If planned and executed appropriately small business Email campaigns can get results for a relatively small financial outlay. Email marketing has suffered from bad practice, and a bad press over recent years, and this has certainly made it more difficult to achieve success. However, if prepared to work hard and apply best practice it can still be one of the fastest ways to secure sales leads and enquiries.
The most important factors that influence the success of any Email campaign are:
- Appropriate targeting of prospects
- Campaign planning
- Process – inform, relationship build
- Website as a sales tool
- Execution – Title, text, timing
Taking each of these elements in turn
Targeting of Prospects
Email marketing is no different to any other marketing technique; failure to target the campaign on a clearly defined prospect base will simply result is wasted cash, effort and resources. The ideal is to send Email only to an opted in list of subscribers as it is known they have at least some interest and they can be grouped and segmented with some level of confidence. Sending to an unscreened list is highly unlikely to generate the required returns.
Email Marketing Plan
With luck, a great product and perfect execution a one off small business Email promotion may deliver the enquiries required to take the business forward. However, a well thought out campaign over several weeks, or even months, is much more likely to deliver results. It is important to state the required results and put a plan in place to attempt to deliver those results. What message is to be delivered, to whom, over what timescales and how is the message to be broken down into appropriate delivery segments.
Inform Don’t Sell
With luck, a one off sales Email may work but it is highly likely it will only work once. It is important to build a relationship with prospects over time, leading them down the path to conversion and sale. The idea is to inform, educate and build credibility before even trying to sell.
Drive Prospects To Website
It is not practical to try to say too much in any Email (see below) so every effort should be made to drive prospects back to the business website to learn more. This is especially important when it comes to the point of conversion and sale. The website should be an information hub containing lots of useful, relevant content that can be linked to from an associated Email. At the website level the content can be sales related and guide towards closure.
Email Title is key
The Email title is key to the success of an Email campaign as it is directly related to open rates. An Email that sits in the prospect’s inbox without being opened is of no use whatsoever, hence to make any progress every effort must be made to ensure open rates are maximised. Email titles should be short, interesting and engaging.
The chances a prospect will read a long Email are remote and if the call to action is at the end of the Email then conversion rates will be low. The text of any Email campaign that gets results should be kept short and punchy. Get to the point early and remember to state clearly what is in it for the prospect. Some suggest that the Email content should be 90 words or less.
When trying to build any small business Email campaigns the targeting and plan are crucial as without them whatever follows is unlikely to deliver returns. While, with luck, one off Emails can generate increased sales the best approach is to build an ongoing process, using the business website as a resource, to deliver multiple opportunities to close business.