In our previous post we talked about why email is still the top marketing channel for most small businesses. Here are my top five suggestions for increasing it’s impact on your business in 2013:
1. Diversify email message variety
When it comes to your broadly targeted email messages, variety is the spice of life. Nothing’s worse than an email marketing program consisting largely of repetitive promotional offers; it’s the equivalent of talking non-stop without ever taking a breath. So as you create your email plans for 2013, aim for a balanced pipeline of messages that includes the following types (to help you remember, the first letter of each word in the following list spells “PIPE”):
a) Promotional. Yes, of course you’re going to keep making offers, promoting savings/discounts, and communicating sales opportunities but there needs to be more.
b) Informative and educational emails. Think blog posts, articles, newsletters, webinars, demos, tip lists, and “how-to” content. What do you have that helps your subscribers understand and use your products more? That educates them on the space you’re in?
c) Personal and seasonal greetings. Acknowledge birthdays, holidays, anniversaries of being in business. Yes, the personal touch goes a long way and breaks up monotony.
d) Entertaining, fun engagement. Every marketing program should have elements of surprise and delight. This is where contests, sweepstakes, games, customer and employee stories liven up your marketing and add personality to your brand. Use email to announce and promote involvement with them.
2. Increase both message frequency AND regularity
As you craft your email message schedule (or editorial calendar)for the year, think “ongoing conversation” not “random blasts”. Develop a regular monthly cadence and sequence for the above types of messages, but keep it fluid. Keep continuity programs – like newsletters or monthly webinars – on a regular schedule, but vary the timing and quantity of promotional and entertainment messages. Why? On the one hand, consistency and predictability foster anticipation and trust, so you want that working for you. On the other, become too predictable and you run the risk of your sales promotions being ignored or “gamed”, so you need pattern interruptions, too.
3. Evolve single-message campaigns into series or tracks
Instead of a single welcome message, try expanding the message into a welcome series which invites, thanks, and familiarizes (or even trains). Instead of a one-time renewal or reactivation message, try a three-part series that gives subscribers more than one chance to take the valuable action you seek.
4. Re-target those who abandon
One of the most powerful and effective ways to increase conversion is to follow-up when you know someone is considering a purchase based on their recent behavior, but hasn’t closed the sale by buying. Re-target qualified prospects, shoppers or browsers who were on the path to conversion on your web site (or even on the phone or in person) but abandoned before completing a sale with follow-up email messages which a) invite them back on the consideration path b) provide additional incentives to purchase not otherwise offered and c) offer content and information that overcomes known barriers to sale.
5. Introduce or increase use of triggered email
Part of diversifying your email messaging is supplementing broadcast (broadly targeted) messages with one-to-one automated messages known as “triggered” emails. As you automate portions of your email program like welcome, re-activation and re-targeting campaigns, subscribers themselves will determine much of their own email cadence through their behavior and interests. Identify the actions, dates or situations which constitute triggers for sending automated messages and have those messages ready to send when a subscribers trips a trigger.
Chances are, if you’re not already employing most of the above in your email marketing, even incorporating one of these power-boosters will yield an increase in revenue and profits.
Karen Talavera heads Synchronicity Marketing and writes about how to successfully use email, social media and content marketing on the Enlightened eMarketing blog. For your free copy of the Top 10 Email Marketing Do’s and Don’ts or to request a no-cost, no-obligation breakthrough session click here.