As many of us know, if we get our email marketing right, it can be an incredibly useful tool to keep our customers informed and up-to-date about what we have to offer. Customers appreciate getting the information that they need and want and we can prompt clients to get back in touch and reorder. That is IF we get it right.

It is very evident that many will take the view that email marketing should be about making sales, getting conversions, and increasing bottom line profitability. To me that is a very narrow view and not very much fun. Over the years I am sure that we have been subjected to some appallingly bad email campaigns that are enough to make any of us cringe. Crass hard selling techniques are getting less and less effective. Spamming type approaches will turn our customers off faster than anything and the more that our customers expect from us the more creative we are going to have to be to get their attention. Once we they have noticed us and are interested in what we are doing then we have the greatest challenge of all and that is keeping them interested in what we have to say. The question is how do we do that?

Dorset Cereals have given away mad but fun prizes like VW Camper Van, more recently a Gypsy Caravan (horse not included – I don’t think it is anyway) or a Mini Cooper – a Convertible no less. Innocent Drinks will talk about everything except selling you healthy fruit juices and smoothies. Likely topics will include stuff about water saving campaigns and feeding pigs, cows called Moomin and student knitters. If you join their newsletter list you are not subscribing but rather joining their family.

They are informative communications that are much broader than just what they do. To me this is the approach that we should be taking. Above all, I feel that we should enjoy what we our newsletters as much as we hope our customers will.

There are a whole host of questions that I feel need to be addressed when planning an email marketing strategy but what do you think?

What do you feel about email marketing?

Are you using emails to communicate with the outside world? If so, how are you succeeding (or not)?

What ingredients do you think a good email newsletter should have? And are you including those same elements in your own newsletters?

Do you get stuck on what to write about knowing what makes a boring newsletter but uncertain about what constitutes a great one?

The biggest challenge of all, in my view is to find ways in which to get your customers excited about what you do. That has to be enough to not only stay on your list but to forward your information on to their friends and colleagues. The question is how do we achieve that as well?

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