing” where I basically said it is time to pull the plug on email marketing. I called it a fosil, archaic, annoying, and spam in most applications. The dialog on that was great. Several people here and in a LinkedIn group discussion made great points about how email marketing is still alive and well, and most importantly relevant. I still think most uses of email marketing are abused, overused, and bordering on spam. With that said there are a few that do it well and actually put out some good content and done right and in moderation it can be a good marketing tool.
Here are my suggestions on how email marketing (groan) can be used effectively.My suggestions for effective email marketing:
- Frequency: Only publish when you have relevant content or important info.
There is a tendency to over-publish with email marketing and most electronic media because the publication cost is free or close to it. Many old-school, out-bound, marketeers still practice interruption marketing where the principle is that you need to be in front of your audience as often as possible. This still holds true for broadcast media and print, but not for social media. It is better to publish great content less frequently than to send up spammy dribble every week.
- Content: Great content will get you subscribers, fans, friends, followers, and blog traffic.
Save your advertising for your paid advertising. If you want to connect with customers in social media stop yelling and selling and provide them with some interesting and useful content.
- Less is More: Keep it short, to the point, and the content focused.
Since with email marketing space is virtually unlimited there is a tendency or a desire to fill the page and then some. I’ve read several blogs on blogs that the optimum blog length is 400 to 800 words. Ditto for e-newseltters, if it is too long it won’t get read. (btw, this blog is 681 words)
- Graphics & pics: Add some graphics, keep it clean and classy, don’t go crazy with it and no cheesy stuff (unless that fits your style and theme).
- Blog & RSS: Provide a link for easy subscription to your blog and RSS feed.
- Opt-in: ONLY send to people that have subscribed and opted in to your publication or existing customers if it is a notification. How do you get subscribers, well that is another blog, but your blog and website are the starting point.
Applications where email marketing works well:
- Newsletters: Ok, there are some good email newsletters out there and it appears that some people still don’t think their inbox has enough email in it so they still subscribe to them.
- Follow up: email newsletters/marketing is great for follow after an event or webinar. I don’t consider this traditional “marketing” since they have already expressed interest and opted in. Hubspot does a great and tactful job of this. They send a confirmation email when you sign up for something and then a follow up email afterwards. That’s it, they won’t bug you again and don’t send you anything unless you ask for it. Nice!
- Notifications & Important info: Important notifications to your customers or subscribers about changes in service, terms, new products, significant new developments, etc. It is often tempting to apply these terms liberally to create a reason to send something out. Don’t do it. Be honest about it and only send truly important info.
- Confirmations of orders, reciepts, etc.: Again, this isn’t really “marketing”, more like customer service, BUT a tasteful marketing message is a good idea if done well and if it isn’t obnoxious.
I still think RSS is the future pipe that will feed us our information and news content and as pages like iGoogle and MyYahoo improve their interface it will increase in use and popularity. I have now unsubscribed from ALL of my email subscriptions and now get my content via RSS and I love it!
As always I wish you the best and brightest future
Bill Grunau, @own_your_future