EMAIL IS now THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MARKETING TOOL!
1. Everyone uses email.
While there are plenty of business people who don’t use Facebook or Twitter, and most consumers haven’t gone near LinkedIn, you can be pretty sure that everyone has an email address and they use it frequently, and when they do use it their brain is engaged – they’re not just skimming through pictures of cats and inspirational sayings. In fact, when you look at communication preferences both online and offline, it turns out that across all age groups, email is by far the preferred method for commercial communications.
Between 65-78% of adults (depending on age group) name it as their number one preference compared to 0-4% that prefer social media And this also applies to all levels of seniority in organizations, from the receptionist to the CEO. We sometimes think that perhaps senior executives are too busy to read emails but the days where the senior executive will get their secretary or PA to print out their emails for them are long gone.
What does happen is that the more senior people are the more likely their emails are to be screened, but they will still read emails from people they know personally or who they are confident will regularly provide them with worthwhile material and value.
So emails do get through to very senior executives in big corporates. In fact I’ve had clients win large corporate contracts as a result of marketing to those corporates via email.
Email marketing also works for different types of products and services. The sort of things we typically see sold via email marketing tend to be books from Amazon or special offers from Groupon, or perhaps the latest product release from a high-tech retailer.
But email marketing works equally as well when it comes to selling high value products and services. Because you’re sending regular emails you get a chance to build a relationship with your potential client, to build trust and credibility over time, so that when they’re ready to buy they call you or they go and take some action that leads them into a purchase of that high value product or service.
Now the chances are that many people reading this will be in that position of selling a high value product or service. You probably don’t run Amazon; you’re probably not a retailer with a huge warehouse in China that you send out low cost electronics to people from. But you probably are someone who delivers tremendous value to your customers and clients through your products and services.
You probably have to build a relationship with those people before they’re ready to buy, where they trust you and they believe you’ve got the capabilities or your products have the characteristics that are going to be able to help them. And what you’re going to have to do is build that credibility and that trust over time with regular high value, high engagement emails.
2. Email is Personal.
The second reason email marketing is so effective is that email is personal. There’s just something about receiving an email in your inbox that makes it feel like it’s been written just for you (especially if the email is skillfully written in the same style as the emails you usually get from business colleagues and friends). Whereas the entire atmosphere on a social media site or even a blog feels more like you’re part of a group discussion or crowd.
With the capability of reaching people in their inboxes, a place where most people are vigilant at multiple times per day, email provides an advantage that few technologies offer. And typically the rules of play with email are that we read whatever comes into our inbox or we at least look at it and scan it. We feel uncomfortable if we miss stuff going through our inbox, just in case it was important, whereas with social media we miss tweets and updates all the time and don’t worry about it. We don’t expect to process everything that comes our way via those media
That means email marketing is a much more certain route to reaching your ideal clients. You can email regularly and proactively, knowing that while not everyone is going to open and read your emails you stand a decent chance. With social media you’re reliant on them being around at the time you send out your message. And increasingly with Facebook, your messages only show up for a small percentage of the people who’ve liked your page. With email you have much more control.
3. Another key reason that emails work is that email allows you to follow up!
Let’s just forget online marketing for a moment and think about how successful businesses operate in the offline world. For generations, successful marketers and business developers have known that the key to winning customers – especially for high value products and services is follow up.
When you first come into contact with a potential client it’s pretty unlikely they’re ready to buy right then and there. It may be that the timing’s just not right yet: they’re not feeling the pain of their problem enough, or they haven’t quite decided on the right strategy to address it. And often, you’ll need to build up considerable credibility and trust before a prospect will be willing to place the success of a critical part of their business or life in your hands.
So depending on your business it may take four, five, eight, ten or more contact points before your potential client will be ready to buy. That’s why in the face-to-face world, successful business developers follow up relentlessly. Not just to nag and ask whether the prospect is ready yet. But to add value, build credibility and engender trust. And it’s absolutely the same online. Most sales managers will agree most sales are lost through improper or inadequate follow up procedures.
According to Brian Carroll, author of Lead Generation For The Complex Sale, “Up to 95 per cent of qualified prospects on your Web site are there to research and are not yet ready to talk with a sales rep, but as many as 70 per cent of them will eventually buy a product from you — or your competitors”. So if you want to build the necessary credibility and trust to turn website visitors into paying clients, you’ve got to have multiple interactions with them.
Sadly, one look at website statistics will show you that often, 70 per cent or more of your website visitors show up once, but then never return. And that means that 70 per cent or more of your website visitors are highly unlikely to ever become paying clients. Email marketing gives you that ability to follow up. When people sign up for your emails you can then proactively communicate with them rather than hoping they remember to come back to your site.
4. Finally, email marketing is scalable.
There’s nothing as powerful as personalized follow up. But you can only personally follow up with a limited number of potential clients; eventually you just run out of time. Email marketing allows you to follow up at scale. And with some of the more advanced strategies you can make that follow experience really feel quite personal for them. You can follow up on expressed specific interests, and because Email is trackable and measurable, and you can tell who is opening the emails, who is clicking the links, and who is buying from you, you can adapt and improve your approach based on facts. You don’t have to rely on what experts tell you should work. You can see what really does work.
That ability to communicate pro-actively, personally and regularly makes email marketing an incredibly powerful tool for building relationships, proving credibility, and of course driving sales.In fact, if you look at the websites of all the social media gurus you’ll see just how powerful email marketing is by the prominence they give it.
Chris Brogan, bestselling author of Social Media 101 and Google Plus for Business says “to me the hottest and sexiest social network right now is your inbox”. And he walks the talk too. Prominent on every page and blog post on chrisbrogan.com is a big subscription form to get what he promises is “the best of what I do”: his email newsletter…… “Queen of Facebook”, Mari Smith does the same. There’s a sign up box for her Social Scoop emails above all the social media buttons on her website. It’s the same with Amy Porterfield, Lewis Howes, Melanie Duncan, and pretty much every other social media expert.
They all focus on capturing email addresses so they can speak to you directly in your inbox. Not that their strategies for social media don’t work. They certainly have their place. It’s just that they recognize that in B2B MARKETING/SALES – EMAIL IS ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL MARKETING TOOL!
P.S. Sincere thanks to Ian Brodie for excerpts from his book “Email Persuasion”. You can find the book and more about Ian at: http://www.emailpersuasion.com