It's talked up and run down by wizards in every silo from software to sales. E-mail communications, say the gurus, will generate cost-effective streams of deeply loyal, consistently click-through customers.
Well, e-folks, then is now. E-mail spending services will crest to a staggering $6.8 billion by 2006, says Forrester Research, while 91% of online households already access e-mail at least once a week.
Marketers surveyed in August 2001 by Forrester were thrilled with e-mail's cost effectiveness and high response rates for existing customers, that is. New customers, however, are simply ignoring e-mail messages.
There's definitely trouble in Shangri-la.
Marketers, emboldened by the new, cheap technique, went into overdrive. Customers have been bombarded with offers and e-zines.
The result: "People are overwhelmed,"
From 2000 to 2001, click-through rates for customer acquisition dropped from an excited 3.5% to a ho-hum 0.4%. Forrester's conclusion: "An e-mail marketing crisis looms."
They can strengthen your bond with clients and, of course, to know you is to love, buy from or hire you. E-news broadcasts timely announcements or special offers quickly and cheaply, making your client feel like an insider.
don'ts that too often get done
All very well, you say. But once the research is complete, how does a small or mid-sized business find the time, money, staff and resources to feed such a demanding project? How does personalized content get updated and refreshed? One counterintuitive way: Team with competitors.
makes an e-mail newsletter work?
Think of how you react to e-mail newsletters: The ones you read undoubtedly carry attention-getting subject lines that cause you to click. Next, there's generally a summary at the top teasers that let you quickly jump to an item you want.
If any copy or design element leads you to put it aside for later perusal, that newsletter is toast. "Must-read" messages are the goal. The means to must-read messages? Research, research, research. Find out as much as you can about your repeat customers, including:
The more you know,
life gives you rivals, make allies
About a year ago, says Carroll, "a piece Mary Ann wrote called 'Lemonade Days and Blackberry Summer' was so good, it gave me the idea to start an online herbal newsletter. I have lots of other e-mail newsletters, but herbs are not my expertise."
So, slowly, with Carroll handling programming and distribution and Perry as writer/editor, the pair debuted www.chamomiletimes.com "Early on," says Perry, "we had problems getting the format right.
We didn't run teasers and we lost people." Even so, while they tinkered, "it doubled the hits on my site right away," she says, "and it's sustained that growth, converting a lot of readers into customers."
After another herbal company expressed interest in a promotion, Perry decided to start weekly contests. She asked the companies that linked to ChamTimes to become sponsors and take turns providing a free product to ship to winners. That strategy has also worked well.
A year later, Perry boasts 17,000 subscribers. In addition to linking from the e-mail newsletter to Garden Guides and to Sayit-n-Herbs, the newsletter goes out to customers of four other linked sponsors, including Beagle Ridge Herb Farm www.beagleridgeherbfarm.com in Wytheville, Va.; www.blossomfarm.com in Columbia Station, Ohio; www.glenbrookfarm.com in Live Oak, Fla.; and www.naturalshoppe.com in Milwaukee. A fifth sponsor is in the talking stage. Perry also links to www.Amazon.com as an associated bookstore, which helps revenues.
Send out targeted news to the right customer,
About the Author:
Back to: eMail Marketing Tips Index