I recently attended a webinar on the Science of E-mail Marketing by Dan Zarrella who is what you would call a “social media scientist.” It was an informative program that made me really rethink the power of e-mails.
Some people believe e-mail is dying and the only way people relate online is through Facebook and Twitter.
That is untrue. E-mail is still a powerful way to communicate with your customers. The more you know about how people use e-mail, the more effectively you can use it.
Zarrella shared findings from his research that were based on a data set of more than 9.5 billion (that’s with a b) e-mails.
My biggest takeaway was the fact that people don’t separate their work and personal inboxes. An overwhelming 88 percent said their work and personal inbox is the same. Talk about always being connected! This is a big change in mindset from 10 years ago.
I believe what has really changed the business versus personal e-mails is the mobile device revolution.
Zarrella said his research revealed that 80.8 percent of people read e-mails on mobile devices. So every time you send an e-mail you should remember that four out of five customers will read it on their mobile device. You need to be sure that your e-mails are optimized for the world of smartphones.
Another point that emphasized how “connected” people are to their phones and e-mails is that Zarrella found that the highest click-through rate on e-mails is on Saturday and Sunday.
As I listened to these statistics, it really made me a little sad because it sounds like business people don’t have any real down time. (Maybe I should be writing about burnout or how to turn off your phone and turn on your family).
The old saying that “people do business with people they know” is still true. If the e-mail is not sent from someone the customer has heard of then they are not as likely to click through.
Another old customer service adage of “make sure your customer feels special” is as important in your e-mail as it is in your store. When your customer opens that e-mail, they want to feel that they are getting some special privilege that sets them apart from your “walk-in” customers.
Another tip that Zarrella shared was to make sure your e-mails contain great reference material. If the reference material is good enough, then your customers will save the e-mail and pull it up and use from time to time.
I know I do this often when accountants e-mail me their newsletter full of useful tax tips.
So remember, e-mail marketing is not obsolete. It can be an effective way to communicate with your customers. If you want to learn more, Zarrella has books and blogs, and both can be found at http://www.danzarrella.com/.
Lynn Vos is area director of the University of Georgia’s Small Business Development Center. Contact her at 912-651-3200.