E-FAIL: Do's and Don'ts of Email Marketing
We know that in most cases, the first budget to get cut
when the Hoover flags show up is marketing. Contrary to most beliefs, this is a faux pa. If anything, business owners should be looking for cheaper ways to reach their target audiences so that they don't become Crystal Pepsi
Enter email marketing; the affordable and sometimes underestimated way to reach a ton of prospects. But hold on there... don't dive into Constant Contact just yet... there are some things you should know before blasting away.
Sitting around, fly swatting away at my SPAM folder is not my idea of a good time. Unfortunately, 90% of the emails I get make me want to spoon out my eyeballs. Think about how many times you give your email address away to companies whose products you purchase... YEAH... exactly. This is what we in the industry like to call an "opt-in"; you are willingly giving your information away because there is a chance they will come out with a leopard Snuggie and you do NOT want to miss the first sale. All those opt-in email addresses are going to go to their ongoing newsletter database.
This is how most people who use email marketing get their email addresses (or direct sales leads). But... come on in close for this one... (::whispers::) some people buy their email addresses from 3rd party vendors. Legal? Kinda. Best practice? Hell no. The ugly truth is that it does happen and it manages to piss off a LOT of people (me being one of them). Needless to say... don't do it.
Once your database is respectable (at least 250 addresses, depending on the size of your company and pre-existing clout, if any), you need a killer design with one hell of an email subject line (i.e. "Hungry Hungry Hippos for Christmas", "Fwd: Twinkies"). You want your design to look like your brand threw up on it; your logo (if anything else), visible links to your website and/or contact information and your company's colors to name a few. Your message(s) should be clear, concise and call the recipient to an obvious action ("Come to our website", "Buy our widget", "Do the stanky leg").
Now that you're finished with your template and you've generously tipped your graphic artist (that is, if you're not a Photoshop DaVinci and couldn't do it yourself), there is one more element of your email... perhaps the most important button that you will ever see... the "Unsubscribe" button. If you fail to put this in your email, shame... shame... shame on you. This crucial (and sadly enough, overlooked) feature of your email allows your recipient to say, "God... that was awful. No more please."
Say you invited me over for fish tacos. I came to your house, greeted all of your guests, politely asked for you to pass me condiments, complimented you on how your fry-batter was delectable and even excused myself from the table... and then... in front of everyone, put on my footed pajamas and went to sleep on your La-Z-Boy... forever. How would you feel? This is comparable to not adding an "Unsubscribe" button at the bottom of your company's email.
Well... you've sent your email. Now follow up and you'll be rich! Great job!