Email marketing is one of the best ways to acquire new leads and customers as well as engage with your existing customers. Your own email list is a valuable resource and something that doesn’t depend on paid advertising or Google’s algorithms. You can launch an email marketing campaign whenever you want and send traffic to your sales pages, website, or anywhere you want. The bigger your list gets, the more profitable it becomes. There’s no question that even with the growth of social media, email is still an extremely popular and effective tool.
Many businesses, however, wonder how to actually get started with this time-tested strategy. Before you focus on the mechanics of your email campaign, it’s important to understand your objectives. You should have a goal and call-to-action with every message you send. Let’s look at some of the goals you might have for your campaigns along with guidelines on how to achieve them.
Find New Customers
Email marketing is a powerful tool for finding new customers and selling more products. You can entice people to join your email list in exchange for information (often in the form of a newsletter or e-book), a coupon, or free sample. Through emails, you can often turn prospects into customers. According to the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), the median ROI for email is 122%, four times higher than any other type of marketing. Here are some ways to grow your list faster and acquire new customers.
- • Build your list efficiently and ethically. You can grow an email list with paid ads, social media, or by using existing contacts as leads. Make sure, however, that you only send emails to people who have opted into your list. Otherwise, you risk spam complaints!
- • Create relevant and compelling offers. Email marketing is more competitive than ever and people need a good reason to join another list. While e-books, reports, and newsletters can be effective hooks, you need to focus on an issue that’s relevant to your audience. Identify a problem and promise them a solution. For example, if your audience wants to lose weight, a “Free e-book on weight loss” is a little too vague. Better is something like “Learn how a mother of four lost 30 pounds in 3 months by exercising only 20 minutes per day.”
- • Promote your offers far and wide. You can promote your lead generating offer using paid ads, social media, your blog, forums, videos, webinars, podcasts, or at offline events such as trade shows.
Create and Enhance Your Relationship With Customers
One of the most valuable functions of an email list is to increase customers’ knowledge of your brand and build loyalty. When you make a sale, this is only one stage in what will, hopefully, be a longstanding relationship with a customer. Email is one of the best ways to do this. Here are some guidelines for doing this more effectively:
- • Send messages consistently. If people don’t hear from you regularly, they’ll forget about you. Find a schedule that works for you and stick to it. You might want to send out a weekly newsletter with a few shorter messages three times per week. Marketing Sherpa reports that 61% of consumers like to receive weekly promotional emails from businesses. Test different times and days to find out when you get the best engagement. The more consistent you are, the better your response will be.
- • Create helpful content. Cover topics that are important to your customers. When you supply your audience with engaging content, you’re establishing yourself as an authority and building relationships. This is valuable even when you’re not directly selling anything.
- • Use a consistent theme. When you send out your newsletter or messages, use a consistent theme or template that helps people recognize your brand. This should match your website, social media pages, and any other channels and platforms where you’re active.
- • Segment your list. If you’re new to email marketing, it’s fine to start with a single list. As your list grows, however, you can engage more effectively by sending the most relevant messages to customers. Email segmentation allows you to separate readers by gender, geography, interests, or past buying behavior. For example, if you sell clothing you can send different emails to people who typically buy men’s or women’s clothes.
- • Increase engagement with transactional emails. Transactional or triggered emails are sent automatically based on some event or a certain consumer action. Examples of this include welcome messages when people join your list or sending emails to people on their birthdays. Another very effective type of triggered email is to alert people when they’ve abandoned their shopping cart.
Track Your Campaigns
If you want to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns, it’s essential to track your results. There are many factors that can increase your effectiveness, such as:
- • Find the best time to send emails. You can Google this and find the results of other people’s studies. However, each business is different so it’s best to test this for yourself.
- • Open rates. If people aren’t even opening your emails, you can’t expect results. Changing subject lines and sending messages at different times can improve open rates.
- • Click-through rates. Your objective is to get people to take action on your emails, which means clicking on your links. Different types of links, images, and landing pages can improve your CTR. Click-through rates vary depending on your industry, but generally you should be seeing around a 3.5% CTR.
- • Conversions. This is even more important than CTR as it measures how many of your recipients actually purchased a product or took whatever action you wanted.
- • Bounce rate. You want to be aware of how many of your emails actually get delivered.
- • Return on Investment (ROI). This tells you how profitable your campaigns are. It’s especially crucial to know your ROI when you’re using paid advertising.
You can conduct email analytics using tools such as Google Analytics or with email marketing services such as MailChimp, AWeber, or Get Response. If you outsource email marketing to an agency, they can handle this on your behalf.
Email Marketing is a Powerful Long-term Strategy
While you can’t see instant results with your email marketing campaigns, it’s really more of a long-term strategy for building your business than a quick fix. The benefits of your efforts will increase over time. The larger your list gets, the more profitable it becomes. Of course, it’s also important to target the right customers to get a better response and ROI. As you gain experience, you’ll be able to improve your campaigns based on analytics and customer feedback. Email marketing has been around for a long time and all the evidence suggests that it will continue to be a viable method for many years to come.
By: Frank DePino
Frank DePino is Principal and Founder of Mediaboom. Since 2002, Frank has led Mediaboom’s award-winning staff of creative and technical professionals building the most effective marketing and advertising solutions for its clients.