When people hear the term “Email Marketing“, the thought “Spam” is not usually far behind. However, the truth is that effective email marketing and spam are worlds apart. How can you ensure that your potential and existing customers do not consider your email offerings as spam?
First, it is essential to understand the difference between email marketing and spam. Simply put, email marketing is designed to approach potential or existing clients with information that is relevant, informative, and welcomed. The recipients of well-crafted email marketing campaigns have indicated a willingness to receive them in some way. It is important to note as well that email marketing is not just sending ads, requesting business, or soliciting sales. Rather, it is any email communication that is specifically designed to build loyalty, trust, or brand recognition and awareness.
Advantages of using email marketing include:
- Better business communication
- More targeted marketing
- Cost effectiveness
- Environmentally friendly means of communicating with leads
Spam, on the other hand, is a shotgun approach to marketing which is unsolicited, unwelcome, and uninformative to its audience. Spam is typically sent to a random audience, and is often characterized by misleading subject lines and poorly crafted text. With spam, there is no indication of willingness of the recipient to accept the email sent, and a very real likelihood that the recipient will be irritated by receiving it.
Disadvantages of spam include:
- Great likelihood of unresponsive recipients
- Waste of time for sales staff
- Waste of money for marketing department
- Damaged company reputation
- Drop in open and click-through rates for marketing campaigns
The most effective method of email marketing is opt-in email. This is just what it sounds like. It is commercial email sent to people who have specifically indicated a willingness to receive it by opting in somehow. It is specifically targeted to a willing audience, making it the Cadillac of email marketing strategies.
Benefits of opt-in email marketing strategies are:
- Preserves the reputation of your business by eliminating any hint of spamming.
- Indicates to your leads and existing clients that you have a respect both for them and for their privacy.
- Narrows your pool of leads to quality leads, thereby focusing the efforts of your sales team on productive endeavors.
- Saves time and money that would otherwise be spent on following and nurturing leads unlikely to result in actual customers.
- Builds trust and loyalty among your clients.
- Boosts sales and interest in your products and services.
For email strategies to work most effectively, you need a robust system for gaining opt-in client lists. How do you generate these lists? Get permission to send emails to your leads by actively soliciting it.
Here are some proven strategies for getting that all-important permission from your clients:
- Set up an email sign-up form on every page of your website. If a potential client is looking at more than just your homepage, it is a good indication that there is interest there. Capitalize on that interest by making it easy at any page of your website to sign up for email campaigns.
- Set your system to prompt a customer to fill out an email sign-up form at the time of every purchase. It is easy to understand why this strategy works. If your customer has just purchased your product or service, he/she is obviously in a receptive mood at this moment. Use this momentum to your advantage by capturing permission to send emails now.
- Get paper sign-ups when you engage in business in the real world. For instance, if you set up a booth at trade shows, local street fairs, or community events, make certain to have sign-up slips available. Then, follow through by entering this valuable data into your CRM application upon return to your office.
- Embed an email sign-up form in every email you post in a forum or on a message board. Take advantage of casual interest in your product or service so that it can be nurtured into something more.
- Offer discounts or promotions to those who sign up for emails. The long-term benefits of getting solid leads in this manner far outweigh the costs of the discount or promotion.
Finally, it is essential to incorporate all of these strategies into your CRM. CRM applications work against spam by culling a valid list of recipients who can reasonably be assumed to have interest in your product or service. At the same time, CRM software helps you automate an effective opt-in email marketing strategy. If you would welcome more information about crafting an email marketing strategy sure to generate the kind of leads you need, please contact us. We will partner with you to configure a CRM solution that truly works.