Email Marketing ROI
Despite Facebook’s fans and Twitter’s tweeters, email marketing remains one of the most reliable tools a business owner can wield to drive revenue. For example, results from a recent MarketingSherpa survey revealed that email marketing produces a return on investment for 60 percent of respondents. And according to the Direct Marketing Association, 54 percent of organizations generate 20 percent or more of their revenue through email marketing.
However, while it’s not exactly rocket science—unless you happen to be in the business of selling rockets to scientists—email marketing is more complex than many business owners realize. Consider these common errors that often kill email campaigns.
Lack of Targeting
Bob really loves duck and will go miles out of his way to visit restaurants selling duck confit, duck a l’orange, and crispy duck breast salad. One day he decides to cut out the middleman. So he buys a shotgun, builds a blind, and spends a Saturday morning waiting for the birds to fly over his hideaway. When they do, he pops out, points his gun vaguely in the direction of the airborne fowl, closes his eyes, pulls the trigger and hopes for the best. Needless to say, there’s no duck on Bob’s plate that night.
Too many business owners send marketing emails the way Bob hunts ducks. According to Experian, 80 percent of them were still emailing the same content to everyone in 2012—regardless of age, interests, or other useful demographics. This kills their campaigns because targeting the right customers (with segmented or targeted email lists appropriate to the product or service) is essential. The same survey determined that doing so increases open rates by 40 percent.
Technological (and Other) Flaws
If your number one email marketing goal is to wind up in the virtual trash bin, then go ahead and send your emails with images that won’t load, broken links, typographical errors and misused words. On the other hand, if your goal is to attract the attention of prospects or engage your current clients, don’t.
Take care with your design and your email becomes more deliverable, readable, and likely to achieve the desired result. This means sizing images properly for easy loading, checking and double-checking links, proofreading, soliciting feedback from others, and testing every email before broadcasting.
Broadcasting from Your Desktop Client
One of the benefits of email marketing is the relatively low cost of reaching a large audience. You kill this benefit (way more effectively than Bob kills ducks) when you send the email from your own desktop email client. Not only does this limit the number of recipients (most providers have a maximum), or necessitate multiple sends, but you’ll also have no way to track the results.
Details like open and click-through rates are essential to fine-tuning your campaign. Information on undelivered emails lets you know if it’s time to scrub and validate your email list. Track this data and you can gauge overall effectiveness. Given the ease and affordability of today’s web-based email marketing software, there’s really no excuse to broadcast any other way.
Sending Too Few (or Too Many) Emails
Building a relationship takes time. According to ancient direct mail marketing wisdom (like, before the advent of the Internet), a prospect needs to see your message seven times before he or she will take action. If you wait months between emails, you slow down this process. On the other hand, if you send emails too frequently, your prospects are more likely to report them as SPAM.
Effective email marketing requires walking that fine line between too much and too little, and it differs for each target audience. According to the Direct Marketing Association, 14 percent of organizations send no more than one email a month. Thirty-three percent send as many as six emails. It may take a little experimentation to determine the frequency that works best for your business.
Hunting Prospects Alone
One of the greatest myths of email marketing (though maybe not duck hunting) is that you can easily do it alone. The Lone Ranger had Tonto. Donny had Marie. Snooki had JWoww. And successful businesses—regardless of size—should have a managed email marketing service to help them make the most of this valuable revenue-building tool.
Whether you’re inexperienced or short staffed, your results will improve with planning and development, execution and deployment, and tracking and analysis managed by a team of professionals who love email marketing more than Bob loves a tasty dinner with duck on the menu.
Put an end to the senseless slaughter of email campaigns. Target your broadcast, use email-marketing software, walk that fine line, and enlist the help of professionals. Bigger revenues and a larger return on investment will be your reward.