The first marketing email was sent in 1978, and was alleged to result in $13 million in sales, kicking off what has become one of the most universally used marketing channels even to this day.
In this beginners guide to email marketing, we’ll talk you through the process of getting started with email marketing to help ensure your first campaign is a success.
Let’s get back to basics – what is email marketing?
Email marketing is the act of sending a message from your business, typically to a group of people, using email. Therefore, in its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. Yes, every email!
If you’re a small business and are looking for a cost-effective way to market your product or service, then email marketing is for you! It doesn’t matter if you’re launching a new business or your company is already well established, a successful email marketing strategy is the magic key to getting you new customers, increasing revenue, and growing your business.
Why should I use it?
Over 3.8 billion people in the world use email, so if you’re looking for a sure way to get a message to your customers, email is the platform to use. Did you know there are 3x more email accounts than Facebook & Twitter accounts combined? Or that you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from email than on Twitter?
Email marketing offers the perfect opportunity to do the following:
- Generate brand awareness by keeping leads aware of your products and services
- Drive interested traffic to your site by sharing relevant blog content
- Encourage conversions with clever promotion of your product or service
- Connect with your audience on a better level by using personalised engagement
- Generate more qualified leads by excluding non-interested subscribers
- Turn your leads into new customers with fantastic content
Stand out from the crowd
As you will no doubt know from your own inbox – people receive a lot of emails per day. As a result, if you don’t take the time to develop a strategy, your emails will get lost in crowded inboxes, or worse, be sent to the spam folder.
In summary, your customers don’t hand over their information lightly, and can unsubscribe in a second, so make sure you’re sending content they’ll be interested in.
What kinds of things do people want to hear about?
- New products or services
- Upcoming events
- Relevant blog posts
- Popular posts from social media
- News coverage of your product or service
- Seasonal/topical guides or information
Now that you have something to say, you have to ensure your email gets read. Standing out from the crowd and ensuring your email gets opened requires a good subject line that captures the readers attention. You will know what tone and approach suits your business but some general tips for a good subject line are:
- Use a friendly and conversational tone
- Aim to entice the readers curiosity
- Engage the fear of missing out if they don’t open the email
- Highlight pain points that you know your audience feel
- Offer something – a sale, discount, or opportunity
- Personalise it with their name or personal question
- Use numbers as they tend to catch the eye
How do I know what to send to different people?
It can be overwhelming when you start with a big list of emails, but by breaking the list down into segments, it becomes a lot easier to know what content you should be sending to the different groups. Popular email platforms like Mailchimp make it amazingly easy to create segments and send different campaigns to different groups.
As a general idea, you could segment your email lists based on the following suggestions:
- Send new subscribers a welcome email or a welcome series
- Use preference options to split users who want to hear about blog posts vs. those who only want sale notifications
- People who live near your business can be notified about your local event
- Reward your more engaged subscribers who regularly open and click through on your emails with a special offer just for them
- If you’ve used different platforms with different messages to collect the leads, then you can split these into separate segments and send emails about the products and services you know they’ll be interested in
How often should I send emails?
Every business is different so there aren’t be any set rules on how often you should email your customers.
Businesses that run a blog or news website with content that is constantly being updated might find it suitable to send daily updates to their subscribers, but this isn’t the case for most small businesses. Besides, if you bombard your audience with emails that they don’t find useful or relevant, they are likely to stop reading your emails or unsubscribe.
Generally, aim to send out an email at least once a month to ensure that your list doesn’t forget about you and plan for special seasonal dates such as Black Friday and Christmas. Whether you find a daily, weekly, or monthly schedule works best for your business always focus on sending out high quality email content that will keep interest levels high.
How do I know it’s working?
Monitoring the results of your email campaigns and optimising based on these results is vital to keeping your audience happy. For example, if no one is opening your emails you need to take a good look at your subject line.
The top 3 metrics to track for email marketing are:
- Deliverability: the number of emails that made it successfully to the target recipient’s email
- Open Rate: the number of people who opened your email
- Click-Through Rate: the number of people who clicked on a link from your email
Email marketing for small businesses
Email marketing can be massively beneficial for small businesses to communicate with and convert customers. In comparison to other forms of marketing it’s very cost-effective and manageable for a smaller business. With cost-effectiveness in mind, other forms of marketing you might be interested in are Social Media Marketing and Content Marketing.
Now you know why you should be using email marketing, how to stand out from the crowd, what people want to receive in their emails, what to send to who, how often to send emails and how to monitor your campaign progress. You’re ready to send your first campaign!