We all know certain things can kill any business.
Cashflow is the most obvious. Without income none of us can survive.
So, back to the wall, what would you do to instantly drum up trade?
Get personal, I hope. Speak to people – and I mean meet or call rather than text or email.
Me? I’d get on the phone to call in favours, chase debtors or do anything to win new business.
But I’d also have a handy adaptable email template to follow it up with clear, compelling, easy to read language to seal the deal.
I’ve done it loads of times. Not to cure cashflow problems but persuade much-needed media interviewees to come on board.
It’s been a life saver – but with email as with so many other facets of life – prevention is always better than cure.
Too many businesses run out of money (or luck) because they fail to plan ahead – small wonder some resort to frantic email marketing as a last-gasp option rather than a fully thought through strategy.
And it is hard not to look desperate when you drum up special offers and request fast track payments that just don’t match the way you do business or, more importantly, the way people may seek to do business with you.
So here’s the smart way… get deep into planning.
Seek to build long term brand awareness and recognition that portrays your ethics and values if you want to glean sustained results from email marketing.
Okay, you may want to offer short term deals and immediacy if that is part of the plan but make it a considered choice.
The most important thing is to define your purpose (why you do what you do and how) and make sure there’s a clear message to your email marketing campaigns.
That’s far better than adhering to bog standard email marketing templates or copy-catting the well-worn advice of marketers.
How so? Well, most of us receive dozens of marketing emails each day – some familiar, others less so. Most of them go unopened in the daily busy-ness of our lives or just aren’t appropriate or relevant to us at that time. That’s okay, that’s life.
But just occasionally the message resonates.
It may be words or images. It could be a tight focus on a specific event, offer, service or product, or an impressive round up of your company news into a newsletter… maybe even a timely reminder.
One of our clients – and one of my personal favourite uses of email marketing – is a weekly email sent to thank customers and remind them of the latest state of their account.
Couched in a visually appealing, easy to read and personable email, it is a great customer experience feature that connects with a regular audience.
Consistency is also king in email marketing. Ensure you have a good design to create a consistently recognisable visual identity – be it branding, images, photos or colours. People buy from brands they recognise and names they know, like or feel comfortable with. It may take time to work but it is a vital ingredient.
Make it interactive too. Signpost people to your website or elsewhere with easy opportunities to engage and click throughs to different services, features and benefits.
And do lots of testing to see how your campaign looks and to avoid glaring errors.
After your email marketing campaigns are circulated, get good at gathering data and analytics.
Most importantly, take you time and enjoy it. If your marketing is rushed and hurried and you feel harried – guess what? That’s exactly the way it will look.
Get light on your feet and spend time working at email marketing with a long-term goal in mind.
Smart email marketing is the theme at our next Birmingham Business Media Club meeting on Thursday, March 23 at Longbridge Innovation Centre.
Chris Green is an award-winning author and broadcaster and managing partner of Chris Green Media – our aim is to inspire business people to communicate better.