Why and How Should I Send E-shots?

E-shotting your customers is not new technology, however it seems to be something that is often missed or not even considered in marketing plans. Why? Because we all get annoying spam emails through and you don’t want to tarnish your company and brand with the same annoying brush. That’s understandable, however if you are using your own company database of prospects and customers, you won’t be spamming. Believe it or not, your customers may like some regular correspondence from you, the worse case scenario would be no reaction from your contact, however you’ll be in their mind should they decide to buy at a later date.

E-shotting should not replace your existing marketing activity. It should compliment all other pieces of communication. It’s very cost effective, so won’t break the bank either. My advice would be to send a minimum of two e-shots a month, let them be informational, contain hints, tips and advice that would benefit the recipient. The continual hard sell will result in a lot of unsubscribers and that impression of spam.

Here are some simple tips that you can take to your design agency to enable useful, benefiting emails that customers and prospects will benefit from receiving.

### 1. The list

In my opinion, this is one of the most important part of e-shotting. I stress, please don’t go out and buy 10,000 email addresses – a waste of your money. Put the e-shot database together consisting of current customers, past customers, enquirers and prospects. The software these days allows you to split these into their own lists, so if you have an e-shot solely aimed at customers, it ensures that your prospects won’t get it.

It’ll take some time to do this and put the list together, but it’s worth the work. You’ll end up with several lists of targeted companies you either work with or want to work with.

How can you build this list?

* Add a subscription form on your website
* Ask all enquirers for an email address
* Take a business card from every meeting you go to

### 2. The Design

So now you have your list ready and you need to make your email visually appealing. You should advise your design company to come up with a few different versions so you can see various design ideas, but all should tie in with your existing marketing activity and brand guidelines. Keep everything consistent as it’ll reinforce your brand.

I also recommend choosing a design and sticking with it. That way, if you have standard links on the design, regular receivers will get used to where each item is.

### 3. The Content

Along with the database, this is most important part of your e-shot campaign. Please don’t expect people to read your e-shot unless it’s relevant to them or adding some benefit. Lets pretend I run a plumbing company, which e-shot would you read?

* An e-shot trying to sell the latest plumbing tools
* An e-shot giving me a step by step guide on how to check my kitchen sink u-bend to avoid blockages

It will be e-shot 2.

So, make the content useful, beneficial and give the reader a reason to keep the email. Add links to your website, links to your blog, social media and any other online marketing you’re doing. The e-shot is then working for you – improving your brand recognition, offering helpful tips and driving readers to business.

### 4. The Heading

As with any copywriting, the headline is the most important – it should be attention grabbing. I would avoid any words that would be associated with spam as many email filters will automatically bounce the email. Some of the most popular are ‘Click here’, ‘Call now’, You’re a winner’, ‘Increase your income’, or ‘One time offer’.

### 5. Test

Different email programs will render your e-shot differently so it needs to be tested on the main programs to ensure a consistent look: Gmail, Outlook, Entourage, Hotmail, AOL, Yahoo, BT, Mail.

### 6. Unsubscribe

You need to make it easy and clear for people to unsubscribe from your e-shots. All software should automatically add this at the bottom of your e-shot for you and automatically remove people if they opt out.

### 7. Look at the results

After you have sent the e-shot your software, if setup properly, will track anyone who opens the email, clicks a link within the email, unsubscribes, forwards to other email addresses and much more. This information is incredibly useful as it allows you to follow up. For example, if you link to a turning page magazine in your e-shot and see it’s been clicked by someone, why not email them asking what they thought?

Overall, e-shots are a low cost addition to your current marketing plans. It’s a process that should be used, and if done correctly can really help your business.

Don’t be worried that you’re spamming people. As I suggested earlier, offer some hints, tips and guidance and they’ll look forward to your e-shots every time they come through.