You can relax now. All this buzz about blogging. Blah-blah-blah-blah- blogging. Will she never shut up about the many great virtues of blogging? Probably not, but today I will give you all a break and tell you what you’ve been longing to hear for a while now: email marketing is still alive. Yes, it’s true, alive and well, and yes, converting leads to customers. I’ve felt this for a long while now, but with all the buzz about social media being the place to be, no wait, blogging, no wait, video marketing, no, wait once more —you get the picture, we seem to have thrown poor worn down email marketing under the bus, along with the VHS tapes. Its’ efficacy continues to be debated – I recently had the conversation with one of my Master Mind partners, so Kim this blog is for you! You can all take a deep sigh of relief now because if btobonline confirms what I’ve suspected, what with all of their crazy pie graphs and statistics, then we know it’s for real. I feel like I’m sounding facetious here, but honestly I’m not.
Not that email marketing isn’t without it’s pitfalls. But lets address them so that we can get past them: The Big 3 Pitfalls to a successful email campaign are:
- Pitfall #1: Using a bad list and therefore preaching to the choir. I know I’ve said it before but it’s worth repeating here: If your current email list consists of your camp friends, your parents best friends, your orthodontist and your bank, you need to clean up your list. Not that Dr. Rubenstein won’t forward your email if you make it clear that he is to do so at the bottom, but lets be real here.
Preaching to the choir is just that: a choir. What you need is a list of ‘Opt-in Permission Giving Interested in What You’ve Got to Say Because it Speaks to Them Personally’ potential clients, or at the very least folks who will gladly forward or “share” your email with potential clients, rather than your brother who is sick of these things already. Take him off your list please! If I can, as much as it broke my heart, you can too. So to re-cap: make sure you have an easy to find opt-in box on your website so that folks can sign up for your emails.
- Pitfall #2: Not being clear on what you’d like your readers to do, once they’re done reading your brilliant information. All too often we forget that very important call to action. Do you want them to pick up the phone and call you, or ‘reply back if interested’? To share this on the social networks you’ve strategically placed in your signature as a live link? (You did place a live link for them to be able to easily tweet/like/share, didn’t you?)
- Pitfall #3: Not targeting your email to a target audience. You can’t be everything to everyone. In email marketing especially, it’s very important to pick your target audience and compile content that will address it as a whole. Irrelevant content will be deemed as irrelevant and you know what comes next…..Mr. Delete, that’s who. Your email must speak to who you are targeting, right up front, and address a need. If you have several targets, it’s very easy these days to create email distribution lists that allow you to customize your content for each list. Make sure you’re doing that. More about that below.
Those are the biggest pitfalls, and as you can see, all are easily overcome with a little strategy. The benefits of emailing your blog, message, offer or newsletter so far outweigh the pitfalls it’s silly not to do it. Here are some of the biggest benefits. Let me know if you can come up with some more:
- Most businesses and your clients, unless they are 13 years of age or under are on their email all the time. Don’t let your high schooler or college kid fool you- even though they’re tweeting and Facebook chatting and texting all night and all day, even they are also on their email. They have to be, because us old fogies, their superiors-teachers, coaches, parents, tutors, department heads, etc. are all emailing them…not tweeting them. Your biggest audience is opening up their inboxes an average of 16 times per day, as per Btobonline (see report above)
- Email carries authority and an allure. As compared to the social sites, email still has a sense of urgency about it; we’re compelled to open it, right? Just as we’re compelled to look at road kill even though it’s disgusting.
- Email is cheap, and often free. Most of the big email distribution companies such as Constant Contact and Mail Chimp are free up until a certain amount of contacts. Aweber is not, but they’re fairly cheap, and they have great customer care where you actually get a live person on the phone when you run into a snag, rather than a “forum” to join and wait 2 days for someone to respond…or not. If you’re just starting out or a template look is not important, most servers now let you compile and “distribute” your lists as an option right from your out box, and many allow you to schedule them ahead of time.
- It’s not scary! We all email, we’re comfortable and for many of a “certain generation” it’s doable, and it sure beats tooting. I mean tweeting.
- Emailing converts. Again, see btobonline
The bottom line is that as much as we’d like to believe that when we write our blog or post an amazing offer on our website, the Gates of Heaven will open up, the angels will sing, and the world will be a better place because of our fab new content. Truth is, until we’ve really marketed that content via many channels on a continuous and consistent schedule-to the social networks, social news sites, the search engines, the bookmarking sites, commented on others sites, linked to authority sites, etc., we need emailing as an avenue as well to spread our word. It remains an excellent and easy- probably the easiest- way to get your word out, and can be a very effective piece of your marketing plan.