Email marketing is a well-known, proven method of communicating with customers, prospects and the market in general.
Despite this effectiveness, few companies in the agriculture industry have a robust strategy around email marketing.
If you want to stand out from your competition and improve your ROI at the same time, it’s time to invest in email marketing. Here are some ways that you can use email in your marketing campaigns starting today:
- Communicate with your current customers regularly.
- Nurture new leads acquire through inbound channels.
- Acquire new customers using email to introduce your brand to people who haven’t engaged with your company recently, or at all.
1. Email Current Customers
If you already have a customer file with email addresses, or you’ve recently acquired email addresses for those customers through data append, then that’s a great place to start with email marketing.
Before you send, however, it’s important to make sure that the email addresses you have are actually good. Thus, you should invest in email validation.
This will maximize deliverability and inboxing by finding the records that don’t have an email. Since around 25 percent of your emails are going to become invalid within a year, this is a step you don’t want to skip.
In other channels, a bad address, phone number, or errant ad delivery will certainly be ineffective, but the impact is isolated.
Not so with email.
With email marketing, the ISPs (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, etc). evaluate you, the sender, through a number of ways; your IP Address and sending domain, your email message, and most importantly, the response of their recipient users.
Here are some signs you have bad emails in your CRM:
- More than 10 percent of emails are undeliverable
- Your file contains any spam traps
- More 0.1 percent of recipients mark your email as spam
When emailing to your customer file, be sure to validate your emails – either the ones you have or ones you’ve appended to the file – to avoid these traps.
2. Nurture Inbound Leads
Email’s not the only way that you’ll generate leads for your business. Search engines (paid or organic), social media, display ads – even print and radio – are all going to drive people to your website, where they’ll have the opportunity to learn more about you and, hopefully, get in touch.
Often, people will fill out a web form or “Contact Us” link. When this happens, you’ll likely get the person’s email. From there, you can send them email, providing helpful information and nurturing them until they are ready to make a purchase.
3. Find New Leads & Customers Through Email
Finding new customers through email – called Acquisition Email Marketing – is the most difficult of all the email marketing types.
Most (nearly all) marketing automation software and email providers simply steer clear of this type of campaign. They prohibit sending unsolicited emails through their platforms because of the issues around deliverability and inboxing (see the first section above for a list of these issues).
As a result, navigating these challenges is going to be challenging and require an adept hand. Here are some rules to help you out.
Don’t use your regular CRM sending domain. Although this may help you reach your prospects’ inbox, any deliverability issues you come across will impede all of your email sends going forward.
Carefully monitor the ratio of positive to negative engagement. Positive engagement includes opens and clicks, and negative engagements include unopens and spam complains.
Optimize your emails for positive engagement. Be relevant and specific, ensure that your email meets technical specifications (download this free guide for a checklist), perform A/B tests on campaigns before sending and always learn and improve as you go along.
ISPs are continuously changing their email filter rules, audience preference changes, and the many topical considerations such as time of day/week/year, recent events. Analyze the results/reporting to see how the campaign performed across many different variables, such as time of day, receiving ISP, audience, clicks, etc. By using this data and feedback, you should be able to fine-tune your efforts and increase your ROI.
To see whether you’re ready to engage with email marketing, download The Ag Marketer’s Guide to Email today.