Miriam Shaviv explains why email marketing is central to your marketing communications.
Don't think of email as a campaign but more 'nurture content'
I don't really think of emails in terms of campaigns. Because, emails for me are something that is an always-on activity. Really, once you reach a certain size, you should really be emailing. No matter what you're selling, you should really be emailing people several times a week, if not every day. So, yes again, your emails need a certain structure, but I don't think of them really as a campaign. We plan emails on a quarterly basis. So, we take a longer view, and with the emails we want a mixture of content. So, you need to mix up what we call, "Nurture content." Where you're essentially building up that relationship, helping your clients or your prospects feel exactly what we talked about before, that you know them, and they know you and that you can be really useful to them. Starting conversations with them, because that's the easiest way to get to sale, and then sales material as well.
It's almost like a yin and yang process where you alternate, lighter nurture material. It's almost pre-sales, you're helping them understand, what their problem is, what the different solutions are, but you're not necessarily really pushing hard for them to buy. And then, you'll have a period where you're selling much harder, and you can structure this in a way so that your marketing, your presales, does all the work to persuade people that they need, whatever it is you're about to sell. And then, you go into a sales campaign, where you actually sell that thing, but then you have to veer back into something lighter, almost to give people a mental break. So, with email you really want to mix it up, keep people surprised, keep people engaged. So, build up the bars, make the case, create a strong sale sequence, and then do the whole thing all over again. And that's essentially how we structure it, again and again and again, over many months.
The mistake that we see lots of companies make is that, when they get a new lead they email them for the first few days, and then they write them off if they haven't bought immediately, they just say that, "Nah, they're never going to buy." And then they go into this hamster wheel chase, really of finding new leads. But it's really a wasted opportunity, because every email address that you have, is someone who's at some point has shown interest in what you do.
Over time, that email list will become a gold mine
If you can continue talking to them, over the long-term, building up that relationship, and giving them frequent opportunities to buy. Over time, that email list will become...a gold mine. The people on that list will become absolutely your best prospects, because you have built up that relationship with them so strongly, and spent so long convincing them, persuading them, that you have a solution for them. So, really email is a forever thing until someone unsubscribes, you should be continuing to email your prospects forever. And the research has shown again and again and again, that the return on investment for email is far higher than the return of investment for social media. Companies routinely underestimate the power of the email, and really email is one of the most powerful tools in your digital marketing arsenal.
Do customers and prospects get email fatigue?
I think that, lots of companies get very nervous about emailing people too often. But, the answer is that when you're emailing people things that are truly relevant to them, and interesting, and entertaining as well. They will absolutely read it. They get email fatigue, when you're irrelevant. So, when you haven't done that research that we talked about at the beginning, and you're talking to them in a jargony way, in a way that doesn't resonate with them, they're not going to want to read essentially your constant propaganda. But they will, for lack of another term, but they will want to read things that are really relevant to them, that resonate with them, that offer them hope that their life can change with whatever problem it is that you help them deal with, and also that if when you entertain them. A lot of what we do over email, is make the point by telling really interesting stories, personal anecdotes. When the emails come from a person rather than a company, it can just be really fun, entertaining emails, where they talk about things that have happened in their life.
You can really build up a very close relationship with your readers that way, and ultimately sell to them as well. So, as long as your emails are doing that job, and they're emails that people want to read, I really actually think there's no limit to the number of times that you can email them. I'm on plenty of email lists. So, I get emailed every day, a couple even email more than once a day. I'm not necessarily suggesting that companies do that, but I'm saying that if your emails are good, you can. What we always suggest, when clients say exactly what you said. "Hey, but people are going to think that it's too many emails."
My advice is always, email just once more a week than you're comfortable
If you really think you should only be emailing once every two weeks, email them every week and see what happens. And inevitably, the fear is always from the company, and it's very rarely actually truth, right? The customers rarely feel that way, and what happens is when you start emailing just a little bit more, is you see that actually it has a massive impact on your relationships, and your sales, and it builds up your confidence, and carry on emailing, just once more every week until you do reach a level. At some point, you may reach a level where you do begin to see more negative customer feedback, and that's the point at which you may want to scale back. But I can absolutely guarantee, that that level is much higher than your initial comfort levels would suggest.
This is an edited extract from Miriam's interview on the Cambridge Marketing Podcast.