January 11, 2016
Was that a little harsh? Okay, we'll back it up a little bit. There is a time and a place for your email newsletter or big marketing email to be successful, but when you're trying to generate qualified leads, this is not the place. Newsletters certainly serve a purpose and when they're done well, it can create some of the best emails we've ever seen. But, their purpose is not best served for lead generation.
Here at Contactually, we're a firm believer in the art of personal engagement, especially when it comes to generating your leads. And sending out an email newsletter in bulk is no way to get up close and personal with your contacts. While you may get your contacts to open up the email and possibly engage with the content you share, how many of them reach out to you and become a lead?
Think about it this way, how many email newsletters do you get a day? By noon on a Monday, I've already gotten at least 15 commercial newsletters in my inbox...and the day's not even half over yet! Most days, I don't even get a chance to take a look at what I received, let alone open them all. But here's the thing, even if I did open a couple of those newsletters, I wouldn't think to respond to them, would you?
More often than not, those marketing and commercial email newsletters get sent straight to the spam folder, or thrown in the trash in an Inbox Zero purge. We're left scratching our head, wondering why businesses and marketers continue to send these newsletters when they're proven to have very little impact on generating leads. Well to start, it's become a simple fix.
[caption id="attachment_6819" align="aligncenter" width="296"] Correlation between company size and email open rates. via MailChimp[/caption]
We all know that following up and staying in touch with your network is a crucial step in maintaining business, and creating more business and leads. Sending an email newsletter is an easy way 'follow-up' with those contacts in one fell-swoop. But it's not effective in the least, it's simply checking off an item on your to-do list in the easiest way possible! But guess what? 58% of people say that they will not open an email at all if they thought it looked irrelevant or didn't match their needs. That's more than half of people out there that you will quickly lose if you keep sending them the same blanket newsletter.
If you look at the chart above, it's clear that no matter how big the company is, the open rates don't vary much beyond 23%. This means that those big brands that send out marketing newsletters to thousands of people each day, aren't much more successful in getting people to open their emails than you or other smaller businesses are. Consumers are inundated with hundreds of emails a day, and no matter who you are or what brand you represent, we're all competing for that precious space in the inbox and the crucial opening of the email. So ask yourself, what's better for your business? Sending a big ol' newsletter to 1,000 people that won't even open it, or taking the time to personally reach out to a few people each day with engaging and effective content?
Looking for leads? Nix your email newsletter and change your mindset. You can be just as effective, if not even more effective in generating leads by choosing to personally engage with your contacts on a more human level.
Invest in a CRM or an email system that allows you to send out smaller batches of more personalized emails. In return, you'll see a higher rate of the genuine type of engagement that can lead to the warming up of your cold leads, the resurgence of replies to your emails, and of course more sales leads!
Get your contacts into an email nurture campaign that fits their wants and needs. Keep in mind what they're looking for, not necessarily just sharing what you want to tell them. Go for relevant content. Whether that means scouring the internet for articles that you think they'll love or sharing content from your blog or social media platforms, it's been proven that consumers will engage more with the brands that give them content that's relevant, even if it's branded.
Go ahead, and get personal. Don't underestimate the power of a phone call or a personal follow-up in the form of a handwritten note or small gift during crucial points throughout the year. Not only do these nudges help to keep you top of mind in a positive way with your contacts, but it also means that when you do send out an email, your name will stand out in their inbox and give you a much better shot at better quality engagement.
If you really want to continue sending an email newsletter, then switch up its purpose. Rather than a weekly newsletter that's 100% all about you, take the time to instead send a monthly newsletter filled with useful content your contacts will actually want to read. Content marketing can be a key tool in generating leads and maintaining your business, so why not switch gears and dedicate your newsletter to excellent content and give it a shot?
Before you do, make sure to take steps to avoid getting sent straight to spam boxes, and always keep in mind that relevance is key in sending effective email marketing. Remember the ever important ratio of 90% educational to 10% self promotion. Once your email tips the scale to heavy in the self promotion area, you start to lose your readers, and their interest.