I received a sales letter last week from Google. That’s right, one of the world’s leading email providers contacted me; not via an email, but via a letter.
Email marketing and Google
Google already has my email address, because I am a user of a number of their services – including Gmail. So, it would have been very easy for them to have sent me the same sales message in an email. However, Google know that they will get a higher response rate from a targeted letter than from a sales email.
If the owners of Gmail are writing letters with sales offers, rather than sending sales emails, there’s a BIG marketing lesson here!
People hate sales emails and spam
People have a VERY low tolerance for emails, which are just sales messages. The letter from Google was exactly that – a sales message. However, I did open the letter and read it. Had Google sent me that same sales offer via email, it would have been deleted, unopened; as soon as I read the subject line (no matter how clever it was!)
The average person hates spam with a passion and many tend to consider all sales emails (no matter how well targeted) as spam. As a result, not only is a prospective customer or client unlikely to respond to a typical sales email, they are very likely to develop strong, negative feelings about the sender too.
Is email marketing dead
No, not at all! Email marketing, when handled correctly, is still extremely powerful and getting more powerful all the time.
If you re-read the above, you will see that I use the term ‘sales emails.’ Sales emails are extremely low leverage and increasingly ineffective. These are emails that contain a sales message and are often sent to a ‘list’, which the sender has either bought, borrowed or built by harvesting email addresses from business cards / directories etc.
Unless the sender has a good relationship / rapport with the people on that list, the sales emails they send will be deleted before they are read.
Email marketing & sales emails
Email marketing could not be more different.
For example, I write a very popular marketing newsletter, which contains a unique marketing article or some valuable marketing ideas / advice. Most editions have zero advertising. Occasionally, I will include a single, one paragraph piece to promote something I am involved in. The response rates are fantastic, because my readers already know me and trust me. Some of my readers even blog about how much they value my newsletter.
In fact, many of my readers tell me that they have ‘Jim Connolly’ marketing folders on their computers, where they file my newsletters, for future reading. How many people keep spam email or sales emails on file? No one!
Mail shots, direct mail, marketing letters
The overuse of sales emails is creating a growing resistance to them within the marketplace. Obviously, with so many businesses mass emailing sales offers to people, the amount of traditional marketing letters being sent has dropped enormously. As a consequence, marketing professionals are seeing traditional marketing letters, (sometimes called direct mailings or mail shots,) achieve better and better results.
A well crafted marketing letter, with a hand written signature, sent to a small, targeted group, with a compelling offer and a ‘call to action,’ can be extremely effective right now.
Mail shots or email marketing?
This is a HUGE subject. Here’s a very brief overview.
I suggest you try a professionally handled mail shot IF you provide a service, which is only offered to a relatively small geographical area. Some examples might include; accountants, commercial lawyers, franchise operators, insurance brokers etc. Let me be completely clear. I am not suggesting these types of service providers cease using email to market their services. I am suggesting they STOP using sales emails, START using email marketing AND consider trying a professionally handled, direct mail campaign as an addition to their marketing mix.
Jim Connolly’s marketing
I offer a service, which is sold internationally. As a direct result, 100% of my marketing is conducted online. My marketing approach is all about giving away free marketing advice, information and tips, to as many small and medium sized business owners as possible. Then, when they want someone to look after their marketing, they give me a call.
I don’t sell my services, people hire me instead. For those of you who provide services or products across a big or unlimited geographical area, I suggest you do exactly the same. Instead of sending sales emails; emails that just ‘push’ or attempt to sell your services – use email as a way to engage potential clients and provide massive value. Also, make sure that every person you send your information to has proactively sign-up to receive it. For example, don’t send newsletters or e-bulletins to people, just because you know them, are a member of the same network or you happen to have their business card.
Use email communication (and your website / blog / FaceBook / LinkedIn / Twitter) as a way to showcase your expertise and encourage potential clients to email you, call you, comment on your blog, follow your Twitter account etc, etc.
The results can be stunning!