I set up a business back in 1999 to write marketing emails for engineering companies. At the time there was still some argument over whether the web was going to be a big thing. That’s how long ago it was.
Within a year we had refocused on the web. The opportunities offered by email were stronger than ever, but the web was powering past. It was easy to neglect email marketing. Companies which didn’t overlook this channel, through having a far-sighted marketing manager, have now grown their mailing lists into a huge asset, sometimes without much effort or investment.
Ever since, I’ve seen hundreds of companies fail to engage with email marketing properly, because they feel they’ve missed the boat. “I wish my predecessor had done something about this 10 or 15 years ago, but what can I do?”, they ask. “If we start something now, we’ll only have the 50 or 100 clients who sign up to it, and we’ll always be lagging the competition.”
Whilst it’s obvious that it would’ve been brilliant if someone had set up something back in 2005, what about 2010? Do you wish your company had started a regular mailing then? What about 2015? Of course you do.
The point is, there’s a constant succession of boats leaving, and while you might not catch up with the competition, you can still get on one now and leave others behind. You might regret that your predecessor wasn’t very far-sighted, but do you want your successor to think the same about you?
Email is read in ways which weren’t even imaginable 15 years ago, but if you get it right, it’s more powerful than ever. Sort out a simply formatted, educational message to send out every month. Promote the publication to your customers and prospects. Keep an offer to join the list open on your website, and the circulation will build, slowly. Bask in the glow of thanks from your successors, even if you may never meet them.