Blog post By Paula Chiocchi on 2015-05-27
While email stands out as one of the most effective marketing methods for U.S. small to midsize businesses (SMB), a recent study published in eMarketer shows that executives at these companies admit they may not be using it as effectively as they would like. Since this topic has been a focus of mine for many years, I always recommend that SMBs answer these five essential questions to drive greater success:
1. WHO is your audience? First, be clear on who you are trying to reach. Are you targeting prospects or existing customers? What information do you have about them? The more you know – their histories, preferences, demographics, location, etc. – the better you will be able to craft the right message and select the proper tools to reach them. Visualize your ideal prospect. What do they look like? If your list isn’t completely homogeneous, different versions of your message may be in order. Consider how they will consume your message, and the desired reaction.
2. WHAT is your message? Once you’ve identified your audience, you’ll want to figure out what you want to tell them. Will the message be the same for all, or will it need to be tweaked for different constituencies? Depending on your business, you might consider lifecycle capabilities or integrated auto-responders. Lifecycle emails are messages sent to users at various milestones in their relationship with your company. Examples include a special coupon code to users who have yet to make their first purchase, or a 'We Want You Back' message to lapsed customers who haven't engaged with you recently. Auto-responders are emails triggered based on user behavior, such as an abandoned cart reminder or purchase confirmation.
3. WHERE is your audience located? In what part of the country is your audience located? This will be important if, say, you are attempting to drive purchases in a particular region of the country. Perhaps you might have a different message for those businesses based on technology adoption trends or common practices in that area. In addition, is your audience receiving this message primarily at work, or at home? This may not only drive the message tone, but also influence words used to avoid spam filters. Finally, remember that your message will likely be viewed on a mobile device. Be sure to make your content mobile friendly – here’s how.
4. WHEN to send your message? Ask yourself, “why now?” Is now the right time to send this particular offer? For example, coupons for client holiday gift baskets might not generate the most interest in the middle of summer. In addition, when was the last time you reached out to this audience? Was it a long time ago? Perhaps an update or even a complete reintroduction to your business and its offerings is in order. Or, if you’ve been sending regular, ongoing emails, is another message going to be well received? Is the timing right, and are you offering new or real value? Or is this message a repeat of last week’s, risking annoying your audience?
5. WHY are you sending this email to your audience? Successful email campaigns offer real value, guidance or insight, and help build customer lifetime value. Challenge yourself whether there is real value to your communication, and ask why someone would care or be interested. Assuming your message contains valuable content, what is the desired outcome or call to action? Be sure you are clear on making this easy for the reader to understand. Perhaps, for example, the goal is to have the reader share or like a particular element on social media. Make this clearly visible with a large share button, and you’ll turn a typically one-way communication into a vibrant two-way engagement via social media.
Although these questions cover the widely accepted “Five Ws,” there’s sometimes an additional W – how. Here you will want to select the proper email data provider, one that offers desired business contacts data based on geographic location, organization size, executive title, industry and more. More importantly, the provider should emphasize data quality with a written data quality guarantee. A reputable email data provider will enable small businesses to grow their email lists, expand their reach and find new prospects to increase awareness of their company and products.
Email marketing offers a proven way to drive new sales leads for small businesses. If you need to expand your email list to connect with your ideal prospects and drive more leads, consider giving BizFACTZ’ B2B marketing data a try. BizFACTZ takes the hassle out of email list growth, and allows you to reach targeted contacts with precision and accuracy. Click here to register on our site and use the offer code “INTRO” at checkout to receive a 20% discount on your first order.
At OMI, we believe good things happen when you share your knowledge. That's why we're proud to educate marketers at every level - in every size and type of organization - about the basics of email marketing and the contact data that powers it.