This article was originally published on Entrepreneur on March 22nd, 2018.
Most of the erroneous talk about email’s demise comes from those whose email campaigns have failed or those who simply don’t like receiving emails to begin with. For companies that focus on their customer experience and consumers who like to stay informed, though, emails are still a vital resource.
How else would brands reach their audience with targeted messaging that can be accessed nearly anywhere? Texting is nowhere near as popular, and for a lot of consumers, every text costs. By contrast, emails are free to receive.
On top of their convenience, emails cost next to nothing compared to other forms of marketing such as radio and TV. If they fail, it will barely affect your bottom line. But, when successful, an email campaign can yield astronomical returns, in some cases reaching up to 4,300 percent ROI.
That said, we all hate emails that we don’t want to read. The trick, then, is to create emails and campaign strategies that actually engage the consumers you’re trying to reach. Learn who they are and what appeals to them, and you can more successfully initiate communication with a few well-crafted emails.
How to avoid the trash bin
If consumers don’t immediately recognize your email, or if their experience has taught them that your emails aren’t useful, then yours are likely to be among those getting tossed.
The key to a well-received email is to stand out — not just in the message, but in the entire marketing strategy that revolves around it. These four tips can help you make that happen:
1. Email people, not groups.
Everyone prefers being talked to rather than talked at. That’s why mass-produced emails are almost always trashed. Meanwhile, tailored ones account for up to 58 percent of total revenue for some businesses.
T.J. Macke, VP of client services at Sapper Consulting, explains why the tailored approach is the most important step in business-to-business communications: “You can’t write one email and expect it to have the same impact on all 57 employees at a company you’d like to work with. Know who your audience is, and speak directly to that person.”
2. Keep it fresh (and useful).
Your personalized emails got the attention they deserve — now what? One read email doesn’t make a campaign successful, but it grabs a consumer’s attention. Keep it by using that line of communication to deliver fresh, engaging and useful content.
Instead of just sending an ad, prompt the reader to sign up for your newsletter or join a mailing list for unique offers on premium products. A study by Salesforce revealed that when people sign up for a newsletter, over 95 percent of them actually enjoy receiving the emails because they find them useful.
3. Keep the conversation going.
Outside of newsletters, you can also send special offers to people who opt-in for emails. Because they’re expecting you to communicate with them, consumers will be more responsive to these offers. In fact, emails are a significant reason why coupons and special offers still work.
They’re also a great vehicle to take the conversation out of the inbox and onto other platforms. Interactive emails can make it easy for readers to join a webinar, visit a brand’s social media pages and even go straight to the checkout on your website, all with the click of a button.
4. Update your address book constantly.
Jobs change, lives change and, sometimes, email addresses change. Other times, people may make a mistake inputting their email address or purposely provide a false one. No matter how creative and personalized your email campaign is, it will only work with real, up-to-date addresses.
To avoid wasting time — or worse, losing out on a lead — constantly scrub and verify your email list to weed out false addresses, errors and discrepancies. Emails may be cheap to send, but there’s no point sending them where there is no chance of garnering a response or any interaction. An inaccurate list can also complicate your ability to integrate your email campaign into a more comprehensive marketing strategy.
There’s no secret formula for creating an email campaign that’s relevant to consumers today. However, it’s obvious that emails aren’t going anywhere for a long time, and it’s worth finding ways to make the most of the medium to build a more direct and personalized marketing strategy.
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