With Social Media and Mobile Marketing having made their mark, many have their doubts about the effectiveness of email marketing. However, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets ensures that recipients almost always carry a mobile device with them and are in a much better position to access their email on the go.
Today, organizations are betting heavy on Digital Marketing for sustaining their business, and email marketing, by far, is still the most cost-effective means of lead generation, selling and customer re-targeting. A lot of emphasis and effort is allotted to fine tuning strategies to manage existing customer base. But then, expanding it by acquiring newer ones is equally important. Here are a few tips to expand your customer base in the near future:
- Focus on education-oriented campaigns in addition to sales-oriented ones.
Many marketers think of email marketing as just another means of revenue generation. Their campaigns are only focused on displaying their products and providing a Call-to-Action for the recipient to make the purchase. While this isn’t entirely irrelevant, what they fail to understand is that even while they put forth their best offers and discounts, customers are essentially being bombarded with the sales pitches on a continual basis. Over a period of time, your email becomes monotonous, your customers get bored, and chances are that they won’t interact with your mail as enthusiastically as they did a few months back.
Hence, it is essential that marketers touch base with customers/prospects on topics other than sales – interesting industry information, useful tips while researching and buying products, best practices, etc. Such mailers will portray you organization as a thought leader within the respective industry vertical. This will entice customers into staying connected with you, drive more website traffic and create opportunities for up-selling and cross-selling. Additionally, this will also improve your organization’s brand recall.
- Be mobile-ready.
With the acceptance of smart phones and tablets, and technological developments over the past decade, an increasing number of people are accessing their email on the move as opposed to the standard office desktop or a laptop. 36% email is opened on a mobile device. People are now carrying their email wherever they go and engage with it whenever they feel like. This presents marketers with a brilliant opportunity to target prospects, and provide more time and location-specific offers (i.e., movie tickets around weekends, restaurant vouchers prior to lunch or offers on favorite clothes/accessories during festive season).
Hence, it makes sense to have your landing pages optimized for mobile usage.
- Keep your emails light.
Preparing extensive multi-column email layouts will give the best visual appeal on a desktop or a laptop, but when it comes to smartphones single column formats are still the best. It has been found that marketers get the best responses with layouts that are simple yet sophisticated – those where the call to action is visible within the first scroll of the email. Also, another good recommendation is to have a healthy text-to-image ratio, and host the heavier images on a server. This ensures that recipients interact with your mailer to ask for images to be loaded, while keeping your mailer size within bounds of recipient’s mail quota.
- Forget one-size-fits-all.
The ‘one size fits all’ mentality no longer reaps fruits as far as email marketing is concerned. Organizations are moving away from mass mailing activities and concentrating on smaller, customer behavior based email campaigns.
There is increasing emphasis on collecting customer data beyond the standard contact information – marketers are also striving to collect customers’ interests so that they can conduct better segmentation and deliver content that is much more engaging, relevant and personalized to each recipient.
- Promote your social presence.
With Social Media being the buzzword today, all organizations have business pages and accounts on popular social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Over a period of time they also build-up follower on these platforms. The simplest means of increasing your website traffic is by linking your email marketing activities with your social media platforms. Using both platforms to promote each other, marketers can drive significant traffic to both mediums, and eventually to their website.
- Ask for email addresses upfront.
Subscription forms are majorly restricted to the home page or in few selected internal pages (typically 3-4 clicks deep). This is quite a passive approach.
Marketers must express their intention of wanting email addresses much boldly. This can be done by adding pop-ups on landing pages or even placing the subscription form (or links to the form) across all your social media platforms. Using tablets at events, conferences and trade shows is another interesting way of encouraging prospects to submit their email address.
- Opt-in marketing is still the best bet.
With Anti-Spam laws getting implemented and observed across the globe, and with major mail service providers (Google, Hotmail and Yahoo) tweaking their spam algorithms regularly, if you’re not seeking explicit permission from your prospects/customers prior to sending mailers, your marketing efforts will certainly go down the drain (also known as the Spam/Junk folder!).
Once you have your opt-in customer base, feel obligated to have their permission and do not abuse it under any circumstances. Ensure that you are well aware of your customer history and preferences, and send relevant content. This will make them come back to you for more.
These tips will ensure that you not only reach out to more prospects and increase you customer base, but also that you make the best from your existing customers as well. Let us know what you think about these, or if you have something to add.