California Connect|Regional Economic Alliances|Business Resources|Careers|Automotive|Energy/Environment|Travel|Entertainment
more sections: 
Featured Advertisement
The (Marketing) Magic of Email
By: Chris Baggott

In only a few short years, it’s taken over the way we communicate with friends, clients, and business associates. It’s made “You’ve got mail!” an internationally known phrase. It’s even (to the dismay of many) revived the chain letter. What is it? Email, of course. And besides the achievements listed above, it has become one of the greatest marketing tools of our time. But many email marketers out there aren’t using this tool to its full money-making potential.

The tactics the “big boys” use and puts them in context so that any business can achieve the same results. Here are seven tips on how you can use email marketing to take your company to the next level:

Stay out of the spam folder. There is a lot of bad email out there, and if your message gets lumped in with the trash, it will mean ruined constituent relationships for you. The quality of your messages means everything. And that is how you will avoid being reported as spam, by providing people with information they will find useful.

You have to get your recipients to act. To solve the problem of dwindling engagement, you’ll have to take a look at the four factors that influence an email’s success with your recipients—past behavior, relevancy, frequency, and creative strength. These are listed in the order of their importance, so you should weight them accordingly when you tweak your email messages to make them more successful.

Build a killer database. To build a good database, you need to understand what data is going to drive your business and email marketing programs. There are three ways to collect email addresses for your databases without alienating your constituents: online email collection, offline (physical location email collection), or business-to-business/networking/real-world registration. No matter what method you are using, always ask permission to continue building a relationship with them through email.

Find the best recipients. To do this, segmentation is your answer. It is one of the most effective ways to boost engagement and prevent list fatigue. It lets you identify individuals with similarities, allowing you to develop messages that are likely to be relevant to these select portions of your audience.

Find or create relevant content. Creating the right content for you comes down to what works for your business and what will provide value to your constituents. Often the word content is synonymous with worry for marketers. There are budget fears, resource fears, and time constraint fears. The good news is there are several easy ways to create relevant content for your messages, and they won’t necessarily require more work

Use analytics that matter. Once upon a time, you couldn’t tell which parts of your marketing effort were working and which parts weren’t. But here in the 21st century, that truth is outdated. By paying attention to analytics such as your deliverability rates, open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribe rates, you now have the power to know exactly what’s happening and why it’s happening.

Ask for feedback. In a relationship, dialog never stops. It is impossible to know all you need to know about someone, which is why you should strive for more information on an ongoing basis. Asking is the best way to receive information directly from your constituents. Requests can be made during registration, at the point of purchase, or via a survey.

Email is such an inexpensive and easy marketing tool to use it’s unfortunate that more companies aren’t using it effectively. I want to help people build relationships with their constituents that make them feel appreciated, unique, and valued. Email marketing is the way to do that. You’re actually engaging them in mutually beneficial dialog. Email is a revolutionary marketing tool . . . you just have to know how best to use it.

Chris Baggott is the cofounder and chief marketing officer of ExactTarget, a market leading email marketing software firm.  Email Marketing by the Numbers: How to Use the World’s Greatest Marketing Tool to Take Any Organization to the Next is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and direct from the publisher by calling 800-225-5945.