According to a study by the Winterberry Group, email marketing brings in $15.50 per dollar spent. This is about 17% more than direct-mail campaigns and 73% more than telemarketing campaigns. In short, email marketing matters and if you're not sending out at least monthly email newsletters to your subscriber base, you should be. The true cost comes from acquiring the prospects and clients, not the three or four hours needed to create a monthly newsletter.
Many organizations, once they have spent the thousands of dollars acquiring their clients, fail to market to their existing base. I've met quite a few marketing managers who would rather continue spending $200 a pop for new qualified prospects rather than $0.01 per person to build the relationship with their existing clients and recommend new products or encourage re-orders. I've found that sending relevant email communications to persons who have requested to receive them is the single most effective way of cultivating the type of relationship needed to turn your prospects into customers and your customers into lifetime product evangelizers.
As a reader of this article, chance has it that your organization is one that already sends out a newsletter, or at least is considering doing so soon. Once you began sending your own newsletter, however, it is important to follow two important rules that will increase your likelihood of achieving your marketing goals, whether they are to increase repeat orders, convert a higher ratio of prospects, or obtain top-of-mind brand awareness.
The first and most important rule is to only send relevant content to persons who have requested it. What does this mean? Well, let's say you are a travel and adventure planning company. If someone has subscribed to your Kayaking Monthly Newsletter, don't move them over to your European Vacations list and send them an article on Dining in Tuscany. In most cases, you will very quickly lose any prospect or reduce the lifetime value of your relationship with an existing client. If the person also subscribed to it, it would be okay to send him or her a monthly company newsletter that from time to time had information on other topics, but don't mix newsletter bases just to increase mailing volumes.
It is important to note that just setting up an interest segment and adding it to your sign up form doesn't require you to create a monthly newsletter on that topic, but once you get a few dozen to a couple hundred people interested in that area (depending the value of the product or service you are providing), it will likely pay to have quality content developed on that topic for distribution in interest specific newsletters. This can be easily done within the IntelliContact Pro email marketing software by either creating a list specifically for persons interested in a topic or creating a segment of persons with a specific interest.
The second rule is to be consistent with your sending frequency. Depending on your type of business and your subscriber interest level, the right volume for you could be weekly, biweekly, or monthly. Once you find the frequency that is right for your organization (and this could vary newsletter to newsletter), stick with it. We see a lot of companies whose email strategy can only be defined as "ad hoc." Rather than blasting out a promotion whenever sales are lagging, we recommend having an emailing schedule for each newsletter and sticking to it, whether it be every Saturday, every other Wednesday, or on the 15th of each month. As an example our company newsletter, the Permission-Based Email Marketing Monthly goes out on the 28th of each month.
What type of results can you expect from regularly sending out regular email newsletters? Here are two examples from users of IntelliContact Pro the email marketing software my company Broadwick provides. Biotage is a company based on Massachusetts that provides DNA sequencing instrumentation. They send out event notifications and company updates to 20,000 or so subscribers each month. David Shultis, Marketing Communications Manager of Biotage, notes, "We've seen open rates at around the 38-42% mark for our large mailings. There has also been a 'pass-along' quality of our emails, as we've noticed new names that were not originally on our mailing lists responding to offers." Another IntelliContact Pro user, Julie Ibrahim, Vice President of the Tiger Sports Shop says "The monthly newsletter keeps us and our inn at the forefront in the minds of our past and potential guests. Thus with the continuous news from us and our region, we are kept in mind, with no sales effort or pressure." If your organization wants to see marketing results like these, it may be time to start or expand your usage of permission-based email marketing.
If you stick with sending relevant, high quality content-rich emails on a consistent basis to persons who have requested to receive your emails, you will increase your prospect to customer conversion rates and customer lifetime value at a fraction of the of the cost of traditional methods and take advantage of the best type of marketing possible-free marketing through authentic customer word-of-month.
Ryan Allis is an internationally recognized expert on email marketing. Ryan is the CEO of Broadwick Corp, providers of the email marketing software IntelliContact Pro. For additional information on email marketing software, visit http://www.email-marketing-software-resource.com.