Don’t Confuse E-mail Selling with E-mail Marketing

In E-mail Marketing vs. E-mail Sales, e-mail marketing expert and independent consultant, Jeanne Jennings, discussed how some companies are confusing e-mail marketing with e-mail selling, and thus not reaping much of the benefits e-mail marketing can offer them.

Jennings points out that e-mail marketing is focused on longer-term objectives, while e-mail sales are geared towards immediate revenue, and that companies who send nothing but promotional e-mails tend to fatigue their lists, as well as limit their audience only to customers and prospects who are already at that stage in the purchasing cycle.  I could not agree more.

Jennings reiterates what we marketers must never forget: E-mail marketing – as any marketing –  is more than selling; it’s also brand-building, relationship-building, keeping your company at the top of your customers’ minds, and exchanging information between you and your customers.  Concentrating your e-mails solely on short-term sales can cost you greatly in foregone future repeat sales that often accompany good customer relationships.

The ideal proportion of your e-mail marketing messages that should be non-promotional vs. promotional varies by industry, product category, and other factors.  However, your company can reap great benefits from a healthy mix of these two types of messages.

Sending a promotional e-mail will likely succeed if a prospect is in the buying stage.  Another e-mail that offers news and tips on how to use your product may help increase product usage and create customer loyalty.  An e-mail that illustrates the benefits of your product or service may help a prospect who is still in the needs discovery phase of the buying cycle to think of your company when he/she is ready to buy.  Sending a confirmation e-mail after a purchase – coupled with additional information –  can trigger some impulse spending by your customer.

Another useful benefit of taking a long-term focus to e-mail marketing is that link-clicks are trackable.  You can track the behavior of someone on your e-mail list when he/she opens your e-mail and clicks on a link.  This can yield valuable clues about the type of content that interests the prospect, and can help you tailor both your non-promotional and promotional e-mails to the prospects’ preferences.  When you send your prospects and customers e-mail that interests them, they believe you have their best interest in mind, and they are more likely to buy from you.

In these recessionary times, companies need to make sales.  But hard selling, whether online or off, is a sign of desperation.  Companies whose marketing demonstrates  – in every channel – that they understand and care about their customers will more than make up for today’s lost sales tomorrow.

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