Email marketing is still alive and kicking. It is one of the most successful marketing channels out there. In terms of channel effectiveness, it ranks 2nd, just after having a company website. That does not mean it is a given that email marketing is always successful. The truth is, ISV email marketing is only effective if you stick to certain strategies and principles. In this article, you will learn how you can use email marketing to build an effective sales channel.
Establishing a high-quality list of emails is the first step in creating a profitable sales channel for ISVs. If you are looking to sell a software solution, you will have to acquire email addresses from your target audience through opt-ins (permission to send emails).
The most commonly used channel to acquire opt-ins is the company website. Your website should be optimized for conversion (ability to generate leads) and contain pages where you offer value in exchange for contact information. You could, for example, offer an extensive brochure with all the details of your product or a free demo. In return, the interested website visitor will provide you with a name and an email address. Other options to generate opt-ins or leads which you can email are through telemarketing outreach and social selling.
“Buying email addresses is not advised. Chances are that people on bought email lists are not interested in your messaging. Moreover, you might not even have the right to use such lists depending on the applicable privacy laws.”
Become an authority in your field
Once you start to acquire opt-ins, you will have to stay in touch with those leads. To build trust and to become an authority in the field your ISV is working in, you will have to feed leads with content that support that mission. You try to answer questions leads might have to take away doubts and you prove that your offer is the best among competitors. You have to position yourself as an expert in your field. In this phase, you only offer value and you are always available without asking for anything in return. This is a powerful strategy to influence the purchasing decision.
Segmentation and relevance are key in successful email campaigns. The principle “If you speak to everyone you reach no one” applies as much to email marketing as it does to any kind of content. If you do not optimize emails for segments within your target audience, they will not engage with your message and you fail to build authority and to influence decision-making. When you send an email or write automated emails, you always have to ask yourself; is this relevant for the recipient? If you offer multiple products or services chances are that leads interested in one product are not so interested in another, completely different product.
Manually handling all your email communication can be time-consuming and in most cases, less effective. The efficient to stay in touch with leads is to use email marketing software that allows you to automate email messages. Email automation offers several benefits that help you build a profitable and manageable channel:
- You can reach out to leads right at the moment. Right when they sign up for your list, across any time zone – you don’t want to keep leads waiting for any information they requested.
- You don’t have to email each and every lead individually. That saves a lot of manual work.
- The content of your emails is always consistent for every lead segment
The trick is that you anticipate questions and information you will have to provide and set-up emails in advance. A great way to find out what emails you have to prepare is to create a buyer persona for software vendors. You write down the journey an anonymous visitor makes up to the point that he or she becomes a customer. If a visitor of your website requested information about a certain product or service, an automated email funnel could look like this:
- Welcome email right after the website visitor signed up
- You send over the requested information – automated or manual depending on the nature of the information requested
- On day 3 after sign up – valuable content that is relevant to the lead to establish authority (e.g. white papers, infographics, tips or eBooks)
- On day 5 – Ask if the lead has all the information he or she needs and if he or she would like to receive a quote or demo
- On day 8 – relevant case study and testimonials to prove capability
- On day 10 – make an irresistible discounted offer for a limited amount of time to close a sale
Of course, there are many variations of automated email funnels possible. It depends on the product and the niche what works best for you. For solutions that go paired with an extensive decision-making process could require funnels spread out over months, whereas you might only need a few days to turn a lead into a customer for simple solutions with an urgency.
In most cases, you are not able to provide all the information you want to provide in the email itself. And if you want the reader to engage with your content, you have to give them the option to move further. You do that by creating a button or other clickable item that stands out and takes the reader to the next step. For example a page on your website or a video on social media.
Don’t be afraid that you send too many emails
It’s not just the volume email that annoys people. It’s the number of irrelevant messages they receive day in, day out. If your company has the capacity to provide great content that is relevant for your target audience, share it with them. Even if that means sending an email multiple times a week, or even every day. Leads and existing customers will appreciate your help if they can benefit from it. If you stick to the strategies above, increasing the number of emails you send can’t do much harm. Statistics will prove if you are on the right track.