In case you are misled by the title of this post, I want to say straight up that I believe email marketing is one of the most effective ways of selling on the Internet. Any yet many people complain to me that they’ve tried email marketing and “it doesn’t work”.
The reality is, most people are doing email marketing wrong. And that’s why it’s not working for them.
I still believe that building an email list and maintaining regular contact with that list is a very powerful way to market profitably. It’s far more effective, in my opinion, than social media marketing (Facebook and Twitter) which is all the rage at the moment. Maybe I’m missing something, but the amount of time and effort required in social networking and the few sales that result from it, seems to make it a sidetrack for most businesses.
Think about it. Why do people go on social media sites? To socialise! They don’t go there with the idea of buying things. That’s why paid advertising on Facebook produces far less targeted prospects than Google Adwords.
Given a choice between 100 contacts on Facebook or Twitter and 10 on an email list, I’d take the latter any time. Traffic is only as valuable as the conversion (leads and sales) it brings you. And studies have shown that in most markets, email driven traffic is 15 to 20 times more likely to convert than social media traffic.
So, why do most businesses fail so badly with their email marketing? I believe it comes down to a couple of crucial factors. The first is, they think they need to have flashy HTML designs to make their emails look glitzy and professional. The problem is, these types of emails scream out advertising and they turn people off. There’s no personal interaction involved in the email. Your email looks and feels like an intrusion.
Email is a personal marketing medium. You send emails to your friends and family. And you do it in plain text.
I’m not saying you should never use HTML emails. If you need to show a picture of one of your products, for example, you need HTML. But keep it simple and personal.
The other big mistake most businesses make with email marketing is not having the balance right between information and sales pitch. If your emails are just pitch, pitch, pitch – nobody’s going to open them. You need to offer some interesting and valuable free information to engage with your readers first. Then tell them about your product or service.
Despite all the buzz about social media, I am convinced that email is still the cornerstone of Internet marketing. With a little thought, effort and persistence, it can work very powerfully for most businesses.