On any e-commerce website, email marketing is your friend. It’s still, indisputably, the best way to keep in touch with your customers, retain them, and generate new sales.
And, surprisingly, it doesn’t seem to matter how old they are.
Data gathered by the Direct Marketing Association in 2017 showed that email on average yields a 30 times return on investment, with 95% of respondents saying it is important or very important to their business. And a 2012 survey by ExactTarget on Channel Preferences showed that 77% of the US consumers who took part in the survey far preferred emails to direct mail (at 9%) and text messaging (at 3%)!
It’s clear, then, that email marketing is (still) a great idea – even if the new General Data Protection Regulation – GDPR – has made it more of a challenge. But it’s also a lot of work. Which you may not have the time, the inclination or (even) the skills to do yourself.
So – with a return on investment like that – you might consider outsourcing your email marketing. Especially if you want to get a return on investment like that!
Doing it yourself
Of course, there’s nothing to stop you doing your own email marketing. Programs like Mailchimp and Aweber can easily be integrated with most e-commerce websites. But you will need to familiarise yourself with their use, and the learning curve can be steep. You’ll also need to build up a GDPR-compliant email list – if you don’t already have one. And although it’s tempting to buy a list ‘off the shelf’ to start your marketing program, it’s certainly not advisable now, and never has been.
The best practice is (and always has been) to get your recipients’ permission to send them marketing material, and there are many ways in which you can win that permission. But do bear in mind the difference between a marketing email and a customer information email. If someone is a customer, and you need to tell them something about their account, for example, it’s entirely reasonable for you to do so. You might also want to talk about a new version of a product they already have, or give them more information about a purchase. If, on the other hand, you’re trying to sell them something entirely new, it’s probably best to ask first.
What will you send?
Once you have permission – or a legitimate reason to send – then you need to think about what you’re sending. Emails that are heavy on graphics and light on words look good in the design window. The snag is that they may go to the spam bin before they get to the recipient. There’s also a severe risk that the recipient won’t see your graphics at all. That’s because some email browsers turn off graphics by default. And if you’re using a commercial program, you might want to check that what looks good on their system looks equally good when it arrives. Sadly that won’t always be the case…
And that’s before you’ve even considered what you’re going to say, and who’s going to write it!
All too often we’ve seen people take up the idea of email marketing with enthusiasm. They’ll produce one or two emails. And then find it’s taking too much time, or it’s too much hassle. A pity, because with a little commitment it could become very profitable for them.
If you’d like some advice on email marketing, give us a call. And if you’d like some help – again, give us a call. We’ll be delighted to discuss your needs and help you decide for yourself what your best options are. We can take the hassle out of using programs like Mailchimp and Aweber. And if you need help with content, we’ll put you in touch with the people who can give it.