This post is the first in a series “5 Cool Tools For Marketing Using the Cloud”.
Despite all the buzz about social media, when it comes to communicating en masse with people you already know, email is still king.
An email subscriber is more valuable to your business than a Twitter follower, a Facebook Like, a LinkedIn connection or a Google+ contact. It’s a more intimate relationship and a higher level of trust for someone to give you access to their inbox. You must respect it and also make the best impression possible, every time.
All businesses should include email marketing in their mix, even if it is merely limited to a regular e-newsletter to let your clients or customers or members know what’s happening and what’s coming up that affects them.
This post is not about email marketing strategy and techniques (as there is a lot to that, and we teach it in the Practice Paradox online Academy program) but rather to give you a heads-up to enter the modern world if you are still using Outlook and PDF attachments to email out your eNewsletters.
Here are five reasons you should stop using Outlook for your e-newsletter and instead use an email broadcast tool.
1. Outdated Style and Poor Formatting
It makes you look old-fashioned and out of touch. A nicely formatted HTML email where the content and images are in the body of the email looks far more professional, and is faster and easier to read than a PDF attachment which requires extra clicks and load times to view.
Even if you do the formatting and put the images and graphics within the body of an Outlook email, Outlook does a poor job with the HTML “behind the scenes”. The email might look fine in Outlook but could look messed up in other email clients such as Gmail and Yahoo. You risk looking very unprofessional. Design and presentation matters.
2. Problems Sending to Large Lists
Outlook can struggle to send an email to a large email list. Email broadcasts can get jammed in the email server, take a very long time to send or fail to send entirely. If it’s a timely or urgent message, that’s a problem. It’s also very cumbersome to add many email addresses to the Bcc field, and you risk a MAJOR faux pas of accidentally including the addresses in the To or Cc field and exposing all the email addresses to each recipient. That’s a major problem.
3. You Don’t Know Who Your Readers Are
You don’t know who has opened or not opened your e-newsletter. A proper email broadcast tool gives you statistics on open rates as well as information on which subscribers have and have not opened your emails. That’s useful to know.
Is your information relevant, timely and engaging? Was your email subject line – which is a major influence on open rates – attention grabbing and intriguing enough to get people to open the email? This data is gold for improving your approach and results. Outlook won’t give you this data. You’re flying blind.
4. Managing Your List is Highly Inefficient
Outlook doesn’t allow people to sign up to your e-newsletter online. It also doesn’t let people click “Unsubscribe” to automatically remove themselves from your list. If you’re using Outlook, adding and removing people from your eNewsletter will have to involve a data entry exercise of updating a database, somewhere, where you keep your master list of email subscribers. This takes time, costs money, and is open to errors.
If you email someone again after they emailed you back with a “Please unsubscribe me” and you accidentally email them again next time, that’s a problem. In our Modern Marketing Academy we discuss why sign-up forms on your website are essential to growing your marketing database. It allows you to grow your marketing database literally while you sleep. Very efficient.
5. Newsletters are Not Very Smart
In addition to knowing open rates and who your most loyal readers are, there are other things you’d like to know.
- Which article in the newsletter was the most popular?
- Could you have crafted a better subject line?
- How many people marked the email as junk or spam?
- Did people click the download link you provided?
- What is the likelihood of your newsletter being trapped by spam filters?
- Which subscribers have a track record of always opening and clicking your emails?
- Which subscribers look like good sales leads to follow-up?
Outlook will tell you none of these things.
So, which email tools will?
I’ll cover that in next week’s post. Stay tuned.