Want to know the best well-kept secret in online marketing?
Push marketing is alive and kicking and is not going away any time soon.
A lot of SEO or social media gurus speak of push marketing as profanity. Push marketing is also framed as a dated marketing method used only by old, stubborn people, still stuck in the past. After all, if these “experts” don’t get you to believe that, how will they make a living?
The truth is it’s not a popularity contest (being hip and trendy vs. being traditional). Your push marketing strategy can very nicely complement your pull marketing strategy, when done right.
In this piece, I will focus specifically on email marketing.
Case in Point: Email Invitations (Push) Attracted the Most Signups for Webinars (Pull)
I want to share a recent success story in promoting a webinar.
Date of Webinar: Oct 17, 2013
Time frame for promotion: 1 week (Oct 10 – Oct 17)
Registrants on Monday, Oct 14, 2013: 48
Registrants on Oct 17, 2013: 560
Yes, The registration grew by 1200% in four days. And over 50% of the registrants attended the live session (which is very good). What made the biggest difference?
Email invitation sent out to a targeted, opt-in list on October 15, 2013.
DO’s and DON’Ts of Email Marketing
- Include email and newsletter marketing as a part of your integrated digital marketing program. The email newsletter remains an effective way to build a relationship with a prospect, nurturing them along until they become a customer. You need to “give” multiple times (useful information; thoughtful content) before you “ask” (for a favor or a sale).
- Have a strategy. Will you be using emails to generate sales, improve customer loyalty, or demonstrate thought-leadership? The reason to ask yourself this is so you have a targeted list for each purpose.
- Create a permission-based database of contacts with accurate email addresses. The best place to start is your customers. Sending out unwanted or surprise emails could cause you being marked as a spammer. Once you fall into spam box, it’s impossible to make your way back to inbox, costing you the sales opportunity forever.
- Grow your email database by adding non-customers. This is hard but necessary. Consider a referral program offering incentives to your customers so they can refer friends and family to sign up. Don’t forget to state the benefits of receiving your emails, besides the referral reward.
- Provide the option to your subscribers to opt out. This is required by law. The “unsubscribe” link is required to work 30 days after the email has been sent out. Do not make your target audience angry and risk losing their business for life.
- Use purchased email lists. A lot of these lists are collected by brokers without any insight of the contacts. Also, it is illegal to send unsolicited emails as regulated in CAN-SPAM Act. Spams destroy trust and relationships.
- Send your target audience junk, including content that’s not personalized and thoughtful. It is another quick way to be marked as spam. Once you’re reported as spam it’s impossible to return to inbox.
- Insert too many links and images in your email. Doing so also not only risks you being marked as spam, but shows how clueless you are about the intent of your email. Stay on the subject.
- Assume the hard work is over once you have a legitimate list. You’ll still need to constantly monitor, update and clean up the contact lists to weed out uninterested parties. This will give you a better understanding of the true open rate and click-through rates, i.e. how effective your email campaigns are.
Mailchimp has provided clear and useful guidelines about how spam filters from different ISPs work, and how to not get blacklisted.
Both Push and Pull Strategies Work
Now you should be well equipped with email marketing etiquette and knowledge to get one step closer to creating a balanced digital marketing program mixed with both push and pull strategies. Don’t buy-in to the snake oil salesman who deems push marketing evil – run tests and measure campaign effectiveness, and make your own decisions.