By Peggy Bekavac Olson
Leads have been top of mind for me in recent months. Hopefully, you've seen this reflected in my previous articles and have already benefited from my ideas on lead generation, management and nurturing, as well as my pointers on direct mail marketing. Continuing in the same vein, the focus of this effort is email marketing.
Have you thought about email marketing but don't know where to begin? Do you worry that email marketing might be too technically challenging and time intensive for your payment business to handle right now? Are you stuck in a rut, comfortable clinging to familiar lead generation tactics while wanting or needing more leads?
This primer should help you get up to speed on email marketing best practices and provide practical guidelines for getting started.
A form of direct marketing, email marketing takes digital promotional material and delivers it directly to prospective purchasers of your products and services via electronic mail. The objective is to get prospects to take specific actions in response to one or more calls to action contained in your email.
Email marketing is a relatively easy to use, low cost and effective method for communicating messages, promotions and pertinent information to target audiences. It can create awareness and interest in your company, products and services, as well as serve as a mechanism for generating leads. It can also enhance relationships with existing merchant customers by providing them timely information that benefits them. It can serve to up-sell and cross-sell merchants, too.
Email marketing is the electronic equivalent of direct mail marketing, so the two have much in common. However, there's one important difference and that is the issue of permission. Fundamentally, you must obtain an email address owner's permission before you send commercial email to that address.
If you don't have permission, recipients may regard your message as spam or unsolicited bulk commercial email, which can damage your own and your company's reputation or even lead to legal actions. In the long run, successful email marketing works best when it is permission-based.
Promotional email marketing generally features a specific product or service offering and some type of discount, special offer or incentive to entice prospects to take action. Calls to action can be as simple as asking email recipients to pick up the telephone, visit a website to obtain further information, schedule a sales call, see a demonstration or even apply for a merchant account.
Content email marketing typically employs a newsletter-type format. The goal is to share valuable information, insights and advice about issues and information your customers and prospects care about.
The content you provide should not be about your business and offerings; it should focus on pertinent business-related information that will help recipients solve business problems or build credibility and authority. You want prospects and customers to look forward to receiving your content. That way, when they're ready to buy, they will turn to you first.
As a marketing tactic, email marketing can be your company's sole lead generation activity or it can be combined with other efforts like cold-calling, telemarketing, advertising, events, social media and more.
Remember, the purpose of email marketing and these other marketing tactics is to fill your sales funnel or pipeline with ample leads.
So what does it take to make an email campaign successful? If you want to do it right and ensure the best results possible, make sure that you:
Now that you've learned the basics of email marketing, why not give it a try? When you put email marketing to work for your payment business, the inquiries and leads it generates can help sustain and grow your business for a long time to come.
Peggy Bekavac Olson founded Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payment companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.
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