In her Seven Sins of Email Marketing article last week, Lydia highlighted several common email faux pas. As I read through the list of things to avoid, I recognized each one as having recently landed in my Inbox. And I marveled that in this age of sophisticated online marketing it was shocking that many companies still employ such a crude approach. With reams of free advice online (yes, amongst all the chaff are many kernels of wisdom) and affordable software there is no need to be unprofessional — or unsuccessful for that matter.
So, why are many SME sending out emails destined to fail? Why do many companies continue to use less evolved email tactics that seem to be void of any strategy? I suspect these are the top three reasons:
1. Insufficient Budget
Money rules, or at least influences, every corporate decision. Properly managing your finances is smart, however simply choosing the cheapest option is not managing. The focus should be on ROI, not simply spending as little as possible. A poor email campaign will not only fail to bring any financial results, it can cost you dearly in brand equity.
Having the right strategy, tools and the ability to effectively implement them is fundamental to succeeding. Investing in marketing automation software (like HubSpot) and well-written, nurturing email campaigns will bear fruit.
2. Lack of Strategy
Every company wants to increase sales and email campaigns can be an effective way to reach out to your existing audience and encourage others to join the crowd. However, simply sending out a missive is not going to work. Define who you want to target and what you have to offer them. Then determine a step-by-step process to woo them — a series of sequential emails that provide information, insight and incentive. Demonstrating value, not only in your product/service, but in a relationship with your company, is essential to building trust. Once you have earned that trust you have developed a loyal client. Building sales and brand should be part of an ongoing and carefully managed strategy.
I’m not being mean and calling people stupid; I’m referring to ignorance defined as a “lack of knowledge, education, or awareness.” (Merriam-Webster) Many leaders and managers are not marketers, or they may not be up-to-date on current methodologies. But, not knowing is no excuse, and it certainly won’t save your company from the potentially disastrous ramifications of a bad email campaign.
If you don’t have the in-house ability to develop and implement a successful online campaign, outsource the task. Any well-devised and strategically executed online plan should bear fruit… why take a chance when you can invest in a sure thing?
Outgoing communication is an essential component to nurturing relationships and building your business. We’re fortunate these days that it is inexpensive and easy to target meaningful information to a receptive audience, and to accurately track the progress. (And yes, there is such a thing as outbound communication within inbound marketing tactics. The distinction being that with inbound marketing, recipients have first expressed interest in the information and provided their email addresses.)
The business world is a very competitive global marketplace that tends to be unforgiving. Doing what you do really well is not enough to guarantee success. (The “build it and they will come” model works best in Hollywood… and even there you need really good writers.) Hence, the critical role that marketing plays in creating successful corporations. All three issues cited above can be dealt with by virtually any size organization; so there is ultimately no reason for any company to deliver a shoddy email campaign.
What are your thoughts? Have I missed a consideration in why poor email campaigns persist?
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