Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit...you have no shortage of tools to use to keep in close contact with your customers. But sometimes, having that many platforms makes it harder than ever. To keep your customers coming back, you don't necessarily need to be an expert in all the latest platforms. You just have to pick your favorites, find your tribe on those favorites, and keep current. At the end of the day, all that any of us want is simplicity.
So consider e-mail marketing: tried, tested, and true.
A Little History
When Gary Thuerk sent the first marketing email in 1978, he viewed this new tool as a faster, streamlined way to reach new customers with an exciting product on a looming deadline. And that's what email marketing quickly blossomed into. As time went on and everyone joined the bandwagon...again...and again...and again, the way we did business had to change. Legislation and policies, like the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 and the Sender Policy Framework meant that businesses who had bee relying on passively sending out emails to "cultivate" customers had to up their game. Passively sending out solicitation after solicitation began to sour businesses relationships with their customers. You need a better plan to nurture those contacts than just sending out an email.
Why It Still Works
Your customers could be dispersed over any number of platforms. But everyone uses email. Well, okay, one in three human beings on the planet uses email. That still means its a safe bet. And in an email, you control the whole story. No word limits, no platform formatting requirements, nothing else is on the screen. Your imagination is really your only limit. Emails are endlessly adaptable.
How To Use It Now
This is what you need to know in order to use your email marketing to its fullest potential.
- Be Reliable The two biggest reasons people unsubscribe from an e-newsletter is that they're getting too many emails or they don't remember signing up in the first place. Set up an automated welcome email so that as soon as someone subscribes to get emails from you, they get a message. Use this welcome email just like your wifi landing page. Orient them to your business, tell them the community of clientele they're joining, offer them a deal, talk up a big event (give them a reason to open your welcome message). Then, once you've welcomed them, stick to a reliable, paced schedule, once a week, once a month...it almost doesn't matter as long as you stick to it. Most people open their emails first thing in the morning, or just before the go home, so time your emails so they'll be at the top of their inbox.
- Content Is King Clump your content. If you email your customers ten separate tidbits a week, the reasons for your customers to open the emails are similarly tiny. Craft your message in advance. Think about what you want to do for them. Is this email about making their lives more convenient? Is this email about giving them a break from the rat race? Find your objective, and design your email to that end. Also, make sure that your email gives them a relationship with you. Photos are where its at. Videos can triple your click throughs. Personalized emails have a higher chance of success, too. Humans are social animals. We respond to relationships.
- Simple Designs Work White space can increase comprehension by as much as 20%. It also gives the air of thoughtfulness, elegance, or intention. About 80% of readers are only going to scan your email, so keep your writing short, simple and clear, with subheadings that summarize your main point. And about half of your customers are opening your email on their smartphones, another reason to keep things simple, short, and elegant.
There is no shortage of platforms for you to chose from. But you don't have to go wild to be effective. Email marketing has been with us for half a century, and for universality, adaptability, and thoughtful communication, you just can't beat it.