Using Email Marketing to boost sales.

Anyone engaged in sending an email marketing message knows that it is not as simple as clicking on the to button and select whom you are going to send the email to, quickly type out a subject and then get down to business of writing your email, push the send button in your Gmail or Yahoo account and abracadabra your message is ripping through the Internet at speeds that would have left superman gasping for breath and looking for his Albuterol Inhaler. So you send emails like this all day long at work, at home and one day while in the men’s room sitting in the back stall reading the daily edition of the Wall Street Journal that you diligently pick up off the drive way each morning you have an epiphany, BAZINGA the light bulb went off, you scramble to be as Hygienically responsible as you can be in your state of excitement run out of the bathroom and into your office and you tell your partner that you just came up with a spectacular idea that will solve the issues with business being down 20% in the last two quarters. He looks at you trying not to notice the three-foot long piece of toilet paper that followed you through the door. “Listen”, you tell him, “forget all this money we are spending on banners and SEM we need to start conducting our own email marketing campaigns. We have a fairly large database and I have a contact over at BS Marketing that will sell us a data base of one million consumers, all permission based, opted in, and so all we have to do is follow the simple rules listed on the FTC website for the CAN SPAM ACT and we are golden. We can send a million emails out and even if we only get 1% to respond well that’s 10,000 people, and if only 5% of them buy our least expensive product for $29 we make $2900 , we do that two or three times a week and we are making $60,000 a month in sales”.

I know you are thinking that this is an exaggeration, and it may be, but I talk to small business owners all the time and this is what their mentality is. Email is the magic solution. How can you go wrong with thousands and thousands of emails going right into the inbox of potential customers?

Email is one of the greatest marketing platforms ever created in the history of marketing. It has capabilities and measurable metrics that no other platform can offer. You can track how many people opened the email, and of those you can track how many clicked on a link and went to the website in the ad and more. All of this is true.

The problem with email is that people have unrealistic expectations. They think if they sent out a 100,000 email campaign that they will get 10,000 visitors to their website. It doesn’t quite work that way. Email like any other media requires planning, research, and targeting, and segmentation. Like any media email requires what we call consistency marketing, meaning that people need to see your ad several times. It is a common marketing fact that people often need to see your ad between 3 and 7 times before they make the move to purchase or even contact you. Have you ever watched a television show for an hour and saw just one Verizon commercial during the breaks in that hour? No of course not, you saw the commercial four or five times. Last week my family and I hooked up my laptop to our big screen and watched the first four episodes of the new show ‘V” because we missed the first four weeks. Each show was only about 45 minutes long due to limited commercials. Each 45 minutes show had about 5 commercials, only 1 commercial per break for only 60 seconds. We watched all four shows and out of the 20 commercials we saw, 17 of them were the same commercial over and over. It was for Hellman’s mayonnaise. Do you think they made the decision to bombard us with the same mayonnaise commercials without a good reason? No they know that this is what sells. Consistency marketing. Email is not any different.

Okay so you are going to run your email 10 or 12 times over a four or five-week period. Now you need to create an ad. Your ad can be an html ad or a text ad, depending on what you are selling and who your target is will depend on the type of ad you want to use. In either case, you want to use what is called a spam score. This is a system that grades your ad based on filter criteria that all major ISP’s use. The lower the score the better. Things that raise the score are red, bold lettering, all capital letters, words like “Free”, “No cost”, “No obligation” and much more. The maximum your score should be is about 2.5, but I recommend that our client’s goal should be under 1. You can check your spam score for free at http://spamcheck.sitesell.com

The last thing which many think is the least important is the subject. The subject is quite important for a number of reasons. First off, this is the first thing that the recipients are going to see. The subject is what is going to determine if they open the email or move it to trash. So you want your subject to be effective but at the same time, not too corny or too commercial. Your goal is to have a professional commercial email with a hint of personality to it. Putting the recipient’s name in the subject is a great way to let them know that you know them and research has indicated that emails with the person’s name in the subject have a higher open rate than those that do not.

The last but not the least of your concerns is going to be getting your mail through. How are you going to email? Are you using your personal email account? BZZZZ! If you said yes, you answered incorrectly. Most ISP’s like Yahoo, MSN, AOL and Gmail all have a limit to how much mail that you are allowed to send per day. Yahoo will only allow you to send 25 per day. So if you have 4000 days to spare, than you can get your 100,000 emails sent, no problem. So you are thinking that you will just go lease a server, you can get one for about $150 bucks a month. The problem is you purchased data and even though it was opt in data; they did not opt in to you. So when they complain and they will complain you cannot how proof that they opted in to your domain. Most servers and as well as email services like Constant Contact state in their Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) that opt in mail must have originated from your domain and not be a purchased list that was generated from Co-registration data.

So what is one to do? You need to hire an email marketing company that does this for a living. This is what they are good at. Just be very careful when you are selecting an email marketing company that you are very careful and that you have done your homework. There is a lot of scam artists out there calling themselves email marketing companies. Be careful. Check them out, something as simple as doing a Google search on the company name and the name of the principles in the company can go a long way in making sure you are using a real company. If you need some help with email marketing or just want some advice, feel free to shoot me an email at joem@throttle-media.com or leave your questions in the comments section below.