I am sure you get lots of email with offers and enticements. They sit in your in box right next to emails from your friends, colleagues and relatives. Email is a very personal sales channel. As a result, the more personalized your message is, the more effective it will be.
The first step is to develop an email list of potential customers. The best way to do this is to build it through your other marketing efforts. You can capture it on your website in return for something such as special offers, access to premium content such as white papers or how to instructions, at the bottom of your blog posts or by offering something free such as a short free seminar or video. Please don’t be tempted to buy bulk email lists and send to them. This is spam and hurts your reputation and your company in the long run. Also, be sure to give recipients an easy way to opt out and give yourself an easy way to keep your list updated so you don’t get into legal trouble.
You want to engage your customers with email to the point they become a customer. The first thing to understand is that you want the recipient to understand the value of your product or service. Why else would they buy or recommend you? One way to do this is to send a sequence of emails that reveal important features and those features’ value. You want to establish what your customer needs to know to get value from your product and be sure all of these topics or steps are understood through your emails.
Besides using email to get new customers, you also want to use it to stimulate repeat buying or recommendations to others. Remember, it is much easier and less expensive to get a happy customer to buy again than to acquire a new customer. The focus of these types of emails should be to get customers to feel good about their purchase on an emotional level.
Another use of email is to up sell customers. In particular if you have different versions of a product (with differing features) that are bought repeatedly or different versions of a service, again with differing features, you can use email to be sure customers know about the additional features and understand their value and how it affects them.
Finally, you can use email to stimulate your customers to refer your company’s products to others. This is often accomplished by offering some incentive such as a discount that they can use or that the person they are referring can use.
As with all the other sales channels, it is essential to A/B test every aspect of your emails: the subjects, formats, images, timing, differing personalization strategies, etc. You want to see what works and go with that. Open rates and conversion to purchase should be tacked. Timing is all important with emails. You can use tools to track when emails are opened individually by each customer and then send batches of emails to your customers at the times they are most likely to read them. While this is complicated, I have had helped customers do this and I can tell you that it was incredibly effective. One final tip, do not send anything from a no reply email. Remember, this is personal.