Email MarketingConfession: There are a good amount of emails I receive that I never look at.  Why?  Because on first impression they do not appear to offer me any new information or value for my time.  I’m confident I’m not alone in my thinking here.

For those taken aback, lets take a look at two examples of what I considered frustrating email experiences of the past few days…

Example #1: Well-known small business; sends monthly updates

* What they did right – Subject title gave the name of the month with the word “events” so I know what it is, the length of the message is reasonably short, they wished me a happy new year and closed with a thanks for my patronage.

* The reasons I don’t know what details the message included – Everything was in black & white with no use of color, no bullet-points offered so the arrangement of the text did not allow me to skim, there were no links to interesting information, and the words, “SOLD OUT” were center of the screen so I was not compelled to read further.  I deleted it pretty quickly.

* Something else to consider – The business owner sent the message out from their Outlook or regular email client.  Their thought is probably that the resource is free to broadcast their message.  But by not using an email marketing  program, they have no idea who opened their message or what their audience finds interesting, they cannot offer the message as a web page or link to it from social media, and there was no way to invite followers to their social media communities to further engage them.

Example #2: Younger small business; sends updates a few times per month

* What they did right – Utilized an email program offering a graphically pleasing & colorful presentation, utilized the “social share” mechanism, used a simple subject title with the business name, gave ample details to customers for the new year, offered one link to their website.  They will be able to track the clicks to their website link!

* Why I was less than enchanted – They did not offer a link to the message as a web page so it could not be linked to in their social media communities, the links to their social networks were not offered inside the message to further engage their audience, and links to specific services pages on their website were not provided for reference.

* Something to consider – With all that they did right, they missed the mark.  They probably drove very little traffic to their website, and got no mileage for their social media.  Not a good day for “Google love.”

Interestingly enough…

These same business owners will tell me that they aren’t getting what they want from their website, their email efforts, and/or their social media — so they are hesitant to invest any more time or money there.  But then they’ll turn around and spend as much as $800.00 on ONE print ad that offers no way to track who saw it, how many times the audience looked at it, or exactly what intrigued any new prospect.  What kind of ROI is that?

As a business owner in Wilmington, Ohio I know too well the need to be frugal, and channeling the use of funds for effective tools offering sound ROI.

It was a recent conversation with Brian Massey, Conversion Scientist, that reminded me how valuable email marketing really is.  In his words, “It’s the largest social network.”  …It’s the largest social network! Think about it.  There aren’t too many people anymore that don’t have email.  And, question: Have you ever used the “forward” button?  That’s being social!  🙂

I use two email platforms to deliver my important messages.

Constant ContactEmail MarketingEmail Marketing Email MarketingConstant Contact – Offers many customizable colorful and graphic-rich templates in many categories.  Also allows social sharing, has several social media and forward icons to choose from, and offers tracking analytics so users can gauge the success of each sent email message.  Email lists can be segmented and a database can be stored.  You can get a 60-day FREE Trial60-Day FREE trial FREE trial and give it a whirl.  My favorite tool for this programMy favorite tool for this program: I can make each email a web page & post links to social networks, and archive each message for future reference. (click to access free trialEmail Keri for access to free trial)Try it for 60 days FREE Email Marketing

Ace of Sales – There’s a heart right in their logo for a reason!  Offers personalized branding with each email, greeting, newsletter, or printed and sent card.  Also offers customer relationship management.  So I can note what I have sent to whom, store customized details about each contact, AND I can send updates to my social networks from inside the platform.  The graphics are up-to-the-minute-saucy, PLUS there is graphics tool right there so I can customize as I wish.  Success tracking analytics also included.  Think Constant Contact meets Sales Force meets Mercedes Benz.  I’ve literally gotten more positive comments from messages sent from here in just a few months than all the messages I’ve sent in previous years combined.  My favorite tool for this program: When I tweet that I’m Ace-Of-Sales-ing my peeps, they love it and tweet me back!

Ace of SalesI HEART Ace of Sales so much, I’ve arranged for my readers to try it FREE for 30 days.  Go to Ace of Sales, find out how it works, and put IDEAGIRL68 in the promo box.  Shazaam!  (Keep me updated on what you think).

Is email marketing part of your social networking?  What platform to you use?  Do you have email confessions you’d like to share?