Management

Gold in emails

You do of course record your guest’s details, but do you also record their email addresses?

If not, why not? Similarly, I assume you have noted their mobile phone numbers. These two details are a veritable gold mine to keep your business afloat and growing.

Despite the variety of negative comments, I hear email marketing is still an effective marketing strategy. However, email marketing must be adapted as consumer habits evolve, if it is to keep its place as one of the principal tactics of digital marketing

A number of recent statistics have surfaced about the effectiveness of email marketing as a tactic to reach business objectives. Respondents to Marketing Sherpa’s Email Marketing Benchmark Survey, reported that email was most effective at building brand awareness, nurturing prospects and improving customer retention with a 75 to 76 percent effectiveness rating. Driving website traffic was considered only slightly less effective, with a 73 percent rating.

Despite these impressive trends, I continue to be disappointed by the number of marketing emails in my inbox that look as though they have been typed on a 1948 Triumph typewriter with badly constructed text and poor quality images. Worse, many don’t render on all my devices. This correspondence very quickly meets my delete button and another company has lost a possibly potential customer.

The basis of all marketing is trust and open honesty. That is why your guest records are such a valuable resource. You have already built those two foundations with your guests. Now all you have to do is generate a high quality medium to start selling your specials and great deals. What is really great is that it will cost you very little.

Every user reading your marketing email wants the ability to do so without having to jump through hoops. They don’t want to click a link that is too small, or have to zoom in to see an image. These things create a frustrating user experience.

The solution is responsive design. A responsive framework dynamically adjusts content and layout to the device. It ensures that your email is beautifully designed to be viewed on multiple devices, from laptops to iPads including Android of course.
Your customer might be trying to read the email while also juggling a busy schedule – waiting in line for coffee, toting a toddler, or speed-walking to a meeting. Keep your personas in mind when you design not only your marketing content, but also your email layout.
And here are some reasons why and how you should be designing responsive emails:
• 44 percent of email recipients made at least one purchase last year based on a promotional email.
• 33 percent of email recipients open email based on subject line alone.
• Subject lines fewer than 10 words long had an open rate of 58 percent.
• Personalised subject lines are 22.2 percent more likely to be opened
• 64 percent of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
• Monday emails had the highest revenue per email.
• Emails that include social sharing buttons have a 158 percent higher click-through rate.
• The best statistic is that for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

Just remember that this year alone, about 84 percent of all email traffic will be spam. Make sure yours is not swept into that pile.

The size of market is however quite staggering. There were 3.6 billion email accounts in 2013; by 2016, the number will reach 4.3 billion. Hard to imagine where you can get a greater market volume or growth rate of which your business can take advantage.

To get you started, there are quite a number of sites that offer professional email templates for virtually the price of a cup of coffee and a doughnut. All that is needed is for you to add your content. If your reservation system has a mail merge facility, all you need to add is free software that allows your computer to run as a bulk email server and you are done!

If this sounds a little tricky for you and you do not have an IT guru to help the solutions is still very affordable. More resource companies offer a mail out service or you can give them the whole task and only be charged on a volume basis. Just bear in mind that in our digital world, mobile trumps desktop.

More people are now reading email on mobile devices than on desktops. Another recent Litmus survey discovered that email opens on mobile devices jumped to 48 percent, with desktop opens at 33 percent. Webmail opens slumped to 19 percent.

Mobile email clients can support responsive design and it is for this reason that all your layouts must be responsive. That means that they alter their scale to suit the viewing area of the device. This is the design base for your website and why Google adds the mobile-friendly tag to search results.

But we have not exhausted the gold in your client database, there is one more component, the phone number.
Use the client’s mobile phone number to send SMS messages, very much like your doctor probably does to remind you that you have an appointment tomorrow. Your message should be brief but could again announce your new offer and refer them to a website link as appropriate. That link may just take them to a copy of your mail out page uploaded to your server as a separate part of your domain.

Just remember that success is based on trust. Therefore, never misrepresent the features, advantages and benefits of a product or service. Customers don’t want a product or solution that only comes close to meeting their needs, or that usually functions properly. Give them the whole, unvarnished truth, and let them decide if the proposed offer will appeal to them.

Don’t promise anything you can’t deliver. Some sales professionals find it very difficult to say no to the customer about anything. Do not make an offer with specific features and benefits when you know you can’t deliver as it is a recipe for disaster.

Finally, make promises and keep them. Above all, you must do what you say, when you said you would do it. This one trait alone will put you head and shoulders above your competition.

Warren Buffet once said: “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.”

Rosie Clarke

Rosie Clarke is managing editor at Multimedia Publishing.

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