About two weeks ago, I had a chance to compare the effectiveness of email vs social media.   I proved to myself once again, email done correctly is a powerful addition to your marketing mix.

Email vs Social Media

The test?  I am working on a presentation for BlogIndiana which includes the results of a survey.  I have been promoting the survey on social media for several weeks and had about 90 responses. Then I sent an email through LinkedIN to a list of 500 business owners.  The email was short and personal, and the subject line was very specific: Can you help me get ready for presentation – It will only take a few minutes.

The result: More than 30 responses within just a few hours.  And more than 100 in two days.

So why was email so effective in this situation?  Because it was a very specific message directed at a small, targeted audience.   I didn’t sent it to everyone on my email list. I choose business owners, who had a presence on social media.  There was no sales pitch, just a simple call to action.

As we celebrate or mourn the 40th anniversary of email it is good to see that if used well it still has a place in your marketing mix.  So, to be clear, I am NOT endorsing a practice of building a list by simply adding anyone and everyone you meet, or even hear about.  They will just unsubscribe anyway.   Use the tool wisely to stay connected with customers and referral partners, bring them something of value and they will stay with you.  Here a few tips to keep readers coming back:

Email Marketing Tips:

  1. Segment Your List: As you begin your email program, create multiple categories.  And put people in the category in which they fit best.  While your list is small you may send the same email to everyone, but as your data base grows, it is painful to try to separate the names into subsets to create targeted  communication.  Today, my email lists are split between local and out of town companies, with a separate group for the HVAC industry ( this was my roots), I have biz owners and non biz owners, and a Men’s list and Women’s list to which I distribute event information.  – Create subgroups which are relevant to your business.
  2. Content first – Your readers receive a lot of email.   How do you earn the right to be opened and read?  Present information of interest, this may or may not be directly related to your product, but it will keep readers coming back.  You have to earn the right to sell – My favorite example is a  weekly newsletter from Joe’s Butcher Shop – Every week he sends out a recipe.  His customers love it, because not only does Joe know fish and meat, he’s a good cook and he shares his favorites.  After the Recipe, the newsletter is filled with information on specials and events in downtown Carmel.  All the way at the bottom is a coupon good for one week.  Every week, Joe sells whatever he features.
  3. Monitor performance.  Look at open rates, and opt-outs.  These numbers will tell you if you are using or abusing the tool.  When I first started using email six years ago, my open rates were around 50- 65%.  But email is very common now, and people are constantly being added to lists.  So with industry averages hovering around 20%  i no long expect that level of interest.   However, if I see a sudden drop, i back up.  Am I sending too much email?  Or the wrong type?
  4. Adjust and go forward – There is no one right formula, but practice, and revisions will make it better!

If you want to test what email marketing can do for you, sign up for a free trial of Constant Contact or AddressTwo.  Not sure which is a better fit for your business?  Give Roundpeg, an Indianapolis email marketing firm a call.