How often have you received irrelevant emails with a hard sales push and very little novel content? Most of us receive several of these annoying spam emails every day – yet now consider how often do you receive an interesting, thought-provoking email providing a new insight and offering to provide a relevant solution to an issue that has been on your mind recently? Not so frequently I am guessing. Yet this is the ‘holy grail’ we are striving to reach with our direct marketing communications – and a successful email contact strategy can edge us ever closer to achieving this lofty goal…

If email is going to play an on-going, key role in your direct marketing plan, it is therefore crucial that you firstly develop an email contact strategy– in order to clarify how you are going to communicate with your target audience at every stage of the sales process.

Initial emails should focus on building the relationship with your prospective customer – by providing useful and interesting information that is relevant to their particular needs. The aim is to build rapport, trust, and most importantly to get your prospective customer into the habit of always opening up your valued emails. You may consider introducing a ‘soft sell’ at this stage, for example: “Click here if you want to find out more.”

Only start selling in earnest once this initial trust and rapport has been established – but even then, ensure that the bulk of your communication remains focused on providing useful information, continually adding value for your prospect. Closely link your sales message to specific areas of the content that you are covering, in order to demonstrate that your proposition is relevant to helping your prospect overcome their particular problem.

Following this approach helps to build your credibility – the sales aspect should feel naturally bound up with the useful information already provided, as opposed to a non-specific ‘sales-push’. Just ensure that the information you include has been well-researched and is genuinely useful – provide novel insights that will help your prospect, as opposed to just recycling commonplace knowledge.

As part of your email contact strategy, you should plan in a sequence of follow-up emails – remember that your audience will only consider buying from you when it suits them. Your prospective customer will probably not even open up your initial email if your proposition does not resonate with their specific needs at that particular point in time. It is therefore incredibly difficult to predict exactly when will be the right time for each individual prospect to receive your communication (since everyone has their own unique needs and circumstances). A planned programme of regular, valued follow-ups to build trust and keep you ‘front of mind’ is therefore often the best means of addressing this inherent uncertainty.

What about you – have you found a particular type of email contact strategy to work well for your business? Or is your business still operating on a more ‘ad-hoc’ approach with your email communications?

If you’re interested in exploring this area in more detail (together with relevant examples), you might like my recent book ‘Successful Marketing Communications’.  If you have any thoughts or comments, do drop me a line below.

Written by Rob H

I’m a Chartered Marketer with over 20 years’ experience working in digital and offline marketing communications across the financial services, leisure, education and technology sectors – most recently working for a large financial services organisation, managing the acquisition marketing communications team. I gained an MSc in Strategic Marketing from Cranfield Business School in 2005 and the CIM Diploma in Digital Marketing in 2012. In 2012 I became the part-time course tutor at the Cambridge Marketing College for the CIM diploma in ‘Principles of Mobile Marketing’ – also authoring the accompanying Mobile Marketing study materials for the college. In March 2017 I published ‘Successful Marketing Communications‘ (available on Amazon Kindle and Apple iBooks), which has become recommended reading for delegates at the IDM (Institute of Direct Marketing). When I’m not knee-deeping in reading/ writing the latest marketing communications articles I enjoy outdoor swimming and anything involving snow – with my goal for next year being to combine the two…

This article has 1 comment

  1. Pingback: A Powerful Email Auto-Responder | Marketing Communications Expert

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *