An online merchant’s customer email list is typically a crucial part of his or her marketing plan. And Constant Contact is a leader in the email marketing field. Eric Groves is the senior vice president, global market development for Constant Contact. He’s written a new book entitled The Constant Contact Guide to Email Marketing. He shares his insights, below, on email marketing and how to improve on it.
PeC: Can you briefly share Constant Contact’s history?
Eric Groves: “When I got here [at Constant Contact], we had 10 customers and about $100 a month in revenue. So, we know what it was like to be small. But throughout the years, what we’ve really done is focused on our mission to help small businesses build relationships with their customers.”
PeC: Can you explain why an email list is so important?
Groves: “Email marketing is the most cost-effective way that you can reach out to your customers and bring them back.”
PeC: “You’ve written an entire book on the subject of email. Some might interpret that to mean that it’s a complicated subject.”
Groves: “Not at all. Doing email marketing is actually very simple to do. The reason that there’s a book out there is to [help marketers] get better and better at sending [emails] and driving up response rates. The more that you learn about doing it well, the more impact that you’re going to have when you deliver your messages. There are a lot of tips and tricks about how you can get your emails not only delivered, but opened and read and engaged and forwarded.”
PeC: “What are some of email marketing pitfalls our readers should avoid?”
Groves: “You have to make sure that when you’re sending your email out to people that you can answer two questions in the affirmative: They know you and they care. If they don’t know you and they don’t care, then that’s somebody you shouldn’t be sending to. If they know you and they don’t care, then you’ve got to work on your content.”
PeC: What’s the best way to grow that email list without being intrusive?
Groves: “Make sure that at each point of connection you give prospects the opportunity to both see the value that you deliver in your email communications and have the opportunity to sign up for your list.”
PeC: Do you envision a time when email marketing is not relevant, at least in its current form?
Groves: “There are certainly some businesses where the lion’s share of their clients may come on to Facebook and be very active in Facebook. Conversely, for other audiences, you may say, ‘Join us on Facebook,’ and they don’t even know what you’re talking about. It’s really important to understand where your customers are and make sure you’re delivering in every way that they would look for information from you whether it’s email marketing, Twitter or Facebook.”
PeC: Anything else the small ecommerce merchant should know about email marketing?
Groves: “Start building your list. It’s amazing to me that you go and have a great experience at a restaurant or a retail store, an online store, and they don’t ask you for your contact information. Warren Buffet has a great quote. He says, ‘In the business world, the rear view mirror is always closer than the windshield,’ and that’s one of those things that you should really focus in on because that customer who’s walking out the door is your most valuable asset and you need to find a way to connect with them.”