Advantages of Email Marketing – Why Is It the Answer for Your Business?

The DMA (Direct Marketing Association) tells us that 90% of companies use email marketing and they describe email marketing as the new hero for troubled financial times. Their research shows that more than half of companies surveyed expect to increase their spend on direct email this year, many of them cutting back on traditional direct mail in order to do so. It all sounds great, but why is email marketing the answer for your business?

There are three massive advantages to email marketing compared to traditional marketing techniques:

Its inexpensive, the cost of email marketing campaigns is significantly less than other marketing strategy. As the medium is so scalable, you also have the ability to commit as much or as little as you want to email marketing.

Great Return on Investment, no other type of direct marketing will offer the same sort of ROI as email. This is partly because of cost; you aren’t spending as much in the first place, but the flexibility of the medium also has an impact. Targeted email marketing allows you to personalise campaigns to your customers. It is also a great way to maintain the relationship with your existing customers and to make them aware of offers. When done right, there a great return on investment, but you can still get it wrong. If you don’t have any in-house experience of email marketing campaigns, then it can be wise to take expert advice.

Measurable, an email campaign allows you to measure effectiveness more than any other type of direct marketing. You are able to track every opened email, every click, every email shared right through to the sale. This differs massively from a direct mail shot where no one can tell you how many went straight into the bin.

With email you can see if your campaign has worked, but perhaps more importantly you can see where it didn’t work and what didn’t work. This allows you to learn from experience and use that feedback to tailor your email activity to your customers needs.

Nobody will tell you they like spam, but what do we actually mean by that term? At the moment opinion is shifting towards the idea of spam as an email that is irrelevant to the user. Beware of allowing this to lull you into a false sense of security though. A recent DMA survey showed that 75% of consumers found less than 20% of emails they received to be relevant to them.

There are still many people who class spam as something they didn’t sign up for. Another study asked consumers to rate acceptability of promotional emails out of 5 (5 is most acceptable, 1 is least acceptable.) Permission clearly made marketing emails more acceptable, where the consumer had given permission for ongoing communication participants rated it as 4.1 out of 5. When the consumer had interacted with a company, but had not given permission for contact, the score dropped significantly to 2.5. The worst score was for marketing material from companies who had not been given permission and with whom the consumer had never interacted. This scored 1.7 out of 5.

The moral of the story seems clear; concentrate on targeted email marketing campaigns to make your email more relevant to your customers and focus on marketing to opt in lists. This seems like the surest recipe to ensure your emails are not classed as spam by any user definition.

Using Direct Marketing to Increase Profits

Direct marketing has earned its place as a cheap way to create leads that transform to fresh business opportunities. One of the often used methods is direct mail. For a business to succeed in this area, a perfect choice of marketer must be made. The business must look for a company with a good reputation and experience. Majority of firms that purport to promote direct marketing are the “fly by night” category or the shady type with nothing to show. Their ability to generate a mailing list and offer telemarketing services should be near perfect.

Telemarketing is a sub-branch of direct marketing where consumers are contacted directly via phone. It has gained popularity due to increased usage and penetration of the mobile phone. Telemarketing leads reach a wide spectrum of consumers among them professionals and businesspeople. Direct mail has traditionally been used to send printed or illustrated material to selected prospects.

If used properly, direct marketing can help increase a business’ profits in as short period as a month. Direct mail can be customized as the needs of a business may change from time to time. This makes it very flexible. To develop important leads, first identify the market segment you wish to address. For instance, if you are selling supplements, you may target first time mothers who want to lose the extra weight gained during pregnancy. Another group may consist of men in the middle age brackets, who simply want to eat healthy food.

After the market is identified, look for a direct mail services provider. Request them for a mailing list. In some cases, you will buy this list at a small fee. Customized letters are then created. To use this direct marketing method effectively, the letters should enumerate the benefits of the products or services on offer. They are then posted to the respective addresses as detailed on the mailing list. The responses arising out of this are the leads which if aggressively followed will translate to sales.

The company can assess the success or failure of a direct marketing campaign. For example the direct mail letters may request a prospect to quote a number, code or tear off a coupon and present it on the next purchase. When the customers start making inquiries, the code numbers will be noted and entered into a special database created for this purpose. Once the leads have been entered, any subsequent sale will be marked against its respective lead. At the end of the campaign all sales arising from the direct mail promotion will be used to determine profit volumes.

Direct marketing is not entirely a new concept. Direct mail campaigns have been carried out for a while now. The method is cheap as compared to placing advertisements in newspapers, printing poster or buying prime time on television stations. It generates more leads and is easy to monitor. Telemarketing services can be used together with direct mail as tools to bring large volumes of leads hence more business as it connects with clients.

The Importance of a Marketing Plan

There aren’t many things in life that you would get into with out a plan. Marketing is no different. Your overall marketing plan should cover about a six month period, and should be made up of weekly and monthly marketing schedules.

This is how you do it:

1. Figure out how much money is in your budget.

As we all know, marketing of any kind costs money. How much money you are willing to commit to the cause is going to determine some key factors about how that money can be best spent. Remember, you want to be economical but you also need to be realistic on what it will take to pull in the leads you need to close new and repeat business.

2. Determine your target market.

Who is most likely to buy your product? Are they married? Are they business owners? What is their income level? These are the people that you want to target. One of the most common mistakes in marketing is answering “Everyone” to the question “Who is your target market?” It may be that you have more than one target market, but there is no product in the world that appeals to each and every person. Even Coca-Cola targets different people with different messages. Decide who is MOST LIKELY to buy what you have to sell and target them. Your message to teenagers will be different than your message to housewives even if the product is exactly the same. Different markets may require different mail pieces or advertisements.

2a. Using the Right Mailing List.

In making sure that your message is getting across to the right people – people who are in the market for what you’re offering usually comes down to finding the right mailing list.

There is a great deal to know about mailing lists. There are pointers you could follow when buying a mailing list that tell you what to watch for in a mailing list company to make sure they’re reputable. They are:

i) Get references. Talk to other people that have purchased mailing lists from that company.

ii) Do they guarantee on delivery? That means due to the inevitable number of bad addresses there are in a list, can they still guarantee a high percentage of deliverable addresses. That number should be 90% or better. People move all the time so a mailing list company cannot guarantee 100% deliverability – but they should guarantee at least 90%.

iii) How often do they update their information? They should be able to answer this question and should be updating their information monthly.

You can get burnt on mailing lists – it is the most expensive part of your campaign. Ask friends who own businesses. Don’t just purchase from the first person that tries to sell you mailing lists. Do your research.

3. Select what media to use. (i.e., Direct Mail, Television, Radio, etc.)

This decision will depend on both your budget and your target market. If you have not done a good deal of marketing in the past we recommend picking one media to start. This is much easier to keep track of and you will better be able to tell whether or not it is working. Also, since repetition is the key to marketing success, using one media to begin with will help you reach the same people multiple times. If you run a
newspaper ad and send out a postcard, you run the risk of the majority of the people only seeing your ad once. However, if you send out the postcard twice you can guarantee that you get your message to the same people twice and you will start to build recognition.

Once you are getting the returns that you want from the first media, or if you decide that it is not working for you, you can branch out into another form of advertising. Over time you will build up a very diverse marketing plan.

4. Make a Schedule and Stick with It.

Figure out how many people you have in your target market. For this example we will use Direct Mail Marketing. If you have a mailing list of people in your target market that has 1500 names, figure out how many times per month you can mail a postcard to them and still stay within your monthly budget. Once you come up with this number, do it!

The importance of having a marketing plan cannot be stressed enough. Create one and follow it and you’ll start seeing the benefits.