Note to ecommerce vendors: It’s never been a more exciting time to sell things.
As new and riveting internet-based platforms emerge to make the process easier, faster, and more fruitful, there’s one that’s been around a long time and is still arguably the backbone of any business.
Email. Email marketing morphs a tool invented for personal conversations into a dynamic, effective platform for pitching products and services to would-be customers who may or may not know of you. Email happens to be the most widely used of all modern communications channels. Estimates say 99 percent of all consumers check theirs on a daily basis.
And perhaps it’s a better choice than other advertising-related vehicles for the simple reason that people read their emails with a different expectation than they have when they browse social media, or even watch television. Advertising that interrupts play time is probably less palatable than direct messaging sent to an account people read knowing they are there to receive messaging.
If you’ve prioritized your marketing and outreach through social media channels, there’s nothing wrong with that. Just consider the new benefits of an old standby that won’t steer you wrong.
Start With a Plan
Forming an email marketing strategy is pretty simple and straightforward, but there are must-do’s and must-not-do’s to keep in mind.
Start with the most obvious, and develop a targeted customer list. Generating leads is easier with the development of tools like Monster Leads, which integrates marketing functions by collecting, sorting, and storing sales leads. A service like this allows you to revisit the email marketing function without having to restructure and search for new targets.
Before you stress over being “that guy” sending a ton of unwanted mail, relax. Even if one-quarter of your messages are opened, that’s a significant reach. Another way to test the waters for oversaturation is to select a sub-group of customers you feel good about, and set them up for more frequent sends, while limiting the rest of the list to occasional messaging.
Once you have a target audience, think creatively by envisioning what you might respond to favorably. Develop eye-catching graphics that are easy to read and understand. Refine your wording to be brief, engaging, and (most importantly) urgent enough to prompt consideration.
If you’ve chosen a branding scheme, you’re ahead of the game. Your business specializes in clothing for a niche sport? Great. Your claim to fame is deep, deep discounts? Awesome. Or, maybe you’re building a reputation for reselling sustainable products, contributing to charitable causes, or some other intangible—it’s all good. Make that the centerpiece of your campaign. Introduce your email messages with a reference in the first paragraph, or better yet, the subject line.
Once you’ve nailed down the message and message vehicle, decide on how you will keep the attention you’ve earned. Will you count on the email body to do the work, enriching it with heavy graphics that are well-placed, engaging, and comprehensive? Or will you minimize the content and link to your dazzling web page, welcoming new and returning patrons with next-level enticements like pop-up windows announcing limited-time deals?
Follow the leads of successful email marketers to find a strategy that works for you. Here are a few campaigns that made a big splash, and may give you the confidence and creative juices to start on your own quest to harness a tried-and-true communications channel that just may become one of your best weapons as you forge ahead in the expansive world of online selling.