Side note: If you haven’t fall in love with e-mail marketing and you’re an entrepreneur, take it out for a spin. Date it. Propose to it. Marry it. It’s inexpensive and far more effective than sending out mailers. However, there is a method to it, which I’ll get to in a later post. Here’s the short version: effective e-mails are like carrot seeds. Throw them where the ground is tilled, fertile, and well-toiled and you’re likely to get a return after some time. If you have a handful of vegetable seeds and throw them into your living room, you can water them and show them sun, but eventually, you won’t get a carrot.
In “Effective E-Mail Marketing,” you will find the following, two, mildly-shocking factoids:
*According to Gartner Inc. studies, at least 34% of business e-mails do not contain content employees need to perform their jobs.
I get, on average, about 50 e-mails a day between my business and personal addresses, not including Facebook and Twitter direct messaging, which isn’t usually spam. A lot of it is junk I erase when it pops up on my Blackberry.
There’s a lesson here.
Check the format of your e-mails to your prospects and/or employees. Here are the first words of the ones I usually skip: “Welcome to. . .,” “Send a free. . .,” “Reminder: Opinionated. . .,” “An important message.” ANYTHING IN CAPS I automatically skip. Anything from an address I don’t recognize, even if it has my name, I tend to look at it and disregard or scan. Do you start your e-mails like this and wonder why your click-through rate (action taken by the reader based on your e-mail) is atrocious?
When I was an educator, there were e-mails with important information that I completely overlooked simply because of 1. The volume of e-mail I received per day and 2. Most of those e-mails had no bearing on what I do. The ones that did were flagged. And don’t overuse the flag.
*On average, people spend up to 46 minutes per day on e-mail.
That’s more than FIVE HOURS per week. You, as an e-mail marketer, want just a small slice of that pie and that’s all you’ll get. If you have the patience to wait for the message in a sales e-mail, how long do you give them to make their pitch? Ten lines is probably generous. Five? Maybe three?
Relevance is key. Get to the point as quickly as possible. Most people who want to eat carrots don’t take the time to grow them, they go to the store and buy them. You want them to buy your carrots, not the other guys.
It’s courteous to ask someone how they are doing. It strengthens relationships, which is what you want. Personally (if it’s someone I don’t know), the question comes off a little shallow to me. The person on the other line is really saying it to get a one word answer, not an explanation. For me, I just want them to get to the point. My wife says sometimes I can come off too brusque when conducting business, but my time is valuable and so is yours. Making cold solicitations suck, I know, and I try to let them down easy rather than ignore them. But, if we’re being honest, we’re an impatient people. We want to know what you’re selling and how it benefits us in a reasonable amount of time, and if you can’t do that, you need to work on your pitch.
The same is true with e-mail marketing. Getting to the point in an interesting way is critical. Every marketing experience I’ve ever read involves establishing an edge over your competition and working that edge. For me, my audience is a lot smaller than that of Amazon; because of that, there’s a level of personalized service I can offer that a giant conglomerate cannot. It is my job to ensure that my clients believe that this service is superior enough to want to purchase directly from me, a small publisher, instead of Amazon. Believe it or not, price is not the lone nor the most powerful prediction of how people will buy; value is.
Be valuable. Grow good carrots.
More to come. . .