With so many different marketing channels to choose from, it can be hard to figure out which will work best for your business. This article outlines the key benefits of using email as a marketing tool, and how it can help you to accomplish your business goals. Not only is this marketing tool extremely affordable, it's unparalleled in its combined ability to be measurable, customizable, automated, and profitable.
Studies have shown that 93 percent of internet users have indicated that they'd rather receive brand information in their email inbox versus their social media feed. By connecting with people where they want to be reached, email newsletters can be a very powerful, ROI-positive marketing technique when used effectively.
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that can include everything from keeping your customers up-to-date with the latest company news, to promoting a special offer. This affordable, personalized, powerful marketing platform allows you to reach your audience where they want to be reached and - when used effectively - can deliver a very strong ROI.
Whether it's for business or for pleasure, following up via email is a timeless to-do for anyone wanting to stay top-of-mind with colleagues and friends. For small business owners, email follow ups are key to perpetuate business, especially with the reliance on referrals.With the busyness of our professional and personal lives, keeping in touch - especially with those you don't see on a daily basis - can be difficult, and sometimes we can lose business (and relationships!) because of that.
You genuinely care about your clients; but even if you do send an email now and again, it can feel like they blend in with the rest of the emails piling up in their inboxes. However, there are a few easy things you can do to maximize your gain from email follow-ups and to make sure they don't go unnoticed.
Everything you need to know on how to follow up:
People have been talking about the death of email for years now, and yet we continue to find more and more uses for it.
Email marketing is still the most economical and the most powerful marketing tool for a majority of businesses. Marketers consistently ranked email as the single most effective tactic for awareness, acquisition, conversion, and retention.
The more we try to find a better alternative to email, the more we realize that we already have the solution that just needs to be used better....email is still relevant, it's just a matter of how
you're using it.
Maintaining Email's Relevance:
Compiling a solid email list is a time consuming, but incredibly valuable undertaking. And, once you've created the perfect email content to help convert that list into customers, the only thing left to do is build an added level of efficiency into the process with a streamlined automated email marketing workflow.
As a busy real estate agent, you may not have the time to personally follow up with every inquiry you receive and stay in touch with clients who have contacted you in the past. But, a structured email marketing workflow would take much of this burden out of your hands altogether.
7 Steps to set up your email workflows:
Maybe you heard someone speak at a conference recently and you think you may have a great business opportunity with that person, or maybe you just want to try your luck and reach out to potential prospects or leads with a cold email. Whatever the case, there will come a time when you have to cold email a person and do your best to impress them in that one email or risk losing them altogether.
At times like this, etiquette plays a big role. Not only is it a visual turn off when the etiquette is poor but can also convey a lack of professionalism and manners on your part - definitely not a good first impression.
So, here are some email mistakes you should be wary of when sending out cold emails (or even otherwise) to your network of contacts.
Avoid these 6 cold email mistakes:
Recently, our VP of Marketing Joel Mier, shared a story with the Contactually team about how he did some networking while on vacation with his family in the Cayman Islands. Joel moonlights as a Marketing professor at the University of Richmond and a few months ago had sent a ScaleMail out to some of his former students to see how they were doing. One of his students replied that she was working on a boat out of the Cayman Islands, a detail he remembered when he headed there for a recent vacation. They reconnected and even met for a drink...a whole 1,279 miles from where they first initially met in the classroom.
The moral of the story? Networking doesn't need to be saved for business casual attire and awkward cocktail conversations during the work week. Networking is far more than stiff small talk, and it's well expanded beyond the boundaries of old school networking events. Much of it can now be done online
, a huge plus for those of us who may be more shy or unable to take the time to go to events. And why should you be networking? About 85% of all jobs are found and filled via networking
and that's just the tip of the iceberg! If you're a real estate agent or small business owner, you'll know that referrals are a huge part of building up your success, and doesn't proper networking work towards getting those crucial referrals?
So before you head out for your next vacation or weekend getaway, with a little upfront work, you can set yourself up to get some networking done, even if you're lounging on the beach in the Cayman Islands!
3 Tips on how to network on vacation:
According to one study, users spend an average of 15 to 20 seconds on emails before deciding whether to continue reading it or not. This means you need to create captivating email newsletters if you want to increase the chances of your subscribers engaging with them.
If you're a business planning to use email marketing to reach your audience, we've come up with some tips on how to make your newsletters standout from a sea of other emails that land in your subscribers' inboxes on a daily basis.
6 Tips to sending better email newsletters:
Mother's Day shoppers spent 21.4 billion in 2016, according to a 2017 shopping analysis. One great way to drive those shoppers to your business is with email marketing, which consistently ranks as one of the highest performing marketing channels for businesses.
Connecting with your customers or clients over a holiday like Mother's Day is bound to get some attention. Whether you're a small business owner looking to get people to come out and shop, or a real estate agent recommending the best restaurants in the area to take mom for brunch or lunch over the weekend, it's the perfect opportunity to connect with your network in a personal way.
To make your emails most effective, make the holiday a centerpiece in one or more of your campaigns this time of year. Here are a few ways to do exactly that while celebrating moms everywhere.
The best Mother's Day Email Campaigns to try this year:
This isn't the first time we've covered the thank you topic here on the Contactually Blog.
Saying 'thank you' never goes out of style and we're always finding new ways to tell our network and customers thank you.
Saying "please" and "thank you" were among the first manners that we all learned when we were children. It goes without saying but expressing gratitude goes far beyond thanking our teachers, parents, and friends when we were kids. As we've grown up, saying "thank you" has taken on an even bigger role - especially in the business world. According to a 2014 survey by Ask Your Target Market, "81% of respondents agree that sending thank you notes is an important way to show appreciation." But it doesn't stop there.
In addition to being polite and showing appreciation, saying "thank you" has a lot of other positive benefits both personally and professionally. According to Psychology Today, expressing gratitude has various benefits from growing new relationships to improving psychological health.
So, if you are part of the 14% of people that say they never send "thank you" notes, it's about time you jump on the bandwagon.
Take a look at our tips on the best way to say thank you and become a "thank you" expert:
Do you send emails en masse to your network of contacts? It's okay, you can tell us....we've all been there! And under the right circumstances, a mass email can often be effective in reaching your network and sharing news or updates as you maintain some of those crucial relationships. If you used a program like MailChimp, Constant Contact, or even Contactually's own ScaleMail, chances are you've utilized mail merge...even if you didn't realize it.
Basically, mail merge should be (if it isn't already) your best friend in your email outreach as you look to personalize your emails at a large scale, and keep your messages relevant to each individual you're sending them to. While it might require a little work on the front end of getting your contacts organized with different tags and creating a system that's consistent across your whole contact database, it'll pay off big time when you start sending better emails no matter what software or email system you're using.
Integrate mail merge into your strategy today:
We've written a lot on the importance of email, proper etiquette, and provided tips and tricks on how to perfect each one you send. However, we know that it's impossible to remember the best advice given so we're taking the best of Contactually's email tips and combining them into one!
Keep reading for different ways to improve your email usage and continue to perfect your communications with your network and contacts.
Read on for Contactually's email best practices...
Email leads are arguably the most valuable tool you can use to foster client relationships. Obviously, an initial signup indicates that the lead is potentially interested in your services. In addition, the email address provided can also be used to foster long-term relationships through consistent marketing.
With that in mind, it's extremely important for all entrepreneurs to continue growing and fostering their subscriber lists. We've outlined a few of the most effective ways to generate more email leads below.
Check them out to learn how to start growing your list today.
5 Tips to more real estate leads:
We've previously said that we don't think that email newsletters are the best way to generate leads but, just like anything else, there is a time and place for everything.
While newsletters aren't the best at attracting new people to buy a product, we do believe that an advanced newsletter strategy has the power to increase brand recognition, loyalty, and a better relationship between a business and their readers.
Experts say that in order to achieve maximum readership and engagement, companies should provide both! Read ahead to hear why.
Digital vs Print Newsletters:
With the frequent emergence and growth of new, lucrative social media such as Snapchat, Twitter, and Instagram (the #trifecta), combined with the existing ease of communications platforms like text-messaging, it tends to become more and more difficult to grasp the attention of the reader through old school email. One of the few existing grandfather media, where your inbox still remains private, your email gets flooded every day with Spam, work messages, subscription check-ins and other various, undulating updates.
Stewart Butterfield, CEO of real-time messaging platform Slack, suspects that about 80% of your email inbox is not coming from an actual person, and not even including Spam. "Here's your Uber ride receipt, someone's following you on Twitter, marketing newsletters," and so forth, he said. Because of this, people usually skim down their inboxes, ignoring those emails that don't seem relevant or interesting.
In fact, 21% of email recipients report email as Spam, even if they know it isn't. You may be asking yourself: how do I get my emails to rise above the rest and get noticed?
Find the best subject lines infographic below...
Do you remember the days when email was in its infancy? Do you remember the days when you spent more time checking your answering machine and fax machine than your inbox?
While this may have been a simpler time in some ways, things have changed over the years. In today's world, email remains the number one form of professional communication. It's common to have a love-hate relationship with your inbox. On the plus side, you enjoy the fact that you can communicate in a fast and efficient manner, all without having to jump on the phone or meet in person.
Conversely, there's no denying the fact that "inbox overload" is a real thing. Some people become so overwhelmed that it negatively impacts the way they manage their inbox and how they follow-up on important conversations.
Fortunately, there are a variety of email tools that can help you get organized and stay organized. Here are several of the top tools that make email follow-up easier.
Read on for 5 Email Tools
You sent an important email out a day ago, it may have been to a hiring manager about the job you've applied for, or maybe it's to a client that's waffling on signing the deal you sent over to them. No matter what the circumstances, waiting for a response can often be torture and most of the time can slow down your day or decisions you need to make. This is where the follow up email comes into play.
I know, they're hard to write, they're hard to send and they're often easy to forget in the middle of a busy day. But when you finally remember that you needed a response, it may be too late and you'll end up wishing you had
sent that follow-up email after all.
Instead of dragging your feet on sending out that quick email, we've got a few tips to help make the process a little less painful and instead help you build the follow-up strategy right into your day-to-day tasks without even thinking (or stressing) about it!
4 Tips to writing a painless follow up email:
We've all been there, sitting at our desks, writing an email or a communications for work and wondering if we're potentially using words that could keep people from opening our email or could also positively influence them as they read it. There's a reason there's plenty of articles out there that tackle this exact conundrum of determining the best words for generating a response from your contacts.
Since its birth in 1991, the world wide web grows everyday. The internet, as of January 2017, has over 4.78 billion registered web pages and over 3.48 billion users. The email realm is even greater: by the end of 2017, it is estimated that there will be 4.9 billion email accounts with over 206 billion sent daily. The sheer size and scope of content available is daunting to any blogger or marketer trying to build, but there are methods on how to capitalize on the audience size the internet provides: call to action words.
Call to Action words, CTAs, are not just verbs, but rather words that will provoke responses. CTAs can be placed in blog titles, email subjects, and advertisements links, and they increase the likelihood of grabbing attention from cold leads, or people who may not have heard of you, your website, company, or brand.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on the Sigstr Blog and can be found here.
Writing a follow up email is hard. You're working to snag the attention of a prospect who has an inbox full of droning provocations and unsolicited gloom, laden with demanding sales folks prodding them to take action they'd, more often than not, rather skip. Emails with real value tend to slip through the cracks.
The "Delete" response on cold emails is so fast today. An average buyer gets somewhere around +100 emails a day, but only opens 23 percent
of them, according to a study by Tellwise
. Moreover, that buyer is only clicking on 2 percent of them. But, according to SiriusDecisions
, the average sales person only makes two attempts to reach a prospect.
And I get it. You don't want to be a pain in the keister. We all want to avoid being annoying at the risk of having to face rejection. But it's our job to make sure we're aligned with what our prospects want and need. The trick is to make your follow up email creative and useful so it doesn't feel like a follow up.
Here's your 7 tips for the best follow up email:
The holidays are upon us, our inboxes are filled with promotions, sales and plenty of deals, deals, deals! And our physical mailboxes? Well those are filled too, and once you sift through the mailers and catalogues, you'll probably find a few holiday cards or even the holiday letters. Yes, we all know them and yes, we may in fact be guilty of sending them in years past.
While you may groan when you get the annual letter from that one 'perfect' family, you may also be heartened to get the letter from a friend or acquaintance you haven't kept in touch with well over the year and see how well they're doing. It's an impetus to get in touch with them, check in on their profile on Facebook or even find some time to call them while they're on your mind. And that, is the power of a personal update.
We're not advocating for you to start sending a year-end recap letter to all your clients and your business network, but we are going to make some strong arguments as to why you should implement some of the core ideas of the personal update into your marketing, at the end of the year...and all year round.
Let's get personal:
Here at Contactually we talk a lot about Email Templates. What are they? At Contactually we like to think of Email Templates as a pre-written message. Below is Webster's online definition of a template.
Template: noun * tem*plate * \'tem-pl@t\
computers : a computer document that has the basic format of something (such as a business letter, chart, graph, etc.) and that can be used many different times.
But what the Webster's definition leaves out is the value that Email Templates can add to a user's life. You may underestimate or brush off the idea of utilizing a pre-written email template as an less-personalized approach to your email and messaging outreach. But, we're here to argue that using an email template is one of the best ways to start your outreach process and gives you solid base from which to start building those very personal emails and messages to your network.
3 Reasons to Use Holiday Email Templates:
Editor's Note: This post was originally written by Annie McMindes for the Sigstr blog. You can find it here.
Think about all the emails you receive every day. How often do you notice something that is so irritating that you can't even read on? What started out as a promising email exchange quickly spoiled, and the convo hit your Trash. It's bad email etiquette we experience daily, but have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, you could be guilty of these email faux pas as well?
10 Annoying Email Habits:
We've all been at the receiving end of a bad email. The kind of email that makes you groan and probably almost immediately discredits the sender. Here's the thing, as email becomes more and more prevalent and we continue to use it as a quick means of communication between co-workers and friends, we could potentially forget our etiquette completely when writing a business email, and it may be detrimental for both you and your relationships.
So, what's the fix? Write better emails? Sure, to simplify it, you need to write better emails. But this goes a little bit deeper than just writing better emails, it's about defining what you use emails for and how to best use it as a tool for communicating. Because at the end of the day, that's what it's there for, to aid in your communications and it's one powerful tool for doing so! But in the wrong hands...it can make one big mess. The average office worker gets about 80 emails a day
and if you want your email to be answered, you're going to have to stand out from those 79 other emails your contact received by sending the best email they saw and read all day.
5 Tips on how to write better emails:
In a market where inventory is tight and listings are king, referrals are more critical than ever. Real Estate Agents report that they expect 49% of their business this year to come from referrals alone.
Unfortunately those referrals don't appear on their own, they come through building relationships with clients and former clients...and maintaining those relationships long after a home is bought or sold. More often than not, agents and small business folks tend to rely too heavily on automated emails that end up making them sound robotic and less than genuine. If you plan on getting worthwhile referrals, you'll need to establish your relationships in a more personalized way...while still taking advantage of automation where you can.
With that in mind, we polled 150 of our top residential real estate agent users to find out their secrets to building a robust referral pipeline. Here are a few of their market-proven strategies for staying top-of-mind in genuine, relevant ways.
8 Steps to get more real estate referrals:
Ever had a question about your business relationships, your network, or on writing the best email....but were too embarrassed to ask? You're in luck, we're introducing Dear Contactually, where you can ask all of your hard-to-answer questions of our resident experts here, anonymously of course!
It's probably safe to say that all those burning questions you have are questions that other folks have also had or wondered about. You're not alone, and we're here to ease some of your networking and follow-up pains that we know are keeping you up late at night.
So what do you have to do to get your questions answered? Submit your question here
or reach out to us on Twitter
, or shoot us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org
) and ask away! Your name will remain anonymous and we promise to answer your questions as best we can.
Dear Contactually...How do I send the best follow-up email after meeting an influencer? How many?
When you send an email you are probably expecting a response. Sometimes that response comes, and sometimes all you hear are the sounds of crickets.
The next proper step that you think of is to follow up. You want the answers to the questions you have. Or maybe you need the answers because they are vital to a business transaction. Maybe it's not a questioning thing, but maybe the follow-up is vital to your networking skills. You need to stay top of mind with your contacts to grow your business.
Don't worry, you are not alone in this. We know these challenges all too well.
You've sent dozens of follow-ups for one or both of the reasons above; how do you know if they are working? You've gotten a few replies, but some of your follow-ups are still hanging out in the ether of the dark email universe.
Are you sending out follow-ups blindly? Or are you measuring the performance of your follow-ups? What are the metrics you need to keep tabs on so that your follow-ups get answered? Over the past year our users have sent millions of follow-ups out of Contactually and here are the top 7 metrics to measure for your follow-up performance.
What you start measuring for your follow-ups...
When was the last time you made an ask of your contacts within an email? Whether you wanted them to sign up for your latest webinar or check out a blog post you were featured in, you probably created some sort of call-to-action, or CTA. How effective was your CTA? How many of your contacts actually followed through on the action you asked of them? If the number is low, it may be time for you to reassess how you create your CTAs and even what they look like.
Better yet, think about the last time you got a promotional email in your inbox. It had a compelling enough subject line to get you to open it, and once you opened it, did you click through to shop or open their website or sign up? Or did you open and close it back out in quick succession?
That compelling CTA...or not so compelling one is a great starting point for creating your own call to actions in your emails. Keep in mind the three factors that go into creating a successful CTA; color, message, and placement in your email.
Creating a more effective call to action...
It's probably safe to assume that when you reach out to your network via email, you want to be as personable as possible. But in a time when sending bulk mail or email newsletters to thousands of contacts is as simple as clicking a few buttons, it suddenly becomes very easy to send truly cold emails that don't have a lot of heart.
While we'd love to say stop sending cold and bulk emails, but the solution isn't that easy.
Even if you're not sending cold prospecting sales emails, it's good practice to scale all of your outreach, even if you're only guilty of sending a bulk email newsletter once a week. You have plenty of opportunities to personalize these emails in very simple ways, why not go for it? Utilizing these simple changes could mean a higher open rate, or even a higher response rate. But, at the end of the day, you're doing more to build up a better and more genuine relationship with your network and the contacts within it.
Start scaling your outreach
Brokers, we've got something for you.
Back in late winter, Contactually spoke with 120 top-tier brokers to learn what their priorities were for 2016. No surprise, 96% of them told us that recruiting was one of their top two priorities.
Of that 96%, an overwhelming majority identified recruiting as an evergreen focus - in other words, a topic they were constantly dedicating time to, regardless of the age of the brokerage or time of year.
Why is this the case? Apart from the annual agent turnover rate, which necessitates near-constant recruiting in order to have a full roster, recruiting serves as a focal point because it's one of two principal levers for growing the business. (The other, in case you're curious, is to improve the productivity of existing agents.)
How can you send the right messages to keep recruiting real estate agents that you want to attract?