With all the buzz social media has been receiving lately, it might seem like email marketing has gone the way of fax machines and snail mail. Social media tools like Twitter and Facebook may generate most of the headlines these days, but experienced marketers know that email marketing continues to offer a very cost-effective platform for connecting with prospects and customers.
As part of an overall email marketing campaign, newsletters offer numerous advantages:
Lead nurturing. There are many different ways to bring new prospects into the sales pipeline. Once you do, email newsletters help to keep them there. When sent at regular intervals, email newsletters keep you top of mind with prospective clients by reminding them of who you are and what you do.
Brand building. Email newsletters enable you to build your brand – not so much by touting your product or service, but by positioning yourself as an expert and/or thought leader in your industry. They show your target market that you stay up to date on industry trends and understand the issues currently affecting their companies.
Relationship building. Service firms and those with complex products typically have a lengthy sales cycle. It can take time for prospects to get comfortable with your business and to understand how your product or service offers the best solution to their needs. Email newsletters build trust by demonstrating your knowledge, expertise and experience on the topics that matter most to your target audience.
Cross-selling and up-selling. Don’t assume that your clients know everything about your business. An email newsletter is a great way to highlight other products or service areas they may not know about. For example, if you’re an accountant, you could let clients know that you offer more than tax returns by writing an article about payroll services.
Company promotion. The best email newsletters keep the marketing and promotion to a minimum. But clients and prospects want (and expect) you to tell them about new products, special offers, and other company news. Did you just launch a new website? Maybe you just joined Twitter and want to attract some followers. When used properly (with a soft sell), an email newsletter provides an excellent platform for promoting your other marketing activities.
To maximize the effectiveness of your email newsletter, send it out in intervals that are appropriate to your type of product or service and your audience. For most businesses, one a month should suffice.
Use catchy email headers to grab people’s attention. Even the best newsletters won’t have an impact if they don’t get opened and read. Update your email list on a regular basis to make sure it’s current. And never, never, never spam!
Most important, provide real value to your readers through articles that address their most pressing issues and concerns. When you consistently provide valuable content, people will look forward to reading your newsletter, and will see you as a trusted source of information — a critical step in turning today’s prospects into tomorrow’s paying customers.