by Ron Evans
Email marketing, like any other form of marketing, is designed to lead to an actual sale. This article concentrates on how to create 5 types of emails that result in an immediate sale. Please note that all of these techniques require that some sort of relationship already be established with the recipient, either a confirmed interested prospect, or an established customer. In other articles we discuss ways to introduce your company to new prospects.
At some point in the conversation that you have been having with a prospective customer, there comes the time to ask for the sale. We call this step "conversion", and it is the critical point in the process of cultivating your prospects into actual paying customers. You must have a specific "call to action" so that recipients will realize what they are supposed to do. Having a single focus to the email, so the call to action is more easily noticed, helps improve conversion rates. Immediate incentives like discounts or extras can work to improve the number of conversions. Regardless of what form this incentive takes, remember that "what's in it for me" is usually in the mind of the recipient; an immediate benefit should be offered to them to get them off of the fence and onto your customer list.
Once a customer has made a purchase, they are an even better prospect to make another purchase then they were before. This is where many companies miss, by failing to realize the value of their existing clientele. Sending a follow-up via email to see how they are doing with their purchase in an excellent way to reinforce your relationship with that customer. In addition, follow-up communications can be used to sell additional accessories or service that is compatible with their initial purchase. For example, "Get extra batteries for your new digital camera at 10% off".
At some point after the initial purchase, the product will need to be upgraded or replaced, or the customer will require additional service. It is very important to maintain "top of mind" with your current customers, to keep their business. One of the best ways is to send them an email allowing them to purchase the new version, or renew their service, somewhat in advance of their need. For example, a car dealer should send a notice several months in advance of a customer's lease being up. Providing some extra incentive for doing so can increase sales for new product introductions, or the number of steady customers for a service business.
The Sale Notice
Offering a pre-sale, "private sale" or other special discount incentive via email to existing customers is a powerful email marketing technique. It should say something like "As a valued customer we want to offer you..." or some other similar language to help reinforce the idea that you value the patronage of your current customers. It is a great way to maintain loyalty, as well as to boost sales. Response rates for your current, proven customers are usually much higher, because your credibility is already established with them. If the offer is good, they are even more likely to purchase, as well as to refer others to purchase.
The Partner Offer
Based on what you know about your customer, you can offer them something else they need provided by a company that you are partnering with. For example, you could send an email promotion to promote a new marketing book off of Amazon that you just read and got a lot out of. Since your own credibility is on the line when referring another business to a client, it is very important that you check out the product or service for yourself before you recommend it. On the positive side, turning a customer on to good resources can reflect well on your own company's credibility, as well as providing additional sources of income thru affiliate fees or other revenue sharing mechanisms.
These email marketing techniques, either alone or better yet combined together, can significantly increase your sales, at a very reasonable cost. As always, the only way to determine what is the most effective use of email marketing for your organization is to measure the results. Concentrate on what works best, and you will be making optimal use of your marketing resources, and boosting your bottom line too.