Email is a powerful channel for sequenced messages, first contact and general information. Think of all those notifications you get.
Is there a better way?
Email is a formal and direct channel that most business people monitor daily, at a minimum.
There are many free and paid email messaging vendors out there.
We recommend Mailchimp. It's the best. You can build using its drag and drop templates. It has excellent analytics. The same method applies to other vendors.
Learn one, know them all.
People tend not to answer their office phones anymore, especially to sales calls. Staff use the company mobile for phone, email, text and screening calls on the office line through an answering service.
If you are a business developer, calling the office front desk is often the first point of contact.
Can you pass the gatekeeper?
Got the email for the decision maker?
Arrange a meeting?
Send a brochure or offer or company details?
For many of the above you're going to need to get an email or phone contact...
The Trick to Email
The principle idea is to prune your list and segment it out. If that seems like bullshit, it's not.
Take your list, remove the undeliverables, the bounces, the unsubs and the spams (most important). This gives you more potential opens the next time round.
Each time you send - use a clean list (meaning none of the above included).
If you segment the same list, you get more and more focus. The more focused the message the better. It helps to have a good CRM system and a tight focus on who subscribed, to what list and why. Then address those needs in a timely manner.
By doing this you will increase your deliver-ability score and keep customers looped in, potential customers advised and those not interested off the list.
A quick note on email etiquette.
Email has its own mojo. One of the key requirements is that you are not spamming your readership (or non readership in this case). Some terms, syntax and punctuation are "spam folder friendly."
When you use them, you are more likely to end up in the trash. If this happens, your messages will continue to go to spam automatically in the future.
Be aware that subject line and text description (the bit after your name in the inbox queue) are key elements, which will make or break your campaign. No "SHOUTING" (Full Caps, etc.) No weird characters (in thought and in deed).
Text Descriptor snippet comes up in the readers inbox - it allows him or her to "qualify" your contact.
*Remember that most people have been sent the Nigerian Prince scam, asked for credit card details by parties unknown and been heavily propositioned before - be precise and clear.
A quick note on email timing
I made the mistake early in my emailing career of sending a batch of emails in the middle of the night to my target market. Nobody opened them!
By morning, my email vendor had withdrawn my service - 9000 free emails per month (Sendinblue.com) due to low quality score - "low opening rates and clicks."
To hit your "quality metrics" - remember the best time to reach your audience.
A note on email content
Many email inboxes do not show images, or have this setting turned off. If your style is visual and beautiful, then you may need to moderate your output to more text based style, or flip the script the other way, use embedded video/image and force a curious reader/viewer to double click and reveal your message.
If you attach PDF files, many systems will not accept files larger than a certain size.
The usual rules to email content apply; keep it simple, precise, hit the major points quickly, who? what? why? where? when? and how?
On the positive side, links work well. It is possible to send nice linked emails, offering deep product information without overloading anyone's attention span.
Some of the smartest people I know effectively use colored clickable icons for meaning (semiotics), affect (attractive visual), and function (call to action).
If customers are interested and trust your mail, they click - simple!
Quality is the key metric. "Is it useful and interesting?"
A note on Lists
The trick to email is to concentrate your efforts on those who open your emails. This means you prune, segment and "grow" your audience, removing people who don't open or read.
The wisdom in this process is that it also improves your sender reputation and drives your message to the right audience.
Segmentation is the key - the correct message sent to people who actually open your emails.
Remember if people don't open your emails, this will lower your quality score, reducing your deliver-ability over time. That's double jeopardy.
Check this course for great info.
A list of Email Vendors who offer good email incentives for new users - worth a look!
FreshMail.com is free for up to 500 subscribers and 2000 emails per month
EliteMail.com is free for up to 500 subscribers
Campayn.com is free for up to 500 subscribers
Sendicate.net is free for up to 500 subscribers
SendinBlue.com is free for up to 9000 emails per month*
MailChimp.com is free for up to 2000 subscribers and 12000 emails per month*
BenchMark is free for up to 14000 emails - thereafter it is a paid service*
Sendpulse.com is free for up to 2000 subscribers and 15000 emails per month
Mailrelay.com is free for up to 3000 subscribers and 15000 emails per month*
*We have used MailChimp for some time and learn something new every day. I like their drag and drop email builder and HTML export options. BenchMark is a quality product overall - it feels solid and well developed. We find the team behind Mailrelay to be the most easy to deal with, even though the interface takes a little time to come to grips with, its worth it.
Before being banned, we used SendinBlue daily. It has a 300 email per day limit, which meant we grew to know it well - another excellent platform. Sendicate has the cleanest interface, KISS philosophy, that works well. Freshmail has the best training/onboarding modules. There are many others - but like most things, its personal preference.
Tip* - Make sure your first subscriber list is only high quality "opt in" contacts. Most vendors check your initial subscriber list carefully to determine if you are a scammer/spammer.
Tip* 2. Take the Hubspot Email Certification Course - it is very good (free)!