In today’s digital world, email has evolved as the most trusted tool for building relationships, getting the word out about your product for service, and increasing sales.
In fact, it has been found in various studies that:
- Social is the best channel for branding
- SEO is the best the channel for ‘free’ organic traffic
However it seems that many Pakistanis don’t yet understand the etiquette of sending emails.
Here are some key mistakes many of us make during email outreach:
No Prior Research
In many cases, the cold emails we get are non-customized messages. For instance, while it’s clearly mentioned on my social media profiles that I am married, I got this message recently from a lady (supposedly) working at a matrimonial website:
As you guys can see, she is sure that I am single: “As I know you are single and may be looking for a life partner”.
This is a case of bad research or, worse, no research.
May be it’s just me but if I get an email from someone I don’t know, I would really want to know how they got to find me and my email ID since that can help alleviate the natural hesitance most of us face when we have to reply to a stranger.
The Indiscriminate Mass e-Bombings
It seems like many entrepreneurs come to know about the importance of email, and feel the only way to benefit from email campaigns is to start bombarding everyone with their email.
Whether it is about a new poem they wrote, or a new product they have launched or an old book which they want to promote further. The worst is when you can see that you are the recipient of an email (or a LinkedIn inbox conversation or a WhatsApp group message) which was sent to like 50 other people.
Some might be feeling proud for ‘going the extra mile’ by paying a few bucks to one of those spammy low quality data entry companies which sell you like 10 million email IDs or gets you to buy their service of sending 300 million emails to 50 million people.
But do you know why it doesn’t work?
It is because no body sane enough or serious enough is to buy your next product or service if you are sending them an email that they didn’t sign up for and which is not customized either.
Please note that, if a potential/existing customer has willingly subscribed to your email list, that enables you to customize your emails to a great extent and it also means that customer is expecting your email.
Contrary to what many would think about sales and marketing, it is about helping your prospective customers on every step of their buying journey and it’s not about making a hard sell, or even applying fake urgency etc., or intruding their personal space by spamming their inbox. It is about cultivating a relationship based on mutual trust and respect.
If your audience has not signed up for your email list, you are better off sending customized emails. Always build your list instead of buying it. This bring us to our next point.
Treating All Recipients The Same Way
This goes beyond the barebones customization to insert First Name of the recipient in that email. Instead, there can be certain modifications made to your campaign and your emails.
For instance, you may want to use the PARETO principle – find those 20% audience members which may provide 80% of the fuel and expansion to your campaign.
For instance, if you are running a fitness app which is working on helping to get Pakistanis become fitter, you should identify the top few influencers, authorities, experts, and thought leaders in your targeted industry and any shoulder industries. A couple of relevant scenarios may include:
- a nutritionist or a doctor who hosts a radio show (or a podcast) about the relation of food and health
- a chef who has a TV program and who is into healthy cooking
- a blogger who has 5000 or more visitors on their website each day and who is passionate about mixed martial arts
- a teenage girl who has shed 50 pounds and has written a best-selling book about the importance of eating right and working out
- a young boy who is the under-19 karate champion and has a smallish but highly engaging Facebook community (a group or an fb page)
Now that you have found out your top 20% influencers, the next step can be sending that email. However, it is smarter to first warm up these targeted influencers through social media. This may include interacting with them over social media, promoting their good content on your social network, leaving interesting and insightful comment on their posts. And most importantly taking a genuine interest in what they are doing. Another important point in this regard is that if you don’t really believe in them and their message or don’t have a real interest in what they are doing, you would be unable to provide them value. So find those huge change-makers or influencers whose views and visions are in line with yours, and then work on building those mutually beneficial relationships.
Irrespective of which new social network or Augmented Reality gadget comes out tomorrow, the foundation of any business success is about genuinely caring about others and taking the time to build a relationship. If you can manage doing so, that email that you send to ask for help will have a much better ROI.
Once you have done this for a few days, you will be able to gain the below 3 benefits if you send that email now instead of having sent it right before you found that person:
- They will know who you are, and in fact, getting an email from you will be welcomed by them.
- You will be able to better customize your email based on what you have known and understood about them, their goals, desires, pain points, challenges and projects. And this means you can find a better way to work with them. For instance if that teenage girl who shed 50 pounds gets an email from you in which you ask if you can share her success story on your fitness app’s blog (and talk about her book), she would be happy to cooperate since that opportunity would benefit you both. Of course you would be wise to improve your pitch by mentioning any other relevant experts etc. who were interviewed at your blog (or podcast or Facebook Live Video Channel).
- We humans are wired to base our decisions on the principle of reciprocity. This means that we try to be nice to those who are nice to us. So if you have already worked on giving your targeted influencers (who are those 20% audience members making an 80% impact on your business) you will probably be able to figure out a way to collaborate with them in some way or another.
Treating Email Marketing as a Stand Alone Tool
Email, social, SEO, content marketing – all of these work in cohesion to help you build an audience, earn their trust, get them interested, and build a relation strong enough that can result in sales, referrals, upsells.
And when I say ‘audience’, I mean treating your company’s online presence as a bit of a media outlet whereby you are not focusing on just a target market but building an audience. Now not all those audience members may be in a position to buy your product/service, but if you use all the various channels mentioned above right, many of these audience members will help you out in some ways. For instance some may refer your product to someone who is in desperate need of them. Some may have a large clout with a relevant demographic or community and a single word of praise from them about your or even a single social share may earn you the trust and business of several clients.
If you do your job well, the same process coupled with a quality service/produce offering and top notch customer support and after sales service can help you convert those same customers into staunch promoters, ardent advocates, and raving fans of your brand and its products.