Email marketing can be very tricky. If you inundate people with too much Email, they may get really angry with you and report you as a spammer. On the other hand, you want to send effective and valuable Emails that elicit the type of response that you are hoping for.
The importance of your Email campaign
As a business owner, your Email campaign is often critical to your success. There are many different ways in which you reach your target audience and Emails are one of the important approaches. When it comes to Email recipients to whom you have never sent Email in the past, you may wish to proceed carefully. If you have not obtained permission from the recipient, you need to do that before you send any Email to that person. If you wish to cultivate a relationship with that particular person, you should go about it the right way. Start to interact with that person (hopefully with a combination of online and in-person interactions) and when enough interactions have occurred and enough time has gone by, then you can ask permission to include that person in your Email campaign. If you have already committed the offense, however, you will need to get back into the person’s good graces in some way.
Never merely collect Email addresses
If you attend a networking meeting and your sole purpose is to collect Email addresses (or business cards), don’t do it. Without the relationship behind it, your having met that particular person is not worth much. As you are probably aware, you will never succeed in business if you haven’t developed relationships with your clients and prospective clients. In any business that is owned by any person and any type of business, the client will not be willing to buy anything if there is no trust between the buyer and the seller. The only way to build trust, of course, is by developing and nurturing the relationship between the two of them. In order for a relationship (any relationship) to succeed, it takes trust, credibility, and respect.
Using reliable Email addresses
Once you have established the relationship with your Email recipients before you ever get to the point of sending them Email, you need to make sure that the Email addresses of the recipients are valid and that they function properly. There are, of course, several different reasons why an Email address doesn’t work.
- The person may be working at a different company than when you met him or her.
- The person may have chosen a new Email address.
- There may have been a technical glitch with the original Email address so the person needed to get a new Email address.
When it comes to your contacting people through Email, they really like to be consulted. It is a human, polite courtesy that you must obey. Many people will agree to giving you their Email address for many different reasons. In fact, your chances of obtaining an Email address are pretty good. If you are in a position of having to obtain permission to send Emails, you may wish you use the following approach:
Make sure that you tell your recipients how you came to have their Email address: If you can do that, you will make them less irritated (if there is a chance that they will be irritated at all). It will make your interactions more valuable.
Communicate the value of the information that you are sending via Email: You should explain to your Email recipients exactly why it is worth their time to pay attention to your Email. The concept of WIIFM (What’s In It For Me?) should motivate you when you communicate with them. You need to make them understand that you are reaching out to them because you have the ability to solve their problems.
Be clear and concise: It is important that you don’t beat around the bush. Make sure that you communicate clearly why you are reaching out to them. After that, of course, it is their prerogative to unsubscribe, if they wish to do so.
Manage the recipients’ expectations as much as possible: If your Email recipients are willing to remain on your Email distribution list, you need to make it clear that it will be worth their while. You should make it clear that they will receive incentives (discounts, free articles, etc) if they agree to sticking with you.
Make sure to stay far away from problems
There are several possible issues that can come up that are connected to your Email campaign. You should try as hard as you can to avoid them. They are:
Overselling your offerings: Always remember WIIFM. No matter how wonderful you and your business are, none of that means anything if you are not able to solve their problems.
Make it clear that your sending them Email will not be a frequent occurrence: It is important to not take their involvement with you and your business for granted. Make sure that you convey to your Email recipients how much you appreciate their willingness to allow you to send them Email.
Pay close attention to how much you are engaging your Email recipients: It is critical that you pay close attention to how frequently you engage those recipients and if the ways in which you are able to communicate with them are reliable.
When it comes to Email forgiveness or permission, it is probably better (and more sensible) to not commit the offense of neglecting to ask permission in the first place. Interestingly, this can happen at any stage of the game. You must establish as much of a balance between doing what is right and sharing what you need to share with as many valuable recipients as possible. However, if the offense has been committed, you can probably receive redemption by asking for forgiveness. They will respect you for it and you can move on from there.[signoff][/signoff]
Michael Cohn is the founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of CompuKol Communications LLC. He has over 25 years of experience in IT and web technologies.
Mr. Cohn founded CompuKol Communications to help small businesses and entrepreneurs increase their exposure and reputation on the Internet. CompuKol consults, creates, and implements communication strategies for small businesses to monopolize their markets with a unique business voice, vision, and visibility.
Prior to that, Mr. Cohn spent a significant amount of time at a major telecommunications company, where his main focus was on initiating and leading synergy efforts across all business units by dramatically improving efficiency, online collaboration, and the company’s Intranet capabilities, which accelerated gains in business productivity. His expertise includes social media marketing strategies; internet marketing; web presence design; business analysis; project management; management of global cross-matrix teams; systems engineering and analysis, architecture, prototyping and integration; technology evaluation and assessment; systems development; performance evaluation; and management of off-shore development.
Mr. Cohn earned a Master’s degree in project management from George Washington University in Washington, DC; and a Master’s degree in computer science and a Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering from Fairleigh Dickinson University in Teaneck, NJ.