The Vampire’s Guide to Email Marketing
When it comes to online conversion rates, email still dominates. Email is the vampire of the online marketing world – old-school, eerily seductive, and packs one hell of a bite.
The recent numbers from the DMA show email’s conversion rate is still the highest, bringing in $40.56 for every dollar spent on it this year. Although this is down on previous years, it’s still miles ahead of the next highest converter – search-based marketing, at $22.24 per dollar spent.
Email marketing is a powerful thing. When customers give you their email addresses, they’re giving you permission to send your message into their home. Emailing a customer is a bit like walking into their home and glueing your business card onto their cat’s forehead.
NB: I don’t advocate glueing business cards to felines as a viable marketing tactic.
But you can’t just go emailing people willy nilly – you have to get their permission first, much like a vampire can’t enter a home without permission. Vampires are gentlemen – they only go where they’re wanted. Your business is like a vampire …
Wait, maybe this isn’t the best metaphor.
Let’s forget about the vampires for a minute and concentrate on your email newsletter.
How do you get people to sign up to your Email Newsletter?
First of all, you’ve got to let them know it exists. This means a big box visible on every page of your website. This means a huge, obvious link on your Facebook page. This means a link on the back of your business card. Oh yes!
Smart sciencey people have done a lot of research about internet usage, and have concluded pretty much unanimously that placing an email sign up box in the top right-hand corner of your website guarantees a squillion more signups than placing it anywhere else. Do you want to argue with science? This is one area where vampires and businesses differ – vampires, being in the realm of the imaginary, can ignore the rules set forth by science. Your business, being in the realm of the real and income-generating, do not have that option. So your email sign-up box goes in the top right-hand corner of your website.
But you don’t just put a box up with “Sign Up for my Newsletter” – you’ve got to give your customers a decent reason to sign up. People are weary of spam – they’re not giving their email addresses out like calling cards anymore. For some customers, the allure of discounts, freebies and special offers is enough to bring forth their email, while others will need a little extra incentive in the form of a downloadable freebie – such as a discount voucher or free ebook.
The wording in your box is very important. You’re basically trying to play up how awesome your freebie is, and downplay the fact that people are giving away their email address to get it – much like a vampire always waxes lyrical about immortality but forgets the whole needing to drink blood to live thing. And, because some customers are extra-especially weary of giving out their email, you should include a link to find out more underneath the box. When they click on that link, it takes them to a full page explaining the benefits of signing up.
What will you do with your mailing list?
You’ll use your mailing list to contact your customers whenever you have something relevant, interesting, timely and important to say.
Email serves many purposes – it reminds your customers that you exist, it offers them useful information that builds you into a brand they can trust, it shows them new gadgets you’ve got for sale that they might enjoy, and it gives you the chance to present an offer at a time when they might really need it.
What you email, and how often you email it, varies according to the type of business you run, the type of customers you’re approaching, and the intended use of your list.
Because I run a B2B service (copywriting and illustration for businesses and publications), I use my list to remind business owners that I exist. I try to send out a newsletter once a month packed with marketing tips, because that’s the area that my clients feel they need the most help in, and any advice I give will be (hopefully) appreciated. Click here if you haven’t already received my free ebook to get my monthly marketing tips.
However, you might run a building firm specializing in rennovations. Clients aren’t going to employ you every week – they’ve got big jobs to do, and a lot of money to spend. What they’re worried about is the enormity of their project – they don’t know anything about building – the costs, the project management, the council regulations. They’ve heard lots of stories about cowboys in the building industry and they want to find a builder they can trust.
To get them to sign up to your list, create a free, downloadable guide that takes them step-by-step through the whole build process – from conception, design and consent application through the whole build process to sign off. Now they’re on your list, you could send them two emails a year – one two weeks after they signed up (you can automate this) saying you hoped they enjoyed the book, explaining your services and the benefits of using your company, and letting them know they can contact you with any questions for an obligation-free quote. Your second email could just be a “Hi!” – reminding them you exist again, perhaps commenting on a news article about the build industry, or suggesting they look at renovating their deck or kitchen for the summer.
Or maybe you own a beauty salon / spa treatment facility. Your clients are interested in looking after themselves, staying healthy and reducing stress in their lives. They’re predominantly women of a certain age and income bracket. To get them to sign up to your mailing list, create a free ebook offering 50 tips to reducing stress and living a healthy life. Then, when they’re on the list, send out an email once a month, highlighting a different beauty or spa treatment, offering a special, and perhaps including a short health/wellness article, too.
You can even use your mailing list to go the extra mile for your customers. A local restaurant send me a voucher on my birthday, offering me 50% off my meal if I dined in over my birthday week. While they might not make much profit on my meal, they’ve definitely created a loyal customer. Plus, how many birthday boys and girls do you know who dine alone? I took a friend with me and we split the bill. And we went back a few weeks later with a big group of friends.
The way you use your list depends on the type of customer your targeting, how often they want to hear about your services, and the purpose of your list. Part of my writing services include formulating a marketing plan for email lists. Contact me on steff @ grymmandepic.com to discuss your ideas.
No cats were harmed in the writing of this article.