Call me strange, but I keep a file of all marketing e-mails that I receive. I started doing this a couple of years ago when I realized that some of these messages caught my attention while others went right to my “Deleted Items” folder. It made me wonder, what made the difference?
Whether or not e-mail marketing is right for your company will depend on your business model, but it’s certainly a common practice. I’ve drawn some conclusions based on my own reactions to marketing e-mails over time. There are some basic Do’s and Don’t’s when it comes to approaching potential clients. Let’s review a few of them:
- Use an attention-grabbing subject line. Would you rather open an e-mail with the subject line, “Exciting Guest Blog Idea” or one that reads, “An Inquiry?” I’ve received both, and I’ll bet you can guess which one I actually read.
- Address a specific person in your greeting. The more personalized you make your marketing approach, the more effective your results will be. I don’t know about you, but I tend to ignore any e-mail that doesn’t greet me by name. Also, take the time to learn the direct e-mail address of the person within your target company who you’re trying to reach. Sending a generic e-mail through a company’s website contact form is more than likely going to be screened as junk.
- Proofread for spelling and grammar. I’m frequently surprised at the poor content quality of marketing e-mails. Every marketing message you send represents your company, even if you think it’s “just a simple e-mail.” Would you be more likely to work with someone whose e-mails are well-written and professional, or one filled with errors? Exactly.
- Offer to do something for the recipient. Your marketing efforts can’t be all about you. Business owners have precious little time, so if they’re going to take some of that time to read your marketing message, they want to know what’s in it for them. Whether you offer to feature them on your blog, extend a discount on your services for only their clients, or even just offer to buy them lunch, your message will more likely be remembered than others.
- End with a Call to Action. Ask the recipient to call you, e-mail you back, visit your website, or otherwise take a step to connect with you. As an alternative, you can ask them to respond with the best time and avenue for you to reach them to follow up.
- Send attachments. Not only are people unlikely to read them, attachments are often flagged as spam if you’re not on the recipient’s safe-sender list.
- Write a novel and expect it to be read. Company decision-makers don’t have time to read five paragraphs about how great your company is. Keep your marketing message clear and concise.
- Only talk about yourself. It can be tempting to fill your marketing message with why the recipient should work with you, but keep those self-accolades to a minimum. Most of the best marketing e-mails I’ve received started with what the writer knew about me and my company rather than anything about their own. It’s flattering and shows you’ve done your homework.
- Use convoluted wording. Your recipient won’t be impressed by jargon or a list of buzzwords. I recently received an e-mail reading, “May I send you information regarding a comprehensive summit in 2013 focused on predictive analytics, evidence based decision making and big data?” After scratching my head, I filed this one under, “Beyond Me.”
- Get too chummy right away. Avoid becoming the cliché of the used car salesperson who sidles up to a potential buyer and begins acting like her best friend to work the sale. Your potential clients are more likely to be repelled by such tactics, defeating the purpose of your marketing efforts.
If you follow these tips, your e-mail marketing campaign is more likely to earn you some business. Do you have any other Do’s or Don’t’s when it comes to effective e-mail marketing? Please leave a comment and let us know!