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To illustrate this point, a surgical knife, used in the way it was intended when it was made, helps save lives. A meat cleaver would not be of much help, if any at all, during a surgery. A surgical knife in the hands of someone who uses it to cut meat too achieves only very little purpose.
In other words. It is important that you use the right email marketing software in the right way to achieve wonders for your online business.
There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ type of email marketing software. The best one is what suits your needs.
What is email marketing?
If you have never heard this term before and you were drawn to this article by the words ‘grow your business’, it is important that you learn what this is all about, so that you can be in a better position to make use of it.
In simple words, it is about sending emails to existing or potential customers for the purpose of enhancing your relationship with them (this translates into repeat business either now or at a later point of time) or increasing sales directly by announcing new products/services at discounted pricing.
Email marketing is directly marketing a commercial message to a group of people using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing – according to Wikipedia
Isn’t that spam? Don’t people get enough of these already?
Spam refers to unwanted email. The way to ensure that it is not spam is by getting people to opt-in. At the time of collecting their email addresses, you need to ask if they would like to receive any promotional email regarding offers from you. If they indicate no, then they should not be emailed.
If you do not do this, email service providers might mark your email address as spam when your customer indicates it as such after receiving an email from you the first time. This means that when you send any subsequent emails, they go to the junk folder.
While this is not particularly detrimental since he/she does not want to receive emails from you, some email service providers blacklist your email address as that of a spammer and extend the practice of sending email received from your address to the junk folder of all your recipients.
This means that even those who are interested in receiving emails from you might not see it after all.
Now that you know to whom exactly you can send marketing-related emails, you can protect yourself from the worst.
The next question is, what exactly do you send?
The content plays an important role in the success of your email marketing campaign. People do not want to be bombarded with exhortations of ‘Buy!’ or ‘Buy Now!’. They like useful information that can be of assistance.
Depending on what product you are selling, you might want to customize your email so that it shows how people stand to benefit from what you are offering.
Let us say you are introducing a new leaf blower. Its picture and a bulleted list of its technical advantages are unlikely to appeal to those who read the email.
How it could be made appealing is to include a better picture, such as kids enjoying their play in the yard or the front lawn (with the area they are playing in free from fallen leaves) while a parent safely operates a leaf blower at a distance in the background.
Add a catchphrase, like ‘Let your kids enjoy the yard this fall’ and even people who have not considered getting a leaf blower in the first place might be tempted to buy from you. This is a marketing technique – you are seen not as someone who sells leaf blowers, but as someone offering happiness.
The other thing they like is stories. Real stories make it all better. A newsletter that rounds up what happened over the previous month, quarter, half year or year, including the ups and downs, makes for interesting reading, if written right.
This results in a greater connect with you as a seller or service provider. This is why several newsletters have stories about how their staff celebrated Christmas, and so on.
The increased connect is good for business, no doubt, but some also try to achieve sales out of it, such as surreptitiously including lines such as “The store also saw it becoming the only dealer of Black & Decker leaf blowers in the Kingston Valley area”. This induces a sense of curiosity among readers, and you might be able to convert a query from someone interested, into a sale.
The third question is, how do you send out such marketing email?
There are several email marketing tools available in the market, some of them for free. The paid ones hold their sway in the market owing to the additional features that they provide, such as editing tools.
Adding images, using spell-check to ensure typo-free text, and playing around with layout and fonts to maximize reader impact definitely works.
However, whether they would achieve the desired effect or not depends partly on the browser/application. For example, some email clients may not display fonts or pictures correctly.
While this can indeed be a hard task, not knowing what type of email clients your intended recipients use, there is a way out.
Everything you have worked on could be converted into a single PDF document, which could be attached along with the email. For the inline text, you could include generic text such as ‘Greetings’ and ‘It has been some time since we last caught up with you. How have you been?’ followed by ‘A lot has happened at the dealership since February 2016.
We have compressed the highlights of our journey into the quarterly newsletter’ and ending with ‘We always look forward to hearing from you regarding any suggestions as to how we could improve the quality of our services’.
It also needs to be signed, for that personal effect. After all, you are trying to strengthen your relationship with the recipient.
Even for something as simple as this, the font, font size and font color may make a difference. After you come up with an initial email, you need to check if it is optimized for mobile devices.
63% of all Americans and 41% of Europeans delete anything that is not optimized for mobile. After all, 30-50% of Internet access does happen on mobile devices.
So it would not be a good idea to ignore this segment, roughly a third to half of your mailing list. The best email would be one that looks good and reads easily on both PCs and mobile devices. A good email marketing software would have preview options that could help you determine this.
There is email marketing software and there is good email marketing software. Some of the better ones have an option where an individual recipient sees his name and email address mentioned exclusively in the ‘To’ field – this is far better than including his name and email address among several in the ‘Bcc’
(yes, they can figure it out that they must have been on the Bcc list when they don’t see their email in the ‘To’, which contains an email address that suspiciously looks like you were sending it to yourself) or the ‘Cc’ list.
A good email marketing software would also let your specify when you want your email to be sent out and also remind you when it is time to send out your next one (you could set up alerts for this).
An Example: HubSpot’s Free Email Marketing Tool
Let’s take a look at one of our recommended email marketing solutions — Hubspot’s Free Email Marketing tool.
The impact that smart personalization can make on your marketing efforts can’t be overstated. Accenture’s research shows that 91% of consumers are more likely to buy from businesses that “recognize, remember, and provide relevant offers and recommendations.”
HubSpot’s Free Email Marketing tool allows you to personalize the subject line in addition to the content in the email.
The content in the email can be personalized based on data you have in HubSpot’s CRM (customer relationship management system). This includes the lifecycle stage that the recipient is in, which forms on your website they’ve filled out, and which lists they’ve subscribed to.
Because the CRM is linked to HubSpot’s email platform, the system automatically customizes email content so that the recipient gets “the most relevant subject lines, content, links, attachments, and calls-to-action.”
You can increase conversions with the built-in A/B testing and analytics features make it easy to determine what’s working well.
To make a long story short, there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ email marketing software. The best one is what suits your needs.