What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a type of marketing where you send emails to promote your products or services. It has evolved over the years to be more relationship based instead of promotion based. Businesses that nurture a relationship with their customers or prospects, are likelier to convert them into loyal customers in the mid to long term.
Why should you use email marketing for your business?
Email marketing is still one of the best ways to market your business. Your email list can drive traffic to your website or business more effectively than other forms of paid advertising because you’re engaging with people who have opted in to hear from you.
According to research by the Direct Marketing Association, 38% of people say special offers are the main reason they subscribe to an email list. Meanwhile, eMarketer states that 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention.
2. Strategy & Process
How do I use email marketing to gain new customers?
- Promotions and discounts
Special promotions are one of the best ways to entice visitors to become email subscribers and eventually, customers. If a visitor sees that they will get 25% off their next order by subscribing to your newsletter, they’re more likely to give you their email addresses.
- Subscriber-only discounts
Exclusive promotions for loyal customers are also handy, as this will ensure that your open rates remain high and your emails are less likely to be ignored, or worse, sent to the spam folder. This is known as a subscriber-only discount where only subscribers have access to these promotions. This feeling of exclusivity is a fantastic way to make them feel important.
- Giveaways and contests
While discounts and promotions are incredibly successful in gaining new customers, you can also give your visitors freebies such as checklists, eBooks or other exclusive content. The more you educate your potential customers about your service or product, the more likely they are to do business with you.
You can also hold contests and giveaways through social media to capture emails or gain new fans. It’s about managing people’s perception on the value they are getting from you, which is crucial to nurture in your marketing.
- Paid ads
Building an email list does require growing traffic to your website. If you’re struggling with few visitors, consider paid advertising through the Google Ad Network or social media, by pulling people to your landing page with a lead magnet, where you can capture their email addresses.
How do I use email marketing to keep my customers happy?
Existing customers will require different things from you, depending on what you provide them and your industry. As a guideline, existing or loyal customers would love to receive:
- Promotions, exclusive offers and discounts
- Loyalty programs
- New services, product launches and updates
- Any changes such as new regulations or company policy
- Product or service reviews
- Feedback and surveys
It’s important to provide something of value to your subscribers. It doesn’t have to be a promotion every single week, you could give them interesting and useful content, such as a blog post or a helpful video.
Don’t be too sales-focused because people will unsubscribe if it feels like you only care about selling products, not them.
What’s the step-by-step guide to start using email marketing?
It’s easy to start using e-mail marketing, even with little tech knowledge. Follow these simple steps:
- Collect all your contacts in one place
You can use a fancy Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system if you have one or an Excel spreadsheet if you don’t. Compile the list of all your contacts, including current clients, prospective ones, neighbours, friends, your hair dresser and parents of your kids’ friends – everyone! People want to work with and buy from people they like and trust, so using e-mail marketing is a fantastic way to build long-term relationships.
- Commit to a system
There are many e-mail marketing software such as Constant Contact or Emma that helps you create email templates, or you can do it yourself. The important thing is to do it consistently and be known for providing value to your subscribers.
- Start contacting people on your list regularly
Make it part of your daily routine to reach out and connect with people on your email list. However, remember that your goal is to build a relationship, not to sell them anything. Get in touch, offer them information, a helpful article, a quote, or anything of value. Aim to be a giver with a generous spirit and they will welcome seeing your name in their inbox.
- Repurpose your content
You can easily repurpose content into a newsletter, article, social media post and podcast, or syndicate to other sites to get the same information out to different audiences without a lot of work. People need to be exposed to a piece of information several times before it has impact, which is why advertisers try to surround you with their messages. Although getting your messages out in a variety of channels may seem repetitive to you, your audience may not notice, be multi-tasking, or miss it altogether, so the repetition is important.
How do you grow your email list?
- Having a landing page (or two)
The first step to growing your email list is to create a landing page that will entice viewers to part with their emails. You can use a landing page builder to create one and monitor its performance. Landing page builders such as Lead Pages, Instapage, Unbounce and GetResponse are popular and widely used to attract visitors and the best part is, no coding knowledge is required.
Alternatively, you can use your email marketing service provider to create lead capture forms and automatically add all new addresses to your email list. Here’s a list of some of the most popular and trusted email marketing platforms:
- Use lead capture forms
If your website traffic is decent, you can implement a lead form on your site to capture emails. A lead form is a form that will ask visitors for their email address in exchange for something of value, such as a free eBook.
You might have seen this before, and maybe you’ve even downloaded an eBook from someone yourself. It’s an incredibly popular method of growing your email list. For maximum exposure, place your email capture forms:
- Using pop-ups on your website
- At the end of blog posts
- On your homepage banner
- On your sidebar
- On your Facebook page
- Quizzes, Riddles, Puzzles
Another method is using quizzes, puzzles or riddles for lead capture. Quizzes are highly shareable across social media and BuzzFeed is well-known for their bizarre yet popular quizzes such as “How Much Of A Picky Eater Are You?” and “Which Disney Princess Are You?”
You can create a quiz that’s relevant to your niche and ask for an email address in exchange for quiz results. If you’re creative, you might be able to make this work for your business.
- Prioritise partnership
Partner with a business who have a similar but not competing audience. Get featured on their website, newsletter or blog. Try guest blogging on popular sites and encourage readers to subscribe to your blog
- Live or online events
Events are a terrific way to meet new people. Host your own webinar or meetup, and don’t forget to capture emails at the end.
- Use video
Get creative with videos. You can create a YouTube channel and direct viewers to your landing pages.
- Use influencers
Identify the influencers who best represent your brand. Get them to host a giveaway or competition or talk about how useful your email contents are.
3. Budget & Tools
How much is the typical/average cost of email marketing?
Although it takes time to build relationships and earn people’s trust, email marketing isn’t time-consuming or expensive as you can do a little every day. You just need to consistently provide useful content that solves problems your target buyers are facing to stay at the top of their minds.
Amazon was initially known as "the world’s biggest book seller”, but once they had earned customers’ trust, they were able to expand into music, grocery items, clothes and eventually, every category you can imagine.
I try to brand my company as a one-stop shop for all things marketing communications, so that when organizations need marketing help, they think of me first. E-mail marketing is a terrific way for me to reinforce that message and the more I share what I know, the effect become exponential. The more you keep popping up in various places, your reputation and brand will grow.
“Keep in mind that perception is reality in marketing.”
How do you choose which email platform to use?
According to Mavens & Moguls’ Arnof-Fenn, it doesn’t matter which platform you choose, just pick one that is authentic to you. It should look and sound like you and the brand you have built. Whether yours is polished or casual, chatty or academic, humorous or snarky, email marketing is a way for your personality to shine through.
Not everyone is going to like or hire you. But the ones who do, you should keep nurturing the relationship and give them a reason to remember you, so that they think of you first when they need your help.