A Guided Tour to Successful Email Marketing
These days, just about everything we do is online – from getting daily news, to keeping up with family and friends, to getting the best shopping deals in our area.
Therefore, the internet provides a great way for small businesses to stay connected with more local consumers.
The problem is that many business owners are deeply involved with marketing techniques focused on generating “new” customers… while they totally neglect opportunities to bring back those customers who have already spent money with them.
Did you know that it is eight times more effective to market to your existing customers than it is to generate new ones?
Getting your current customers to spend more money with you is easier (because they’ve already tried your product or service) and less expensive (because you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get them to spend again).
However, you may be wondering exactly what techniques will work best to help you accomplish this goal. This is where the power of Email Marketing comes into play.
Overlooked by millions of businesses around the world, it is one of the most targeted and effective forms of digital marketing available today.
In this report, we will give you a better understanding of what Email Marketing is, tips for building an email list, tips for communicating with your list, mistakes to avoid, and much more…
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing refers to the process of businesses using email as a tool to increase sales and profits by staying in touch with their subscribers (potential customers and existing customers) via email communications. (See, ‘How to Write a Business Email (Updated for 2019))
These communications can include newsletters, valuable tips, special event notifications, new product announcements, discount and sales notifications, and so much more.
By receiving consistent, yet valuable, messages from you, your subscribers are kept in the loop about what is happening with your company at all times. This will help your business remain top of mind when they are in need of your product or service.
Email Marketing is an investment. As with any other marketing and advertising method, it is important to understand that it takes perseverance and dedication to start seeing results. This is not something that can be done overnight and expect an influx of sales the next day.
Email Marketing is a process that involves building a list of targeted subscribers, as well as well as building relationships with them. As a result, you can expect more sales and profits over time as your email audience begins to know and trust your company.
If you go into Email Marketing with the right attitude and with the willingness to keep in constant touch with your customers, you will find that it can deliver a substantial return on your investment and become a major player for boosting your bottom line.
Email Marketing Facts & Statistics
Email marketing is here to stay.
Regardless of the rise in social media, mobile, and other marketing strategies, Email Marketing remains one of the most successful ways for businesses to produce a positive return on investment (ROI); and it is expected to continue to rise in popularity for many years to come.
Here Are Some Interesting Facts You Should Know…
*44% Of Email Marketing Recipients Make Purchases Based On The Email Promo
* Email Conversion Rates Are THREE TIMES Higher Than Social Media
* Email Marketing Returns An Average Of Over $44 for Every $1 Spent
* 91% Of People Check Their Emails At Least Once Per Day
* 82% Of People Open Emails From Brands And Companies
* 72% Of Consumers Sign Up To Email Lists To Get Discounts
* 60% Of Marketers Say Email Marketing Is Producing A ROI
* 4 BILLION Email Accounts Today
* 897 Million Mobile Email Users Worldwide
* 66% Of Emails Are Opened On Mobile Devices
* Emails With Social Sharing Buttons Increase Click-Through Rates By 158%
Overall, marketers have consistently ranked email as the most effective strategy for building awareness, increasing acquisition, boosting conversions, and maintaining loyalty.
Benefits of Email Marketing
Wondering why email has become such a popular tool for generating more leads, sales and profits?
Here’s why Email Marketing is a smart investment that you can use as an asset to grow your business:
You Control and Own Your Email List – Unlike Social Media, you have full control and ownership of your email list. Any social media platform can decide to change the rules, or even shut down completely, without any notice or reason. Therefore, what you build there is ultimately controlled by each platform. However, with email, you own and control the list you build, which means it’s not vulnerable to being taken from you in any way.
Fast and Simple – Millions of people use email every single day, so they fully understand how to open and read your emails. So, it’s not complicated at all on their end.
Worried about how simple it is from your end?
While it’s not 100% “simple” – because there are things you need to learn along the way to get the most out of it – there are all kinds of software and programs available to help you run a successful Email Marketing campaign.
Most of them even have templates you can select from, which saves you the time of creating your own. Simply add your content and send your message out to your subscribers in a matter of seconds. In terms of getting your message in front of your audience as quickly as possible, this beats most other marketing options out there.
Affordable and Cost-Effective – Using email is very affordable and cost-effective; it simply takes the use of an Email Autoresponder system, which is low-cost (or free). Other than that, the only other cost involved is actually having your email content created or campaigns managed by someone else.
If you take into account that ONE marketing campaign in newspaper or a magazine could cost you thousands of dollars, Email Marketing truly is the most affordable option.
Generates New Leads – Building an email list can help you round up the most targeted leads who are actually interested in your product or service. By offering something of value in exchange for your audience’s email addresses, you could eventually build a big list of buyers who look forward to actually doing business with you.
Keeps Existing Customers Loyal – As mentioned earlier, Email Marketing is a great way to keep your existing customers coming back to do repeat business with you. This is extremely valuable due to the fact that it costs so much more to generate new customers than it does to bring back existing customers.
Builds Relationships – Email Marketing provides one of the most personal connections your business can have with your customers and potential customers. Most of them will receive and open your email; ultimately, sending more business your way.
Permission-Based – Email Marketing is permission-based, meaning these people opted-in to your list – giving you the OK to contact them via email going forward. This is one of the main differences in email vs. other types of marketing. With Email Marketing, only those who are truly interested in your services and products will receive the emails and newsletters you send out, increasing the chance of them making future purchases from you.
Produces Sales On-Demand – Email can help send more foot traffic through your doors almost immediately depending on the nature of your business. Having a HOT sale on one of your most popular products?
Send an enticing, time-limited email notification and watch as your subscribers come in to redeem your offer.
Builds Brand Awareness – Just seeing your brand’s name in an email builds awareness for your company. Even if a person decides not to buy anything from you, seeing your company’s name over and over will increase the chance of them buying something in the future.
Increases Profits and ROI – Because of the fact that Email Marketing is so affordable, you can increase profits and ROI much faster than most other marketing methods being used today. Many of them are hit-and-miss, but many consumers today actually make purchases consistently due to marketing emails they receive from businesses.
Easy to Track and Monitor Results – Most email marketing systems contain tools and features that help you run detailed analytics on your campaigns. Unlike other marketing and advertising methods, you can actually check to see how many people viewed your message, the specific actions they took while viewing the messages, and so much more. All of this will give you the insights you need to improve your campaigns going forward.
As you can see, there are many different benefits to adding email to your marketing mix. However, you may be wondering how to get everything set up and ready to go so you can start building your own email list and advantage of this evergreen marketing method…
Choosing an Email Autoresponder System
To get started with Email Marketing, the first thing you need is an email autoresponder system so you can send out, track, and manage your emails.
The term “autoresponder” comes from the fact that you can actually set up some of your messages in advance to go out automatically at a later date… instead of sending them out via broadcast style.
For instance, you can set up an autoresponder series that follows-up with each subscriber as they are added to your list. This way, everyone will receive the same series of messages as they are added to your list – no matter WHEN they are added.
A broadcast message is an email that is sent manually and does not include any additional automatic follow-up emails.
However, whether you choose to use follow-up messages, broadcast messages, or both, there are several different email software systems available for you to use:
MailChimp is probably one of the most popular email services available today. One of the best things about this service is that it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month. If you want more features and the ability to send more emails to more subscribers, then you can choose a monthly plan that fits your needs. You can also choose to pay as you go, paying every time you send an email.
iContact is another great email service that you can rely on. There is a free trial, and after that, you can choose the best plan to fit your needs starting at $10 per month and it goes up from there. One of the best things about iContact is that you can send information to different demographics without having to create entire new lists.
Constant Contact is also a nice option to consider when it comes to finding an email system. They offer a free 60 day trial and after that, you can choose the best package for you starting as low as $15 a month.
Last, but definitely not least, Aweber is another powerful email marketing system. They offer a $1 free trial to let you get a feel for the platform and after that, your pricing depends on the number of subscribers; starting at $19 per month. One key difference between Aweber and the other email software is that you cannot import lists. Instead, everyone on your list must personally opt-in to be added to your database.
GetResponse is another popular email system – they offer a 30 day free trial. After that, you can choose a plan starting with 1,000 subscribers for $15 per month and go from there.
Once you’ve reviewed your choices, make the decision that works best for your business needs and goals. Regardless of the email system you choose, you can expect to receive many different tools and features inside of them to help you build, nurture, and perfect your Email Marketing efforts.
Ideas for Building Your Email List
The first, and most important, thing you need to do to start an Email Marketing campaign is to build an email list. There are many different ways to go about this. The key is making sure you focus on getting subscribers who have shown an interest in your type of product or service.
Give Away a Free Book/Report: This is an excellent way to improve lead generation and conversion. Everyone likes to feel they received extra value in any communication with a company. Tell email list subscribers they will receive one of your most helpful reports filled with tips (related to your industry, business, product, or service) in exchange for entering their email address in your opt-in. Only ask for limited information (such as name and email address) as studies show that the more information you ask for, the fewer subscribers you will receive.
Offer a Free Course/E-Course: Most people like to learn; especially when it’s something that helps them deal with an issue, problem, or concern. When the price is a free e-course, most are likely to jump on it if it provides the type of information they want. Once a subscriber signs up for your e-course, you can have the content set up via your autoresponder system to automatically deliver each day, week, or however often you want them to receive it.
Start an E-Club: Consumers love belonging to clubs; especially ones that help them save money. Offer special perks to your e-club subscribers to add excitement to your marketing messages, such as discounts that are available to club members only.
Rewards and Loyalty Clubs are perfect for showing your customers how much you appreciate them. By offering points they can use towards future purchases at discounted rates is always a hit. Determine rewards amounts by calculating a customer’s total monthly order or using some other measurement as deemed appropriate by your management. Be sure to explain when rewards expire, if applicable.
Another twist that you can put on this is to turn your email list into a personalized celebration by offering club members special perks on their birthdays.
In fact, you can celebrate all types of anniversaries and milestones to make your customers feel special and set yourself apart from the competition.
Start a Newsletter: Newsletters are extremely effective in keeping your audience informed about company happenings, industry developments, community events, special offers, and other pertinent information that your company wants to put out there.
If you plan to delegate this task, assign the writing duties to someone with excellent creativity and writing skills; more importantly, someone who knows how to weave in the marketing and sales components that actually move people to take further action.
Be sure to use a software program that makes formatting your newsletter simple so you can follow through with consistency. Choose a catchy title, include your company logo, and use a consistent font throughout the newsletter.
Use Video Marketing: This powerful marketing tool is growing rapidly; in fact, there are now more than 1 BILLION users and millions of hours of videos are watched there every single day. Consider making a stimulating, informative, and engaging YouTube video to send more targeted visitors to your opt-in pages and forms. Make sure you include strategic local keyword terms in your video title and description to enhance overall response rates.
Use Social Media: Everyone loves Social Media; your existing customers are there, your potential customers are there, and your competitors are there. Hopefully, you’re using Social Media as a tool to generate more revenue as well. If so, this is the perfect place to build your email list.
Simply send your fans and followers to your email list-building funnels (opt-in forms and pages) from time to time. You can even incorporate opt-in forms directly into certain social media sites so they can opt-in without even leaving your page.
Point of Sale: Real-life customers standing at your checkout counter are the perfect market for promoting your email list. Simply explain your email list to customers and ask if they would like to join. Explain there is no cost and that addresses will not be shared with anyone. Be sure to mention the benefits they will receive.
Use Word-of-Mouth: Even digital marketing experts will tell you that the best form of advertising is good old word-of-mouth. Encourage your existing email subscribers to share your opt-in pages with others via social media and other means. Include viral sharing buttons in each of your email messages to make it easy for them to do so.
QR Codes: We live in a society where everyone has some type of mobile device within reach day and night. Use this to your advantage by using QR codes to send mobile device users to your email opt-in pages and forms (your opt-in pages must be mobile-friendly in order for this method to work).
Direct Mail: Even in this digital age, direct mail still plays an important role in gaining new customers and reactivating inactive customers. Develop a powerful direct mail campaign that allows your audience a chance to receive a coupon or gift by going online to opt-in to your email list.
Live Networking Events: Live networking events are the perfect way to meet a large number of people in a short time period. Optimize your presence at these events by collecting email addresses in exchange for giving away something of value for free like initial consultations, 10-minute massages (if a massage therapy firm), or free appetizers.
As in any case, make the freebie tie into your company’s products or services to enhance the overall value.
As you can see, offering something of value in exchange for your target audience’s email addresses is the key to building a highly-targeted list that you can profit from for years to come.
Tips for Communicating with Your Email List
Once you have your first email subscriber, it’s time to start your email campaign; don’t wait weeks or months after getting your first subscriber before you send an email. It’s important that you start building that relationship from the time each and every subscriber joins your list.
However, it’s critical that you approach this the right way. For starters, you should know that the most important components of any marketing email are the subject line, body, and call-to-action.
The Subject Line
Your emails won’t do anything to grow your business if your audience doesn’t read them. Some studies have shown that 33% of people open an email based on the subject line alone. Knowing this basic fact can help you develop effective email marketing messages that get opened and read by your subscribers.
- Keep Your Subject Line Brief (shorter ones tend to get more opens)
- Make Your Subject Line Specific (give them an idea about the email is about – include something to show value)
- Include Urgency (only when needed, such as special offers)
- A good subject line for a shoe store would be something like:
“Save 20% on All Boots This Weekend Only”
However, experiment to see what works best for your business; identify your best-performing subject lines and keep going with that format going whenever possible.
First, be sure to identify yourself or your business in the body of your email so your subscribers know exactly who you are. Otherwise, you could risk some of them unsubscribing simply due to the fact that they’re asking themselves “who is this?” Using your company logo and/or a signature in each email is a great way to overcome this barrier.
Also, make your emails as personal as possible. Use words like “you” and “your” to make each reader feel like the message was written specifically to them personally. This way, you can establish a trusting connection that makes people feel more comfortable making a purchase from you.
Lastly, always focus on the “benefits” of your product or service and not the “features.” Let your subscribers know that you understand their problems, wants, and needs… and then let them know how your product or service can fulfill them.
The goal of nearly every marketing email is to get readers to take some form of additional action after reading the message. However, many businesses make the mistake of not telling their email subscribers what they want them to do next. As a result, many people simply click out of the email and move on with their day without taking further action.
Studies have shown that calls-to-action that include actionable verbs are extremely effective in moving people further along in your sales funnel. For instance, if you want your subscribers to visit your website to read more about a topic, tell them to do that at the end of your email. Want them to visit your store? Tell them to do that too.
Make sure that your calls-to-action are short, clear, and simple to follow; use links and buttons to make them easier to spot.
What type of content to send?
Now that you understand the BIG 3 most important components of an effective marketing email, you may be wondering what type of content to send to your subscribers.
The possibilities here are truly endless. However, here are some things that will help get your creative juices flowing:
Offer Coupons and Discounts: One of the most popular reasons consumers subscribe to company email lists is to save money on their products and services. And… one of the top reasons businesses even build an email list is to generate more sales. So quite naturally, you should offer your subscribers exclusive money-saving deals.
Just be careful not to over-do it. Most of your emails should be geared around providing helpful content vs. direct selling.
Offer Tips and Advice: You probably have an on-going list of commonly asked questions received from your customers. These questions and answers could be a part of your Email Marketing campaign.
Offering tips and advice on specific topics related to your area of expertise is a great way to build authority level in the eyes of your subscribers. Whether it’s helpful information on how to use one of your products, or valuable tips for helping your audience overcome a common pain or problem, your email subscribers will be thankful.
Celebrate Milestones in Your Company: Customers love hearing about business success. Offer them the opportunity to share in the success of your company and feel like they play a major role in it.
Consider offering discounts or specials during specific a time that aligns with specific company milestones. Provide background information about the milestone as well as why it is important to the company. It may help to mention that this milestone could not be achieved without the support of your customers!
Announce Company Events: Email is the perfect way to spread news about company events, which can captivate your audience. Use a powerful subject line to increase interest and draw attention to your message. This works well for upcoming speaking engagements, live performances, fundraisers, sponsorships, or open houses. Send out your email in advance to allow to proper planning.
Introduce New Staff: Email newsletters are perfect avenues for introducing your subscribers to new staff members. Provide them with some information about the employee to become better acquainted.
Explain that the new hire is eager to meet and assist customers in a friendly and professional manner. Include a picture to enhance the personalization factor.
Make Product Recommendations: Known as “affiliate marketing” in the internet marketing world, you can recommend products or services that compliment your own existing products or services. Making product recommendations is a good way to build credibility and show that you’re well-connected to the best of the best. Emphasize how your products or services are the perfect match for enhancing the overall value of another company’s product or service. (Obviously, you may want to avoid recommending your direct competitors’ products and services).
Share Testimonials: Customers love to read how other people feel about your business; this helps them decide whether or not to make a purchase from you. Proudly share some glowing testimonials in your email newsletters to add credibility, trust, and confidence. Be sure to ask the testimony writer for permission to share the content. Include their first name and last initial and put the testimonial into quotes.
Share Social Media Posts: Show your technological and digital “know-how” by including social media posts within the email. Studies show that customers trust companies that effectively utilize social media. Use this to your advantage by sharing information you’ve posted on social media. Be sure to include links to your social media sites and tell your email subscribers to follow you there. Not only that, also ask them to share your post with others.
Share Blog Posts: Blog posts are great for displaying your company’s expertise in your area. Be consistent with your posts and discuss topics in easy-to-understand terms that keep your audience coming back for more.
Whenever you create a new blog post, share it with your email subscribers.
Celebrate the Seasons (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter): Seasonal celebrations are for everyone.
Depending on your type of business, emailing your list at the start of every changing season could spark more interest in your products or services.
For instance, Spring is the perfect time for landscapers to celebrate the season with tips, advice, and discounts. Winter brings on colder temperatures, requiring heavier clothing. So a clothing store could offer tips for dressing warmer, as well as discounts on some of their most popular coats, hats, and gloves.
Celebrate Holidays: People are continually looking for ways to celebrate all types of holidays. Offering specials to email subscribers only is the ideal way to show appreciation, increase loyalty, and enhance customer satisfaction. Choose holiday-appropriate products or services to promote the celebration.
Conduct Surveys and Ask for Feedback: Surveys are popular marketing tools that companies use to gather customer information in a friendly and convenient manner. You could develop an email survey that is user-friendly and subject-appropriate. You could entice participants by offering a free incentive upon survey completion.
Email Marketing Mistakes to Avoid
With Email Marketing, there are a number of issues that may arise and cause your campaigns to fail. In order to have the most effective and profitable results, there are some mistakes you should avoid. Many businesses have built large, promising email lists only to see them go to waste because they didn’t take the proper measures to be successful.
Here are some common Email Marketing mistakes you should avoid:
Too Many Emails: People do not want to be bombarded several times per day with emails from a single business. This overload of information from a single source can cause people to unsubscribe, so keep the emails you send at a reasonable level. Many businesses tend to stick to one or two per week unless there is something special going on that may be cause for more.
Also, it is critical that you make sure that you are CAN-Spam compliant with every email. You can read more about it here:
Not Enough Emails: In order to keep people interested in your business, you have to stay in touch. Sending an email every few months is not enough to build meaningful relationships and remain top of mind of your subscribers. Therefore, send an email at least once per week so you can remain an important source for your subscribers.
Making Every Email a Hard Sell: It is fine to send advertising emails every once in a while, but it can be dangerous to do it all the time. People who subscribe to email lists want great offers but they also want useful information. Give them tips and guidance on whatever subject relates to your business. Make your newsletter an essential part of their week.
Not Re-purposing Content: Save time and money by using the same content you post on your website, blog, or social media in your emails – and vice versa. Chances are that your email subscribers are not following your content anywhere else on the web, so use this to your advantage.
Unprofessional Tone: Always be professional in your emails; this does not mean you cannot also be friendly, but maintain the professional tone. It is also recommended that you keep your personal views out of your business email messages. Otherwise, you run the risk of losing subscribers who many not agree with your views.
No Way to Unsubscribe: Nothing is as frustrating as receiving emails you do not want to read. As a business owner, you also do not want to send emails to people who are not interested in reading them. So to make it a win-win for all parties involved, always make it easy for people to unsubscribe. This is as simple as making sure there is an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email, which many email systems provide automatically.
Not Proof-Reading Your Emails: It is extremely important to check every email for typos, spelling, and grammar mistakes. Once every now and then, a mistake can be expected, but if it’s a consistent thing, you lose credibility with your subscribers.
Not Testing Your Emails: Always be sure to test your emails before sending them to your subscribers. In fact, it’s best to test it by sending it to various accounts set up for different email clients, such as Gmail, Yahoo, Comcast, etc. Also check to make sure that all links in your email are working properly. If your emails do not open correctly or if the links do not work, many subscribers may be less likely to open your emails in the future.
Not Segmenting Your List: In many cases, it will be beneficial for you to reach some of your customers, instead of emailing all of them. For instance, if you may have a new product or service that is only relevant to a portion of your list; which means you only want to email them about it. This is possible if you segment your list based on specific customer behavior and preferences. As a result, you can increase your overall revenue potential.
Stop Building a List: Once they have a nice amount of subscribers, many business owners discontinue their list-building efforts for some reason. Don’t do that. Many of your current subscribers could unsubscribe or stop opening your emails. So you should always have a system in place that is working to get fresh subscribers who are interested in what you have to offer.
Not Being Mobile-Friendly: Millions of people open and read email on their mobile devices today. This means that your emails should be tested prior to sending them out to make sure they are compatible with mobile devices. You should offer the option of HTML text-based emails without any images, as well, since images could be a problem on mobile. You should also make sure that your subject line and email body are short enough and formatted properly for mobile viewing.
Not Tracking or Monitoring Success: As mentioned earlier, most email systems contain handy tools to help you monitor and track your email campaigns. However, many businesses fail to utilize these tools to their advantage and simply ignore the data all together. This is a missed opportunity to improve their overall strategies for better results.
Getting Started Checklist
As you can see, there’s a lot that goes into a streamlined Email Marketing campaign that delivers results. If you are ready to get started down a path that has the potential to exponentially increase your bottom line, take these simple steps to get started:
* Choose an Email Software
* Set Up Your Email Opt-In Funnel to Build Your List
* Prepare Your Content
* Start Emailing
Turning to Email Marketing can be the best thing you do for your local business. It will garner customer attention and spread the word about what you have to offer people in the area.
If you are still unsure as to whether you can do this all yourself, we can help. We are experts and can guide you directly to Email Marketing success.