When it comes to email marketing, every second counts. You only have a short time to capture your customer’s attention and keep it. On average, it takes someone a third of a second to decide whether they are going to open an email, three seconds to see if there is something of interest, and 30 seconds to respond to the ‘call to action.’ The difference between losing and keeping a customer can come down to a matter of seconds. Business owners start to think that they need to pull out every trick in the book to keep customers; but in actual fact, all it takes is an understanding and appreciation of who your customers are and what they want.
According to Bob Ogdon, CEO of US-based email marketing company Switfpage, it’s all about trust. With over 31 years of experience in the multimedia market, Ogdon has seen it all: the good, the bad and the ugly. On a visit to Australia, he sat down with Dynamic Business Online to discuss his thoughts on email marketing best practises, social media and simple ways businesses can establish deeper relationships with their customers through targeted, personal and unique communications.
“The important thing to remember with email marketing is that you are creating a relationship with your customer through targeted and relevant information. It’s not about selling, it’s about educating the consumer about your product or service,” says Ogdon.
In today’s digital world, relevant communication is vital. Customers are bombarded with thousands of email messages every day, so you need to ensure that your message is the one that’s heard.
Imagine for a second that you are the customer. You are an avid music fan, very into the indie rock scene and have just subscribed to Music Monthly. You want to be caught up on the latest indie rock news, but instead you are fed newsletter after newsletter about Britney Spears and Lady GaGa. You get fed up and either unsubscribe or report it as SPAM. You then ask yourself why you took this action. The answer is: because the content wasn’t relevant. It didn’t interest you and wasn’t what you were looking for. Now, how long did it take you to make this decision? All in all, probably less than a minute. Now imagine yourself as the business owner. Apply what you have just learnt to your business offering. Ask yourself: is it relevant? Is it educational? Informative? Engaging? Will my customer want to read this? It all comes back to the ‘what’s in it for me?’ value proposition. If you are not giving your customer what they want, they will leave you; it’s as simple as that.
The biggest mistake small businesses make when it comes to email marketing, says Ogdon, is not sending targeted messages. “The biggest mistake we see from businesses when it comes to email marketing is that they just blast a bunch of noise to their entire database and send an email just for the sake of it. This is a sure fire way to get blacklisted.”
In order to avoid this, businesses need to do three things: segment the database, analyse the statistics and take the time to build an attractive message.
Segment your database
“The thing to think about is that the customer is putting their trust in you to give them what they need, to educate them and to give them information about what they are interested in,” explains Ogdon. “By segmenting the database, you can get a true appreciation of who is interested in what, and target them appropriately.”
This can be as simple as creating a sign-up form on your website with a variety of checkboxes for the users that allow them to pick what types of information they would like to receive on a regular basis, and then sending targeted messages based on that information.