Email marketing is extremely effective. So why do almost all small businesses get such uninspiring results from it?
That’s what this post is all about!
Email marketing: Free and easy?
The cost of marketing has changed massively over the years.
For small business owners, the cost of sending a marketing letter [direct mail] to just 1000 prospective customers was considerable. There was the price of the stamp, the printing, the ink and the paper. Then, you paid someone to fold all the letters and stuff them into the envelopes.
Today, sending a marketing email to 1000 prospects [or 100,000 prospects] takes seconds. There’s no paper, no ink, no envelopes, no envelope stuffing and no stamps.
The cost of email marketing is close to zero. Except… it isn’t. You now risk paying a different, far higher price!
Allow me to explain.
Different prices and different thinking
In 1995, my London-based marketing business was paying around £1000 to reach 1000 prospective customers via traditional mail. I used high quality stationery and printing, but that was still quite an investment.
Before spending that kind of money, small business owners used to think long and hard.
- They made sure they were contacting people with a potential need for their offering.
- They checked that the contact name and address were correct.
- They used to work hard to optimize their copy or content. It needed to be just right.
- They removed prospective customers from their list, if they failed to get a response after a set number of interactions. [Unlike now, where the person receiving spam email has to ask to be removed!]
Now think for a moment about the poorly targeted emails that flood your inbox.
It’s clear that way less thought goes into them. The vast majority are junk and totally irrelevant to you or your needs. You regard those who send these unwanted emails as pests.
And this is where the cost comes in for email marketers in 2015!
Reputation points: The price you pay for average email marketing
Every time you send a poorly conceived email marketing message to someone, you pay a price.
However, unlike before, the cost to you isn’t directly monetary. You pay with something even more valuable. You pay with your reputation. You pay using the currency of reputation points.
For example, when you decide to add someone’s name to your list without their consent, you lose reputation points. When you email people too often, you lose reputation points. When your message is pushy or needy, you lose reputation points. When your offer is irrelevant to the recipient, you lose reputation points.
Business owners who service a regional marketplace can soon find their name and reputation seriously damaged. They can only alienate their marketplace so many times, before people get sick of them.
It starts by accepting that email marketing isn’t free or easy. There is a hefty price to pay for a casual approach — both in reputation damage and lost opportunities.
So, get permission to email prospective customers. Then send them targeted, expertly written, relevant information. Do this only as frequently as they need it to be.