2000: Digital marketing consultants are born. The proposals focused on creating mailing lists. Big ad agencies involved in designing great email footers and headers, and e-newsletters. And companies were so passionate about email. The trend everywhere was “subscribe to our newsletter”. Many people closed deals via email. Companies started boasting about the number of email subscribers they had. It was big marketing collateral. To overcome the challenge of acquiring emails, organized cybercriminals set up enterprises to harvest emails online, as well as hack companies to access contact addresses and databases, and thereafter make such emails available for sale on the dark internet market. Receiving emails from unknown contacts officially becomes known as spamming.
2010: Cybersecurity becomes a big thing. A very big risk to all entities. Phishing attacks rule the day. Cyber laws and internal company email communication policies overwhelm the staff. An email as an attack vector changes the landscape of email marketing. Company staff gets prohibited from using company emails to subscribe to online offers or to open social media accounts to remove attack surfaces and exposures.
Mailing lists still work, but they can no longer close a deal. Today, email work. But unsolicited email marketing is one of the most useless investment. To sell, you have to first establish rapport with the economic buyer. Have the confidence to meet them live via Teams or Zoom. Or the confidence to make a phone call.
2020: Social media rules the day. Leaders move back to the starting point: relationship marketing. Face to face or virtual meetings live. You need to have a referral or a testimonial from a trusted partner. WhatsApp, Telegraph, and SMS are now some of the best sales contact points. Email is popular only for an acquired client but not as the first point of contact. Cold emails, just like cold calls, are some of the worst sales strategies one can think of.
Insight: If you are selling professional services, know the true economic buyer – someone who signs on the cheque, or can make the Yes or No decision, have their direct phone contacts. Make sure they know you physically or through your rich body of knowledge and publications online.
Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram are good for your ego. But cannot close a consultancy project. Use those media options for Google Adsense or “influencer” marketing. But direct deal closure, forget. Go out and know the people who matter. That is the reality.
Stop spending so much effort in mail list building. Just acquire clients and add them to your mailing list as part of better offers and customer support. Blacket emailing to prospects is a thing of the past.
What is your experience with email marketing? Let’s discuss.
Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020. All rights reserved.