by Alejandra Zilak, business2community.com
When it comes to marketing your business, it’s good to get creative. You redesign your website, come up with great social media posts, go to industry networking events, and all that jazz.
And maybe you have a newsletter, or touch base with your contacts via email every now and then. But what about crafting an email marketing strategy?
It turns out, doing so comes with many benefits — both to promote new goods and services, and to build long-term relationships with your leads and customers. Let’s take a closer look at how to do it effectively.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing provides you with a way to communicate directly with your target audience. But these messages do a lot more than announce your existence and what you’re selling.
This type of marketing is ideal for many reasons. You can accomplish the following:
These benefits of email marketing are discussed in further detail below. And the added bonus is that these communications are reaching your audience’s inboxes because they voluntarily sign up to be a part of your contacts list.
This is crucial, since it’s a significant advantage to the type of advertising that causes users to immediately click on the skip button.
Granted, subscribers can also delete without reading or unsubscribe from your list. This is why it’s essential to be strategic about how to do it.
Numbers don’t lie. So while I could wax poetic all day about the myriad reasons why email marketing work, the proof is in the stats:
9 Benefits of Email Marketing
Ok. So let’s take a closer look at some of those email marketing benefits listed above.
It’s Cost Effective.
Traditional marketing is expensive — TV and radio commercials, billboards, magazine ads. On the other hand, email marketing can yield a greater ROI, depending on the size of your campaign, the platform you’re using, and how often you’re sending out communications.
And regardless of all of those circumstances, a well-crafted campaign will increase your conversion rate.
It’s Easy to Use.
Marketing software like HubSpot and Mailchimp make it easier than ever to create marketing emails. You can select templates, design it with drag-and-drop functionalities (no coding knowledge needed), and include customized calls to action.
Unlike cookie-cutter ads that look the same to everyone, email marketing can be personalized to be relevant to a reader’s category.
For example, you can set each message to greet them by their name. You can suggest readings, goods, and services based on their previous purchases. You can welcome new customers, and follow up with those who have left items in their carts.
It Can Be Automated.
Once you develop a plan regarding which contacts receive which emails, you can set your email marketing software to deploy messages upon specific triggering behaviors — such as signing up for your newsletter, subscribing to your blog, enrolling in a webinar, scheduling a call, or making a purchase.
It’s effective and efficient, since it enables your marketing team to focus their efforts on other tasks instead of keeping track of everything.
You Keep Your Target Audience Engaged.
Any time you send video, audio, enable comments in blogs, promote your social media posts, or create surveys, or quizzes, you’re getting your audience to engage in a two-way conversation with you.
You Keep Your Target Audience Informed.
Email is the easiest and most efficient way to communicate with your audience about anything relating to your business — new hours of operation, holiday events, a larger inventory, new services, new location, coupons, offers, etc.
While you can do the same with social media posts, sending these communications directly to their inbox ensures that they eventually see them.
It Increases Brand Recognition.
When readers regularly see your name and communications, you remain top of mind. This creates brand recognition — their ability to immediately identify your brand without even having to hear your name.
For example, they will see your logo, brand colors, or catchphrase.
They Read Them When They Choose To Do So.
One of the things that made telemarketers become the most annoying beings on the planet is the fact that they often call at the wrong time — when you’re at work, or having dinner, or performing your favorite song in your car when that dreaded call disrupts your bluetooth connection to Spotify.
On the other hand, people check their emails when they have time to do so. If they’re short on time or energy, they can leave them unread until a later time when they can give you their full attention.
You Can Measure Progress.
Email marketing allows you to track instrumental metrics, such as open rates, click-through rates, soft and hard bounce rates, and unsubscribe rates. This provides insights into what’s working and what could be modified.
For example, a low open rate means you need to work on those subject lines. A low click-through rate means you should try different calls to action. A high unsubscribe list could mean you’re emailing too often or not providing enough value.
How Email Marketing Can Help Grow Your Business
All of the benefits listed above add up to your ultimate goal: to grow your business. And it’s not always about immediately making a purchase. Enjoying scalability and longevity comes from the following elements: Build Relationships With Leads and Customers.
When your audience regularly receives communications with you — and when those messages are personalized — you’re laying the foundation to actually develop relationships with them.
A birthday discount code, a reminder that it’s time for their next dental cleaning, recommended items based on their preferences all make them feel like, on some level, you’ve taken the time to know them.
Creating educational content and sharing it regularly builds credibility. People come to see you as someone who really knows their craft and related nuances.
This is especially true when you’re including inbound marketing elements into your emails — such as blogs, infographics, and video series. Bonus points when people start sharing this content and you start getting backlinks citing you as their sources.
Stay Top of Mind.
Large companies that have become household names — such as Apple, Disney, and Amazon — don’t have to do much for people to think about them whenever they need what these entities offer.
However, smaller businesses do have to send steady reminders that you’re ready, willing, and able to help them overcome whatever challenges you can resolve. And this includes communicating with them consistently.
Promote New Products and Services.
Any time you create or upgrade a product, or start offering new services, you get to shout it from proverbial rooftops with automated emails.
And you can include all related information in an easy to consume format: launch date, a bulleted list of benefits, price points, additional features. You can make them even more helpful by including videos showcasing how to use them.
Increase Customer Loyalty.
Since marketing emails provide value consistently — through educational content, discount codes, and highlighting the benefits you provide — they incentivize your audience to continue to purchase from you.
You can increase the likelihood of this occurring by also offering loyalty and referral programs and promoting them through your emails.
Generate Website Traffic.
Ok. There’s a big if with this one. To get more website traffic, your emails have to be (a) interesting, (b) scannable, (c) provide value, (d) be personalized, and (e) optimized for mobile devices.
Yes, that’s a lot of requirements, and you better get them right if you want to avoid wasting time and money. And hey, try to be funny if your brand voice allows it.
Re-Engage Former Customers.
Give your customers reasons to engage with you again. Send them some of those We Miss You! Emails with a discount code. Send them product recommendations based on their needs and interests. Ask them questions.
Inquire about how to provide more value, or what they’d like to see next from your company. Straight out ask if they’d like to remain in your contacts list. Send them abandoned cart reminders with images of the products and an offer for free shipping.
How to Get Started With Email Marketing
Alright. So how can you get started with your email marketing campaigns? So glad you asked!
Choose a Service Provider.
You want to choose a provider that makes life easier for you. This means being user-friendly, offering features such as contacts segmentation, templates, workflow automation, and integrating with the tech stack you’re already using.
Other factors to keep in mind are contact limits and scaling capabilities.
Offer an Incentive to Join Your Email List.
Everyone loves discounts and free stuff. So offer them in exchange for your audience’s email address.
It can be samples, buy one/get one free promos, a free product, templates, how to guides, an ebook. Anything that provides value to them.
Nourish Your Leads.
People aren’t always ready to buy. In fact, if they’re at the top of the funnel, they may just be looking for general educational information while they research their options.
So give them what they want. Send them helpful tips and tricks to do whatever it is you solve, checklists, comparison charts, case studies, or simple happy birthday/happy anniversary messages.
There isn’t a one-size-fits all solution. Some people need one specific product or service you provide. Some contacts are first-time website visitors, while others are repeat customers.
Each of them has different requirements, so using personalized, dynamic content is more likely to keep them engaged.
Types of Content To Send Through Email Marketing
Now, let’s go over some of the types of messages you can incorporate into your email marketing campaigns. Keep in mind your brand voice and buyer persona when deciding which ones are right for you:
You want each of your newsletters to have the same layout, so that readers always know where to go to find the information they’re looking for. As to what to include, anything that’s relevant to your business — that also adds value to your audience.
For example, company news, which may include new hires, recent and upcoming events, sales, testimonials, snippets of case studies, infographics, customer question/review of the week, and maybe even trivia to keep them entertained.
Include information about product launches, early bird pricing, limited-time offers, flash sales, additional benefits for subscribers or customers in your loyalty program, giveaways, restocked items, holiday campaigns, rewards programs, and anything else out of the ordinary that may create FOMO.
It’s great to keep readers informed about what you’re celebrating in-house (such as a business opening anniversary, company expansion, and industry recognition).
However, you also want to nourish your leads and customers by celebrating them. Send them birthday messages (with discount codes, if you can), achieving milestones, and anything else that may make them feel appreciated.
While top of the funnel leads are still in their research stage (and you should certainly provide them with related content), you also want to craft messages for each stage of the buyer’s journey.
Even people who’ve already bought your products may not be aware of all the features, or of available updates. You also can make things as easy as possible for them by incorporating tutorials, guides, step-by-step instructions, and/or a knowledge base.
Reap the Benefits of Email Marketing
So there you have it. We’ve come a long way from the America Online days, but email is still a gift that keeps on giving.
Make sure you have a great email marketing tool at your disposal, develop a sustainable and targeted strategy, and make reporting easy. Stay agile by evolving your strategy using your analytics, and you’re bound to close more customers.