The Purpose of Email Marketing

Do you know what the purpose of Email Marketing is? The email ad has one purpose and one purpose only, and thatpurpose is not to create sales? What? Your thinking I’ve finally gone off my rocker right?  How is email marketing’s purpose to not create sales, isn’t that the purpose of all marketing in the end?  No, and this is something I have tried to beat into people’s brains over and over; the purpose of email marketing is NOT to create sales, its purpose is to drive traffic to a website, that’s it, that’s its only purpose, it’s the websites job to create sales.  At Throttle when we look at an email marketing campaign, we consider a successful campaign one that has a high click through ratio; we look at the open rates and then we look at how people clicked through to the website, if that number is high or meets expectations based on the amount of email that was sent, we consider that a success.  Now the client may have a different definition of what success is, and they may look at the campaign and say great, 500 people went to my website but only two sales were generated, this isn’t a success this is a disaster.  My answer to them is my job was to create an email marketing ad to drive traffic to your site, I did that, I have nothing to do with the content or design of your website, I have nothing to do with the product that is being sold, so how do you overcome this?  Well, you can’t overcome this 100%, because you really have don’t have any control over the product;  I recently had a client that asked me how I thought their product would do, my answer to them was brutally honest; I didn’t know,  this is a unique product that I have never marketed in all my years, it was an inexpensive product, only about $20 and the target was anybody over the age of 21 in the U.S., so it had a very large market, and he wanted to send out several million; I had to be honest with him and I told him thats the amount of email you want to send out in this case because it can be offered nationally, that’s good, but I don’t know about the product, and then I gave him my opinion and my advice on his website;  I didn’t like the site, and I went through his site and I made some notes on what I thought he should do to change his website, and that’s exactly what he did and I think this is something that we need to do with each and every client.

We have two battles; the first thing we have to overcome with the client is to convince them to allow you to create an email campaign based on your expertise not on their vision as I discussed in yesterday’s article (Your clients wasting their money and its your fault). The second thing that you need to do is take a look at their website. Even though you didn’t create it, you need to see if it was done professionally, does it work?  If it doesn’t I think that you owe it to your client to tell them that you don’t think the website works, that you don’t think it’s going to have a high conversion rate, and tell them why.   Give them the opportunity to go back and fix it before conducting the email campaign, but your hands are going to be tied in many cases and there is  only so much that you can do, but you at least owe it to yourclient to give them your professional opinion.  So at the end of the day our policy is if the client refuses to take our advice and create an email ad that doesn’t work and is not within the guidelines that we have created, we won’t take their business, we’ll turn them down, and we will tell them that we are not interested in doing it because we know that the results are going to be dismal and that this is not going to accomplish what they want it to. The website is a little different, since that is really not part of the email campaign, just where we are driving traffic to, we are not going to refuse the job based on their site, but we are going to give them our opinion, and we are going to tell them why and what we think they should do, if they make the decision to move on anyway and don’t heed your advice, at least you’ve told them, and don’t tell them passively, you really need to tell them strongly, so that there’s no misunderstanding, so that when it doesn’t work they can’t come back and say it didn’t work. You can tell them it did work, look how many clicks you got through to your website based on the email campaign that we created for you, once they were there it was up to your website to convert them into a sale, if it didn’t then the client needs to be asking themselves “why?”. They got to the website, and then they stopped. Why did they stop, why didn’t they go on? There is only three reasons in my mind; they didn’t like the product, they didn’t like the price, or they didn’t like the website, it wasn’t designed in a way that was user friendly or it didn’t compel them to move on into the site, to stay on the site and continue to read, to investigate, to learn more about the product or service that is being offered, they stopped, and they left.  So that is on the client, but it is, as a business, your responsibility to educate them because when a client comes to us, we feel it is our responsibility ethically to tell them everything that is going to make this a successful campaign, to give them all the information that they need to make an informed decision, not just take their money to take their money. This is not a new problem and it is not going to go away overnight, the key to success for companies that are doing email marketing campaigns is to not let the clients control the campaign, you set the guidelines, you control it, they either do it your way or they don’t do it at all, because at the end of the day  you’re supposed to be looking out for their well being, you are doing this for their benefit, and while some may not see this, many will.  They came to you because you are the expert, and a wise man once said to me, “it is your job to do give the client what they need, not what they want.”

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About Joe Melle

Joe Melle has founded and ran several successful businesses, and has had an interesting career in direct contact media, call center operations, sales operations, customer service operations, customer retention, and quality assurance; he has written over 140 business articles, previously served as a part time adjunct professor for a university teaching business, marketing, and management courses to both graduate and post graduate students.Email Me