I took a sales call the other day. It was a long winded and painful experience and by the time I had, I’m rather ashamed to say, rudely cut the salesperson off – I still didn’t know what they were selling.
It made me think of one of the best pieces of sales advice I had ever been given: Get to the point, don’t be afraid to ask for the business and don’t talk yourself out of the sale.
Over the years I’ve known many a “good” salesperson talk their way out of almost guaranteed sales by not knowing when to shut up and ask for the business.
The same thing happens in email marketing all the time.
I blame the monthly newsletter approach to email that so many marketers adopt, trying to cram as much information as possible into each missive in the vain hope that it will grab the recipient’s attention.
As anyone who has attended the iContact Crash Course in Email and Social Media Marketing for SMEs Courses I have been running in the UK will attest, I loathe this approach to marketing. In my opinion, a single, untargeted, monthly newsletter, unsupported by any other campaigns, is nothing short of lazy, dull and uninspiring – in fact almost the complete opposite of what marketing should be.
Let’s be honest, an email marketing campaign does not provide a comfortable, long reading experience like a magazine or blog post. It’s a very short-lived opportunity to grab attention and entice your customers away from the inflexible and controlled environment of their email inbox. Ultimately you should aim to get people out of their inbox and into an environment where you are in full control of the engagement (i.e. your website) in seconds.
Once you get someone on to your site, you can track their journey, have greater control with how they engage with you and use this information to refine your future marketing activities.
Six Tips to Help You Get to the Point.
- Put the Shotgun Away: Segment your list and only send relevant, interesting and timely emails.
- Focus on One Product/Topic: Don’t confuse your recipients with too much choice. If you are using a newsletter format, let your headlines tell the story and keep any other text to a minimum. Think sentences not paragraphs.
- Build Clear Call to Actions: Let your clients tell you where they are in the buying process. Try offering two clear call to actions such as (i) Buy Now and (ii) Learn More. Be sure to adapt the landing page experience accordingly.
- Control the Landing Page Experience: Control your users experience by stripping out any unnecessary and distracting navigation and links on your landing pages.
- Split Test: Experiment with both the length and design elements of your email messages and landing pages. Be sure to test only one element at a time and learn from your experiences.
- Think Conversion, Think Engagement: Don’t make winning the sale your only victory. Driving new social media followers, encouraging “likes” and “tweets”, building new email subscriptions, engaging your clients via email or telephone and soliciting feedback or reviews are all wins.
iContact will be hitting the road in the UK during April and May with their Crash Course in Email and Social Media Marketing.