Image only emails – why???

I’ve received two emails in quick succession today that left me wondering if I’m out of step with the rest of the world…

Do you receive emails that look like this:

where you are clearly expected to download their images – otherwise you can’t see the message.  Or this one that has lots of images:

Clearly the sender is expecting me to download the images in order to read their sales message.  But why would I?

The format of the email immediately marks it to me as a promotional message that does not even have the courtesy of explaining what it’s all about before I have to take action to read it.  Forget it – DELETE!

This is part of a wider concern over the sender’s views being paramount when considering communication.  In both these instances the sender is most concerned that their emails look “great” and so have failed to grasp that 80% to 90% of their audience are going to see what I showed you above.  If they had paused to consider their transmission medium and audience, they would have realised that a large part of their message should be text that is displayed whether the recipient downloads images or not…

I further advocate putting images on the right hand side of the email or at the bottom so that if they are not displayed, the email is still legible and the message gets across to the 40% to 50%  of their audience who read the email in the preview pane but don’t download their images.

I prefer to get my message read over showing off my design skills.  One brings me business, the other… !

I hate this…

There is nothing that makes me mad more than someone telling me that they are “allowed” to send me email because… This is a good (or bad) example:

Maybe they are legally allowed to send me an email – but why rub my nose in it?

And to make matters worse, I know I’m not in their address book and there is no way that anyone will have recommended me to them.  They’ve found my email address by using a “bot” to trawl the web automatically and grab it from a “contact us” page.  I know this because that’s the only place this email address is used.

So, what to learn from this email:

lesson 1: Don’t lie to potential customer in your email.  No one wants to deal with liars!

Lesson 2: This email was the equivalent of an advert beside the road.  Boring, bland general and talking about the advertiser.  Don’t do any of these things.  Talk about the recipient, their challenges and give them knowledge that can help them.  Don’t know what their challenges are or what knowledge can help them?  Don’t email them till you do!

Customer Service

Seth Godin posted this on his blog:

A motto for those doing work that matters:

“We can’t please everyone, in fact, we’re not even going to try.”

Or perhaps:

“Pleasing everyone with our work is impossible. It wastes the time of our best customers and annoys our staff. Forgive us for focusing on those we’re trying to delight.”

The math here is simple. As soon as you work hard to please everyone, you have no choice but to sand off the edges, pleasing some people less in order to please others a bit more. And it drives you crazy at the same time.

So, how do you make sure that you give the best service to those that you really want to look after, and not the ones that shout the loudest?

You need to know both who and what: who you really want to look after; and what you need to do to look after them.  Then find a low cost, easy way to deal with the rest…

One way to do this is to use your email marketing.  Send out messages that will be of interest to people that you want to engage with.  Those that click on the emails, give you best attention to.  Easy!

you've got 2 seconds, now sell to me!

What if I told you that your marketing email has a maximum of two seconds before the recipient deletes it?  Think about it… how long do you take before deciding to delete emails?  Two seconds is quite a long time when you’ve got 50 emails to work through.

So our advice is to focus emails on “something for the recipient” and make them easy to delete.

“what you mean I’ve got two seconds to make a good enough impression to prevent deletion and I’ve got to write about benefits to the recipient in a way that’s quick to read, act on delete or unsubscribe?”

Well yes actually! That’s if you want to succeed in email marketing.

Most of your  time should therefore be spent shortening and honing the message, the link to “something for you”, and the subject line ( a science of its own and we could write a whole article on). There should be more focus on the subject line, first sentence or two and the primary link than any other aspect of template or design. After all that might be all that the majority of your audience will see and that’s all that will fit the preview pane.

With such heavy focus on sending short emails that share knowledge and help you get sales, it is most refreshing to see the trusted people at Econsultancy review this behaviour from a web point of view.  If you haven’t seen their excellent article on “25 reasons why I’ll leave your website in 10 seconds”, follow the link here.

It’s worth a look for the comments section alone, if not for the quality of their advice. Take a look and if you want to chat, or need further advice please email carl@nett-sales.com or call 01793 250207.

Keep prospects alive till they are ready to buy

Here’s something you will recognise… You’ve just finished a successful trade show. You have some great contacts to follow up and everyone is delighted.

The marketing department are pleased with the results and the sales team immediately begin following up to close the hot prospects – about 10% of all of the contacts. The remaining 90% never receive another contact by phone or email!

Why?

Because neither the marketing or sales staff have the time or energy to follow up and weed out the 50% of “non-qualified” contacts and to nurture the remaining 40% that would eventually become future hot prospects.

This failure to remain in contact with these potential clients could result in a tremendous loss of sales. It’s only a matter of time before these 40% of would be clients buy from your competition. Thankfully your company is blisfully unaware of these lost sales. If it were you can imagine the discussion:

Marketing: “Sales are lazy – we work our butts off to produce great leads and you don’t follow them up.”

Sales: “Marketing produce time wasting weak leads. No one has budget or is ready to buy. We may as well just phone from yellow pages!”

I parody slightly 🙂

But.. the real loser is your company that has spent out for an expensive trade show for only 10% of the contacts to be sold to. When a further 40% of contacts could have become customers too.

The challenge is to identify and keep in touch with these 40% of contacts, feeding them relevant information and keeping your name in their mind so that when they come to buy, you are their natural choice.

This is not a role that either marketing or sales traditionally do. But this is exactly what the Nett Sales process does for you: It takes leads that are generally neglected and carefully, patiently, methodically and automatically nurtures them until they are ready to become buying clients. Building a relationship of trust until the lead is ready to become a dependable buying client.

Marketing and Sales departments really don’t have time to spend months upon months communicating with leads that aren’t yet ready to buy. But Nett Sales does. When the client is ready to buy, Nett Sales turns the lead over to your sales staff to close the sale.

This is not to be confused with some mass email marketing blast. Each lead will receive a personal campaign based on their individual needs and proximity to a purchase of goods and services.

Gone Phishing…

We just received the following email.  Putting aside the huge image across the top of the page that renders the preview pane completely empty, take a look at the pink banner applied to the message by Outlook:

Suspect email - Outlook says "Phishing?"

I don’t know what you think, but I’d pause before taking a closer look at this message, especially as the only thing visible is an option to unsubscribe and a big grey box!

So why is it classed as “potentially unsafe”?  I do know the sender and they are legitimate, so somehow they have done something wrong that has made Outlook suspicious…

There are a number of possible reasons for this but I suspect the main one is the links in the email just look really dodgy and don’t point to the same domain as the email purports to come from:

“http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=twazu8cab&et=1103686239126&s=12411&e=001Wny76XauL6CLcmyR_mdxgmlpWL_G8hYq_kj3VTCMbSaUEIkS3qYni3yVGZ-fFs9slQp_bIkRLdr3du_1Gu47WUsqaWhu_YM3CJA2CczSCtco6qQcYy0qyw==”

I’d mark that as “potentially unsafe” too!!

It gets better…  The sender has used Constant Contact to send the email and then half way down the email we get this:

So, we’ve got an email sent using Constant Contact promoting using Infusionsoft for email marketing.  And using an email with “potential phishing” to suggest the sender is an authority in email marketing…

To quote my son “LOL”

The other 80%

Here’s something you will recognise… You’ve just finished a successful trade show. You have some great contacts to follow up and everyone is delighted.

The marketing department are pleased with the results and the sales team immediately begin following up to close the hot prospects – about 20% of all of the contacts.  The remaining 80% never receive another contact by phone or email!

Why?

Because neither the marketing or sales staff have the time or energy to follow up and weed out the 50% of “non-qualified” contacts and to nurture the remaining 40% that would eventually become future hot prospects.

This failure to remain in contact with these potential clients could result in a tremendous loss of sales. It’s only a matter of time before these 40% of would be clients buy from your competition.
Thankfully your company is blisfully unaware of these lost sales.  If it were you can imagine the discussion:

Marketing: “Sales are lazy – we work our butts off to produce great leads and you don’t follow them up.”

Sales: “Marketing produce time wasting weak leads.  No one has budget or is ready to buy.  We may as well just phone from yellow pages!”

I parody slightly 🙂

But.. the real loser is your company that has spent out for an expensive trade show for only 20% of the contacts to be sold to. When a further 40% of contacts could have become customers too.

The challenge is to identify and keep in touch with these 40% of contacts, feeding them relevant information and keeping your name in their mind so that when they come to buy, you are their natural choice.

This is not a role that either marketing or sales traditionally do.  But this is exactly what the Nett Sales process does for you: It takes leads that are generally neglected and carefully, patiently, methodically and automatically nurtures them until they are ready to become buying clients.  Building a relationship of trust until the lead is ready to become a dependable buying client.

Marketing and Sales departments really don’t have time to spend months upon months communicating with leads that aren’t yet ready to buy. But Nett Sales does. When the client is ready to buy, Nett Sales turns the lead over to your sales staff to close the sale.

This is not to be confused with some mass email marketing blast. Each lead will receive a personal campaign based on their individual needs and proximity to a purchase of goods and services.

Beware the perils of mailmerge!

We’ve just received a very well written and nicely laid out email from London Launch promoting their trade exhibition in London.  Here is the email they sent out:

Email from LondonLaunch

but for the mailmerge that has gone wrong!  Sadly LondonLaunch’s attempt to personalise on the senders company name has given them the lovely line of  “All of London’s best venues and suppliers will be there – will Londonlaunch?”. Oh dear!

It’s easy to see they have merged their own company name in place of the recipient’s.  So, beware mailmerge and get someone else to read your marketing emails before they get sent out!

Have a great weekend…

Mind the gap… between sales and marketing

There is a disconnect between sales and marketing. Different discussion groups are debating this now. However the fact remains that marketing is about generating interest in a product or service and sales is about turning a lead into a sale.

Marketing happily pass interested contacts to sales. Sales then call them and find “most of them aren’t ready to buy now“.

So, there is a gap to bridge. That is to take expressions of interest and move them AT THEIR PACE towards qualified leads that sales can deal with.

But how?

Here is our take…

We mainly use email marketing for our clients to identify contacts interested in their products or services. But this is only transitory interest, not a desire to buy.

So, the next stage is for us to call all those contacts that have shown they have a level of interest. They demonstrate their interest by following certain links in our emails, or by email open / click patterns over a period of time.

The phone call is not a sales call, rather a “customer service” call with the intention of discussing the issue in question with the contact and qualifying their interest.

This extra step means that only qualified contacts with a defined need get passed to sales and the “interested but not yet” get regular contact without feeling sold to or being qualified out.

We’ve found that adding this extra step into the handover process helps everyone… and even starts to close the gap between sales and marketing.

Why would you send this?

Here is a great example of poor email marketing.  There is so much wrong with it, I don’t know where to start.

Let’s look at the sending email address.  Nice of them to advertise Pure 360 as their email marketing provider!

Subject line is OK, but they’ve missed the opportunity to mention the Open, which finished yesterday…  And how about mentioning the winner, or something else related to Golf?

Then you look at the message, or lack of message in this case!

poor email example

Not very clever eh?  Just push the images to the bottom of the message, if you really must include them and put your text at the top of the screen where it can be read and recipients engage with the text.  Once a recipient has read something from you, they may feel inclined to download your images…