Email marketing can be an extremely effective way to communicate with potential and existing customers. However, many businesses don't think this is true. Whether they don't do email marketing at all or are looking for other channels like social media because they want better results, the issue isn't email marketing.
Instead, it's how many businesses approach email marketing. Just like SEO, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about email marketing. If you want your company to avoid the pitfalls that capture so many other businesses, here's what you need to know:
Less is Probably More (But Test to Be Sure)
Because of companies like Groupon and the prevalence of terms like the "rule of 7," many businesses think that the more they can email prospects and customers, the better. Unfortunately, most studies show that other than a few exceptions, this generally isn't the case. Studies have also found that there's no ideal email frequency for every type of business. What that means for you is while it's best to err on the side of less, it's also important to test and analyze the impact of different email frequencies.
Don't Insult Recipients' Intelligence
How do you contact hundreds or thousands of people at the same time without making them feel like just another number on your list? If you said "start the email with their first name," you're with the majority. But just because most businesses think this is a good idea doesn't mean it actually is the best thing to do. A recent study from the Fox School of Business at Temple University analyzed ten million emails that were sent to 600,000 customers. Amazingly, this study found that a whopping 95% of recipients responded negatively to marketing emails that began with their first name! Instead of trying to trick recipients, you're much better off focusing on providing them with the most value possible.
Ask, Then Ask Again
Since most businesses want to spread their message as wide as possible, it's common for them to only focus on how many people are on their email marketing list. Because they want to fast-track their list's growth, they may choose single opt-in instead of double. The problem with not sending people a confirmation link to join your list is it means you're inevitably going to end up with recipients who aren't truly interested in your company. So, while using double opt-in may slow down your list's growth rate by around five percent, the quality of your list will be significantly better.
Relationship is the Key Word
Just because someone makes a purchase from you doesn't mean you should stop emailing them. By properly segmenting your list, you can make your email marketing efforts just as effective for repeat customers as they are for prospects.
What's surprised you most about your company's experience with email marketing?
About The Author
Brian Waraksa, founder of Raxa Design in Houston, Texas has been in marketing and small business branding since 2002. He writes the Raxa Design blog on issues affecting small business marketing and corporate brands.
Posted on Fri, September 14, 2012
by Brian Waraksa