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Email Marketing 101: Where to Start

The question we’re answering today is whether email marketing is still relevant. We live in a time when people are talking about social media advertising, marketing automation, and Artificial Intelligence chat boxes… but email marketing is still one of the most effective things you can do to grow your business and support your customers.  In fact, according to DMA (2019), for every $1 you spend on email marketing you’ll get a return of $42; and Smart Insights (another big data company) found that even now, email Marketing out performs social media marketing, SEO, Social Pay Per Click (PPC), and content marketing.  

That doesn’t mean you should ignore these other avenues because each of these media avenues have their own role to play in the success of your business.  It seems that marketing strategists regularly come out with an article proclaiming that “Email marketing is dead,” but even after 30 years email marketing is still extremely successful and one of the most useful tools you can add to your arsonal of marketing strategies.  

The following are specific tactics you can use when launching your email marketing campaigns:

How do you know that email marketing is the right fit for you?

If you’re just starting your business and you’re looking at all the strategies available to you (like social media marketing, SEO, etc.) and deciding what to spend your time on… remember our marketing funnel: building awareness, building connections and then conversion into a customer.  Email marketing falls somewhere in the middle.  

Social media and SEO can be great for finding strangers and making them trusted connections.  But email marketing takes those people who are somewhat familiar with your brand and walks them through the process of becoming your customers.  One of the biggest areas people fail is in successfully bringing people to their website, but forgetting that people need to be wooed and gently brought along through your email campaigns until they’re ready to buy.

Email marketing is typically the first place to begin in the connection point of the funnel.  Building a relationship with customers can be done several ways, but we recommend building up your email list and creating a really effective email campaign before doing some of these more deep-dive selling techniques.

How do I build my email list?

Building connections is really important and while there are avenues  from which you can purchase an email list within your industry, that tactic tends to backfire.  First, your rate of return is extremely low.  Second, people tend to change their email addresses frequently, so you could be wasting your money on dead addresses.  And third, your email domain would be marked as spam over a little bit of time because the number of people reporting it as such would be higher, considering they didn’t sign up for your content voluntarily.  There is a much better way to a list of emails rather than purchasing them, so let’s explore those ways instead.

Host a virtual event

You can create a gathering on Zoom and pull in relevant friends and colleagues with something to offer your audience within the industry.  Using the tools available in order to reach people for an event is a smart way to collect email addresses for those who are actually interested in what you’re offering.

Simple Newsletter promotion

 There are certain types of consumers who are interested in signing up for a regular newsletter with valuable content. Tricking people into giving their email isn’t as effective as just providing a powerful and truly helpful email newsletter with tips or coupons referring back to your company.

Blog calls-to-action

If you’re putting out regular content either on your blog or podcast, make sure you have a clear call to action either in the middle or at the end of each post which will make them aware of your newsletter and tell them how they can sign up.  If you don’t use those things to build up your email list for email marketing, you’re wasting a huge opportunity.

Sign up customers

A significant number of people grow their businesses and are successfully bringing in customers but neglecting to add them to their email list. At the very least, you should ask their permission and ask if they are interested in your newsletter of updates and if you’re creating really useful content, this could be a very effective way to make a loyal customer who would pass your name around to others and be a repeat customer.

Lead magnets

Leave a lead magnet on your website.  We’ve talked about this one so much already, so check out the blog post about lead magnets to learn how! 

What platforms should I use for email campaigns?

On our Ten Free Services blog post we talked about several tools that will help a new, small business gain traction.  We talked about MailChimp, a free mail service for up to 2,000 subscribers with analytics showing how many people opened/read your email.  In studies over the past several years, MailChimp has the highest mail deliverability rate. In 2 minutes, you could launch one of these list building tactics and begin adding your emails into MailChimp and send out your newsletters on a regular basis to start building those relationships with your potential customers.  It’s a powerful tool you shouldn’t pass up!

What do I actually put in my emails?

There are a lot of different things you can put in your newsletters: service tips, educational, bonus content, etc. There are a few we can highlight to stir up your creativity.

Curated List

The Moz Top Ten is a great example of how one can create a valuable list for people who are interested in a particular topic of content.  All Moz does is collect articles from different people throughout the week and curate them into a list with a one-sentence summary.  If you don’t have time to write a lengthy article or email, providing them with other trusted sources and compiling useful and interesting articles (that you’re already reading anyway) in one spot with a brief summary could be an easy way for you to begin building trust with your audience.

Daily or Weekly Roundup

The Morning Brew has a whole business completely geared around email.  They basically take a bunch of news sources and write a quick summary of what’s going on around the world.  Unlike Moz, where they’re putting links to articles, The Morning Brew is writing more of a summary about each noteworthy item.  Depending on your industry, you could gather information your audience “needs to know” and write a weekly roundup so they have a grasp on the trends.

Written Letter

Ann Handley is a great example of someone who has created content that appeals to an audience because of her conversational tone and lack of technicality in presenting information.  If you have a brand that is more personal because your work allows a closer relationship with your customers, this style of email may work better for you.

With email marketing, it’s important to do whatever style with which you feel most comfortable and what you feel you can best accomplish based on your skills.  This is about you and your personality. Your brand needs to fit into that, so find a way to integrate them to work for you and your industry. You can even test them out and see what your audience responds to the most.  The important thing is to just do it!

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