Continuing in what is becoming a series of email marketing articles (find the others here), I want to talk a little bit more about advertising in email newsletters.
There are several angles to look at this from: the perspective of the business that is being advertised, the perspective of the content publisher selling the ad space, and the perspective of the subscriber. For now, I’m going to focus on the business that is looking to advertise.
If you own such a business, there are a variety of factors to be considered when going through other companies to advertise via email.
Who You’re Dealing With
First off use a reputable company. Good clues to look for are the other clients they work with. For example, if Google, Facebook, or Coca-Cola advertise with them, they are probably doing something right.
Look at their content. Does it look appealing? Judge the quality and ask yourself if you want your brand to be associated with this company. Also look at the amount of subscribers they have. Are they going to get your brand in front of a lot of people?
To maximize your potential for getting conversions, your best bet is to advertise in a publication that is relevant to the product you are advertising. This will ensure that your audience is at least to some extent interested in your niche. Like I said the other day, you probably don’t want to pay to advertise the latest 50 Cent CD in a newsletter about doilies. But if you sell web-hosting services, you may consider advertising in publications about eCommerce or web design. This may seem like common sense, but you still see poorly targeted ads all the time.
You can’t expect to just advertise in one issue of an email newsletter and expect big results. If you want to really earn success through email marketing, you have to go about it with some frequency. I’m not talking about spamming the masses with your ad. I’m talking about reappearing in the publications and/or in different publications repeatedly.
Email advertising is not only about instant gratification. While it can provide some traffic, especially if you have a truly effective ad, your biggest gain will most likely come from the branding aspect. When a large list of people see your brand continuously (especially in a publication that they enjoy and respect), they will begin to recognize your name and suddenly you won’t seem like a small business anymore, and who do you think has more credibility in the public’s eye – the small business that nobody’s heard of or the big brand that everybody recognizes? Ernie’s House O’ Sunglasses or Oakley? Whether or not the credibility is deserved is beside the point. Recognition equates to trust whether justified or not (unless of course you already have a damaged reputation).
Timing can have a tremendous impact on your advertising in several ways. Of course there is the whole marketing based on events and holidays angle. The time zone of your audience should be taken into consideration with what time of the day your campaign is mailed out.
Also, creating a sense of urgency can inspire some of that instant gratification you’re still looking for (branding a need can also help). Letting them know, they better get to your site now before it’s too late may encourage some immediate clickthroughs, which brings me to my next point.
Calls to Action
To get the clicks, you’ve got to encourage them to click. Is your product downloadable? How about saying something like "Download here" or "Download Now". Are you offering something for free? "Get your free ____ now". You’re calling on them to take action. If you want your ads to be effective beyond the branding element, you’ve got to hook them in. Think of the call to action as like the subject line of your ad. It has to entice them and pique their interest enough to make them take the next step, which in this case is clicking.
Can you handle it?
Are you prepared to handle a successful ad campaign? To reiterate what I also said the other day, make sure you have the resources available to handle a bunch of incoming traffic. Make sure you have the bandwidth to accommodate it. It’s not going to reflect well on your brand if a potential customer clicks your ad only to find that your server is down. There’s no telling how many sales you could miss out on if this were to occur. Suddenly that credibility you have established seems a little less reasonable, and even if they don’t hold it against you, it doesn’t mean they won’t just go find a similar product from one of your competitors.
What else would you consider when advertising your business in email newsletters?