Monday, 23 July 2012

The People Power Behind Email Marketing

Long before I started working for iContact, an email marketing company for small and medium-sized businesses, I was a customer of the company. I was working in the marketing department for a UK-subsidiary of another US technology company. We had a great story to tell about how our software could help retailers harness the power of the web, but a very limited budget to get the message out there. Email marketing was the most cost effective and successful method of communicating with our clients and prospects and was responsible for driving more leads into the sales department than any other channel.

I, like many other marketers, simply typed “email marketing” into Google when I was looking for a solution and promptly signed-up to three or four trail accounts with various providers. I’ll be honest, if you select anyone of the big names in the SME-marketing space today the technology and pricing is going to be pretty similar. Most of the companies offer a free trial period, easy-to-use email creation tools, a simple analytics suite and a range of social media and third-party integrations – more than enough to keep a small marketing department on the go.

So what made iContact stand out in such a highly competitive market?

Within hours of me signing up, they picked up the phone and, without being pushy, introduced themselves, asked if I had any questions about the system and gave me a name and a telephone number to contact if I ever needed any help. Wow, I was dealing with human beings (with cool southern accents) and not just technology. 

iContact were the only company to call me. They made me feel welcome and they appeared to be interested in me and not just in the size of my list.

Now, whenever I am asked about what makes iContact different, I say one word, “People”.

The morale of the story is, you shouldn’t just rely on technology to get your message across. People love the personal touch. If you can combine the two – you’ll definitely find success comes much, much easier.

5 Tips to Combine People Power with Email Marketing
  • Give Your Salespeople Access to Your Email Marketing Analytics: From this data they will be able to see who has actively engaged with your email marketing messages. If a prospect has clicked on a specific link, they can use this data to guide their next conversation. It’s best to be subtle in your approach here. Don’t call them the minute the email has been opened and don’t mention you are monitoring their clicks. Nobody likes a stalker
  • Follow up Email Subscriptions with a Phone Call: This doesn’t have to be a direct sales call. Just welcome them to your list and ask if there is anything else you can help them with. A problem shared is ammunition for a future sales call.
  • Analyse and Segment by Interaction: Take time to analyse how your subscribers interact with you emails and segment your lists accordingly. For example a travel company might send out email offers with a range of vacation types (i.e. Cruises, Beach Holidays, City Breaks, etc.). If an individual clicks on the city break link then you should add their details to a  city break-specific list.
  • Personalize Your Emails: People do business with people they like. By including images of your staff (and particularly recognizable team members such members of your sales or account management team) you will humanize your approach. You could even segment your lists by contacts owned by individual staff members and guarantee a relationship building experience.
  • Involve Your Subscribers: Use your email campaigns to profile their business, feature their success stories and make them part of your brand. Having a solution to a problem is useful. Showing how someone used that solution and became successful is priceless.

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