If you’ve ever had a chance to catch an episode of CNBC’s The Profit, then you already know that the program’s host/entrepreneur, Marcus Lemonis, doesn’t waste time pinpointing the strengths and weaknesses of the businesses featured on each show. One episode in particular took place in my neck of the woods, Massachusetts, and centers on my kind of company, SJC Drums.
SJC Drums is a custom drum company that used to believe bigger was always better, manufacturing premium drum sets for premium prices, with their custom sets retailing for $6,000. As the show’s host quickly pointed out, the company was staking its success on the biggest, most costly product that only a small segment of the market (pros) could afford while excluding the vast majority of beginning and amateur drummers looking for drum sets at lower prices. It was apparent from the very beginning that if SJC’s business strategy didn’t change fast, the small-town drum company would soon be shutting their doors for good.
While watching the episode play out, I couldn’t help but think how email marketers might approach similar situations while trying to increase sales for their own companies. There’s a whole school of thought out there that suggests bigger is always better and that by batching and blasting massive amounts of emails to anyone with an inbox, higher sales numbers would eventually be posted on the books. Such an outdated school of thought, however, is a great way to ensure your emails end up in the spam folder the moment you push send. You also will start to see diminishing returns in the long term, as customers get more and more fatigued by email frequency.
So what would be an effective approach to email channel optimization that would have everyone engaging in your messages instead of sighing every time they see your subject line? Here are some simple steps you can take to make some serious noise during your next big email campaign.
- Less is more. Many marketers tend to focus on the numbers and forget the importance of the message. When it comes to being able to truly engage potential customers through email, sometimes less is more. Such tangible results were found in the Adobe Total Economic Impact (TEI) case study, commissioned by Forrester Consulting. In the study, the customer that was surveyed noted improved email open rates of 60 percent during the first six months of Adobe Campaign deployment, due in part to more relevant messages and better subject lines. Even more impressive was the fact that open rates increased while the total number of emails sent decreased by 16 percent.
How can you improve email open rates while sending fewer messages? By striving to deliver the most relevant and contextual information possible to every single customer you plan to engage. That means knowing and understanding exactly who your customers are. Spend more time getting into the minds of the people you’re selling to and less time blasting them with countless, insincere emails, and you’ll be one step closer to building a meaningful connection with your customer base.
- Create value for your customers. SJC Drums may have been in serious financial trouble by the time Marcus Lemonis showed up, but he saw something in the business that was worth investing in: the loyalty of their customers. SJC Drums had created custom drum sets for some of today’s most popular artists, including Green Day, Lady Gaga, and even this year’s musical performance at Adobe Summit, Imagine Dragons. The quality of SJC’s drums made them so valuable to their customers that bands were willing to wait up to six months to get their hands on them.
Improving the consumer experience, by creating real value for your customers, matters to your bottom line, as shown in the TEI case study, where the respondent realized a 141 percent increase in sales from email alone. You can prove your worth by delivering more relevant and thoughtful emails to potential customers. When you focus on creating valuable, tailored emails that are designed to help customers in their day-to-day lives, you’ll be building the type of brand advocacy that is sure to pay off in the long run.
- Forget about the sale. It may sound a little crazy, because that’s a major part of what we’re supposed to be doing as marketers, right? But what if that’s all you’re trying to do through your email campaign? Imagine getting an email from the same business once, sometimes even twice a day, with every message offering you something that you already purchased weeks ago? What about constant offers for high-consideration products that you wouldn’t buy repeatedly, like a bedroom set? Or emails featuring product suggestions that sound like something right up your grandparent’s alley but are products you would never think of buying?
Sometimes we get so busy selling that we forget what it’s like to be on the other side of the message. Instead of playing the role of the pushy salesman in every email you send, consider providing useful and contextual information that isn’t always directly related to a sale but instead works toward building trust between your organization and your customers.
Are you a golf equipment retailer? Consider sending out tee times for golf courses in your customer’s area, or consider sending weather reports. What about an online music equipment store? Fill your customers in on local concerts and music festivals while keeping them posted on industry news and events. When your customers realize your emails aren’t just intended to sell but are also designed to help out, they’ll thank you for it.
When it comes to running a successful email campaign, less is more. Less hollow correspondence, more tailored content. Less email blasting, more contextual engagement in every message. When you focus less on the amount of emails you’re churning out and more on the effectiveness of every single email you send, you can rest assured that when it’s time to click the send button during your next email campaign, every one of your customers will hear you loud and clear.