September 4, 2012

Sales and marketing training specialists these days tend to focus on content creation and social media as the most effective ways to build a brand and make yourself known to the world. While the stats on the number of “engaged visitors” gained by many businesses through content marketing and social networking are impressive, especially when compared with traditional outbound media such as TV and radio spots, the fact is that email marketing is still the clear winner for many businesses when it comes to Internet marketing.

This does not suggest that content marketing and sites such as LinkedIn are not extremely valuable — they are immensely so — but an email strategy should be developed to tie in with these other efforts to improve effectiveness across the boards. In fact, as many marketers suggest, the end goal of social media and content creation should probably be to build up your email list. This is because the identities on the list are ready and willing to hear your marketing message, which might not be the case on a social media platform.

Sales and marketing training should teach effective ways to market using email without becoming a spammer. Here are a few tips:

Provide something of value

Customers generally care about “What’s in it for me?” Keep your emails customer-centric, and show them in as few words as possible how your offering is going to help their business, save them money, improve their career or whatever other benefits you can think of that are real.

In addition, offer a freebie. Things to give away include:

  • An in-depth white paper on future trends in an industry, and how this will directly impact them.
  • A trial run of your service or product
  • A free consultation
  • Free gift or raffle entry for participating in a marketing survey or tour of your facility


Use rich media

This means to spice up your email by embedding or linking to other media, such as YouTube videos (very effective) or Slideshare and BrainShark presentations.  The key here is to keep things short; if you have persuaded someone to watch your video, respect their time by making it less than two minutes long, letting them know where they can go if they want more detailed information.

With slideshows, 10 to 15 slides max is safe. Again, let your audience know where they can go to if they want more information from you, such as subscribing to your podcasts or RSS feed.

Offer discounts

Emails to people that have opted-in enable you to directly present a “hard-sell” or “buy now” offer, in a socially acceptable manner. While it is considered tacky to post a “30% off before midnight tomorrow” incentive in a Facebook status post, the same message is effective when used in emails, and can be used to directly increase revenue in a very short space of time. Think of the old “dialing for dollars,” but in email form.

One caveat: intersperse your “sales-y” emails with several informative ones in between, or you risk getting branded a spammer. Always offer value first, before you ask for the business.

Contact your list frequently

Emails should not go out every hour, but it is perfectly acceptable send out several per week — and in some cases, every single day — as long as they are not always sales pitches. An effective way to send out email content daily is to issue roundups of industry news, such as a newsletter that curates pertinent articles from across the Web.

As you can see, sales and marketing training courses should cover email list-building for salespeople.