Not enough marketers appreciate this – but the most important benefit of email marketing is NOT sales. (Although, admittedly, this is a welcome side effect!)
It’s the MARKETING INTELLIGENCE you accumulate.
You see, not only can we track which emails result in the most response (i.e. sales, completing lead capture forms, etc.) from your suspects/prospects/customers – which is quantitative data – people often reply to our emails and “spill their guts”.
They share stories.
They voice their opinions.
They ask my clients questions.
They tell us about their hopes and dreams.
They complain about stuff – not necessarily things our clients have done.
Sometimes, they’ll even write out an entire page of their dairy.
(I’m not exaggerating.)
If you are an entrepreneur, a director, or anyone who is responsible for guiding the long-term strategy of your business, then you should immediately recognise the value of these insights – and how they can help keep your business aligned with its market.
As a marketer, among the first things I want to know when I begin sending emails to a list are: (1) what their dreams are; (2) what they fear; (3) how they believe they have failed in life; (4) what they suspect; and (5) who their enemies are.
Everybody thinks about these five things. No exceptions.
And I want to know about them, because these insights help me to understand how people in your market see the world, how they relate to it, and how they wish it could be. This is how you write copy that resonates with people and doesn’t feel tacky.
Here’s the thing, though:
As valuable as these insights are for writing copy, they are even more valuable for strategic planning – i.e. developing your brand, adjusting its positioning, planning new products, acquiring competitors, that kind of thing.
So, with this in mind, here is some advice:
When you email your list regularly, you should soon start receiving some of the responses to your marketing emails that I listed above. You MUST have a system for managing this intelligence properly. Otherwise, it will be unusable.
I suggest the following steps:
(By the way, this is something we can take care of for you.)
First, create a new Help Scout account. (It costs $15/month per user. There’s a free 15-day trial. And no, they won’t give me a free toaster if you sign up.)
Second, set it up so that when a subscriber replies to one of your marketing emails, rather than being sent to your inbox, the reply appears in Help Scout as a new ticket.
Third, set up user profiles for your front-of-house employees and/or admin assistants. When a new ticket appears, they will be notified – and they’ll be able to log in, reply to the ticket, answer any questions, close the ticket, and then “tag” it appropriately.
This last step is the most important.
You need to create a set of tags that represent each of the different marketing intelligence insights that we expect to receive from subscribers.
(If you want some suggestions, reply to this and I’ll give you my thoughts on what probably makes the most sense for your business and market.)
You – or, more appropriately, your employees – can add one or more of these tags to any email reply that contains marketing intelligence. And what you’ll see is that, over time, each of the different tags will accumulate insights (i.e. email replies).
Let’s say that, after a year or so, you want to develop a new product.
Bringing a product to market is a HUGE investment in time and money. You need to get it right, which means you’ll want to examine your assumptions carefully before you risk spending months creating a product that nobody wants to buy.
A good starting point would be to log into your new marketing intelligence database and read through all of the email replies that are tagged with “need” or “want”.
You might also want to take a look at the “objection” insights.
And if it looks like your product is on the money, take an hour or so to read through any email replies that were tagged with “story” and “dream”.
This information is gold.
Not only will it help save you from wasting time on a dud, but you can use these insights to inform your brand and how it is going to be positioned in the market.
This is the value of marketing intelligence – and, if you manage your email marketing properly, you’ll accumulate it automatically every time you send an email.