Let's face it, email marketing has gotten a bad rap.
A REAL bad rap.
That's because unsolicited emails are also known under a different name.
And that name is Spam.
The first Spam email is generally accepted to be one sent by Gary Thuerk, a marketer with Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) in 1978.
Thurek wanted to promote an upcoming open house event where he would be showing the new line of DEC computers. So naturally, as a marketing person, Thurek thought it would be innovative if the sent a email marketing letter out to potential DEC customers on the ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet of today.
DIGITAL WILL BE GIVING A PRODUCT PRESENTATION OF THE NEWEST MEMBERS OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY; THE DECSYSTEM-2020, 2020T, 2060, AND 2060T. THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY OF COMPUTERS HAS EVOLVED FROM THE TENEX OPERATING SYSTEM AND THE DECSYSTEM-10 <PDP-10> COMPUTER ARCHITECTURE. BOTH THE DECSYSTEM-2060T AND 2020T OFFER FULL ARPANET SUPPORT UNDER THE TOPS-20 OPERATING SYSTEM. THE DECSYSTEM-2060 IS AN UPWARD EXTENSION OF THE CURRENT DECSYSTEM 2040 AND 2050 FAMILY. THE DECSYSTEM-2020 IS A NEW LOW END MEMBER OF THE DECSYSTEM-20 FAMILY AND FULLY SOFTWARE COMPATIBLE WITH ALL OF THE OTHER DECSYSTEM-20 MODELS.
The reaction was negative, to say the least. Gary got chewed out by a number of players on the ARPANET including a US military major.
Things are a bit more sophisticated now, but the same basic golden rule of email marketing applies: don't send emails to people who don't want them.
Now, it could be argued that Thuerk DID target his audience - that is, it's probably safe to assume that everyone who received this email back in 1978 knew who DEC was and had some kind of interest in computers. But there were a number of people that received the email that also didn't want to.
The best way to avoid this in your email marketing is by building up an email list of people who are genuinely interested in your services.
If you have a website setup, you're already half way there. There are a number of email list managers that integrate easily into website platforms such as Wordpress and Drupal. Two of the biggest managers, Mailchimp and Google Groups, allow you to setup a mailing list sign-up box right on the front page of your website. Once you've collected enough emails, drop a sales letter to this highly targeted group.
The second golden rule is to use a good email sales letter. Even if you have a highly targeted mailing list, a letter that doesn't tell your prospects anything about what you're trying to sell isn't' going to do you any good.
There are a couple of different routes you can take here. If you have a gift for words and enough time on your hands, you can craft your own sales letter.
The other choice (which is probably what you're looking for, since you're reading this article) is to use an email marketing template.
Let's face it - there's a reason why you're running an MSP or IT Support Company and not writing romantic fiction - you're a techie.
An email marketing template will give you everything you need to create great looking emails with copy that reaches out and grabs the reader. All you need to do is plug in a few headlines, a couple of lines of description, a picture or two, and you're ready to go.
Once you've decided to go with an email marketing template, you'll need to know what to look for. Here are just a few features that should be contained in any email template that you're thinking of using:
Here are a few websites offering email marketing templates. Some are pay, some are free. You'll have to shop around and see what fits in with your budget when choosing the template that's right for you.
If you're using the Mailchimp email list software, they also offer a number of templates that you can use in your email marketing
Active campaign, like Mailchimp, is also email list manager software as well.
Offers a few different styles of templates, including one column, postcard and newsletter formats.
Another site along the lines of Mailchimp and Active Campaign. They offer a free trial.
As an owner of an MSP or IT Support Company, you know that time is money. That's what you bill for, after all. The right email marketing template, which is modified to fit your needs and delivered to the right audience, can help you reach new customers in a minimal amount of time and at a price that fits your budget.
Any email templates or mailing list managers that we missed? Which ones do you use?