A gallant knight,
In sunshine and shadow,
Had journeyed long,
Singing a song,
In search of Eldorado.”
– Eldorado by Edgar Allan Poe
Businesses don’t have to journey long to find Eldorado of marketing. Most companies start right by establishing a Web site. However, some don’t make the most of having a Web site or build it without considering the requirements for building successful Web sites.
Some build Web sites more like elaborate brochures touting the company’s many qualities and competencies. A few companies, like Amazon.com, and retail giant L.L. Bean, have turned these online retail brochures into success stories. Many try to replicate this success with uneven results.
Web pages tend to require prospects to find them. Then, if the customers find them, they forget about it when they need something.
A few businesses counter these problems by complementing direct email offers with their Web sites. For example, a reader visits Amazon.com to look at the latest fiction releases. Later, the reader starts receiving emails Amazon announcing new releases of fiction, and some accompanied with a discount. These emails contain links taking the reader to the Web page.
Mining Internet for Prospects
Almost three-quarters of American adults are online with half of those having a high speed internet connection at home according to Pew Internet. They still use the Internet for two primary purposes, email (93 percent) and research to find information or driving directions (over 85 percent).
A JupiterResearch report indicates that over 40 percent of email users say that email compelled them to make at least one online or offline purchase. The report also emphasizes the importance of delivering relevant information in emails. Combine email marketing efforts with social networking to have the greatest impact. JupiterResearch also reports over half of business professionals with decision making power say that advertisers have the best chance of reaching them by internet and email.
A successful online marketing plan takes advantage of all online marketing tools including emails and social network sites. A newsletter should contain links to the company’s blogs, RSS feeds and social network identities and vice versa.
A Return Path study states that 85 percent of business people sign up for emails. Furthermore, marketers can reach them on the go as an Exact Target study in 2007 reports one-third of business professionals read emails on mobile devices on a regular basis. In 2007, Wall Street Journal writes that 81 percent of American executives subscribe to business-related email newsletters for product and business information.
What do all of these numbers say? Email and Internet are important marketing tools.
Compel Readers to Read the Newsletter
Business professionals get over 50 emails a day with plenty surpassing the 100 emails mark. When opening their email, they have three thoughts in mind:
Rule number one: send your newsletter to people who want it, so encourage readers to opt-in to your newsletter.
Rule number two: provide value in your newsletter so they continue subscribing, opening, reading, and acting on your emails.
Most marketers want to thump the company’s chest by talking about great new products or amazing services, touting recent awards, or announcing new hires or mergers. However, the better strategy focuses on the newsletter’s content.
Pull rather than to push with your content by offering articles that explore issues, open dialogue, and solve problems your readers face. Do you care about Company ABC blowing its horn? Americans receive too much email, so they trash anything smacking of a pitch.
Keep your newsletter in the “read and saved” by making sure your content meets the following criteria:
Email newsletters with timely, interesting articles have a greater likelihood of readers forwarding them to others, which increases the number of readers with time. Everyone who reads the newsletter and decides to opt-in to a company’s turns into a qualified lead. Business to business newsletters remain an Eldorado in a Web 2.0 world.
As the Edgar Allan Poe poem ends with one modification…
Down the Valley of the Shadow,
“‘Ride, boldly ride,’
The marketer replied-
‘If you seek for Eldorado!’”