The phrase ’email marketing’ may mean different things to different people, but if you’re marketing your business online, it can mean the difference between success and failure.
Put simply, email marketing is the process of taking a list of email addresses (that you get permission from) and sending targeted emails to turn those recipients into paying customers for your business.
While this may sound easy, you need to have a solid working knowledge of the specifics of email marketing to make your email campaigns successful.
(An alternative would be to hire email campaign services to do the job for you, but it still makes sense to understand the basics before taking a step to outsource your marketing.)
Direct email marketing is actually a subset of another type of marketing called direct marketing. This marketing style focuses on engaging a targeted group of readers with a message that helps explain your product or service while encouraging them to buy it.
Email marketing is often done by businesses that have collected emails from customers or potential customers (in other words someone who gives you their email address to hear the latest news about your company).
Marketing to your subscribers over email is one of the most effective ways to growing your business.
For potential customers, you have the opportunity to show them learn more about your business, but also to educate them on the products or services you offer:
Example: As a cleaning company, you might send emails out to a list of your clients and prospective clients that details helpful tips on keeping their home clean on a regular basis.
While some people might choose to use the tips instead of your service, far more of them will consider having you clean their home because you are obviously an expert in the field.
In other words, an email marketing campaign helps you build brand authority.
When you hear the phrase ’email marketing’, it’s very tempting to think of it as spam mail. Anyone with an email address will know exactly what spam is, and you don’t want to be just another junk email in your customer’s inbox.
While many spammers will operate under the guise of running email marketing campaigns, traditional email marketing is at the opposite end of the spectrum when it relates to spam.
Email marketing is a conversation between you and your customers, and it’s your job to provide informative, engaging, and valuable content that they look forward to seeing in their inbox.
Make them smile, make them laugh, whatever you need to do to build up a relationship. It’s worth it.
Now that you know what email marketing is, what it isn’t, and the type of content that you need to include in your emails, let’s explore exactly what you need to do to start marketing with email.
If you’re going to start an email marketing campaign, you need an email address to do it from! There is no need to go crazy setting up your own servers or anything.
If you want an easy solution, then set one up through your hosting account – like BlueHost (if you don’t have one already) and follow the directions on the video below to create your first email address.
Yes, it comes free with your hosting account.
If you have a website and you aren’t getting email addresses, you’re letting money slip right through your fingers.
The most important thing is to begin building your email list by collecting the emails of anyone that you do business with and anyone that visits your website. Even if you don’t do anything with them right away, they are always there for you to market to and build a relationship with later.
To create a simple email opt-in box, use a tool like OptinSkin. It’s a very easy to use plugin for WordPress and after replacing our old email opt-in, we saw our conversion rates go through the roof.
Here are a few examples of how we have used OptinSkin on Startup Savant in the past:
Another great WordPress plugin you can use is HelloBar. By using both of these tools, we’ve seen our opt-in rates drastically improve.
If you have an email list, there is no reason to manually send each email. To save time (and your sanity), invest in an email marketing software package.
These cloud based software applications cost anywhere from a few dollars a month to thousands of dollars a year depending on the size of your email list, but when used correctly they will allow you to make that investment back many times over.
Studies show that for every $1 you spend, you get about a $43 return.
Two email marketing services that we’ve had great experiences with are AWeber and MailChimp. Both are extremely reliable.
However, if you’d like to look at other options, do a search on Google for “email marketing services” and find the right one for you!
There are two aspects of email marketing that you need to understand to be successful. The first is understanding the right content to include in the email, which we’ve covered already.
The second part is knowing how to time your emails.
To understand how often you should send emails, you want to get inside your customer’s head. They probably don’t want to get repetitive emails every day, especially if they don’t know too much about your company.
Email marketing should be done on a relatively infrequent basis, just enough that you stay on your customer’s mind, but not enough that you get annoying. For most businesses, you will want to send out an email blast at least once a month, but no more than once or twice a week. (Unless you’re doing a promotion)
Preparing a number of email messages to your clients ahead of time is important to maintain consistency. While you might be able to get away with writing an email to your clients the night before it’s set to go out, that type of rush work tends to result in lower-quality emails.
Spending the time to write a batch of 5-10 emails every month or two is a much more efficient use of your time, and you will have enough extra time to edit each email to perfection before sending it.
Let’s say that you spent hours putting together your email list, writing your emails, even researching the timing of each one. Doing all of this is good, but only if it gets you results.
To determine whether people are actually reading your emails and taking action, you need to track and optimize relentlessly.
Tracking can take many forms, but there are traditionally a few different things that you will have to do:
Tracking these three metrics at a minimum will give you a good idea of the success of your email campaign. As an example:
Lets say that you are the owner of Company X, and you recently put together a once-weekly email blast to your mailing list of 1,000 potential customers. After the first email, you found that:
What do the above statistics tell you? They tell you that if you send an email out to a mailing list of 1,000 potential clients, 1% of those people will become customers.
While that number seems small, the result was over $100,000 of revenue in the example above.
These may be the metrics that you see initially, but what if you could optimize those numbers? Some ways to do so include:
While you might not be making $100,000 a week from your direct email marketing efforts like the example above, implementing these small steps can have a measurable impact on your business, provided you take the time to test and optimize your emails on a regular basis.
Like we said before, creating an email marketing campaign for your business by no means is an easy task, but when you are able to build relationships with your customers, you’re building something that truly matters – a business that matters. Create a plan and execute it. That’s all you have to do!