Email marketing is a highly effective digital marketing strategy of sending emails to prospects and customers. Effective marketing emails convert prospects into customers and turn one-time buyers into loyal, raving fans.
With the huge buzz around social media and its numerous platforms, I’ll forgive you if you overlook and underrate the power of email marketing. Email marketing still remains the most potent way of ensuring you are able to reach your customers directly.
It also ensures you have a unique opportunity to lead your potential customers through a lead management process that takes them on a journey from a simply interested person to someone who not only does business with you, but willingly share their experience with others.
WHY DOES EMAIL MARKETING ROCK?
By the numbers
Apart from the fact that there are more people with emails than Facebook and Twitter users combined, there are more statistics that should interest you. In an exact target’s 2014 State of marketing report, 68% of digital marketing professionals surveyed said that emails are core to their business.
While 46% said that social media is core to their business. In similar research by the exact target in 2012 in which they did a channel preference survey, 77% of the respondent say they prefer emails as a channel to receive permission-based marketing communication.
Most people won’t buy the first time they hear about your new product or service. According to a research report by Marketing Sherpa, 70% of your leads will end up buying something from you or one of your competitors, but they won’t do it immediately.
It is therefore important to keep your relationship warm and cordial in order to stay top-of-mind until the prospective customer is ready to make a purchase.
Compared to other forms of direct marketing, email marketing gives you value for your money and down to the minute Naira.
Especially when today’s connected consumer has perfected the art of dodging leaflets, cold calls, robo-calls, and field marketers, email marketing has amazing benefit as far as being cost effective.
A direct marketing campaign can run you thousands of dollars for one printed newsletter, whereas email marketing costs nowhere near that much.
Plus, email marketing is targeted which means you can contact only the customers you know are interested in what you have to say, and build loyalty by providing useful, relevant information in every email you send out.
EMAIL MEANS BUSINESS
Most entrepreneurs and business professionals will quickly admit they have never been comfortable carrying out a meaningful and valuable business conversation on social media. When people are on social media, they want to interact with friends and meet new people.
That requires a different mindset from someone shopping. Do you remember how you felt when some sent you a business proposition on social media? In fact, most of those conversations end up moving out of social media into the comfort of the email inbox.
When it comes to building business relationships with a prospective customer, email wins by miles.
So how do you get Started with email marketing?
A STEP BY STEP GUIDE ON GETTING STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING
1.Choose Your Email Marketing Service Provider (EMSP)
Just as your business online needs to begin by having a website, your email marketing efforts will require that you create and set up an email marketing platform.
Why not bulk-send your emails? It may only require you to buy a virtual server, set up a mail server and shoot emails? Sending your email by using normal emails is not ineffective; it may also harm your website.
. There’s a limit to the amount of emails you can send at once
. You can be treated as spam
. It is completely unprofessional
. The servers hosting your email service can be blacklisted
You therefore need an email marketing service providers (EMSPs).
Email marketing service providers were designed to provide an easy way to customize and set up a mass email delivery system, with standardized practices that ensures email deliverability with in-built capacity for auto-responding emails, emails scheduling and personalized messaging.
Here are some of the great ones in the market:
. Pardot/Exact target
. Benchmark Email
. Constant contact
. Vertical Response
. Mad mimi
2. Create & Add Email Sign-up Forms to Your Website
Once you have chosen your email marketing service provider, you need to add the email signup forms to your website or online platforms e.g. Facebook.
This ensures people who visit your websites are encouraged to sign up their email address and to opt-in to receive updates.
You can include call to action messages and buttons on your website.
You can have a designer or developer to design subscription boxes and to place it in conspicuous locations on your website, you can see mine on my welcome page and blog page. These subscription boxes are directly fed into your email marketing provider so as to easily capture and track subscribers.
You can also include sign up forms on your high traffic web pages. This is because if people find highly valuable content on your website, they are likely to want to sign up.
3.Generate Content for Your Email/ Auto-Res-ponder
One of the most powerful tools that make email marketing service providers awesome is the power and inclusive feature of auto-responders.
An auto-responder is a powerful email marketing feature that allows sending a series of scheduled follow-up emails to your subscribers and website visitors based on specific activities you set within the software.
The key to succeeding using auto-responders is to create a lead magnet. People won’t just fall for your ‘subscribe to updates’ on your website, you will need to deliver something powerful enough for them to surrender their emails for your information and updates.
A lead magnet is something; an eBook, a report, e-course or newsletter that delivers enough value strong enough to attract your target audience.
So how do you create an email marketing content that works? Pick a piece of paper and write down the three major challenges your target audience is likely facing presently. Identify the most pressing and decide how you are going to solve the problem.
Create numbered steps to solving the problem may 4,5,6 steps. Write them out into short but separate and elaborate blog posts. Develop an introduction and closing portion of the course.
Viola, you have created a six-sequence email you can send to your target market always. Once this is set up, every time anyone signs up irrespective of time, a location they receive these emails based on a schedule earlier set up by you.
Once you have decided on how often you will be communicating with your list, you can create a content calendar.
Don’t turn people off by only trying to sell your products or service; offer helpful tips, hints, views, and reviews. Once you do that, you build credibility and trust. Digital selling involves building credibility before selling products and not vice-versa.
4.Seek Opportunities to Build Your List
Creating sign up forms on your website may be great but it is also important to look for list-building opportunities and give people a compelling reason to opt-in.
People will not just give you their emails, especially when you opt for the common ‘sign-up for updates.
A lead magnet is a powerful technique of offering something of value in exchange for their emails. This thinking is that once you have something of value to offer, people will willingly offer you their emails.
Guest blogging is a powerful tactic for building your email list. The idea is to look for a website that accepts guest article, podcasts, tips and opinions and share a powerful perspective.
Most of those websites allow, in exchange for your article, links back to your website, landing page and any other channel you are offering.
One of the most powerful techniques is to use free eBooks, e-courses, and newsletters as a lead magnet.
5. Tracking, Analytics & Terms
You need to keep your eyes on the numbers if you are interested in succeeding with email marketing. Keep your eyes on the following;
Open rate measures the percentage of people who opened the emails as against all who received it.
Of the emails sent, how many clicked through the links? How many checked out your email, how many of them clicked through to your landing page? It depends on how compelling your offer and email message resonate with your target audience.
Increased rate means increased conversions. You can experiment with the several factors that influence increased open rates; subject lines, copy, calls-to-action, and timing to improve the CTR of your emails.
This is one metric you should keep an eye on because it is a red flag. It measures the rate of annoyance and spam. While there are always some people who do not want to receive your emails anymore, most email marketing software will frown at unsubscribe rates that exceed 5%.
If your unsubscribed rate gets this high, your account may be blocked as they want to be sure only people who subscribed to be emailed are those who actually receive your messages.
4. Conversion Rate
Beyond click-through rates, this actually measures profitable actions; subscriptions, registrations, downloads, calls, and sales.
If you’ve been ignoring email marketing, it might be time to reevaluate your strategy.
Today, email marketing is delivering huge returns for marketers willing to get started with it. It doesn’t have to be too complicated.
First, remember you’re a guest in the inboxes of your subscribers. Your emails are always just one click away from losing their interest forever. Be polite, respectful, and deliver value.
As you get started, you’ll need to ask permission. Of course, it’s the right thing to do. But in the era of new data protection, like the EU’s GDPR, it’s also a legal requirement.
You’ll want to follow through with the promises you make. Provide people what they’ve asked for an email on a regular basis that lines up with their expectations.