It is a common fallacy to stop marketing when money gets tight. It is very easy to see your marketing budget as a quick fix place to cut. Don’t do it. You need your marketing now more than ever.
So what do you do when those high dollar spends like magazines and bridal show keep getting more expensive and returning less. I didn’t say you had to keep marketing the way you were, I just said that now is not the time to stop.
Right now the most cost-effective way to market is through email, but you need to do it right.
Here are some of the things I have learned along the way.
- Don’t use your regular email. Use a quality bulk email system that has a good opt–out application. I like A Weber, Emma and Mail Chimp. All three offer great tracking and are ridiculously easy to use. I recently started using Constant Contact for a client. I have to tell you, I am not a fan.
- Preview, preview and preview again. A good system lets you send test emails to yourself and a limited group free of charge. In my case I send them to myself at email addresses on three different email programs just see how they look. I use Outlook, G-mail and Thunderbird. Be sure to check how it looks in the various preview panes on your mail programs. Sometimes that is all your recipient will look at. Once I have it tweaked, I add the client to the final test for their approval.
- Have a “Tell a Friend” button prominently placed in your email. Most systems have this feature just be sure you enable it.
Use good lead lists. The single best way is to build your own list. As I have said in a previous article, the ones you get from magazines and bridal shows are dicey at best. In fact, Emma won’t even let you load them. If you do bridal shows, have brides sign up IN YOUR BOOTH. Offer them something in return, a discount coupon works well. Set that up as an auto-responder when they opt in, don’t just hand them to them at the show.
- Make sure you have a lead generator on your website. Again, offer them something to sign up. It can be information, invitations to events or a coupon. Give them something.
- Be regular in your mailings. You can’t send an email blast every now and then and expect it to work. You have to send them out on a regular consistent basis.
- Remember, brides take between 12 and 16 months to plan their wedding. If you take away the months they spent getting around to thinking about your particular service or product and the months the need to book in advance of their date you have a window of 6 months at best, probably more like 4. Looking at it in that light, weekly isn’t a bad goal.
- Make your emails short, sweet, lively and fun. Make your readers look forward to the next one. Include a few interesting illustrations but don’t overload it. To high of a percentage of images to text sets off the spam filters.
- Include pertinent links to things you talk about. Say you are having a special on Fondant cake, include a link to your description of fondant and a galley of fondant cakes on your website. Running a special on Maggie Sottero Gowns, link to their website. You can track those click-through to find out what gets your reader’s interest; then do more like it.
- Tracking. Yes any good system has good tracking stats and you need to be using them. I’ve said it before, there is gold in your statistics if you would just use them.
Email marketing is easier than you think and it certainly is more cost-effective than most other forms of marketing. Here is one more little thought to get you thinking…
Among 18- to-34-year-olds, consumers are more likely to be influenced to make purchases based on e-mail marketing messages and direct mail than from advertisements or marketing messages on social networks according to new research from Ball State University and ExactTarget.
Why not have Think Like A Bride put together one kick ass email marketing drip campaign for you.