(published in Your Virtual Insurance May 9 from
and posted with permission)
A Commerce Department report, “A Nation Online,”
released February 5, reveals that most people use the Internet for two primary purposes,
email and product research. This data supports the idea the email marketing is the most
effective use of the Internet for marketing purposes today. Web pages are static and
require users to go searching for them. Once found, the page must be bookmarked, or it
will be lost again. Email, however, lands directly on a user’s machine and must be
actively deleted to be lost. If the email satisfies the second most common use by
supplying valuable information to the reader, then the marketer will achieve great impact.
Email marketing fuses email and research into a single
channel and provides marketers with a powerful, yet affordable tool. Never before has
marketing been so inexpensive, supple, and easily tailored for any given demographic. You
might think that email marketing reaches a small audience, and other more traditional
marketing channels will provide better saturation, but that is rapidly changing.
More than half the nation, 143 million people, goes online
regularly. Two million new users sign up for Internet service each month. Email is the
most common use. The second is product research with about one third of Americans going
online to search for product or service information. When a newsletter full of valuable
information arrives in the user’s inbox it capitalizes on these two main uses; email and information.
When applied in a business-to-business application, email
newsletter marketing is even more power. Almost sixty percent of employed people have
Internet access at work. Eighty percent of professionals and managers use the Internet,
and seventy percent of those in sales, technical, or administrative support. Email
newsletters in a B2B application therefore miss only a small percentage of your target
market, decision makers. And even this small gap is rapidly closing. Internet use in the
workplace is growing at a vigorous 54 percent rate annually. Soon email newsletters will
saturate a market as completely as direct mail or print, radio, and television advertising.
Not all email newsletters are effective, however, despite
the impressive demographic support.
Marketing Through Email Newsletters
The key to an effective email newsletter lies in a notion
known as Permission Marketing. Your newsletter should build communication and good will,
not annoy your reader. Therefore you should always obtain a person’s permission before
putting them on your mailing list.
Bulk, unsolicited commerce E-Mail is known as SPAM, and
users despise it. Spam can cause serious and expensive overloads to both ISPs and
individual recipients. Since it is poorly targeted, it is also ineffective. Therefore you
should build your mailing list by asking people to opt-in to receive your newsletter.
“Opt-in e-mail lists” ask a user to agree to
become part of an e-mail list, and they are not subscribed unless they take specific
action. Opt-in lists are very powerful since everyone on the list has given permission to
have their e-mail address included in the marketer’s database.
The second most important hallmark of an effective email newsletter is its content.
People will opt-in to receive your newsletter if your give them something. Therefore distribute
newsletters that have information that is relevant to your audience’s lives.
When you do, your emails will be anticipated and eagerly read.
Many marketers, whether they be professionals or otherwise,
reflexively want to begin touting their own company’s achievements. They want to climb
onto the mountaintops and scream about how great they are, how many sales their company
made, the partnerships they are forming, and how their product is the best thing to happen
since sliced bread. The problem with this is, of course, that these marketers are
distributing information that is important to them, not to their reader.
Therefore, make your selection of articles or other content
pass the following litmus test: does the content provide value to my customers, or is it
self serving. The average business person receives over fifty emails a day, so if you
don’t want your newsletter to wind up in the trash bin, you better make sure it is full of
articles that are interesting and valuable to your reader.