That’s a lot of unnecessary wailing. After all, email users will grow to 3 billion in 2020.
Furthermore, 91% of people access their email at least once a day.
Those facts alone point to email marketing as a no-brainer.
Nevertheless, according to short-sighted naysayers, email marketing is dying a slow death. According to such self-appointed “experts,” its replacements, SEO and social media, are the future of digital marketing.
The reality is, though, that SEO will always be a game controlled by Google. If you haven’t had the thrill of a Google Slap or an Adwords campaign cancellation, then wait for it. Kowtow to the Mighty Google or else!
With social media marketing, you have even less say in when, where, how often, and to whom your ads or posts appear. And forget about truly useful analytics. On top of that, the speed of the buying process through social media is one-third that of email marketing.
The problem isn’t that email marketing is dying. It can still be as powerful as ever. So why does it fail so much?
Simply put, marketers haven’t kept up with the latest changes in the “email marketplace.” Fortunately, just a couple tweaks will power up your email marketing to where it used to be.
The Good Ol’ Days Are Long Gone
A typical strategy that once worked much better was to entice web visitors to exchange their contact information for a special report of some kind.
Effective copywriting would create the feeling of “OMG…I’ve just got to have this report” for the reader. Getting her to give up her name and email address without hesitation was super easy.
Then – voila! – your mailing list would grow.
This strategy still works well. Its effectiveness depends on how well the bait piece is promoted. Good copywriting at this point is worth its weight in gold.
However, it doesn’t matter how valuable the bait piece is for the new subscriber if it doesn’t induce some kind of action. Otherwise, the document might as well be filed in a time capsule and sent to Mars.
Let’s assume that your site traffic is getting plenty of eyeballs on the lure. Your list keeps growing.
That’s great, since you’ve always heard that “the gold is in the list.”
Well, it should be. Except that your subscribers are basically a bunch of moochers who just wanted your freebie. This crowd typically unsubscribes at the first chance. Or they complain about your follow-up series, as if you are spamming them (double opt-in be damned). Or, most often, they just don’t open your emails at all.
The 20% open rate that you used to get dwindles to 10%, then 5%, then really drops off a cliff. Click-through rates fall even faster.
All you do to slow down the hemorrhaging may work temporarily. Good subject lines, personalization, formatting – they all have their place for overcoming resistance to your emails. They just don’t work like they used to.
A New Strategy That’s Not Really New
Recall the old adage that it is easier to sell to a current customer than to sell to a new one. In the techie parlance of email marketing, this bit of old-time wisdom has morphed into list segmentation.
That’s just a fancy way of saying that you have two groups of people: 1) buyers; and, 2) non-buyers.
The first group is where the gold really is. Marketing to them is where your ROI is greatest. Pay attention, though – messages to this group have to be different than those you send to the moocher class.
The concept of list segmentation is simple, isn’t it? Of course, you will need the right tools from your email service provider. All the top providers are up on it. Your marketing department should be, too.
List segmentation is just a start, though. Once you do it, the key is what to do to keep your buyers in the fold. How about something radical – personalization.
Is Personalization Truly Radical?
Online ads are more personalized than ever. Emails should be, too.
Imagine how powerful a message is when the reader thinks she is being addressed individually by an actual person. A person with a name and contact information (not “info” or “contact” or a contact form – no, a real person with a real email address).
Now here is where you can really get radical.
Send a thank you card or similar note of appreciation to each buyer via snail mail.
Since they are already buyers, you can easily obtain relevant information about them – including mailing addresses – that can make such notes even more personal. You already know what they have bought. Mentioning the product(s) they already have from you individualizes communication even further.
One more thing … handwrite it. That’s right – real ink on real paper, including the envelope. (Getting “opens” is as much of a game for snail mail as it is for email.)
If all this seems like a lot of work – well, it is. The question is, is it worth it?
Your answer rests on what the Lifetime Customer Value (LCV) is for your buyer. Once you figure it out, investing time and money should give you a 5- to 10-fold ROI when all the numbers fall into place.
Doesn’t all this sound a bit retro? Of course it does.
List segmentation should also provide the ideal target audience among your buyers, too. For B2C supplement companies, marketing to Baby Boomers (and older) would be a great target for such an old-fashioned strategy. They are not just your buyers. They are also the age class with the greatest spendable income.
One More Thing
Split testing. The power of A/B testing is crucial. All of your marketing campaigns should use it for refining and improving what you do. Successful marketers know this, so I am probably not telling you anything new.
Nevertheless, I have been surprised on occasion to work with companies that don’t do split testing. They are “hope-driven” more than “data-driven.” At best, this is short-sighted. At worst, it is a formula for failure.
Getting the Right Help
You knew my pitch was coming, right? I don’t want to disappoint you, so here it is.
Copywriters provide actionable documents of all kinds for every marketing campaign. We are the best source of marketing materials for inducing people to take the action you want them to take.
If you don’t have a professional copywriter – freelancer or staffer – then it is time to get one.
And make it a good one – like me.
That’s my pitch.
That’s all for now.