Moving to Email Marketing 2.0
Infusionsoft CEO Clate Mask explains the difference between Email Marketing 1.0 and 2.0 to about 100 members of the Arizona Internet Marketing Association April 13 at the Tempe Mission Palms hotel.
For some small businesses, email marketing is essentially a special-sale “blast” sent to all of its accumulated customers once a week or once a month.
The problem is, that type of marketing isn’t efficient, can annoy recipients and doesn’t take advantage of available technologies to “build” and cultivate relationships.
There is a better way, according to Clate Mask, CEO of Infusionsoft.
In an April 13 talk titled “Email Marketing 2.0″ to the Arizona Interactive Marketing Association, Mask described how his firm helps small businesses market themselves like larger corporations, even if they have only a handful of employees.
There are three key elements to remember:
- Email and CRM: Feeding the right message at the right time to your customer. A small business can learn how to do this by tracking its customers’ behavior – what the customer clicks on at the website, what motivates the customer to click on a link, what purchases the customer makes. There is a lot of information that a small business can use to enhance its customer relationships.
- It’s more than just email: Think of all of the other communication tools at a small business’s disposal — direct mail, text, voice messages, faxes, Twitter. You need to use an array and “vary the message,” Mask said.
Smart automation: Today’s technology allows even small businesses to personalize its contacts with a customer. Instead of using one “auto response” for all inquiries, for example, a company now can use specific responses based on the type of inquiry and the customer’s characteristics. A business can then develop a flow chart for follow-up contacts so that a customer never falls through the cracks.
Infusionsoft, based in Gilbert, was launched in 2001. It now has more than 5,000 customers and 135 employees. It has grown 800 percent over the last three years.
One success story is All About Spelling, a husband-and-wife business in Eagle River, Wisc. Mask said Infusionsoft worked with the new e-publisher to launch the business and manage its customer contacts. The automated system worked so well that the business didn’t miss a beat, even after the wife was hospitalized for three weeks.
Mask said small businesses can use a “segmentation” approach that in the past would have been too labor- and time-intensive.
He told a story of how the Toledo Mud Hens, a Triple-A baseball team, used such an approach with great effectiveness.
The team’s marketers realized that it had three available suites for an upcoming game. It also had a database of 25,000 emails.
Did they send out a blast advertising the special? No, Mask said.
“How do you sell higher-priced stuff, like suites?” he asked the audience. “By having target audience sets.”
The marketers used a grouping of 25 businesses that had purchased suites in the past. They sent out an email to those 25 with a special deal.
Within 15 minutes the suites were sold – and the Mud Hens had a waiting list for future suites.
“They received more revenue, they built relationships and, perhaps most importantly, they didn’t tick off 24,975 customers with a stupid email they wouldn’t respond to,” Mask said.
Just firing off an email blast doesn’t build relationships, he said.
Instead, consider asking your customers how often they would like to hear from you.
By customizing the choice of responses, a business can learn which customers want to be contacted every day, every week or once a month. Regardless of which field the customer clicks on in the query, the preference falls into a database – and the small business has three groups of customers to target with appropriate messages.
“Emails can be conversational,” Mask said. “People would rather hear from people, not companies.”