Email is not only alive and well, it is a vital tool for retailers. For many though, email marketing means spam. It’s also seen as the “poor cousin” of marketing channels.
The reality is, when executed properly, email marketing outperforms all other marketing media, often returning greater than ten times the initial investment.
What ‘actual’ email marketing is – and is not.
Real email marketing is linked to your business objectives – creating ‘email with purpose’. Email with purpose is about engaging with buyers and referrers, rather than large databases of unqualified prospects. It’s not numbers for the sake of numbers, but quality leads that are interested in your products or services.
It doesn’t matter what software system you use, what matters is that your emails look professional, build brand value and make the most of the opportunity to engage with customers and create value for your business.
Either way, it’s not a function to be relegated to a marketing junior or the IT department. Fully managed email marketing by experts brings insight, purpose and results to both your marketing and your business.
Evidence of email being awesome.
Here are some examples of real-life retailers doing fabulous things with email:
A clothing retailer was looking to drive traffic in-store for a special 3 day clearance sale. An email was designed and built for three different offers within the sale, which achieved records sales over that period of time. The return on investment was more than 20x. For every $500 this retailer spent on email marketing, they received over $10,000 in sales.
A luxury car dealership wanted to gauge interest in a new model and encourage purchasing at a launch event. Because a luxury car is not the sort of item people usually buy on impulse, some warm-up activity was needed.
So an email was sent to the entire database asking interested parties to click a link. Those individuals then received follow up emails as more information and videos became available, narrowing the database down to those genuinely interested in attending the launch night.
An invite was then sent by mail, with email reminder follow ups.
The outcome was six cars sold on the night and another three the following week, worth a total value of $1.4million. With the cost of the campaign sitting at $1,500, the return was 900 times what they invested.
Email is powerful, especially for retailers – with the potential to provide huge returns.
How to email awesomely.
1. Send an email.
Who’d have thought? The key is making that commitment to ‘just do it already’. Pick a time and then stick to it consistently. Consistency leads to trust, and trust leads to loyalty. And loyalty has people talking about you in bars and at BBQs. Which is what you want.
2. Consider your message.
Make sure it aligns with your business objectives and remains true to your brand. Key to this, is remembering who the email is for. Will your customers want to read that message?
3. Are you emailing the right people?
Update your database regularly and continue to add to it. (You won’t have any trouble there. After all, in 2012 there were 3.3 billion email addresses in the world, and there will be an estimated 4.3 billion in the next three years.)
4. Check. Your. Links.
Are they working? You don’t want people landing on dead links. Not only does it look bad, but if the links go nowhere, they won’t be working their magic to improve your SEO.
5. Include a call to action.
What do you want your readers to do? Do you want them to visit your store? Click over to your site? Or to take advantage of your awesome promotion? It could be that you just want them to forward the email to a friend. Whatever it is, make them want to do it.
6. Email with purpose.
I’m comfortable speaking for everyone in the entire world in saying: “We all hate spam!” So don’t spam people. Make sure you’re providing quality, relevant content. Ask yourself, is this email valuable to my readers? Is it telling them something they don’t already know, or that they’ll want to share? And remember – it doesn’t have to be sell, sell, sell.
About Tara Benedict
A former retailer (and unabashed nerd) who daydreamed about integrated POS software, Tara now delightedly recruits, promotes, and enables Vend's wonderful channel of add-ons and partners. An ardent sharer of Vend news and events, connect with Tara on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+ and never miss an opportunity to meet up with the affable Vend team.