Developing Objectives in E-mail Marketing
The media you use to deliver your marketing messages, such as mobile devices, Web sites, television ads, or postcards, are useless unless you combine them with actions that lead to specific objectives.
If you don’t believe, grab a stack of your business cards, set them on your desk, and then wait . . . a long time. Business cards — by themselves — can’t do anything. You need to give them life by handing them out to the right people and asking them to call you.
Using media effectively requires you to do something intelligent with that media. One of the most intelligent things you can do before you start sending e-mails is to develop objectives to help guide your e-mail content and your actions down the road.
With a little thought and some planning, setting your objectives helps ensure that prospects and customers can also do something intelligent and positive with your e-mail marketing campaigns. This chapter tells you how to create sound marketing objectives so your e-mails can follow a roadmap that leads to accomplishing your goals.
Table of Contents
- 1 - Coming Up with Broad-Based Objectives
- 2 - Financially based objectives: I want more money
- 3 - Time-based objectives: I want more time
Coming Up with Broad-Based Objectives
I bet that your number-one objective is to make money with your business or organization. Of course, you probably have other reasons to run your business or organization: freedom and flexibility with your time or maybe to keep you from languishing in a cubicle or making a difference for people. Whatever the reason, your business or organization has to make money.
Making money is a very broad-based objective. Broad-based objectives are goals that are stated apart from the supporting details necessary to achieve the goal. Keeping broad-based objectives in mind is a good way to keep your e-mail marketing strategy focused on the big picture. Broad-based objectives are more useful for making decisions, however, when you define them clearly so you can add the appropriate supporting details later.
Defining your objectives helps you to determine
- What types of content to put in your e-mails
- How many e-mails you need to send
- How often you need to send e-mails
- To whom to send your e-mails
- When to change or refine your strategy
The next sections help you define broad-based e-mail objectives in clear terms so you can use them to identify the steps involved in accomplishing each objective.
Financially based objectives: I want more money
A small business owner in one of my seminars defined his broad-based objective of making money by saying, “Someday I’d like to add the word profit to my loss statement.”
If making a positive impact on your profit and loss statement is one of your broad-based objectives, e-mail can make a significant contribution to both sides of the ledger because e-mail can help you increase revenue and cut costs.
Stating your broad-based financial objectives clearly begins with understanding how email causes your audience to respond financially in favor of your objectives. The next sections explain how e-mail generates several types of financial responses and gives you examples of stated objectives for each cause.
E-mail has the ability to become the proximate cause of a sale, such as when someone clicks a link in your e-mail to make a direct purchase from your Web site. E-mail can also help generate activity and inquiries that can lead to increased sales, such as when someone replies to an e-mail in order to request an appointment or additional information.
If your objective is to increase sales, you can state your broad-based objective in the following ways and craft your e-mail content with one of the stated objectives in mind (depending, of course, on your business):
- Drive foot traffic to your store. People can use their mobile devices to show the offers or coupons in your e-mails to the salespeople in your store.
- Bring visitors to your Web site. People can click links in your e-mail to visit your Web site, blog, or social media site.
- Increase event attendance. People can click a link to register for an event online through a registration form.
- Ask for referrals. People can reply to your e-mail with the name of a good referral or fill out an online form.
- Generate phone or e-mail orders. People can use their mobile device to tap a phone number in an e-mail, and people can reply to your e-mail with order information.
Increase repeat business
Potentially, sales not only increase when you reach more prospective customers with your message but also when you motivate and prompt current customers to make repeat purchases.
E-mail is a great way to make repeat purchases more convenient and efficient because you can link your audience directly to an online purchase process. Time and convenience are powerful motivators to increase the number of customers who make frequent and regular repeat purchases.
If your objective is to increase repeat business, you can state your objective in the following ways and craft your e-mail content with one of the following stated objectives in mind:
- Stay at the front of your customers’ minds.
- Attract prospects to convenient purchase links and options.
- Reward repeat customers with incentives based on repeat sales
Shorten a sales cycle
Your sales cycle is how long someone takes to become interested and actually make the purchase. For example, if you own an automobile dealership, the sales cycle is how long someone takes to recognize their need for a new car, research models, visit showrooms, test drive models, negotiate price, and finally purchase the vehicle.
Your sales cycle also applies to prospects. Your prospecting sales cycle is how long someone takes to make a purchase after they become aware of your products or services. Use e-mail to help shorten your sales cycle by sending prospective customers the following types of information:
- Information to help justify a decision
- Reminders to take action
- Incentives to take immediate action
If your objective is to shorten your sales cycle, you can state your objective in the following ways and craft your e-mail content with one of the following stated objectives in mind:
- Drive prospects to helpful or persuasive information.
- Provide reminders to act at various sales cycle stages.
- Announce incentives to reward completed purchases.
Lower your costs
Keeping your costs under control while staying productive is always a challenge. E-mail is a cost-effective tool because e-mail is affordable to deliver and saves on paper, printing, and labor costs.
If your objective is to shorten your sales cycle, you can state your objective in the following ways and lower your costs when you set up your e-mail campaigns with one of the following stated objectives in mind:
- Automate appointment reminders. You can read more about automating your emails.
- Deliver information electronically instead of in print.
- Use e-mail instead of, or in conjunction with, phone calls, social media, and postal mail for customer follow-up.
Time-based objectives: I want more time
If you have a healthy respect for the value of time, using e-mail marketing can help make the time you spend on your business more efficient. Here are some time-based objectives to consider adopting.
Some processes are worth the efforts of time-intensive interaction, but others should be automated so you can spend more time selling or recharging your batteries away from your business.
If your objective is to automate tasks, you can state your objective in one of the following ways and increase automation with any of these stated objectives in mind:
- Direct prospects and customers to online information.
- Use autoresponders for some types of follow-up.
- Schedule several e-mail campaigns to run automatically in advance.
Reduce administrative tasks
Running a business takes a lot of administration, and managing administrative tasks can take time away from selling and interacting with customers and prospects.
If your objective is to reduce administrative tasks, you can state your objective in one of the following ways to focus on lightening your administrative burden:
- Include a link in every e-mail to an online form that allows customers and prospects to keep their contact information up to date.
- Use email templates to save time designing messages.
- Automate list management and reporting with an E-Mail Marketing Provider (EMP).
Interact efficiently with customers
Staying connected with customers and making them feel that you care about them can be time-intensive if all your customer interaction happens in person. On the other hand, automating customer interaction can make your customers feel like they aren’t being treated personally.
Efficient customer interaction works when you establish a healthy balance between personal interaction and electronic communication.
If your objective is to interact efficiently with customers, you can state your objective in one of the following ways and use e-mail to improve your interaction efficiency:
- Ask customers to use surveys and feedback forms.
- Use e-mails to confirm purchases.
- Use e-mail newsletter content to answer common questions.
- Link customers to online resources for support.