Every business large and small should have a coherent email marketing plan. Every business. But before you go out and sign up for Constant Contact, you have to think things through. First and foremost, you need to know what email marketing is.
Here’s a hint: It is not sending out a monthly newsletter that nobody reads.
While we’re at it, that “Sign Up For Our Newsletter” button on the lower right sidebar on your website? Yeah, that’s pretty much worthless, but I digress.
EMAIL MARKETING IS PART OF THE DIGITAL MARKETING ECOSYSTEM.
If your business embraces the idea of the digital ecosystem and includes email marketing as an important, if not crucial, element to that ecosystem, you will be far ahead of the competition.
Think about how you sell your service or product today.
Think about what your customer go through before buying your product.
Your customer buying cycle is unique to your market. But it most definitely follows a path something like this:
1) Prospect Pain Point — here your prospective customer gets a headache, or starts thinking it might be nice to go on a family ski trip, or his sink gets clogged, or her mother breaks her hip. Every buying cycle regardless of the product or service begins with a prospect need or want. “Pain point” describes this need or want.
2) Research — When a jogger’s heel starts to hurt, he takes to the web doing keyword searches and surfing from site to site reading articles about heel pain and possible remedies. When a health system administrator needs to find ways to cut patient re-admittance; when a water heater leaks all over the basement floor; when an apartment complex management firm needs to sell more units; no matter what the business pain point, it follows with researching potential remedies.
3) Shopping — Once the research is done and the prospect knows what he wants, it’s time to shop. Here the user shifts from researching possible solutions to a pain point into shopping for the already identified set of choices.
4) Purchasing — At the end of the shopping funnel, your prospect will place an order.
Now they are your customer.
You may be wondering why this discussion is not focused on email marketing? The reason is because email marketing serves as a piece of this buying cycle.
EMAIL MARKETING CANNOT AND SHOULD NOT BE USED OUTSIDE THE CONTEXT OF A MARKETING ECOSYSTEM.
If you came to us and said, “I need help with my email marketing,” we would begin a conversation about your marketing ecosystem, because email marketing cannot function — at least properly — without a marketing structure holding it up. Or, more accurately, the email marketing is a brick that helps hold up the marketing structure.
Email marketing works in one of three ways, depending on where the buyer is in the sales cycle.
EMAIL FOR A HARD SELL
When a prospect receives an email focused on a hard sell, the recipient should already have an established and recognized pain point. The email messaging makes no bones about it; it exists to compel the recipient to buy something.
Think along these lines…
“If you need to lose weight fast, this system will help you shed your first 10 pounds in 10 days. Today only we have a special 50% off deal. Click here.”
The hard sell is used in email marketing on your customers who are already primed to buy. All they need is a push in the right direction. Hard sells can be used for Valentine’s Day flowers, leasing specials, office automation products, and anything else.
As long as the prospect is pre qualified, the hard sell can be used.
EMAIL FOR A SOFT SELL
When a prospect is known to be interested, but still in the research phase, the email marketing should focus on educating that prospect until the tipping point is reached and the prospect becomes a shopper.
A soft sell is typically used with products and services that have a long sales cycle. Particularly in the B2B world, there are deals that can take months — or years — to close. In this case, email marketing should focus on bringing that recipient ever closer to trusting you for the business.
EMAIL MARKETING FOR MIND SHARE
What happens after the sale? What happens after the shopping is over and the pain point is satisfied?
You must stay in front of your existing clients because if you do not, they will no longer be your clients!
You must build and maintain mind share.
Email marketing can be used effectively to feed a continuous stream of up-to-date information to existing customers. It establishes and maintains your position as the best solution to various pain points.
Then when the client needs the latest and greatest, there is no question to whom they will turn for the next purchase. In fact, with the proper mind share, the prospect will pass right by research and shopping and jump right to the purchase. Again. Although you may have a great email marketing set up, it will not work without the rest of the digital ecosystem.
You’ll need a website to publish content, which will be linked from the emails.
You’ll need social media to syndicate your content and to provide a venue for interacting with people who read the emails.
You’ll need a solid search engine presence so that people who have pain points can find you in the first place.
And so it goes, all elements of the digital ecosystem must work together to effective use one of the component pieces, in this case email marketing. So if you want to have a conversation about email marketing as a stand alone service, please call the good people at Constant Contact.
But if you want to have a conversation about how email marketing can help you save time and make more money by being an integrated part of your digital ecosystem, call Conversion Pipeline.
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