Over the past few years as I’ve worked on the Web doing various marketing-related things I’ve had some observations regarding email marketing.
I subscribe to quite a few email programs. These programs include e-commerce sites, news sites, blogs, company newsletters, and more.
The various types of email I receive are amazing. What excites me the most is the constant improvement in the quality of the emails I get each day/week/month. I like the freeness of the Web.
Since there is no longer a free offline market in the US, the Web is the last place on Earth (for now) where individuals are truly free to conduct business in its purest form.
Web and email users are the benefactors of the immense competition on the Web for attention. Email users have the choice of the email programs they wish to subscribe to. Unsubscribing is only a click or two away. This is how the free market should work.
As a result, businesses are forced to continuously find better ways to connect with their customer. And this is how it should be. .
Whether you are new to email marketing or if you have been doing it awhile, there are a few exciting things going on you should be aware of to improve the quality of communication you send your customers.
The following are just a few observations I’ve had recently about the current landscape of email marketing and my suggestions on how you may improve your hunting business email marketing.
1) Testing – Instant Feedback
One of the great things about email is the ability to “Do it wrong quickly” and get results relatively fast. You can test subject lines, images, images vs. text, newsletters vs. product features, and so much more.
Email provides the opportunity for you to test so many things and continue honing your unique email strategy. With print, there is (relatively) a significant lag between the time you get excited about the testing you’re doing and the time the results actually come in.
With email, the results come in relatively fast and you can adapt your email program accordingly depending on the results.
The ultimate benefactor is the customer of course. You’re working to improve the way you communicate with them.
My observation is that email testing will accelerate in the future and it’s important to continue testing your email marketing even if you’re having success. Don’t stop bringing new ideas to the table even if they seem crazy.
If there is one thing I’ve learned it’s that just when you think you have your customer figured out they’ll throw you a curve ball and you’ll have to start all over again.
It’s this aspect of email and Web marketing that makes me excited to be a part of it.
2) Non-Openers, Non-Clickers, Non-Buyers, Buyers
In the direct mail world, marketers did a wonderful job on segmenting their customers into groups depending on their buying tendencies. The typical segments were frequency of purchase, most recent purchase, and monetary value of the most recent purchase.
Today, there are segmenting models that work to get the direct contact strategy down to a near individual level. It’s a great innovation and it’s an innovation that is seen online more so than offline.
Thankfully there is no USPS on the Web so companies are free to do all they can to please their customer (rather than pleasing arbitrary regulation/monopoly).
On the Web, segmenting is important, but it’s important to remember that your ultimate goal should be to get down to a one-on-one individual segment with each and every one of your customers.
Your customers are individuals. Each of them is different. Sure you can segment them based on a few factors, but you’ll never be able to truly connect with your customers unless you treat them as individuals.
This is my observation of where email is going – focus on individual needs.
3) Long Copy Emails for E-Commerce
I’ve been a fan of newsletter or long copy emails for a long time. It may be my personal verbosity, but either way I am fond of email programs that take the time to connect.
I think long copy is a unique way to connect with your customers. Sure, you can connect with your customers by creating great, short, creative emails, but lots of companies are trying this strategy.
My observation is that as companies work to connect with and gain the trust of individuals, long copy will become more prevalent.
This is my feeling based on a few things I’ve tried. I often get verbose with these blog posts and when you put thought and passion into your copy (and as long as the copy is valuable for your readers) you will form a connection with your audience.
4) Recipient Participation/Validation
Along the same line as connecting with your customers on an individual level, including your customers with participation is crucial to improving your email marketing.
Ask your customers to participate in the selection of a new product. Ask them to participate in a poll where the results are valuable to them.
Ask your customers to participate in new programs before you make the program available to the general public.
Give your customers valuable participation and they will respond in a way that benefits themselves and your business.
One of the biggest things I’ve noticed with email is the emotion factor.
People react to their emotions.
Lots of people make purchasing decisions based on emotion.
When you create your emails, try to focus on the emotions of people. Focus on their worldview. What events are affecting your customers? What types of news stories affect the lives of your customers?
For example, if there is a hunting related news article that makes your customers angry then post a blog post or write a newsletter about the situation that will benefit your customers.
As with anything you provide your customer, value is extremely important with email marketing.
It is one thing to try and trick your customer into buying the particular items you want to sell on them.
On the Web, customers respond much better to products and services that are focused on making their lives better as they see it.
If you continuously work to provide value to your customers you will succeed in not only email, but in all aspects of business.
7) Good Designers and Writers
One of the great things about having a great designer and writer on your email team is their ability to create unique email content that will generate sales and connection with your customer.
You can work on ways to change the subject line to get non-openers to open, non-clickers to click, etc.
Try to get each of your customers on an individual level with you so you can serve them as best you can. This is how companies make it big – they connect with their customers.
Your designers are truly important to the work that goes into any email strategy you put together. People are visual and when an image makes sense to them it can convince them to trust you and purchase from your company. If you earn their trust (you don’t break promises) they will continue buying from you.
The Web is about making connections and email is no different.
Marketers have to get rid of the idea of segmenting and get used to dealing with individuals.
Sure, it takes a lot more time, but it all benefits the customers and that is how the free market works.
As you’re working to connect with your customer, also work to create something (product or service) that will be scarce and fulfills a need…it’s not as easy as it looks.
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