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5 Misconceptions of Email Marketing

Posted January 18, 2016by Nate Teplow

5 Misconceptions of Email Marketing


Email is a core marketing communication channel in today’s world. Many MSPs understand this, but they may not know how to effectively leverage it as a way to convert leads, increase client acquisition and improve overall customer loyalty.

Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions out there about email marketing, and I wouldn’t want you to be led astray by them! So I pulled together a list of some of the important ones that MSPs should keep in mind when running their email marketing campaigns.


Misconception #1: More Opens = More Clicks

Most people think of email marketing as a funnel. The bigger your list, the more opens you get and the more clicks you get. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case.

Take a look at this test we did at Continuum with our email newsletter:

The only thing we changed in these two emails was the “from name.” Version A was from “Continuum Managed Services” and version B was from “Continuum – Monthly Partner Newsletter.”

Version A

MDM_Success_Kit_Email_Test_Version_A.png

Results:

  • Open rate: 27.1%
  • CTR: 3.8%
  • Clicks/opens: 13.9%


Version B

MDM_Success_Kit_Email_Test_Version_B.png

Results:

  • Open rate: 24.3%
  • CTR: 4.7%
  • Clicks/opens: 19.4%


Even though we had more opens on version A, we actually had considerably more clicks on version B (by about 25%)!

So how can this be? How can we drive more clicks with less opens just by changing the from name?

The reason is (and I’m hypothesizing here) that you can set the tone of an email before it’s even opened. Because we had “Newsletter” in the second “from name,” readers knew they were getting newsletter content and would be more likely to read through and click on stories after opening.

Bottom line: you don’t need more opens to drive more clicks. A lot of times email marketers will try to trick you into opening their email. But what’s the point of that? If anything you just upset the reader. Be authentic in your emails and focus on collecting quality names and delivering quality content. It will help you be more successful in the long term.

 

Misconception #2: You Need Pretty Images

A lot of MSPs have a preconceived idea of what an “email campaign” should be, and this usually involves a lot of branded colors and pretty images.

However, emails can often be more effective when they don’t rely too heavily on visuals. Images, although they look nice, can sometimes distract the reader. We’ve seen a lot of success using just text for our email campaigns.

Another factor to be aware of is the size of your image. If you’re using large images, it can make an email “heavier,” which can lead to long load times if the user is opening your email on a mobile device. People don't like having to wait to view content and may abandon the email.

Images have their time and their place. Don’t be afraid to use images; just don’t get caught thinking you NEED to use them. This is great news for MSPs because that means it takes less effort to create your emails campaigns. Focus on connecting with and engaging your reader. That is ultimately the goal of an email.

 

Misconception #3: You Need to Use “Marketing Speak”

Similar to our above misconception, many MSPs think you need to be really clever, eloquent and verbose in your emails. 

There’s no need to overcomplicate your emails. Think about what will engage and elicit a response from the reader. If the goal is to set up phone calls with prospects, you don’t need to speak at length about your services and why you’re better than the competition. Simply state that you may be able to help them improve their use of technology and want to schedule a call to see if it might be a good fit.

 

Misconception #4: Avoid Unsubscribes at All Costs!

Most people think an “unsubscribe” is the worst thing that can come from an email campaign. Oh my god…that person is GONE FOREVER!

However, unsubscribes are not bad, and they can actually be good. Why would you want someone subscribed to your emails who doesn’t want to receive them. It’s ultimately just going to hurt your open and click-through rates, which can in turn hurt your deliverability rate.

The names in your email list should be like the cells in your body. You need to constantly be generating new names and cleaning out the old ones. 

Instead of focusing on how many names you lose, focus on how many names you generate! 

Note: Obviously, if you have very high unsubscribe rates on your emails, you’ll need to re-evaluate what you’re sending and think about delivering value in your emails and not being overly promotional. However, don’t get scared if someone unsubscribes from your emails every now and then.

 

Misconception #5: You Need to Do a Newsletter

When you think of email marketing, what’s the first thing that pops into your mind? Most likely, you think Newsletter.

However, a regular newsletter is probably something you shouldn’t do until you already have an established marketing process. Most people who want to start doing email marketing say, “we need to start a newsletter.” This is how it usually goes:

  • Newsletter #1: 15 stories
  • Newsletter #2: 10 stories
  • Newsletter #3: 7 stories
  • Newsletter #4: 4 stories
     

By your 5th newsletter, you’re struggling to find content and new information to share...which leads nicely into my last point:

Make sure that your newsletter delivers value for your subscribers. If you’re not delivering something of value in your newsletter, there isn’t any point in doing it. In order for your readers to get something out of your newsletters, you have to be able to consistently produce new content, and not just rotate through old news and articles. Eventually, you'll run out of things to say and share, and you will have lost your audience. Newsletters take a long time to put together and if your readers don’t find them helpful, they will most likely just ignore it or unsubscribe. 

It’s very easy to get in the habit of ignoring newsletters (think about all of the newsletters you get regularly and just skip over). Even just one or two stale versions will be enough for a subscriber to stop paying attention to them.

 

More Email Marketing Tips

These 5 misconceptions were part of a workshop I ran for Sleek Marketing University in Boston. I’ve included the full slide deck below in case you’d like to look through some more email marketing tips.

 

Did you find this post helpful? Let me know what questions you have in the comments below.

The-Complete-Guide-to-MSP-Marketing-eBook

Nate Teplow is a Sr. Product Marketing Manager at Continuum, currently managing the company's RMM marketing initiatives. Nate's experience spans inbound marketing, content strategy, marketing communications and B2B lead generation. A proud Miami Hurricane alumni, Nate enjoys staying active, traveling to new places and performing A/B tests.

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