The right kind of message
People who say that email is, in fact, dead, are most likely sending the wrong kind of emails. What does that mean exactly? At Idea Marketing Group we break down email into three basic groups:
The regular email newsletter is pretty easy to comprehend. This is an email sent out either on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. These emails are generally basic updates about the company. They can include earning reports, company culture insights or employee news.
Promotional email is as simple as it sounds. These are the types of emails you receive from major department stores or other retail outlets whose mailing lists you may have joined in order to receive a discount or some other offer. Some of the larger companies may email you their latest offers several times a day.
We create promotional emails very sparingly because for the most part, we find they just don’t work that well. For example, recently one of our clients sponsored a golf outing attended by the professionals they wanted to target for new business.
The client used a giveaway to collect email addresses. After the outing, they planned to send an email with a strong promotional offer. As you might guess, the email and offer went nowhere. Not a single contact was made.
The reason is simple, the people receiving the email knew nothing about the company or their expertise.
Position yourself as the expert
This leads us to educational emails, the reason we say email is most certainly not dead.
Educational emails are messages that are purely meant to give readers information that they can use to make their lives better or make their jobs easier. This type of email normally tries to identify a problem the reader might be having and provide a solution.
At Idea Marketing Group we work with marketing clients in a variety of industries from construction technology to event planning. What we’ve found is that people are more likely to respond to educational emails.
But there’s a catch. It doesn’t happen with one email or even two. Patience is key.
Educational email strategy
At Idea, We’ve developed a strategy with our clients in which we create an entire series of emails designed to educate on a certain topic. These emails generally are pretty short in length with links to more information on the client website. These are delivered over the course of months, not days or even weeks and contain little to no promotion.
Why do we do it this way? Because we’re not trying to directly sell anything with these emails and an immediate response is not needed. Remember, the purpose of these emails is to educate, not to promote. If we’ve done it right, the sale comes later.
We’re finding this strategy is effective because people don’t want to be sold to all the time. When you think about your own experience, how many of these emails from the big retail companies do you actually open? Our guess is not many.
The main idea behind this strategy is to portray our clients as thought leaders or experts in their field. A steady stream of emails with useful content goes a long way toward that. So, when the customer or client is ready to buy, the company that sent out those helpful emails will be top of mind.
Educational email in practice
One Idea client that has successfully adopted this strategy is BuildingPoint Midwest and Gulf Coast, which sells construction technology equipment throughout the United States. At any given time BuildingPoint is running 3-5 educational long-term email campaigns directed to over 18,000 subscribers.
Are all of them ready to buy the latest piece of construction tech right now? No, but when they are they know who they can trust to help them with that purchase.
“Since starting our email campaigns, we’ve seen revenue increases of 30 percent year over year. We’re measuring the impact and seeing the results,” said Nick DiBitetto, BuildingPoint General Manager.
To be clear, educational email is a long-term strategy. Sending out two educational emails and expecting the phone to ring off the wall is a fool’s errand. But try it for six months to a year and expect to see a steady incline in the amount of repeat business from longtime customers.