Used with Creative Commons permission, Nicholas Tart.

Be clear when you’re asking your customers to take action via email marketing

Email marketing is not dead. In fact, it’s rearing its head and showing how powerful it can be. I’m watching the analytics and when I produce a report to a client as to what’s working and what marketing activities are converting into a sale, email marketing is at the top of the list. Why? Social media platforms are hit and miss. Do you really know exactly what time most of your customers are on Twitter? Are they on Facebook between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m.? Maybe they’re checking out LinkedIn around 1 p.m. Maybe you’ll catch them there and maybe you won’t. Email marketing is different. You know with 99% certainty that your email correspondence will at least hit their inbox. Whether or not your customer reads it is a different story, but at least you know you have a chance that they will. If you are clear and consistent with your message and have a clear call to action, you might be surprised at the results you get.

Whenever I sit down with a small business and discuss social media strategy I always focus on integrating email marketing as a large part of the strategy. Clients usually roll their eyes and say something like, “I hate email spam,” or, “Nobody reads emails.” Really? I would like to argue that’s not necessarily true. I read my emails and I think other people do too. Whether or not I take action after reading an email is a different story. But the odds are ever in your favor that if you make your email campaign compelling enough, I might take action. Doesn’t that sound better than taking the chance that as your customer I might be on social media at 9 a.m. and see your post because Facebook has determined I’m going to be one of the 3% of people that see your public fan page? Kind of a no-brainer, don’t you think?

When designing your email campaign, make it easy to read with a very clear call to action. Tell your clients exactly what you want them to do and make it easy for them. Use a modern clean white background an easy to read font. Here’s an example from Pottery Barn I received today alerting me to a big sale they’re having:

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Why yes, I might like those and thank you for making the pictures clickable so I can easily buy them. And sometimes you don’t have to be that in your face at all. You might convert me into a buying customer if you give me something really awesome. Like your super-secret recipe for amazing iced coffee that I can brew at home. Here’s something from Starbucks I received in my email inbox:

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The recipe goes on for a while but you get the idea. I love Starbucks for caring about me enough to share their recipe so I can make it at home. I’m certainly going to read their next email to me and I’ll probably take them up on their call to action to come into the store and buy something. Always watch what Starbucks is doing, they’re smart and are always ahead of the curve on social media.

Offer something of value to your customers, don’t just ask them to do something. But if you do ask them to do something, make it easy. Make the button clickable, make it pretty, and make sure they can finalize the process quickly. If it takes too long, you’ll lose them. MailChimp is the easiest email marketing platform to get started for free, up to 2,000 contacts. Give email marketing a try, you might be really surprised at how profitable it can be for you.