Social media and search ads have become so popular in recent years. Business owners began to consider these platforms as main marketing channels in today’s digital age. Millions of advertising money are being spent every year to make sure that their brands are seen by prospects online.
Despite the prevalence of social media promotions, business owners still prefer to use email marketing to build and nurture relationships with existing and potential customers.
Most consumers today are digital natives. If email is not part of your communications platforms, you are missing significant opportunities of engaging with and promoting to majority of your audience..
To help you get started, here is a comprehensive beginner’s guide to email marketing:
What is email marketing?
Email marketing should be part of your overall digital strategy. It is a smart and effective way of promoting your business and creating relationships with new and existing customers.
Why do you need email marketing?
To date, email marketing is still the best performing promotions platform.
Because you are able to target your audience with personalised messages, return on investments are higher compared to social and search ads. According to a research done by the Direct Marketing Association, every $1 spent on email marketing generates an return on investment of $40.
Email marketing is also your way of welcoming new customers and nurturing relationships with them at every stage of the customer’s life cycle. You don’t just sell and say goodbye. Emails even lessen buyer’s remorse after purchase and increase resell and up-sell opportunities.
How do you start with an email marketing for your business?
1. Establish your goal
Just like other marketing efforts, setting a goal before launching an email marketing campaign is important.
Do you want to warm prospects and convert them later on? Do you want to nurture existing customers to resell to them in the future? Or do you want to create an on-boarding journey to guide customers how to use a product they bought from you?
Email marketing goals are not limited to those mentioned above. What’s crucial is knowing how you will measure your success throughout the campaign.
2. Choose an email service provider
Choose an email service provider (ESP). This is where you will design, set-up, launch, and monitor your email marketing campaigns.
You wouldn’t want to just use a Gmail or Yahoo email address and BCC all of your recipients. Aside from looking unprofessional, too many BCC recipients will also cause your message to end up in the spam folder.
On top of that, manual sending of emails is also not sustainable in the long run. It will consume a lot of time and will not provide you with the analytics needed to measure your campaign’s performance.
ESPs can automate email sending and often have dashboards and detailed reports you can use for campaign monitoring.
3. Choose an email address
You would want your emails to look professional and legitimate in your customers’ inbox. To do this, invest in an email domain that reflects your business’ name.
This will help customers recognise immediately who the email is from and increase the chances of opening and reading the content.
4. Set-up your contact list
Next step is to come up with a contact list of your target audience. You can start by putting together the email addresses of your existing customers and those who follow or like your social media pages (if available).
Never buy email addresses – lists bought usually contain bots and would hurt all of your email campaign metrics. You will not generate any engagement nor ROI from bots. Make sure that your list is composed of customers with intent to buy your product or affinity to your brand.
To help you gather an email list, creating a lead magnet would help. A lead magnet is something valuable to your customers that you can offer for free in exchange for their contact information.
If you are a real estate agent, an example of a lead magnet is a free downloadable guide of the best places to rent or buy a home in your locality. Potential home buyers (your target market) would find this very valuable during their research phase.
An eCommerce business may offer a 10% discount for the first purchase of all customers who will give their email addresses.
Tailor fit your lead magnet to the interest and needs of your target audience.
Keep this contact list clean by removing inactive subscribers every three to six months in order to maintain your domain’s email and web reputations. Make sure to also have an unsubscribe button in your email to allow uninterested leads to opt out.
5. Create a simple sign-up form
Create a simple sign-up form that will make it quick and easy for prospects to leave their contact information. Limit the clicks needed and fields of information you are asking for to avoid fall-offs.
Maximise your reach by making sure that this sign-up form is found on all of your digital platforms – website, social media pages, leads landing page, etc.
Your sign-up form should clearly indicate the lead magnet you are offering to entice more prospects to give you their information.
6. Design your email template
Your email template should be designed according to your brand elements. Your logo should be there, your color palette should be applied, and the overall look and feel of your email should reflect your brand personality.
Make sure that you have your target audience in mind when designing your template. But, don’t overload it with pictures and attachments to avoid ending up in the Promotions or Spam folders.
7. Prepare your schedule and email sequence
Once everything is set-up, you can now strategise the sequence and write the content of your emails.
This will take into consideration the goal you set up earlier, your target audience, and the lead magnet you promised to have them sign-up.
Usually, the first email – or welcome letter- should consist of the lead magnet you committed to provide. Thank them for signing up and send the free voucher or guide they are looking for.
After that, decide what comes next and plot the frequency of sending the subsequent emails. Make sure to pace your send outs in such a way that customers’ inbox will not be bombarded by content coming from your business.
Writing a catchy and powerful subject line is also a big advantage. Your headline should make the customer want to open and read your message. It has to be short, direct to the point, and enticing.
Once your email marketing campaign is up and running, it is crucial to monitor the results periodically.
Continue testing what works and what doesn’t, edit the subject lines, headlines, and body if necessary. Businesses usually conduct A/B testing (or split testing) to find out which of two campaign options is more effective in terms of encouraging opens or clicks.
To compete and win in any industry today, your overall digital marketing strategy must be on point. Consumers have developed the habit of searching for options and reviews online before they make a purchase decision.
You have to be where your customers are – this is like being to multiple places at the same time. Email marketing will allow you to effectively target customers and be somewhere they carry and check with them every single day: their email inbox.
This is why among all marketing channels, email has been bringing the most results at a lesser cost. We have helped businesses successfully set-up and run email marketing campaigns. If you need help on getting started for your own business, send us a message and we will be glad to help.