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January 22, 2008
Marketing Sin Made by Many, and How to Avoid it

There is no denying that the growth and popularity of email marketing has been stunning. By 2010, Jupiter Research estimates that spending on this media will reach $1.1 Billion.

Yet even with its increasing popularity, many marketers and business owners are committing a marketing sin - focusing solely on promoting their product or service through emails.

Here's the deal: because it "costs" next to nothing to send emails, some marketers feel that their campaign will make them more money.

However, while the expense of email marketing is lower, don't be fooled into thinking it will add the most to your bottom line.

In fact, research supported by the legendary Gary Halbert reveals that sending a campaign by email will often reduce your return on investment by 20%.

That means a direct mail offer targeted to your list will generate a 20% greater return than the same offer through email. That's right, print is alive and well.

And because so many of us deal with 'flooded in-box' syndrome - direct mail effectiveness has never been higher. Think about it... doesn't it feel more personal, more special, more exciting to receive a letter in the mail or from a delivery service addressed to you, than an email in your inbox? You can hold it, write on it, and take it with you. That can't all be said for email.

Plus, there are all those other challenges posed by getting your email message delivered to people with AOL, Hotmail or Yahoo accounts. And let’s not get into SPAM and the percentage of people that just plain delete emails because they are too tired to read them all.

But I'm not implying that you drop your next email campaign. Not by a long shot...what I'm saying is that you can multiply your ROI and see the greatest successes by rolling out a multi-step campaign that uses both email and print.

Here's an example of how you can do this: Start by making the easiest sales first. A low-cost multi-step campaign that begins with email to current customers works well with the people that already adore you. Plus, since it is arriving by email you can make your offer seem more urgent.

Next you can set up a website containing all the ingredients needed to make a sale...strong headline, proof, amazing offer, etc. Some of the people that didn't buy directly from your emails will, with more information, make a purchase from your webpage.

Moving right along...a free report, inserts or ads in a print newsletter, a direct mail package, and for those that haven't yet bought, a final follow-up call or letter will do the trick. While I won’t go into the nitty gritty of such a campaign, I can promise you that an effectively developed and executed multi-step on and offline campaign will multiply your profits. It worked for a well known financial research firm by bringing them over $5 million in sales in less than 2 months.

Email is a media, a tool. It shouldn't be viewed or used as your sole marketing strategy. Make it a part of your campaign, not the whole shebang.

Remember, what's important isn't the cost of your marketing, but the ROI it gets.

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Michael Zipursky is a direct-marketing and advertising consultant and copywriter. His clients range from consulting and resource firms to billion dollar technology manufacturers and include Panasonic, Financial Times, Dow Jones, and Nissha, Sumitomo, among others. He is the president of Relagy Marketing and co-founder of Business Consulting Buzz, an online resource for consultants and the consulting industry.

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