Considerable number of people think that e-mail as a marketing tool has been gradually overrun by newest developments. Moreover, huge majority believes that everything what matters takes place on social media and that e-mail marketing has been used only by old-fashioned companies which are not familiar with social media.
My opinion on this is that email marketing is one of the most powerful marketing tools we currently have on our disposal. It is just the (creative) way you use it.
Recently, interesting e-mail offer came to my inbox, which caught me speechless and positively surprised. I received e-mail which was clearly offering ajvar to sell (for those not familiar with a dish please click here). Now, two things triggered surprise smile on my face:
- First,a small family-run farm are going after this kind of chances (e-mail marketing and online marketing)
- I felt that farmers/entrepreneurs are slowly waking up (in terms of creativity and tools they are using).
Although I found this example of great importance for email marketing in Serbia, I do think that it lacks support of main principles of e-mail marketing. I am going to try to go through it briefly.
Case of “Gazdinstvo Mijatović”
This is the mail I received. Check out your folders it might be you got it as well.
First of all, I would like to underline that this case is indeed very important in supporting my hypothesis from the first paragraph. If done correctly and in context of long term efforts to establish two way relations with customers e-mail marketing is one of the best option to approach people. However, not everything has been done in this light. So, let me start.
- The way this farm did a promotion via email. Instead of creating potential long-term bonds with recipients, they simply did what was the easiest thing to do – put some pictures and add up some generic offer to elaborate more on it. With this “easy way” no one ever created good reputation and sustainable growth. People are fed up with emails like this. Not much effort invested in creating the content. As a result following response rate is to be expected (orange color):
- Subject line of the email. This very much goes with the first dot and wrong approach in decision making. If they would have chosen the model where they are to educate, entertain and deliver some added value to the recipients they would write something like this: “Few tricks how to use paprika to make ajvar”, “Five facts you did not know about ajvar”, “History of ajvar” etc. Instead, they wrote only this:
Today, I received 76 spam emails with similar generic subject which created zero leads. You have only one chance to make a first impression. In this case it is a subject line.
- Company obviously bought e-mail list, which implies increase of costs and complexity of the campaign and decrease reliability of the target audience (which might happen to be totally wrong). So far, I did not manage to find any trace of this farm online, no website, no Facebook profile, no info in APR database. Do I have to mention that the most reliable e-mail list (which is a nerve of e-mail marketing) for your business is to be built on your own website (which does not exist, by the way)?
- Lack of engaging content in email. There is literally only one raw picture there, few lines and that is it.
- Ironically, the company itself (Gazdinstvo Mijatović) did not reply on my email.
What needs to be done in this case?
I would suggest few points:
- Firstly, website and full social media presence is a must. For several reasons: credibility, creating email lists, contact with customers, delivering content etc.
- To dedicate special section on a website (once it is up an operational) to create e-mail lists. There are various tools that can help with this, many of which are free. For available lists click here.
- To radically switch the approach. Instead of what has been seen, more creative so-called “educate to buy” model is highly desirable. It consists of carefully prepared emails, all of them bringing some value for recipients. By saying value, I imply some advice, funny facts, recipes etc. Options are amazing. This way, company works out great image, reputation and credibility and ultimately – sales.
- To create multimedia content. Instead of paying for email lists, this resources could be dedicated to create some videos, testimonials, high quality pics, info-graphics, research, etc.
- Based on previous, careful preparation of titles or subject of the emails. This is one of the critical part of the puzzle. Great title can create a lead even if the email itself is nothing special. Why? Because it makes a person (potential client) to open email and eventually click through.
- To use some of the world renowned platforms for email distribution. The most spread are MailChimp, AWeber, Get Response and other.
As for Serbia, most of the companies which use e-mail marketing are doing it in this very way. Very little creativity, almost no multimedia content, completely wrong pushy approach, epic fails with subject line, etc.
Bear in mind that every hour 122 billion emails has been sent globally.
Furthermore, I am not going to go much into depth of e-mail marketing concept itself. For this purposes I strongly recommend you some of the following super-interesting readings: Istok Pavlović, Miloš Leković, MailChimp, Buffer Blog, AdriaHost, Škola Internet Marketing, Moj internet posao, IAB Serbia, Kissmetrics Blog.
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More marketing stories coming soon. Please feel free to share with us your experiences with email marketing.