If email is not a hot topic for you, it should be. It’s estimated that office employees spend as much as 61% of their time inside of their email. I could probably write an entire blog post on how to become a Gmail ninja or Outlook wizard, and it would be time worth spending.
However, with this post, I want to talk a bit more strategically about how you manage your outbox, not your inbox. Email can change the way your company grows its business — and we are going to talk about how.
Note: If you are already a marketing automation guru, this post probably isn’t for you — but you may find it to be an entertaining refresher of why you do what you do.
It’s Cheap & Scalable
First, let’s start with one fact: how much does it cost to send an email? The answer is either $0.00, or if you are familiar with the industry, fractions of pennies. This means that if you want to, you can email one hundred friends today for free! The thing is, nobody likes spam. The traditional email blast is and should be considered a thing of the past. Unfortunately, since email was brought to life in the early 90s, we have been plagued by spam precisely because it is so cheap and easy. The sender doesn’t pay for a stamp!
Pitfall — Avoiding Spam!
So what have we done to resolve this problem? According to the Message Anti-Abuse Working Group, spam hit its peak in 2010 at 88% of all emails. Most of these emails, the consumer never sees. Legislation such as the Canadian anti-spam law, unsubscribe policies, and intelligent mail filters have all contributed to a cleaner inbox. When organizations do abuse email, it is reflected in their sender scores that are tied to corporate domains. (Check out this blog post for more information about sender scores and the metrics used to calculate your deliverability.)
Making it Strategic
By now you’re probably wondering what this has to do with strategically growing your business. Well, with email, you have a free way to scale your marketing messages with set rules around how to hit your recipients’ inboxes. This ties nicely into the fact that a marketer’s job is to deliver the right message to the right person at the right time. It also fits in with the fact that the best marketing feels right.
You can head on over to our Lead Nurturing Lab to help you brainstorm and get started. However, here are a few real and strategic examples I’ve hand-picked that have helped organizations scale:
Not everyone is ready to buy the first time they engage with you. One of my personal favorite email examples is a workflow I received after deciding not to purchase software from TrackMaven. I was sent personal 1:1 messages from my account executive, but every single one of them was automated. These types of messages are concise, personal, and well timed. It went something along the lines of:
It’s been too long! Thanks again for taking the time to review what we do at the beginning of 2014. Hard to believe that in that time I’ve had my first son and TrackMaven has raised an 8M series B. I’m just getting back from maternity leave, but would love to sync up when you can. We are doing some great year end discounts – I know price was an important factor for you.
New Customer Onboarding
LinkedIn does a terrific job engaging with each customer right after sign up. Email can be used effectively whenever there is a set process required. For LinkedIn, there were actually four set processes, starting with one important question. The result of this question triggered a customized learning track based on the use case. This was all coordinated through a preference center at the top:
Events and Education
What important information does your audience need? With events, it makes total sense to email everyone the agenda 24 hours before the event. People need timely digestible content! More importantly to you, events are typically a third of a B2B marketing budget. You need to get the most out of your investment and guess what, it comes in one big wave! Here is a potential workflow from the Lead Nurturing Lab on how to follow up with this wave.
Keeping it in Context
Now, don’t get me wrong, there is no substitute for an in-person conversation — and I’m one of those people who also prefers to talk on the phone (we’re more and more rare these days!) — but both of those take a ton of time and don’t scale without significant costs. Email does scale, and has some amazingly helpful applications when used with your audience’s inbox in mind!