Department store pioneer and turn-of-the-century marketing innovator John Wanamaker famously said, “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is, I don’t know which half.”
Of course, today’s marketing planners can reap the benefits of a number of metrics to quantify the success and failure of their various efforts and campaigns. While some approaches are more effective in some market segments than others, the email newsletter stands in a singular place as perhaps the most cost-effective tool out there — with a relatively low cost for entry and an ROI that’s head and shoulders above anything else, there’s really no good argument against creating a newsletter. That said, even beyond bang-for-your-buck, there are several compelling reasons to have one.
Newsletters deliver credible, current information. In a media world where messages about your brand might be delivered through almost any source, a newsletter can be used as a definitive, centralized hub of accurate news about developments within your company, new products and services being offered, or even tantalizing previews of what might be coming down the pike for customers in the future. Customers feel valued when they have the sense that they’re “in the know”, so it’s worth capitalizing on that by offering truly exclusive news and information in your newsletter — information that’s delivered to them before anyone else.
Newsletters impart a sense of exclusivity and reward for loyalty. Again, you should be doing whatever you can do to make your customer feel you value their business more than the competition does. Along with all that insider scoop, you should offer insider deals as well — special coupons, discounts, even products that might not be available anywhere else are all good ideas, and with a newsletter you can deliver these rewards in effective, well-targeted ways.
Newsletters keep the relationship fresh. Building a customer base that can support your business isn’t just a matter of finding people once — you’ve obviously got to keep them coming back. Regular updates to your company’s website might bring a handful of regulars to your URL to see what’s new from time to time, but a newsletter can reach customers who are “between purchases” and help your business stay in touch.
Newsletters are a marketing scalpel. A scatter-shot marketing campaign makes a lot of fire and little heat; unless you get your message in front of people who want to hear it, you’re wasting time and money. With a newsletter you get to take advantage of targeting and tailoring your audience, ensuring only the most receptive eyes land upon it. With tools such as email validation and verification (or “cleaning”) of your email lists, you can know you’re reaching the right decision-maker every time — rather than attempting to send to abandoned or dead and undeliverable email addresses.
Newsletters put your company name in front of customers. A customer’s email inbox is an avenue that’s unique in the marketing world — almost all of your customers have one, and almost all of them check it several times a day. Even if a particular newsletter doesn’t convert into a sale the moment it’s read, the repetition — assuming it’s done artfully, without feeling like spam — has a cumulative effect. When the customer is ready to make a purchase, your company and its offerings are already in their mind.
You walk into McDonalds and order a Big Mac Meal for $4.59. Just when you begin to think you’re getting a bargain, think again.
Have you ever strolled by the checkout line at Costco and taken a whiff of their quarter-pound hot dogs and massive slices of cheese or pepperoni pizzas? Now when you hear that you can order a foot long hot dog with a 20-oz Coke (with refill) for a grand total of $1.50, you realize that the MacDonald’s bargain has just been trumped. The $1.50 meal price hasn’t changed since 1985. The question is, how can Costco make a profit selling food at such low prices?
When you realize that this warehouse retailer expects to “sell more than 300 million hot dogs, pizzas, and other items at its food courts this year,” suddenly it all makes sense. Let’s do the math; 300 million food court purchases at an average sale price of $3.34. This will generate revenue of just over $1 Billion in sales. Now, when you realize they have a 21% profit margin, that’s just over $210 million in profit. Not bad for a hot dog stand inside a big box store. You’re not going to walk down a red carpet to be greeted with your hot dog on a silver platter, but you’re guaranteed to get a satisfying meal at an inexpensive price.
There’s no question that Costco makes its profit margin by selling food items in bulk, to the tune of $89 Billion in revenue and $2.5 Billion in operating income.
Not to deter from talking about greasy fast food, but my intention in bringing up Costco’s marketing strategy lies in how it has positively impacted our companies sales from the email list cleaning and validation service that we provide. I’ll start with a brief explanation of what this service is as well as how it helps businesses streamline their email marketing routine.
Email list cleaning and validation services benefit those small businesses to enterprise-level corporations who rely on email marketing to maintain contact with their customers on a frequent basis. Acknowledging that 30% of email addresses are either abandoned or become inactive over a year’s time, these companies often have the need to clean and validate their existing customer database to improve their deliverability as well as the ROI from their mailings.
Many new clients who are doing their research of email list cleaning and verification companies come to me with this very question:
How can you offer your services at a far lower price than your competitors?
The answer to this question is always the same. We have adopted the “Costco mentality” so to speak, and have the server capacity to validate over 600 million email addresses per year. Our customers find this service so beneficial that they often come back with a desire to take advantage of some of the other online marketing services that we offer, or send referrals our way.
Costco’s marketing executives are aware that only on rare occasions do customers stop in for a slice of pepperoni pizza and hightail it out of there. More often than not, they are likely to browse the aisles in search of more good deals. While offering fast food at the checkout area might be considered an unorthodox idea, it lures people into the store to buy their products and come back for more.
We can all agree that the hardest part about making a sale is getting people in the door. Once they have chosen you over your competitors, it’s all about delivering a great service and retaining their loyalty for the long term.
This information is so vital in understanding how your customer’s view your company, we took the time to share our internal statistics into how our customers view our service. You can view this information and see what Email Answers customers think about us: Aggregate Reviews: Why Happy Customers are so Important
So, again, why is our list verification service so inexpensive?
The answer is simple; we would rather attract 1,000 new customer each year than 50. If 25% of these 1,000 customers refer a friend or another company to us to use our service, we now have an additional 250 potential customers. If 10% of our customers use another service that we provide, which could be our managed email marketing, our third party email marketing or our Enterprise ESP Platform, we have now increased our revenue, reach and base. Well, I guess you get the point. We would rather have a customer base of 5,000 happy customers at a 20% margin, then a customer base of 500 at a 100% profit margin.
It just makes good business sense.
Should All Marketers Quit Their Jobs and Call it a Day?
Bill Lee recently published a blog article for the Harvard Business Review entitled, Marketing Is Dead. Now, while his intentions might have been to capture viewer interest from his headline and get as much visibility possible, is there any truth to his outlandish claim? Is marketing, a practice so fundamental to all businesses worldwide, doomed to fail within the next few decades?
Take a minute to visualize the commercial world without marketing. No old spice commercials, no “got milk” print advertisements, no Nike billboards. And where would the world be without The Most Interesting Man in the World? I can only assume it would be a world without Dos Equis beer.
This goes to show that, if marketing didn’t exist, businesses would be at a standstill with no opportunity for expansion. How is the public supposed to know about you without a strategic marketing plan in place? Word of mouth between your close friends and family only goes so far.
There are those struggling start-up businesses out there who wonder why, after developing a decent product or service and creating a relevant, easily navigable website, their doors aren’t being knocked down with an influx of new customers on a daily basis. Sure, your products or services offered might satisfy the needs of thousands of people across the nation or world, but do you really expect your website to magically appear before their eyes?
Successful marketing is a constantly evolving process that takes time to put into practice and get right. It’s not an overnight sensation. Taking into consideration the large volume of advertising messages that consumers are exposed to on a daily basis, it is unrealistic to assume that your message is going to miraculously cut through the clutter and reach your target audience without exercising the range of marketing tools within your reach.
The point that the author drives home in this article is that marketing is not dead, but has taken a drastic turn in a different direction. There is no question that we are in an era where traditional forms of marketing are taking a backseat to digital and interactive media. However, traditional media isn’t going anywhere. The secret lies in properly integrated old and new media to diffuse your message across as many channels as possible. You can’t overgeneralize the population’s media habits and claim that, as everyone is on the Internet now, there is really no point in advertising elsewhere. The general population is spending more time on the Internet, but you can’t assume that they wander through malls with their eyes closed, or aren’t lured in by the juicy Carl’s Junior burger plastered on a billboard, or don’t take a second look at the stunning graphics in magazine ads. Don’t underestimate the value of marketing. Your bottom line depends on it.
In December 2011, I wrote an article titled Which Marketing Platform is Right for Your Business, which discusses the limitless options when it comes to marketing your company’s products or services. The article discusses choosing the right medium to disseminate your message and how to touch the correct audience.
To get a better understanding of how to integrate different forms of marketing into one cohesive campaign, take a look at this article from March 2012 titled, Choosing the Right Marketing Channel is the Wrong Decision. The thing about Integrated Marketing is that you don’t have to choose between one marketing platform versus another. In fact, you shouldn’t have to choose. Success comes into play when you use one advertising medium to optimize another in an effort to create a marketing campaign that works together to generate a positive brand image.