Why email marketing? Ah yes, the question that never gets old. In my quest to evangelize about efficient, effective marketing to everyone I meet, I have spoken to many business owners, sales execs and marketing managers about why a solid direct email strategy is a minimum requirement for conducting business today. Let’s get the downside out of the way first; some expect an immediate return on their marketing investments. Okay, I get it – we all get anxious to see results.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work out like that. Email marketing is a real relationship with readers, a simmering soup starting with fresh content, some handcrafted calls to action sprinkled in, and seasoned to taste with gentle inducements. With patience, a robust, satisfying outcome is guaranteed for all.
Because we live in the age of instant gratification, emails are the perfect method of reaching people wherever they are. They’re lightweight, portable, compatible with so many devices – great little bursts of a message from you to your readers, keeping your products and services at the top of their minds.
The problem, like many in business, is one of management. An email address and a retail copy of Outlook just can’t cut it. Why? Because a successful email strategy is based on information. Knowledge about your readers lets you tailor your messages more and more. What subject lines make them open your mail? What content makes them click on the links? What problems are they having that your business is able to solve?
As a solution provider with Constant Contact, I’m always met with qualms from clients on serious businesses need to invest in a dedicated mail application. I know secretly many fear it is just another gimmick a marketer is trying to sell them, or are afraid that they don’t have time to learn or manage this type of marketing outreach (if that’s the case Lady Lorde can help, talk to us today to find out how).
Maybe you’re one of those harboring secret doubts about the possibilities of email. Here are a few things I’ve heard in recent meetings – let me know if any of these concerns sound familiar (I’ve included my responses in case they do).
As a solution provider, here’s how I heard it: “I am a non-profit organization. Fundraising and donation collection are vital for carrying out our mandate – for our very survival. I need to be more effective. “
Lady Lorde’s response: Have you ever thought of circulating a donations campaign to your audience? This will make it easier for your supporters to give towards their favourite program no matter where they are – with a mere click of a button. More convenience = more donations! Set goals, create landing pages, integrate with popular payment methods, keep supporters updated about your progress and promote your fundraising events through email and social. Did I mention you can do all of this right from one platform?
What I heard was: “I need to find better ways to communicate with my customers why my products and services are right for them. I also need to invite NEW customers to give my business a try and then work on earning their loyalty.”
Lady Lorde’s response: A direct email campaign can help with that. It’s easy and fast to set up and if you already have the email addresses of the readers you want to reach, you can be sending emails in hours with customizable templates for local deals, Facebook fan promotions and trackable coupons (an excellent way of tracking your ROI). Starting from scratch? Integrate with your social media channels and gently prompt your customers at your point of sale, and watch your list grow seemingly out of thin air. After a couple of weeks, you’ll have a healthy set of contacts to start a conversation with!
The way I heard it: “I need feedback from my customers to know what am doing right and what am doing wrong.”
Lady Lorde’s response: It always warms my heart to confirm that businesses care about the needs and wants of their customers – after all, that’s the driving force behind why your doors stay open for business in the first place. To collect this important information, Constant Contact gives you the tools you need to create customizable feedback and survey campaigns. Now you have what it takes to create blueprints for your next strategic move.
What I heard: “Everyone’s telling me I should be doing more with social media, but it’s so overwhelming. I don’t even know what activities I should be engaging in with my customers.”
Lady Lorde’s response: I highly recommend Facebook fan promotions! Facebook is where most people spend their digital lives – 21 hours a month, according to this Washington Post article. Why not connect with them there? Constant Contact campaigns offer a social share option, extending the power of your email campaign across platforms. This option provides for a low-cost social marketing strategy that allows your business to communicate with existing and prospective clients while streamlining your workflow. Interesting fan promotions are a great way to raise awareness about your products and services while collecting information to turn warm leads into SALES!
How it came across to me: “To be honest I don’t track my marketing activities, so, therefore, I have no idea what’s working and what’s not.”
Lady Lorde’s response: The one feature of direct mail software like Constant Contact that is truly invaluable is the incredibly powerful end-to-end tracking and reporting capability. Everyone wants to know that they are getting a return on their investment – no one wants to be in the red where money is concerned. After sending an email campaign, survey, or fan campaign, you will automatically receive stats on who’s opening, reading, and clicking on what. With that information, you can keep your finger on the pulse of what’s resonating with your readers and tailor your messages accordingly.
Did any of these concerns resonate with you? If so, I hope I’ve done enough to allay your fears. If you’re not already doing it, building direct email marketing into your overall strategy is really the best way to achieve consistent, measurable sales results over and over again.
Still have questions? Leave a comment! Let’s keep the discussion going!
Editor's note: We're so lucky at LLA to be part of a close-knit network of thinkers, dreamers, and philosophers. Today, I'm excited to share an article written by one of our friends, which contains musings of the nature of leadership.
On a meet-the-parents trip to Cleveland, in my would-be mother-in-law’s kitchen, my ex-girlfriend’s mom popped the question as earnestly as is possible over a plate of eggs and beanie-weenies: Are you a leader or a follower? In the moment, I weaseled out of responding, but this facile formulation, to be honest, still nags me to this day.
The question presents, of course, a false binary. No one posits that Christmas parades consist of a color guard out front and then everyone else bringing up the rear—Kris Kringle, it’s fair to say, is no follower. And nearly a decade now into my life as an administrator, I recognize that leadership is just as much about hiring the right people and empowering them to succeed as it is about directing traffic.
Still, as an artist, I quibble over the idea of “thought leaders”, a term with an uneasy rhetorical proximity to “mind controllers”, and which, along with its sister term “influencers,” bears the euphemistic ring of commercial exploitation. Perhaps I’m in the minority, but in the cartography of my writer’s mind, there’s no direct or dotted line between artistic concept and dollar signs. Just as thought is inseparable from thinkers, ideas, for me, are inseparable from stories, and stories, in turn, inseparable from voices, those voices inextricably bound to the cacophony of others yelling, crying, and praying around them.
That’s why my work—that which I do for money and otherwise—is dialogic, that is, performed with a commitment to pluralism and an awareness of the work’s debt to, engagement with, and impact on the voices of others. This work is not easy and has consequences, but I learn from it immensely: about my self, about relationships, about the whirling galactic slurry we’re all swimming in. I liken the process to falling asleep at the wheel each night and awakening safe, sound, but in a different city than the one I’d set out for—neither turning the wheel nor following directions but serving as a conduit through which different agents act, other voices speak.
So, yeah, I’m a conduit. Perhaps had I summoned that answer in Cleveland things would have turned out differently. I can see my would-be mother-in-law’s eyes widen gravely with that reply, see her reach for my shoulders to jostle me awake with the realization of where things are headed. Perhaps then I would have followed directions. Perhaps then I would have taken the wheel.
About the Author
Jackson Brown is the writer and illustrator of the graphic-novel-in-progress The Grand Bargain and of the serial comic Cake and Potatoes, as well as a contributing and advisory editor for Callaloo literary journal. He is endowed with the uncanny ability to, whenever necessary, relinquish his own will for the greater good—except when it comes to dark chocolate, which is never necessary but always good. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife, daughter, and, when he’s lucky, his mother-in-law. Follow him on Twitter.
Whenever I meet with my Lady Lorde and Associates partners for a strategy session, we always begin by repeating our core passions – communication, innovative thinking, and people power.
That last obsession of ours tends to manifest in our commitment to the personal development of almost everyone we meet. We also love to turn our microscopic gaze inwards, teasing out ways that we can enrich ourselves with new knowledge and skills which we then use to power our growth as people, and as a business.
Our last meeting touched off a bit of personal exploration on my end, which has produced some interesting results. Today I’d like to share the story with you. Read more
So, you’re ready to launch…right?
Now that we finally have a moment to spare, we thought it would be a good idea to talk about everything it took to get us to this point.
Perhaps, like we were a few months ago, you are standing on the precipice, not sure whether to jump or not. You have a great idea, the math is working out, and you’re ready to announce your new business to the world…what on earth do you do now? Read more