Highly Effective Email Marketing Through Your Channel Partners

September 9, 2015 Ben Heyworth

Despite the rise of mobile and social, email marketing is still relevant today; for 69.7% of US internet users email is the preferred method of business communication. When deployed successfully it can be (among other things) a lead and sales engine that will impact ROI (74% of marketers believe that email produces or will produce ROI in the future). For business it can be a powerful tool for businesses to advertise, improve brand awareness and exposure, and help on the promotional side.

Email marketing platforms like Exacttarget, Marketo, Eloqua and Act-on are all specifically used by corporate marketing departments that have a direct relationship with their consumers, unlike other automated email providers like SproutLoud that specifically serve channel partners. See some of the definitions below to help clear up the differnt types of channels that work with platforms designed for email marketing through channel partners.

Direct Channels: Since the organization directly owns the business and the customer relationship, email communication happens seamlessly through the platform.

Dependent Channels: In a dependent channel the brand has the legal right to control all communications and messaging, including email. Automating this allows there to be more uniformity in communications sent while giving the channel limited control. 

Independent Channels: Independent channels have greater latitude in how they engage and communicate with the customer. Having them use one email automation platform allows the brand to exert more control over the quality and brand integrity of what is being sent. This ensures that the messaging is more controlled, conforms, is on-brand, and still allows a certain degree of customization to be made, giving them the right proportion of control and autonomy.

By providing the proper automation tools, brands help manage the complexity of communicating through these channels. Even when they don’t own the relationship (independent or indirect channels), they can still sculpt the message being sent.

Marketing automation brings the power to your network through transactional and triggered email communications. Triggered emails such as event registration confirmations, download acknowledgements, thank you’s, abandoned shopping cart reminders, or even more personalized communications (follow-ups, birthdays, and anniversaries) can help you 1) gather information on their web behavior and 2) send appropriate and timely communications to them based upon that behavior. Since triggered programs can be either rule based or built using database content, each message can be personalized with dynamic information.

Triggered communications helps your brand stay top-of-mind while accompanying the customer and guiding them closer to a purchase decision. Email should be viewed as a highly effective method for marketing and advertising through your sales channel. When approached, applied, and executed well their business will reap the rewards.

There are certain functional and aesthetic components your email should have:

From label: This is the first thing people are going to see. Make sure that your email address as the sender matches your company’s name or whomever the email was supposed to be sent from. In respect to your Channel Partner, use a platform that can appear as if it is sent from your partner directly, even though you can control the message, the brand and the distribution.

Subject line: People will quickly judge whether or not to open an email simply by reading the subject line. Make sure you create a well written subject line that will quickly get their attention and earn their interest by quickly addressing “what’s in it for them”.

· 40-50 characters are enough.

· Be careful not to overuse punctuation or symbols (this is a good mental indicator of spam).

· Don’t scream at the person opening your email (avoid using all caps in the subject line).

· Write something unique in the subject line.

Pre-header: A pre-header is usually right next to the subject line and can be useful in providing additional and complementary information. Put something in there that grabs the reader’s attention, keep them engaged.

Content: This is the place where you want to really shine. Because you are the brand curator and you control the content, this is where you establish the value of your partner and their local business offering. give them a reason to want to interact and later transact with your channel partner. It is an opportunity to teach them about your brand and the partner company, give them something (such as a promotion or deal), or to keep them informed about new products, services, or changes that might impact them. It’s not meant to be a reveal all, it’s intended to get them interested enough to want to find out more. Keep it sweet, keep it simple.

Make sure you proofread your email before you even consider sending it. Your credibility as a business is often measured by things such as grammar and word usage. Think before you send, by making sure it is error free.

Vary the content you send. By changing the types of emails you send. If you are overly promotional (or try to sell to hard) your email may be destined for the trash. Think of an email as an opportunity to engage in a conversation and build a relationship, not push your product.

Images: People are often drawn to images and they can have a powerful psychological effect on your reader. Make sure you include appropriate images that will keep their eyeballs on your email, and compliments your content. Don’t overdo it, doing so might be distracting that it takes away from your message.

CTA (call-to-action): The whole purpose of your email is to elicit a response or action from the reader. You give them direction on what action to take by telling them what to do, and by giving them somewhere to go by creating a call to action. A call to action can be a lot of things, be it a Shop/Buy Now button, a link that says “Learn More” which leads to a company product or resource page. Simply stated it’s a link that says “go here” or “do this,” keep it short and give them clear direction by using active language. You might want to establish a sense of urgency in your call to action, this should follow an email establishing why that urgency exists.

Social media buttons: Social media is often the quickest way to engage and share information and for people to follow your brand on social media.

Unsubscribe Option: The CAN-SPAM Act was enacted to prevent email user accounts from being spammed. Even if you’re emailing people that at one time requested to be added to your mailing list, there still needs to be an option available for them to unsubscribe. This can be done two ways: 1) a reply back with “Unsubscribe” in the subject line or 2) placing a link in the email that will remove them from your mailing list when clicked.

Ready to take the next step? SproutLoud offers brands cost effective and automated marketing solutions to serve the channel partners they work with. Whether it be building targeted email lists, creating brand approved email templates, helping you develop interactive content, or simplifying processes. We have you covered. Learn more about how SproutLoud can make your network’s email marketing efforts successful here.

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About the Author

Ben Heyworth formerly served as Marketing and Sales Coordinator at SproutLoud.

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