When you look back at the history of online marketing, e-mail marketing stands out as one of the most effective strategies long term. It was effective as early as 1990 and it’s still effective. But some of the tactics have changed over time.
The landing page, for instance, has changed. Today, you are as likely to see nothing more than an opt-in form and a small paragraph of text to sell the subscriber on giving up their information. More and more, you are seeing video sales pitches of 30 seconds or so. They’re very effective.
But how do you drive traffic to those landing pages?
One of the simplest and most effective ways to drive targeted traffic to e-mail subscriber list opt-in pages is to use pay-per-click advertising.
Your landing page should be established when you perform your basic web design. It should be attractive and sell the benefits of your subscriber list. Keep it simple and streamlined.
If you write well-optimized PPC ads that draw people in, then you’ll get traffic to your landing pages. Remember, it’s the landing page, not the PPC ad, that ultimately closes the sale. Make sure every piece of the content chain does its part. Don’t let them try to do another piece’s part. If you do, you’ll see fewer opt-ins.
Every so often I hear someone proclaiming the death of something great. In this case, it’s e-mail marketing. And I’m left wondering … what’s killing e-mail?
Then there’s the other side of the coin. E-mail isn’t dying.
The fact is, e-mail marketing is more alive today than it ever was. Projections are that the number of e-mail addresses will rise to 3.8 million by 2014 from 2.9 million in 2010.
Most Internet marketers today will tell you that the money is in their list. And that’s true. They thrive and survive by the number of people on their e-mail lists. And the e-mail inbox is where they close their sales.
Social media is still a public place and always will be. As such, there is a lot of competition for attention. You have just a few seconds to get someone’s attention and close them on a sale. With e-mail, you have no competition. It’s eyeballs and content. Your content. If it’s well written and does its job, you’ll close the sale.
If you really want to get your prospects on the buying wagon, use your website to have them opt in to your mailing list, then use e-mail to make your pitches and close the sale. That’s how you’ll make your money.
You’d think that after twenty years or so e-mail marketing would have run its course. Not so. In fact, it’s just as effective today as it was in 1991. And many direct marketers would say it’s even better. In fact, I know I would.
For one thing, the technologies used today for e-mail marketing are ten times better than they were twenty years ago. Autoresponders are more powerful and flexible, e-mail design is much more attractive, and click-through rates are higher even though they were high back then. The total responsiveness of a good list is better than any other form of marketing.
Of course, you have to have a good product or service and an attractive offer. That helps.
But look at these five reasons you should try e-mail marketing today.
- Everyone has an e-mail address. Well, more than 90% of the people you run into on a daily basis.
- You can send out an e-mail blast to 10,000 people for about the same price as sending one out to 1,000 people.
- People will give you their permission to contact them.
- E-mails have a higher response rate than any other form of communication. And since you are sending out your messages to a warm list, it’s even better.
- E-mail marketers make more money.
There is no shortage of Internet marketing tactics that any company can use to get the word out about their products and services. There’s search engine optimisation, paid search, social media, and iphone apps, just to name a few. But let’s not forget about that age-old marketing tactic e-mail marketing.
E-mail marketing is one of the oldest forms of online marketing. Early on, savvy marketers realized the potential that e-mail marketing held for their businesses. And it still holds a lot of that same power today.
There are various ways to go about e-mail marketing. You can publish a periodic newsletter, send out e-mail blasts that promote your products and services, and even promote affiliate products through e-mail. Some people use e-mail to drive traffic back to their website and blog, creating an endless loop of traffic and conversions.
Of course, you can always use a combination of these methods for more effectiveness.
The bottom line on e-mail is that there is hardly anyone alive today who isn’t using it. That means your prospect pool for e-mail marketing is pretty large. And it certainly isn’t going to get smaller.
If you want to try an age-old marketing strategy that still is big on results, try e-mail marketing. You won’t find any tactic today that is more effective and more profitable.
When it comes to website design, one of the most important elements to consider for your website is an opt-in form.
The opt-in form is for your subscription-based e-mail marketing. Since the early 1990s, e-mail marketing has been the most effective and most efficient form of online marketing available. If you conducted a poll of successful Internet marketing companies, you’d find that the majority of them are doing some kind of e-mail marketing. And it starts with that all-important opt-in form.
The opt-in form gives your site visitors the opportunity to request information from you. Every visitor who fills out the form is giving you permission to contact them in the future. That permission is very important.
Current spam laws require you to get that permission from subscribers. However, it only requires that you use a single opt-in process at a minimum. You should go the extra mile and seek out a double opt-in process. After your visitor has filled in the opt-in form requesting information from you, send them an e-mail with a link that must be clicked to confirm the opt-in. If the person clicks the link, they’ve given you permission to contact them twice.
An opt-in form on your website is one of the most essential web design elements. It makes your e-mail marketing much more efficient and much more effective.
Earlier last week we discussed the effect of social media on blogging – now it’s time to look at how social media affects e-mail marketing. The same philosophy that was used for blogging is now being used for e-mail marketing – namely, that young people don’t use e-mails, but often preferring instead SMS and social media messaging.
While it’s true that our youth are using alternative communication methods more often, that doesn’t mean they are not using e-mails at all. Sending photos, is a good example of the current use of e-mail. What many writers fail to consider is that most of the social media sites that young people like to use all require e-mail addresses as part of the sign up process.
What is also misunderstood is that e-mail marketing over the years has rarely targeted this group anyway. E-mail marketing has always targeted a maturer market – at the very least, the 21y/o plus market. While our youth are not turning to e-mail as often as they once did, it’s too early to rattle the death chains of e-mail as an effective marketing channel. It’s still targeting the right groups and it is still proving to be one of the best sources of sales for many businesses.
Our youth will mature and, as they do, they will return to e-mails. Remember, e-mail marketing is not something that users go seeking. We as business owners have to seek them out. They will either accept our invitations to join our marketing lists or they will reject those advances. I think you’ll find that as our teens mature, they will start to accept these offers in similar numbers to today.
Here’s a question for you to ponder. Do you consider customer service to be a part of your online marketing strategy? If you don’t, then you should. Customer service is a marketing lynch-pin. Get it wrong and you can do untold damage to your business. Get it right and you can boost your reputation and your sales. My next question is aimed at those who incorporate shopping carts on their website. Do you follow up on those that abandon the shopping cart process part-way through? This is an ideal time to put your customer service skills to good use and perhaps win back a lost sale.
E-mail marketing is often thought of as direct promotion. Sending newsletters, online catalogs, and any other promotional material we can think of. It doesn’t have to be, and shouldn’t be. If you incorporate an e-mail capture system early in your shopping cart process, you will have contact details of those who have abandoned the process before it has been completed.
By following up with an e-mail, you can ask for feedback. For example, were there problems with the checkout process; unsuitable payment options; or perhaps even unexpectedly high delivery fees? This feedback is valuable since you can use it to determine if changes are required to your checkout process to prevent more customers abandoning the process.
If you want to bring that potential customer back, offer them a special deal – perhaps a discount voucher that is valid for that transaction. By contacting that shopping, you will make them feel important, which, if nothing else, will help to stick your brand in their minds. You may also be able to negate any negative feelings that shopper may have if the shopping cart process has disagreed with them in any way.
Customer service and marketing go hand in hand. By following up on abandoned shopping cart transactions, you are at least showing you are interested in your customers. You may even be able to convince them to join you official e-mail marketing lists. One last tip – try to avoid robot-like e-mails when following up abandoned shopping cart transactions – write the e-mail yourself and keep it human.
There is an interesting report on WebProNews that refers to data collected by ForeSee Results. According to their data, e-mail marketing is still one of the primary influences when it comes to delivering traffic to a website. Not only that, but e-mail marketing has one of the better ROIs as well.
What is interesting is that social media marketing comes a long way down the list. Social media marketing is still in its infancy with many marketers not sure how to best approach the channel. There is also the issue of resistance from consumers, many of whom view the social media sites as being just that – social, a place where they engage with their friends rather than to be promoted to by marketers.
Social media sites like Facebook are evolving still. and while social is still important, so too are non-social activities such as game playing. Several smart marketing individuals have made use of this penchant for game playing and found ways to promote businesses in those areas. Whichever way you look at it, social is a struggle for a many business owners.
Traditional marketing opportunities like e-mail still hold sway because they are easy to understand. In fact, e-mail marketing is the closest thing you’ll get to traditional offline marketing channels anywhere on the Internet. An e-mail newsletter is very much the digital form of a weekly paper-based sales catalog that’s delivered into homes.
Statistics like those discussed on WebProNews are interesting, but they reveal little about individual niches or the marketing skills of those involved with social media marketing. As a channel, social media works very well for some where others see little in the way of results. E-mail marketing will continue to lead the way if done properly, since people on e-mail lists are there because they want to be, can drop off whenever they choose, and have obviously shown an interest in the business – you will struggle to find that level of targeting through any other channel, at least in the short term. Do you have a mailing list? It should be the first thing you consider.
E-mail marketing is one of those marketing tools that can start off looking difficult and finish off looking easy – too easy. The end result is that, rather than increased sales, you are seeing a steady flow of readers unsubscribing. For e-mail marketing to be successful you need two elements – subscribers and the right e-mail content. And the two go hand in hand.
There are generally only two reasons why subscribers unsubscribe. They feel your content is of no value to them, or worse, they feel you are spamming them with junk e-mails. If it’s the latter, then you really need to look at your e-mail marketing tactics. If your in the former group, then you need to look at your content – why is it of no value to your subscribers. Are your newsletters guilty of the following:
- stale or outdated content
- repetitive content
- too many ads
- not entertaining
- not providing useful advice
- constantly promoting own products
I could go on with many other examples of poor content. Today’s readers are looking for several things when it comes to newsletters. The first is simply to make it an interesting read. It could contain humour, how to tips, product reviews (that are honest reviews and not simply running an advertisement line), and the latest special offers (particularly freebies – everyone loves a freebie).
Newsletters that can achieve that standard will, over time, see a steady growth in subscribers rather than a slow (or not so slow) leakage. The more subscribers you have, the more sales you are likely to generate over time – that is fairly obvious. So rather than boring your subscribers to death – excite them and have them wanting more – achieve that and they’ll regularly turn up on your website looking for that little bit more – but that’s another story.
The beginning of the year is often a good time to start something new. The Christmas-New Year period has been and gone and for many businesses, it’s a quiet period. E-Mail marketing is one option that is well worth considering if you haven’t already, and if you run it sensibly, it can work well to increase your business. It can also be a great tool for introducing new products to existing customers and for further building your brand awareness with them.
E-mail marketing can be a daunting task for those not used to it. If you have a couple of hours to spare, you can complete all the preliminary work and still have time to spare. Most website hosts come with an autoresponder of sorts. They are okay for the experienced, but for novices, using a service like Aweber can make the job so much easier.
Autoresponders are, as the name suggests, a way to put your e-mail marketing campaign on auto pilot – hence the setup. Follow the prompts from your autoresponder service and you are left with a piece of code to insert into your website. This has everything required to capture e-mail addresses. Of course, you will have to consider options to encourage visitors to fill this form in. You could offer discounts or freebies, or just make it an offer during the check-out procedure – it’s really up to you.
Once you have your database of e-mail addresses, it’s time to do something with it. Newsletters are generally better than just sending ads. However, some business do seem to get away with sending digital forms of an old fashioned catalog. You will need to do some trial and error mailings to see what works. Newsletters may be just a compilation of the weeks posts from your blog. It’s your business, how do you want it seen by others.
It is even possible to have professional newsletters created by others – these do come at a cost, but if you have a big e-mail list that responds to newsletters then it may well pay for itself. E-mail marketing has become the backbone for many businesses – perhaps yours could also benefit.