Many companies today rely on email as their primary source of marketing outreach. It’s fast, inexpensive, and the results are almost instant. But, if you’re like most organizations, you may not be getting as much return on your email marketing efforts as you could be.
These “secrets” can help you make the most of your email marketing initiatives. Companies who’ve applied these methods have reported significant results, with some realizing a two- to four-fold increase in the number of converted leads (leads that resulted in closed deals), as well as shorter sales cycles and higher deal values.
Step One – Send the right message, to the right market, at the right time.
Right message, right market, right time. These components are the keys to marketing campaign success. Yet few companies are able to plan and execute programs that take all three into account. To ensure you include all of these factors in your campaigns, you must:
• Avoid image advertising, which can cost you millions of dollars in missed sales. Instead, focus your time and budget on direct response offers.
• Test simple, inexpensive direct response methods offering free items such as reports on different topics, samples, coupons, or other devices. Be sure to use copy that triggers an emotional response from recipients, with messages geared specifically towards the needs and interests of your target audience.
• Concentrate on your most successful offers, and use multiple touch-points such as mail, phone, fax, email, and voice broadcasting.
Step Two: Overcome the cherry-picking problem (the three types of leads).
All leads can be divided into three categories – the HOT leads that are ready now, the WARM leads that will be ready soon, and the COLD leads that will likely never be ready. While cherry-picking the hot leads makes the most sense, since they typically close quickly and result in fast commissions for sales reps, many companies make the mistake of neglecting the warm leads. As a result, they leave millions of dollars in sales opportunities untapped. Be sure to implement a stringent system that ensures that these warm leads are nurtured continuously until they become hot.
Step Three: Timing is everything.
Your marketing professionals need to follow one simple truth – that people will buy when they’re ready, not when you’re ready to make a sale. So, you need to be in front of them when they decide the time has come to make that purchase. The only way to accomplish that, and to avoid missing a viable opportunity, is to follow up on a frequent basis – without fail. Otherwise, you’re leaving the door open for your more persistent competitors.
Step Four: Transform your sales practices from outbound hunting to inbound harvesting.
When you’re in “hunting” mode, you’re dialing for dollars, your reps feel resistance at every turn, rejection is common, you’re getting “shopped” against competitors, and you’re wasting a lot of money chasing leads that simply aren’t ready.
On the other hand, companies who “harvest” work smarter and scoop up more sales leads. Reps can spend more time working the hottest leads and closing deals, because they know prospects will call them when they’re ready to move forward.
What’s the best way to make the transition from hunter to harvester?
• Send relevant, valuable information to every prospect on a scheduled, recurring basis.
• Communicate to prospects efficiently, aside from normal, time-consuming, one-on-one methods.
• Log all communications between your office and the prospect in an organized fashion.
• Arm yourself and your sales reps with an arsenal of specific information that can be sent to prospects upon request.
• Track the progress of each lead throughout the sales pipeline, so you always know where every one stands.
Step Five: Maintain a living, breathing customer database.
Owners of smaller businesses know that conducting repeat business with a base of loyal customers, and maximizing referrals from those clients, is the most effective, cost-efficient, and profitable way to market and sell.
This, however, requires the creation and rigid ongoing maintenance of a comprehensive customer database that combines all vital and meaningful information – such as interests, purchase histories, billing information, and more – into one, readily accessible, easy-to-use location.
The ability to retrieve, analyze, and segment the kind of complete and accurate information (that is updated frequently) contained within that database – and tap that resource to deploy sequential follow-up campaigns – is critical to cultivating long, strong, and profitable customer relationships.
Step Six: Use education, repetition, and variety in your follow-ups.
Effective follow-up requires well-planned processes that include these three vital elements:
• Education. Follow-ups must inform prospects and provide them with valuable, insightful information. This will simplify the sales process (which can often be confusing and intimidating for customers), and help you gain their trust.
• Repetition. As humans, we need to hear things over and over again in order to absorb them. Sales and marketing are no different. You know your products and services, but your customers and prospects may not get it the first time. Make your pitch again and again and again – until it sinks in.
• Variety. Keep your message consistent, but vary the way you deliver it. Using multi-step sequences that incorporate a variety of channels such as direct mail, phone, email, fax, voice broadcasts and other media will help to maximize your sales.
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About the Author of Six Secrets for Effective Email Marketing
Content for this article was contributed by Infusion Software, a leading technology provider that helps small businesses grow fast by automating their marketing, sales, and customer management. Through its flagship product, Infusion CRM, the company centralizes, organizes, and automates small business’ marketing, sales, and customer management, which results in better lead conversion, lower labor costs, and greater lifetime customer value.
Infusion Software liberates and empowers small businesses that are tired of running their marketing, sales, and customer management with a hodge-podge of incompatible software programs and manual grunt labor. Infusion CRM is a web-based software program that automates and enhances lead generation, lead conversion, and client fulfillment. Unlike other solutions on the market today, Infusion CRM is a comprehensive, active system built specifically for small businesses that recognize that marketing and automation are necessary to grow quickly and profitably.
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