Seven Lessons in Email Marketing

How Email Marketing Brought More Money To A Local Philadelphia Small Business
Here’s more insight from the webinar, “Using Low Cost Tech Tools: Lessons From A Local Business” – 30 March 2010

Hosted by:
Ramon Ray, Editor & Technology Evangelist, and Melanie Attia, Product Marketing Manager, Campaigner

Local Small Business:
Elaine Bolle, Chief Operating Officer, Clinical Research Site Training, Philadelphia Pennsylvania
About the Local Business
Clinical Research Site Training (CRST) trains medical staff in how to effectively conduct clinical trials. CRST has a team of trainers that fly all over the country, with laptop and data projector in hand and train medical professionals involved with managing and coordinating clinical trials. They train them at sites such as private practices, multi-specialty clinics, hospitals and research organizations.

We hear so much about hosted applications, Twitter and Facebook that the use of email marketing are sometimes lost in the day to day media shuffle of business marketing and communication.
For those of you who are doing email marketing, and there are many of you out there, we find that there are two types of businesses. Most of you are doing just the basics of email marketing. You login, put together a newsletter and hit send. However, there are very few in this second category – those who take the time to leverage the POWER of email marketing for their businesses. Who pour over the analytics, review the design, agonize over subject lines and more.
If you want to boost your revenue, it’s time to take things to another level.
LESSON ONE: Segment Your Customers
(Do little boys (in general) like Barbie dolls for Christmas?)
Since CRST’s customers are quite diverse, sending one email newsletter to everyone is not the best way to reach them. Instead, Elaine carefully reviews her customers and then segments her emails by a variety of criteria, including geography, zip code, product, by company, how someone has responded to email in the past, etc.
For example, workshops done in Toronto, Canada, should make reference to local hospitals in Canada. Workshops given in Atlanta should not reference clinics in Tulsa. Segmenting the message you are sending to meet the precise needs of the recipient ensures that it will be better received and better responded to.
LESSON TWO: Measure Email Metrics
(If the audience doesn’t laugh, is the comedian funny?)
After sending out her email newsletters, Elaine is very careful to measure the analytics of each email campaign. For example knowing that 80% of the recipients opened the first email and signed up for a training sessions means that she can can just email the 20% who have not responded. Or maybe Elaine used a new subject line and can see based on the email response that it was not as effective as another subject line.
It is important to carefully and strategically look at the analytics of each email campaign to see how successful the campaigns are.
LESSON THREE: Consistency of Branding
(Ever wonder why every McDonald’s all over the country and much of the world looks the same and serves the same basic food?)
Elaine explained to that even though she sends out 200 email campaigns every year, she has a consistent brand and look and feel amongst the emails and also with CRST’s web site.
While it’s easy to send out emails that look one way one week and another way weeks later, it’s best to have consistent branding so your customers (or whoever the recipients are) recognize your newsletter and it gives you a more professional look and feel overall.
LESSON FOUR: The copy you use is important
(Why do newspapers have copy editors?)
While you own your company, and are quite smart, you most likely are not a specialist in the “written word”. You probably don’t know how to most effectively write in a way that best causes the reader to do the action you want them to do.
For example, Elaine said that she spends a lot of time analyzing who is getting which email and writing copy that is best for them. For example, if Elaine’s email newsletter is for nurses who have attended her events in the past, the message will be different than those nurses who have never attended. If her message is to doctors, it will be different than if it is for a clinical assistant.
LESSON FIVE: Email drives social media and web traffic
(Is the Super Bowl for the sport or for the commercials?)
There is so much being said about social media, however, email is still one of the most powerful ways for a growing business to drive traffic to web site, Twitter or Facebook communications.
Elaine said that each of her email campaigns is all about getting the recipient to register online for a training course. Your business might be different, but the goal is going to be similar. You are sending an email to get the recipient to take some action. Social media is “cool” (hey so is the iPad) but you can use email marketing as a powerful tool to drive your audience to your social media feeds or whatever you would like them to do.
Melanie said something very interesting during our Q&A (she said lots of interesting things BTW): “Doctors are too busy to go on Twitter!”. (hmm)
Never forget about that.
Although Twitter is great, especially for those of us, sitting at a desk all day and typing, many business owners are too busy on the phone, meeting with clients, nurturing their staff and doing ‘real work’ to read a Tweet. Email marketing is perfect for these busy business owners.
LESSON SIX: Online Marketing Gives You More Money
When CRST started marketing to their customers 20 years ago, they were using direct mail to reach customers. I’m sure that many of you who advertise, also use direct mail, Yellow Pages and other traditional means of marketing. While these methods have their place and can be useful in some cases, email marketing and overall online marketing will give you a MUCH bigger return on your investment.
For example, the ROI Elaine gets is $43.00 per dollar with email marketing, compared to $16.50 per dollar she was getting with direct mail a few years ago.
With email marketing CRST has experienced increasing in revenue, profit and attendance.
LESSON SEVEN: How Frequently Should You Email?
(Do you call a new date every day?)
One of the biggest questions I’m asked when I talk about email marketing is “how frequently should I send out an email newsletter”. One of the biggest tips we learned was that you don’t want to send your newsletter TOO MUCH, to be annoying but not TOO LITTLE so your customers forget about you. Above all, know your customers and know what’s best for them.
You can hear a replay of the webinar and download the slides here.