Some may say that email marketing is outdated, but experienced marketers will support the opposite! Email marketing is a very popular subcategory of digital marketing and plays a crucial role when building a community and nurture leads. In this chapter we will walk you through the basics and useful features of email marketing that will help your business growth.
WHAT IS EMAIL MARKETING?
Even though emails are more than 40 years old, they never fell out of fashion. Experienced marketers and business owners felt the importance of using one of the oldest way of online communication in building their communities and leads.
Email marketing is a very popular subcategory of digital marketing and it is based on email campaigns.
There are different types of email marketing, but we can say that the following 4 are the most popular:
Email Newsletter - regular emails that are sent to subscribers daily, weekly, monthly or annually.
Their focus is to build a relationship with leads (subscribers) in order to convert them into active customers.
Transactional Email - refers to the type of email you send after a specific action has been made.
For example, it is an email you receive after you have signed up for a newsletter to inform you about the success of the subscription or to notify you that your free trial is expiring. These emails are also very important for eCommerce websites as a way of proving that somebody made a purchase from their website with the given email.
Direct Email - directly informs subscribers about current offers, sales, new products etc.
They are very similar to the flyers you receive in your post office box or coupons you get at the mall.
Cold Email - while other types of email required some connection between a subscriber (usually through a website) and your business, cold mailing is based on connecting with people without any previous connecting moment. When you send your email, you are a stranger to your audience. They do not know how awesome your company is, as they have never heard of you before nor have they had any experience with your product/services. If you want to get their attention, you need to know and understand your subscribers’ emotions. Cold emailing can be your starting activity if you want to introduce your company to people you don’t know, but make sure your content is not a hard sell. This means that your business introduction should be warm and polite, with an option to keep following your business updates if they want to.
90% of email gets delivered to the intended recipient’s inbox, whereas only 2% of your Facebook fans see your posts in their News Feed. – Forrester Research
Like any other channel of online marketing, business email marketing has several benefits people consider when they are trying to answer if this channel of online marketing is suitable for their business needs.
Some of the most important benefits of email marketing are:
LOW COSTS. IF YOU USE FREE PLATFORMS, YOUR ONLY COST IS INTERNET CONNECTION.
GREAT CAMPAIGN MEASUREMENT OPTIONS
FRIENDLY AND EASY-TO-USE DASHBOARDS. YOU CAN CREATE AN ENTIRE CAMPAIGN WITH ONLY A FEW CLICKS.
YOU CAN DIRECTLY TARGET PEOPLE WHO ARE ALREADY INTERESTED IN YOUR PRODUCT, WHETHER THEY ARE ACTIVE CUSTOMERS OR LEADS
CHOOSING THE RIGHT EMAIL PLATFORM
Once you have decided to include email into your marketing strategy, it is important to choose the best email platform that will support your business goals. Email platforms are online softwares which are used to collect subscribers, create and design email templates and measure the results of the email campaign.
Email platforms are created to help business owners and marketers create and launch marketing campaigns easily. Many of them include ready-to-use emails that do not require any coding skills. There are many email platforms out there - Intercom, MailChimp, Infusionsoft, Salesfusion, Moosend, Aweber Email marketing etc.
56% OF COMPANIES CURRENTLY USE AN EMAIL MARKETING PROVIDER AND ARE 75% OR MORE LIKELY TO BE PURCHASERS OF MARKETING AUTOMATION SOFTWARE OVER THE NEXT YEAR – VENTUREBEAT
MORE THAN 14 MILLION PEOPLE AND BUSINESSES AROUND THE WORLD USE MAILCHIMP
NEW BUSINESS - FREE FOR UP TO 2000 SUBSCRIBERS
If you have just started your online business, basic “New Business” pack will definitely suit your business needs. To get started, simply create your account. The reason why we recommend starting with MailChimp is very simple - not only are they easy and friendly to use, but they also give you a lot of pre-made email templates, saving you money and time you would spend coding or building an email template on your own. Depending on your skills, you can use pre-made email templates and adjust them to your business goal, create a new email template using an easy-to-use builder or code your own email template.
HOW TO START EMAIL MARKETING LIST IN MAILCHIMP?
When you create your account, the first thing you should worry about is populating your email marketing list which consists of subscribers - people to whom you will send emails.
In order to create a list, go to Lists from your MailChimp dashboard and click the Create List button.
Continue inputting basic information like list name and description.
If you are just starting, it is not unusual to have an empty subscriber list. MailChimp will generate you a form which you can later customize, share and post on your website, blog or social media.
THE SUCCESS OF AN EMAIL CAMPAIGN DEPENDS ON TWO FACTORS:
The content in the email.
Even if your content is great, that doesn’t mean you’ve achieved your goal. If the content you wrote is seen by a small group of people, you could miss your potential email campaign success. The moment you create your email list, it is very important to work on populating it with subscribers who are interested in your product/service or information you are sharing. This excludes buying subscriber lists or subscribers from companies or people who collect information from random people.
One of the easiest ways to start populating your list is by making sure your email list forms are easily reached through your website/blog or social media. This means that you need to put your email form in a visible place and make a good Call-to-Action that will act as a trigger for your visitors/readers to join your email list.
For example, if you are using a self-hosted platform Wordpress, you can add your form code to a widget which will place it in a left or right sidebar. Forms usually consist of two boxes, one for Name (which you will later use to create personalized emails for each subscriber) and another one for their email. The final element of your form is a Call-to-Action button, and this CTA button can often be the final trigger for subscribing to a list, which stresses the importance of a catchy CTA.
Email Marketing Tip: It is very useful to understand what your audience loves and use it as your way of populating your subscriber list. For example, rarely anyone says no to free stuff, whether it’s a calendar, planner, ebook or any other useful resource. This approach has proven itself to be one of the best methods for gaining new subscribers. That said, you should create valuable guides, designs or content somebody can use, and in order to give it completely free, you can request their email subscription. It works very good with any type of business!
CREATING SUBSCRIBER GROUPS
If you are offering products or services for different target audiences, you should focus on creating different email groups of your subscribers according to product/service you want to talk about. For example, if you have an e-shop for selling technology and home appliances, you can create one group of your subscribers for female visitors and use it for email campaigns which will focus on beauty and home technology, with just brief mentioning of computers, and another group of male visitors which will center on game technology and fully exclude female beauty products.
How you organize your groups will depend mainly on your goals. The best thing about most email marketing platforms is that you can always start with one subscriber list and later create groups according to your needs.
CREATING YOUR FIRST EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN
If you invest some time in collecting subscribers, you will be ready to create your first email marketing campaign very soon. There is no predefined number of subscribers you need to have in order to start your first campaign. You can start with the first campaign a week or two after publishing a form or even earlier if you notice an increasing interest for what you have to say. How fast people will subscribe depends mainly on how good your CTA is and how familiar your audience is with your brand.
Before you send your first email, it is important to plan your email campaign. What topics do you want to cover?, Who do you want to target?, What do you want to achieve? are some of the questions you should answer before you actually start. Once you know those answers, you will easily adjust your content and visual design of your email campaign to them.
HOW TO CREATE AN EMAIL MARKETING CAMPAIGN ON MAILCHIMP?
Let’s go quickly through basics of creating email marketing campaign.
If you have chosen MailChimp as an email platform you will have to:
Visit Campaign page and click on Create Campaign
Select a type of campaign you want to send (a regular campaign is very good to start with)
Choose a list of subscribers you want to target
Once you have chosen the list f subscribers you want to work with, it is time to set some email campaign details which include campaign name, email subject, etc.
Before you can click the Send button, you need to make a visual presentation for your email campaign.
THE POWER IS IN THE CONTENT
Once you’re done worrying about creating your first subscriber list, your should devote your full attention to creating powerful content. What you send to your subscribers is defined by the goal you want to achieve.
For example, if you have just launched a new product, you will use an email campaign to announce it and tell your subscribers about the benefits they will have from it. In addition, if you are preparing a Christmas sale, you can send a digital coupon to your subscribers and increase your sales.
How powerful your content will be depends on your skills to tell a story that will sell or, in other words, your content marketing skills. You can find more about content marketing in our Content Marketing chapter.
CONVERTING SUBSCRIBERS INTO CUSTOMERS
Behind every email campaign (or any other marketing campaign), there is one main goal - an increase in sales (if you are running a profitable business) or in brand awareness. This means that every campaign is mainly built to convert a passive follower into an active customer.
If you have decided to run an email campaign, then your main goal will be to turn as many subscribers as possible into customers, regardless of what you’re selling. Your email needs to get noticed in every inbox, just like your product needs to stand out on the shelves. It may sound easy because we know that people check their emails regularly (they do not go every day to the mall to buy a shampoo), but it is important to understand that your email is not the only one in their inbox.
THE POWER OF THE EMAIL SUBJECT
An interesting package is often the reason why somebody with no experience in the given product will reach for it. In our inbox, email subjects are the reason why we open any email which came from people/brands we are not so much familiar with (and even if we are, how often we read emails depends on how interested we are in what they have to say).
Writing an email subject that will trigger your subscriber to read your email is like writing a title for a blog post. If your subject is boring and passive, your email will most likely end up in the Trash folder. The best way to intrigue your subscribers is to tell them that you know about the problem they are dealing with and that you are ready to talk about it (including the solution to their problem). For example, if you are selling clothes, you can always start with “When in doubt, wear LBD” or “Ready for a party in 30min? Yes, you will be!”
Another very popular type of email subjects people often click includes offering FREE stuff (“Your FREE gift bag is waiting for you”), special promotion (“Christmas sales starts in 3,2… now!”), special help guides (“50 ways to clean your kitchen”), etc.
Email Marketing Tip: When you are writing an email subject, focus on short and relevant topic of your email that will immediately tell your targeted audience what they can expect from the mail they received.This way you will not only intrigue people who are really interested in what you have to say about the given topic, but also get attention of people who will most likely perform the desired action.
Emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. – Campaign Monitor
For B2B companies, subject lines that contained “money,” “revenue,” and “profit” performed the best.
(Adestra July 2012 Report)
64% of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
(Chadwick Martin Bailey)
THE POWER OF BODY CONTENT
No matter how good your subject is, 99% of your email campaign success depends on your email content - what you are going to say about a product or service you are offering. Your email can have several messages, but the main one has to stand out.
Focus on creating short messages about a problem your product is going to solve and benefits of using the product you are offering. Talk to your subscribers more on a personal level than on a level of typical email advertisement. Use real examples to show them how your product helped you, what you did and how they will benefit from it. In other words, talk to your subscribers like you are talking to your friends when trying to help them solve their problems.
As a bonus, rely on good images to convey your message in the best light.
7 IN 10 PEOPLE SAY THEY MADE USE OF A COUPON OR DISCOUNT FROM A MARKETING EMAIL IN THE PRIOR WEEK. (2012 BLUE KANGAROO STUDY)
PERSONALIZED EMAIL MESSAGES IMPROVE CLICK-THROUGH RATES BY AN AVERAGE OF 14% AND CONVERSIONS BY 10%. – ABERDEEN
THE POWER OF CTA
Finally, a good subject and good content need to have a final cherry on top, right? That cherry is your email call-to-action, a very important element which will lead to your final step - purchase or a contact form, for example. This is the final action you want your reader to perform in order to become your customer.
Some of the best CTAs include urgency for something to be done, for example “Get X before this offer expires”, “Start now”, “Call us today”, “Get your free trial here” etc. When deciding on your CTAs, here are some guidelines that might help you:
CHOOSE AND TEST DIFFERENT COLORS FOR YOUR BUTTON
TAKE YOUR RECIPIENT STRAIGHT TO THEIR NEXT ACTION
CREATE YOUR CTA AS A BUTTON INSTEAD OF A SIMPLE TEXT/URL
MEASURING THE SUCCESS OF YOUR EMAIL CAMPAIGN
How successful your campaign was can be told by a number of subscribers who carried out the final action toward achieving your goal. If you offered a trial period for your product, you would want to measure how many of you subscribers signed up to try it out, or, if you were selling a product, you would most likely be interested in finding how much revenue you earned from your email campaign.
If you are using MailChimp for creating and sending your email campaigns, you can follow all the important statistical data from their Dashboard. They allow you to follow one campaign and even compare one campaign result with another. This is very useful for A/B testing and for planning your next email campaign.
You should keep an eye on the following email marketing metrics:
Email Trends - follow up on bounce and the number of unsubscribers.
Subscribers’ activities - if they opened your mail, check when, what they did next, if they engaged with the mail, etc.
Revenue report - if your goal is to sell a product/service, you will need to know how much revenue you earned in order to determine if this type of campaign is profitable for your business.
If you are not using MailChimp, but some other email platform, you can get the statistics from Google Analytics too.
Email marketing campaigns, although one of the oldest types of Internet marketing campaigns, are still a very popular way of collecting leads and turning them into customers. As always, the success of your campaign depends on the audience you are targeting and the content you are going to send to them. The more you curate your content for them, the more successful your campaign will be!