Part of the problem is that people are confused about the difference between ‘strategy' and ‘tactics'. It's essential not to get these two confused. They are related – tactics are a vital part of what makes a strategy work – but they’re not the "be all and end all." Too many people neglect a full and comprehensive strategy in favour of a bunch of loosely-connected tactics. So, to recap:
Know your spam rules. A lot of innocent people send spam because they didn't know any better. Read up on the CAN-SPAM act to avoid any trouble. Put simply, you're allowed to send bulk email only to people who specifically asked to be on your mailing list. If you collected email addresses for a lunch giveaway or an event invitation, then you don't have permission to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. Include an obvious unsubscribe link in every email, and don't forget to remind subscribers how they got on your list in the first place.
Test. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Send test emails to colleagues, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens big and small. Testing reveals design mistakes before it's too late, and testing programs can predict whether or not a campaign will get caught in a spam filter. You could even set up accounts with a few different email services for easy testing. Avoid sending one big image as a campaign, and cover your bases with a plain-text option for every email.
Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it. Especially since it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds. For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website. Subscription forms should be on your home page, blog page and everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from more important content.
Sometimes low-hanging fruit is as easy as it looks. Personalizing emails, as well as segmenting them—a marketing technique that teases out your subscriber list to send relevant emails to specific subscribers—can offer significant returns. Segmenting emails allows you to target specific groups of subscribers, which leads to substantial increases in click-through rate.
The first is a welcome email with 3 key tasks you can accomplish in the software. Three days later, there’s another email asking what you need to get done and encouraging you to start using the product. Two days later, there’s an email talking about the Asana dashboard. The series ends with an email two days later, which highlights the calendar view.
Give people a way to avoid more emails about the same offer. If you do a concentrated promotion for something, you might send lots of emails about it in a short time. Give people the option to avoid future emails about the offer. Just add a link to the end of the emails (e.g., “If you’re sure you’re not interested in [ offer ], click here, and I won’t send you any more emails about it this year.”). That way you won’t annoy people who aren’t interested in the offer now. You could argue that some of them might buy if they saw all the emails. Well, if you’re only interested in this month’s sales, send as many emails as you can. I just assume you want to have someone left on your list for next month.
You can add a little post-script to the end of your email copy, such as "Not responsible for your company's social media? Feel free to forward this ebook to a friend or colleague using social media marketing." Link the call-to-action to a pre-made email, complete with subject and body text. That way, all someone has to do is enter their associates' email addresses and hit "Send."
Calculators: A calculator offers customers a lot of value with minimal effort on their part and instant gratification. Even a simple price calculator (e.g., “How much does it cost to buy a house?”) can have impressive results: companies report lead conversion increases of more than 25%, plus a nice boost from social traffic. Offering a calculator as a call-to-action is a sign of your intent to solve a customer’s problem and add value, boosting your brand image for customers who aren’t ready to commit.
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Two particularly important groups for our purposes are customers with a one-time purchase and customers who have purchased multiple times. A customer is sometimes not considered to be loyal or repeat customer until they have purchased two to five times, in which case the single purchase segment is more akin to a warm prospect than a loyal customer.
Personas provide a multi-dimensional method of targeting. They’re based, as the name suggests, on a projected persona for each customer ‘type’. Get it right, and personas can help you enormously in both predicting behaviour and personalising your communications. Personas are a powerful technique, and they’re increasingly used to improve the usability and customer centricity of communications.