Email Marketing and the Art of War

September 12, 2012

Thinking of email marketing as a battle is not really that far off. Effective email marketing requires strategy, technique, the element of surprise and above all else achieving your goal of having that email convert a prospect to a customer. Get suited up and let's look at the battle plan.

  1. Segment: If you have a large list you should separate it into different categories to achieve the best open and conversion rates. Differentiate your customers from prospects so you're not continuing to sell your current clients on your agency. They've already bought in and by not marketing differently to an established client than you are to a prospect it can come across that you're not aware who your current customers are. Also, take the time to separate clients by line of business. This allows for cross selling opportunities which means you're writing a clients entire portfolio, not just a single policy. Segmenting your list can also make it easier to personalize your messages, which takes us to step 2.
  2. Personalize: You can significantly increase your open rate as well as your follow through rate just by simply adding your contacts first name in the salutation. It's that easy. The more you personalize your message, the greater impact it has with readers.
  3. Spammer Techniques don't work: When you check your inbox, it's pretty easy to tell the spammers from a genuine email. Junk email subject lines often include dollar signs, a StRaNgE use of capitalization, or ALL CAPS WITH LOTS OF EXCLIMATION POINTS!!! Yeah, it catches your eye but what do you do with it next? You send it to junk. And that's just what your readers will do if you implement these techniques into your email marketing campaigns. Keep it simple while still grabbing your reader's attention.
  4. Unique Calls to Action: Using a fun and interactive call to action will get you the click through rate you've been looking for. Try taking a screen shot of a video hosted on your website and place it in the email; then link the screen shot back to the video. This gives the appearance you've embedded video in your emails and it's a different way to get your message across. Get creative and brain storm with your team about some new and different calls to action you can put into play.
  5. Increase Open Rate: Studies show that the average consumer prefers confirmations, receipts and cordial messages via email. By sending these messages through email your customers and prospects start to recognize you as a safe sender and that builds trust. This trust you've now created will increase your overall open rate with your readership.

I don't think Sun Tzu was thinking of email marketing when he wrote The Art of War, namely because he didn't know what email was...but many of the 13 principles he believed in do apply to sales and marketing: laying plans, waging war, the plan of attack, positioning, energy, assessing your weakest points, maneuvering, and the element of surprise.

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