Well, maybe they are? If they are please share your tips with us in the comments section! But chances are you may be one of those people that are struggling with how to get your grips on your email marketing efforts.
This article is part of the blogging challenge! I hope you all will participate as well :) It is one blog every day for 30 days.
Yes, it's happened to me too, the online marketer
No one is immune to this phenomenon and it doesn't mean your bad at what you do. And yes, I have been there before - when you send out emails you spend a week working on, only to find that 40% of the people didn't even bother to OPEN it, much less read it, well it gets pretty depressing. Then out of those 40% that OPENED it, 5% of them told you to get the hell away from their inbox, and maybe a few people clicked on your links - well great! But before you throw your email templates and confidence out the window, there may be a few things you can do to improve this and make it work!
There is a reason why e-mail marketing is the top strategy for online marketing, it gives you great returns, and it does not cost that much once you have a list of people to send to. The key is really, doing a bit of ground work on your list. So how do I do that you ask? Well you have come to the right little asian girl for that answer :)
Segment, segment, segment
This is not dissimilar to the "location, location, location" chant in real estate circles - it is just as important in this context as location is in theirs. The first question you want to ask is have you segmented your user base in a meaningful way. By that I mean, are you lumping all your subscribers, in one huge email list? Are all your customers really interested in green milk from purple cows? If so, then sending an email that interests someone that loves green milk from purple cows will be a hit. But chances are, not everyone on your list will be interested in green milk. So what next? You need to start breaking up your list in a way which allows you to send different content to different parts of your list. You are more likely to be relevant to your individual groups of customers if you don't put them all in the same category. After all, we are all special in our own way right? Some more than others :)
So sit down and have a think? What is my customer base made up of? What are the ways I can group them so that I can make sense of how to market to them. Some common ways to start grouping your database subscribers are:
- By interests, because some people just want to hear about toffee and not just about green milk.
- by location if you serve different offerings to different areas, you want to be able to just send the relevant message to that area. I mean Mars and Venus don't really get along right?
- by frequency, some people want daily digests, because they are just bored and need some loving, and some only want to hear from you once a month, which don't mean they don't love you, just think about how you felt about your parents checking up on you when you first moved out? Some people just appreciate marketing violation in their inboxes.
These are some bare basics to get you started, after all, you know your customers better than I do, well I hope so at least :).
So why do this?
Doing your groundwork upfront can save you a lot of time and ego crushing in the long run. Think about the time you'd spend analysing your email failures trying to work out why you have a low open rate and a high unsubscribe rate. If you have the luxury from starting from scratch you can incorporate some questions into your subscribe form to save you from working this out later. Give your subscribers an option to pick how they want to receive their updates. Some examples are:
What are you interested in receiving?
1. Receive promotional and sales messages such as discounts and specials on our range
2. Receive news and updates about events
3. Receive helpful informational tips on our range
Also give a select all option (default tick all options and allow them to remove the ones they don't want to receive). Although it may feel discouraging knowing you can't market your sales messages to some users, but chances are you're going to avoid the uncomfortable situation when they unsubscribe to you or stop listening to your messages as a result of them not receiving what they want to receive.
If you already have a list and don't know how you are going to find out more about them there are options for you to start drawing that information out as well, and it may take some time to get all users to respond, but it will be well worth it for both of you.
What are my options if I already have a unsegmented list?
If you don't have the luxury of doing this from scratch you can send out a simple survey that gives people the options to choose and customise what they want to receive. You can then start segmenting the messages to the customers that respond to that. If you think there is a low level of corporation with your brand, you can sweeten up the process by including your information grab as a part of a very attractive promotion such as a give-away or a discount. People love getting things for free or things for cheap :)
So what do I send to my toffee lovers vs green milk lovers?
If you have the opportunity, speak to some people in these groups and ask them what they want to receive from you. Go with that. Otherwise if your subscribers don't want to talk to you, you can always experiment. Try a few angles and see which one sticks (your typical email stats should be able to tell you this quite quickly). But remember to always be helpful vs. trying to sell them. They have subscribed to you because they like you, and would appreciate it if you can stop tooting your own horn.
Here is an example of a valuable email strategy that is engaging and effective. You're going to have to pretend you now sell kitchen appliances, you also have a mo. Now, twist the end of your mo and...think very hard of a way to please your customers! What do all your customers love to do? Well a pretty obvious guess is cooking (thats what you do with kitchen appliances) so they must enjoy trying new things in the kitchen. AHA! you got it! Send them weekly recipes to inspire them to use the stuff they bought from you (we all know that % of unused kitchen appliances are staggering) and also maybe get them wanting more things from you! You may even want to then have your data segmented into working mums and house mums. These two will have very different requirements for recipes. The former would want meals they can whip up meals in 30 minutes or less. The later may want more creative recipes that require a bit of fiddling around. You may want to go one step further and identify who in your list are trying to lose weight, that want recipes with no fat no nothing - these are the easiest to please "wash celery, cut celery, avoid peanut butter".
So how do I sell my stuff you ask? Well, once you have made your subscribers happy, putting in a message saying "all slow cookers are now 30% off", will be more effective underneath a recipe for beef stew. Or a message saying "make your meal 20 minutes faster with a pressure cooker" to your working mums under a recipe for the saw stew (that they would never have time to make without the pressure cooker). Get creative with the way you deliver your marketing messages so that it actually helps your customers. They will appreciate it much more. Remember, be helpful first sell later.
So take care of your babies
Your database is too precious to ruin for a few more sales, so nurture it wisely and you'll receive a steady revenue stream from your green milk lovers for a long time to come! Who knows, if your emails are interesting enough, it may even be shared to people that are not on your list. Lets go get em!
Do you need help with
There are 255 digital marketing experts on standby