At Make It Count Marketing we are firm believers in email marketing. It’s actually pretty easy to be believers when you see the results we have. But maybe we “oversell.” What should you expect of your email marketing campaign? Here are answers to some of the questions we get asked.
Q. What’s the advantage of email marketing? Marketing in general is about being remembered. When prospective clients need your services, you want them to remember you and contact you. While you may have made an excellent impression on someone, it’s not all that easy to be remembered. We live in a world where information crosses our brain non-stop – it’s hard to remember the person you met or the service they provide. Email marketing is the most economical and productive solution to sustaining contact with your prospects, clients and former clients – keeping them informed of your public presence, your skills, philosophies and the solutions you offer. The purpose behind email marketing is two-fold: 1) to consistently touch your prospects and clients so that when they need your services, they think of you; and 2) to deliver expert content to enhance your relationship and bring more clients in your door.
Q. What is a good open rate? Boy, that’s a loaded question! My best customers get a 20-30% open rate. I think that’s very high. If you can get a 20-30% open rate, that translates into a lot of customers who take the time to see what content you are sending each month. And that also means that quite a few customers may be reading your newsletter. Either way, you are engaging with your customers and touching them consistently. I would look for consistency in my open rate. A solid double digit open rate that fluctuates slightly during the summer and maybe in December is a good rate.
Q. My customers have a specific need, will that influence my open rate? Absolutely. So much depends on what you do. For example, as a marketing person, it’s possible that every business on my list has a marketing question, so I’m going to get a higher rate. If I’m a divorce lawyer, my readers are less likely to read the content – unless they are going through a divorce or know someone who is. If you are an architect, your open rate will depend on the needs of your customers – how soon are they going to need an architect. But you can do something about that. Read on.
Q. Can I broaden my content so that it appeals to more people? Yes, here are some examples.
If you are an architect, talk about things people can do to freshen up their house. Adding a gazebo, for instance, or adjusting their lighting. Think of topics that keep your skills in front of potential customers, but aren’t limited to people who are building a new house.
If you are a divorce lawyer, talk about issues that other people may experience. Consider topics such as dealing with finances during a marriage, or communications concerning children. These are topics all families can identify with.
Q. Why isn’t my open rate higher? Your open rate may be determined by your database. Who’s on your list? Sometimes my clients add all of their contacts to the database. As long as your email message includes a link to unsubscribe, I’m OK with that. But you should realize that your open rate will not be as high as an email that goes out to a VERY targeted list. In other words, if you ONLY have prospects and customers on your list, the email is more likely to get opened. But consider this – by leaving off business colleagues, you may miss out on forwarded messages. Personally, I think it’s just as important that my business colleagues know what I’m doing. If they have a client who needs marketing, the first person they are going to refer them to is me. The same goes for your business. In our normal conversation with colleagues, if we hear certain key words, we are more likely to think of a business colleague that we hear from regularly – even if it’s just an email message once a month. That’s pretty powerful.
Q. How often should I send emails. It’s hard to judge what is too frequent, or not frequent enough. I recommend that you send an informative email to your database once a month. Most of my clients provide a service, so sending information about that service on a monthly basis is informative, without being intrusive. If you have a business where your products change frequently, such as a restaurant, department, hardware or food store, distributing more frequent emails can be very effective. On the other hand, emails of less frequency don’t seem to engage readers. There’s a lack of consistency that fails to build relationships.
Q. Does the design of an email affect the open rate? The design certainly can have a positive effect on the open rate. I recommend a couple of options. One, your newsletter should be easily read on mobile phones. If you customers have to “pinch out” to read the copy, it’s not mobile compatible. Instead, create a one column newsletter that is easy to read. Secondly, use photos in your email. Some graphics and color make your email more appealing. The photos can be a general representation, not a perfect fit. The idea is to create interest. I have some customers who prefer illustrations. Either way works.
Q. How can I improve my open rate? After you publish your email message, you can get a link to your archived messages. Once you have this link, post it on your website so others can see it. And also post it on your social media once a week (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn) during the month. In other words, you should be posting it 4 times every month. Each time you post the newsletter, choose a different leading sentence about the content. That’s how you may reach someone who is NOT on your list. And as others see it, they may open it. People are busy. Sometimes we have to see things 2 or 3 times before we follow through.
Q. Should I use an email marketing service for my content? Content is extremely important. If your content is boring, chances are people will stop reading it. While the content created by the email marketing services is good, it’s not very personal. Your readers will know whether the content you include in your marketing is written for them, or written for the general public. A word of caution here, once you use an email service and your customers stop opening your emails, it’s very difficult to get them to open your email later.
Have more questions about email marketing? We’re happy to discuss ideas with you. Give us a call at 301-467-2501.