In today’s economy of intense competition, a company’s brand is of paramount importance. This is further enhanced by the fact that the Internet makes your nearest competitor just a click away.
The values associated with your brand can make the difference between having lots of repeat customers and constantly losing people after one sale. It can mean the difference between having positive word of mouth advertising working for you and having a diluted conception of who you actually are. These brand values ultimately make a big difference to your bottom line, and they’re something every business owner or brand manager should be looking at closely if they want to secure the longevity of their brand.
Email marketing is a key element of the brand building exercise that often goes overlooked by decision makers. People will spend countless hours, days and weeks analyzing their websites and making sure each page has a consistent feel. But how long are your customers really on your website? While all of us wish we were eBay with a retention time per user in excess of 90 minutes (source: Nielsen//NetRatings), the fact remains we are not. Email marketing lets you impose your brand values on your customers (and prospective customers!) even after they leave your website.
If your customer spends 7 minutes on your website, do you think they have absorbed enough of your brand values? Think of popular brands in today’s marketplace: when someone says McDonalds you instantly think and feel certain things, but those values were built up over a long period of time (…definitely dwarfing the 7 minutes you got to spend interacting with your customer!). But, email marketing can help fill that void. The best email marketing programs will offer email signup boxes for your website, so you can prompt your site visitors to sign up for your newsletters, coupons, promotions, etc.
By sending effective email marketing campaigns to your customers, you can communicate with them even after they’ve left your website. This is not to suggest that your strategy should be to bombard your customers with constant email marketing messages so that they have no choice but to remember your brand. In this case, your email marketing may have effectively gotten your customers to know your name, but the brand values you are communicating is that you are excessively annoying (and you probably don’t want that!).
An effective email marketing strategy for brand building would be a monthly or bi-weekly newsletter. You want to send enough email marketing messages so that your customer gets a feel for your company and keeps you in mind for their future purchases. It’s important that your email marketing campaigns reinforce the brand values you began to setup while the customer was on your website. While your customers may not become brand loyal after just one email marketing message, over time your brand will become ingrained in the ‘purchasing habits’ part of their psyche and that’s exactly what you are striving for.
The nice thing about email marketing in conjunction with brand building is that it is very viral. Once you have brand loyal customers, they essentially become your brand ambassador and that means they can easily forward your message to their friends and colleagues (…most email marketing programs should have a ‘forward to friend’ feature…). This is a huge benefit because when John gets an email from his friend Mike saying “Hey John, these guys sell the absolute best widgets, check out their flyer below”, you better believe that John will be landing on your website ready and eager to be your customer.
Email marketing, when done correctly, keeps the lines of communication open long after a customer has visited your website, which gives you the time to build your brand and ultimately reap the benefits.
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