By: Lori T. Williams, Owner/Managing Attorney of Your Legal Resource, PLLC
I participated in a webinar recently, hosted by Dean LaDouceur, on the topic of “How to get more readers to open your business email.” I thought the information would be helpful to other business owners who were not able to be on the call. Dean has graciously permitted me to share this synopsis of his thoughts and my notes from the webinar. I have also added a few of my own observations about email marketing.
If you have any doubts as to whether or not email marketing works, consider the alternatives:
1. Direct Mail
This method has always had a small success rate. A 10% conversion rate is considered very successful.
2. Cold Calls to your prospect list or target market
Is cold calling really effective anymore?
Although some sales professionals say it is effective, many professional service providers find it disdainful.
Attorneys are barred by the rules of ethics from cold calling, as it is seen as a direct solicitation. Direct mail is an approved method of marketing for attorneys.
Even if you could use the cold calling method in your industry, who has the time to do it effectively?
Did you know…..
- 48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect.
- 25% of sales people make a second contact and stop.
- 12% of sales people only make three contacts and then stop.
- Only 10% of sales people ever make more than three contacts with a prospect.
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact.
- 3% of sales are made on the second contact.
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact.
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact.
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact.
It is impractical to try to make all these contacts by telephone or at a sales meeting. Business email IS the most effective method to shorten up this timeline.
If you are going to use email marketing, you might as well learn to use it effectively.
Dean suggests you consider 3 things before sending a business email marketing communication:
A: Audience. Who is the communication directed to?
I: Intent. What message do you intend to convey with this communication?
M: Medium. What communication medium or tool will you utilize to to get your message across to your target audience?
With careful “AIM” you have a better chance of hitting your target!
2 things dictate whether or not your email is opened:
- Who it is from
- Subject Line
If you have credibility with the person, but your subject line is weak, it may not get opened. We only have so much time in the day to review emails.
HOW CAN YOU MAKE YOUR SUBJECT LINE STAND OUT?
1. Make it Clear
Communicate in a manner that tells the reader what you are offering, and be sure to fulfill on that promise in the rest of the email
2. Make it appealing
- Does your title entice someone to open it? Is it relevant to the reader?
-Don’t send the communication to everyone in your data base. (ie. mothers of college students aren’t interested in a sale on diapers).
- Asking a question in the subject line is one way to engage the reader.
- Mention relevant and interesting statistics that will get their attention.
- Find a way to tie the subject line into current news about a celebrity or other well known current event.
3. Make an exclusive offer
- No one will be excited about something they can get from anyone, anywhere, anytime.
- Offer something unique that won’t be available for long.
- Direct them to a specific page on your website or a landing page with a unique offer. This is also helpful because it is trackable and you can determine your open rates and conversion rates.
4. Make it credible
- Don’t make an outlandish claim in your subject line, that you can’t back up. Your credibility is on the line, and your email content better deliver on what is promised in the headline.
- Statistically speaking, people tend to open an email from an individual that they know, like, and trust, more so than a company that they don’t have a relationship with. Be sure your name is in the Sender Line. You can also include your company name, but don’t use the company name alone. The personal connection carries more weight.
HOW AND WHY YOU SHOULD SEGMENT YOUR LISTS:
1. The same message is not relevant to everyone in your data base. The more specific you can be with your message, the more it will resonate with a particular group of people.
2. Break the people into different categories and have a distribution list for each category.
Example 1: Dean’s Lists:
a. Current clients
b. Prospect list of target clients
c. Networking contacts
Example 2: Lori’s Lists:
a. Past clients in need of legal services
b. Attorneys (past and prospective consulting clients)
c. Referral Partners/General Network
3. Analyze your client list and note the titles/occupations of your past clients.
4. Start a new prospect list of people you know with the same title/occupation as your past clients.
You can continue to add to the list people you meet with that same title/occupation. Once they are on your radar, it will be easier to find them.
5. Another way to segment your prospect list is by zip code.
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS AND TECHNIQUES:
- Try a sales database service to locate decision makers. Dean likes Lead Ferret, which has both a free and premium version.
- Consider the time of day when you schedule your email communication. While there is no universal magic hour to send something, Dean finds between 10 and 3pm local time to be most effective during week days. Don’t clog up someone’s email evenings and weekends with information they would want to read during the business day.
- Consider using a permission based email marketing campaign like Constant Contact or iContact, both of which are a nominal monthly fee based on the number of contacts in your database, or try Mail Chimp (free).
- Using a program like the ones mentioned above help you to stay compliant with the email marketing laws. The penalties for violating the CAN-SPAM Act are steep — $16,000 per email. Additionally, the programs integrate well with commonly used CRM databases and social media sites.
POINTS TO PONDER AND SHARE:
- Are you actively using email marketing in your business? If not, what has stopped you?
- If so, what results have you had?
- What is your most effective method of marketing?
Dean LaDouceur is a writing coach, ghost writer, editor, and project manager of writing projects such as: books, training modules and campaigns. He also provides marketing and communications solutions from press releases to media kits, copyrighting, blogging, social media, SEO, crisis communication consulting, and strategic planning to help implement a marketing and media communications plan. For more information, visit his blog.