In a period of economic downturn, businesses are looking to make every penny count in their marketing budget.
It’s widely acknowledged that in order to weather a recession, it is vital to maintain market presence and drive brand loyalty.
Subsequently, more and more people are considering additional or alternative means of marketing their business. As a cost effective option, email marketing has the opportunity to really come into its own.
When done correctly, email marketing can be an invaluable tool in marketing campaigns, here is some of my advice.
As with most things, first impressions can make all the difference in a B2B email campaign! Think about what you are trying to achieve – a badly worded title or an unclear message can instantly turn people off and they fail to see the relevance of your product or service.
Keep the message simple, but tempting. At this level, the aim is to have your email opened, and not simply directed to the rubbish bin. Don’t be anonymous; put your company’s name in the title. Unfortunately 99.9 per cent of people will not look at an email from an unknown source, often believing that it relates to a virus or scam, and the email will once more be relegated to the delete file.
Message is Key
Once an email has been opened, the most important thing to consider is its actual content. First and foremost, it needs to be engaging. Bear in mind most people read streams and streams of emails every day, and are quick to switch off if they are not interested. Be subtle and benefits led in your message – there is nothing worse than overt self promotion. The content is written for your client (or prospective client) – not you!
Ultimately you need to show exactly what it is you can do, be it a service you can offer or a product you can sell, making the benefits clear without carrying a heavy or overt sales pitch.
Targeting the right people with your email campaign is central to its success.
It is more worthwhile to focus on your best prospects, as although email marketing is inexpensive, it can be time consuming if it is not targeted. If you have a large database of customers, potential clients and suppliers, it is worth taking the time to analyse what it is you know about them so that you can send a more relevant message out. For example, high spending customers are more likely to be interested in a loyalty reward scheme, whereas those who haven’t dealt with you in six months are more likely to respond to a product portfolio or service provision update.
It is also important to make sure that your database is kept up to date - stale information is of no use to anybody and mis-directed messages can prove counter productive.
Legally, you are required to give people the opportunity to opt out of generated emails. Those who are not given the choice would normally rather set such emails as junk mail, but with this in place, people feel that they have a choice and ultimately, it is less intrusive. If your email is informative and to the point, very few readers would take the time to un-subscribe anyway.
A picture speaks a thousand words
When used correctly, high quality imagery can be priceless. Pictures instantly draw a reader in, add interest and can tell a story, all in the blink of an eye. Put simply, pictures can provide the hook to stop your email being deleted. Remember to use low-res images, as large files can clog up an inbox, and will probably never get opened. Don’t go over the top; keep the design simple, choose your imagery well, and don’t allow the email to become too ‘busy’ or cluttered.
HTML vs. plain text
HTML emails can look very professional, making them appear like a web page in format and enabling the use of pictures and graphics etc. However some email programmes won’t be able to read it, so your email message can be lost. Differences in systems can also affect the email’s readability. This can mean that your carefully constructed and beautifully presented email masterpiece may look nothing like you originally intended.
On the flip side, some people will think that plain text emails look too plain and functional, rather than arresting and compelling. A good compromise is to incorporate a “show in plain text” button into your html page to change the set-up. It is also important to remember that some recipients may not accept HTML emails at all and some people will not even open them, as it is possible to hide viruses within the email codes.
It’s vitally important for you to work out what it is that you hope to achieve with your campaign, and then choose the right format for your needs.
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