Successfully delivering email messages is more difficult than ever. If a spam filter doesn’t snag your message, there’s a good chance the recipient will delete or ignore it. But IT email marketing is an incredibly easy and downright cheap method to stay top of mind with IT leads.
After surveying my computing consulting clients, I’ve compiled drawbacks and limitations to IT email marketing and best practices for maximizing the response rate.
Here’s what I found.
IT Email Marketing Vs Traditional Direct Mail
Email marketing is a fast and simple way to connect with IT leads and customers. But direct mail still has a place.
Leads generated from email campaigns and search engines tend to be less qualified than those coming from direct mail or offline marketing.
You can expect a higher percentage of “tire-kickers” with online leads. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in online marketing. But know in advance you’ll have to sift through rubble to find the diamond.
Email is also highly regulated. And the laws governing this medium are only tightening.
You must be careful about how you send your messages and who you send them to. ONLY email people who have joined your mailing list or given you permission to email. Using spam to win over a new prospect is NOT an effective strategy.
The bottom line: IT email marketing should supplement your current IT services marketing efforts — not replace direct mail advertising. Send an email newsletter to IT leads AFTER you’ve sent snail mail, not in lieu of.
Email is another means of getting your message in front of prospects and customers, and it follows the same rules as any other marketing campaign. You must have a good, responsive list AND an enticing offer or message to see any traction.
If you don’t have a good grasp of the fundamentals of marketing, you won’t be able to save your IT firm with email marketing.
A bad marketing campaign with an ill-conceived message, lackluster offer and poor market to message match won’t magically work just because you emailed it.
The Truth About Renting Lists For IT Email Marketing
Forget renting email lists. If you were selling low-cost consumer items, rented email lists might be a viable option. But when selling high-end, professional services in a limited geographic territory, it just won’t work.
Rented email lists consist of terribly off-target and poor-quality contacts. Plus, most have rental minimums (meaning you cannot rent fewer than 5,000 names) and cannot be segmented by area. There MAY be a few exceptions, but the moral is: Don’t waste your time or money on rented email lists.
The absolute BEST list is the one you’ve home-grown through direct response marketing and opt-in forms on your website. These leads are more likely to purchase your services.
So how do you build an organic, qualified list?
How To Get High-Quality Email Marketing Lists
Use these tips to build a free email list:
Offer a free resource in exchange for an email address
This could be a free report, a free audio recording or CD, a gift or some other resource. Require the visitor to opt-in by filling in a form to provide their name, company, address and email address.
If visitors willingly provide their email addresses, you have permission to email them until they say “stop.”
IMPORTANT NOTE: Include removal instructions at the end of every email explaining how someone can opt out of your list. If you use a removal link, make sure it works.
Send direct mail offers
Yes, you can go offline to drive interest online. Direct mail is a powerful way to build a more qualified and engaged audience. Send an enticing offer via direct mail, and direct recipients to a dedicated landing page where you can capture their email addresses.
Use pay-per-performance search engines like Google and Yahoo and affiliate links
Without investing heavily in SEO, the “build it and they will come” theory doesn’t cut it online. You have to constantly promote your website to attract website visitors and get them to join your mailing list.
Keep in mind: It takes a LOT of traffic to generate a handful of qualified leads. But is it worth it?
You better believe it! Your click-through rate (the percentage of people who click on your ad after seeing it) may only be 1% to .5% on the search engines. And your website conversion may only be 5% (the percentage of new visitors who opt in).
For instance, if you drive 100 people to your website but only 5 join the mailing list, you have a 5% conversion rate.
You need to know this — or you’ll be disappointed with the results.
Still, the ROI (return on investment) can be enormous AND it’s a great auto-pilot method to acquire new customers.
3 Critical Questions To Answer Before Creating Your IT Email Campaign
- What Do You Want To Accomplish?
Do you want to generate leads? Get customers to sign up for managed services? Sounds obvious, but I constantly encounter CEOs of IT services firms who don’t think this through before sending an email newsletter or campaign. To maximize your success, choose ONE objective for your campaign. Too many offers confuse the recipient and will lower your response rate.
- What Action Do You Want People To Take?
Do you want them to fill in a form? Call you? Download software? Every email should contain a single call to action and offer a direct, ONE-CLICK path to completing that action. For my clients, response rates dropped 50% or more for every click or step the visitor had to take to respond to the offer. If you want them to fill out a form to receive a free report, you should direct them to a dedicated landing page. This page should reiterate the free report offer and include the form in plain sight.Do NOT:
- Make them click through multiple pages
- Take them to a site where the response form is competing with 10 other offers and headlines
I’m sure you’ve experienced the same frustration after clicking on a sponsored ad in Google only to discover the page does NOT contain what the ad promised.
- What’s Your Irresistible Offer?
Your offer can make response rates soar or fall flat. Don’t get complicated or sell too hard in the email copy. Offer a teaser that moves them to take the next step. In most cases, that should be a webpage with a response form or sales letter.
Most importantly, remember the ultimate marketing sin is being off-target and boring.
Don’t send email just because it’s a cheap marketing medium. Your contacts want to be entertained, enlightened and engaged. If you don’t have anything interesting to say, don’t waste their time (or yours) adding to the spam problem.
IT Email Templates To Entice Responses And Demand
If you are like most computer consultants, WRITING marketing messages is the hardest part of creating a marketing campaign.
- What do you say?
- How should you say it?
- What offer should you make?
- How do you get the reader’s attention and KEEP it long enough to sell something?
To answers these questions AND get proven IT email marketing messages, make sure to sign up for the Client Attraction and Marketing Blueprint Seminars.
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