A Scenic Tour of the Online World

Email Marketing: Making Better Use of Your Email List

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

By now, you have a pretty good idea of the benefits (and pitfalls) of email marketing.

Maintaining a regular schedule of delivery for an email newsletter, and actively promoting it to help grow your list, can be a great way to increase reach and to strengthen existing relationships and maintain contact with prospects in your pipeline.

For most people, that means writing a few articles, collecting some relevant links, perhaps adding a funny story, and publishing once a month or once a quarter.

But there’s a lot more you can do with your list. The key is to stop thinking of your audience as a single group of readers. Most businesses will have a variety of people on their list

•    Current clients
•    Clients who have purchased recently
•    Clients who haven’t purchased in a while
•    New prospects
•    Prospects further along in the buying process
•    Prospects poised to make a decision
•    Warm or cold leads
•    Your mom (Come on; admit it.)

These different groups are going to have very different needs and different expectations when they see your email in their inbox. (Non-profits can substitute donors and volunteers, but the concepts are similar.)

Segmenting your list and addressing those needs can help turn one-off sales into committed, repeat customers, donors, or volunteers. As importantly, segmenting your list can help generate valuable feedback from your audience.

This can be as simple and direct as asking a recent client for feedback, or as strategic as providing a regular stream of high-value information to new prospects over the course of months or years to increase their confidence in you and to be top-of-mind when they’re ready to buy.

For B2C firms, there are a range of ESPs (email service providers) with tools that can be integrated into your lead generation and ecommerce tools so that browsers and buyers can be emailed according to various trigger points. (For example, right after they’ve signed up for your email newsletter, or post-purchase, with a satisfaction survey or a complementary offer.)

B2B firms have similar tools, particularly at the enterprise and near-enterprise level. For very small firms, an organized marketing department can orchestrate similar tools for sales teams to use on a more personal level. (There seems to be a gap in the market for mid-sized firms – we’d love to hear from anyone using tools they love in this market.)

With the tools available, there’s really no excuse for simply using email marketing as a one-size-fits campaign that ignores the differences amongst your readers. Address their needs and interests, and you’ll engage them more profitably.

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