What is email marketing?

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It doesn’t matter how many whizbangy new ways to advertise your wares online that pop up, email marketing is still, hands down, the most cost effective form of marketing. And if you’re not doing it yet, you need to be.

Email marketing is one the fastest growing, most cost effective forms of marketing available to your business. You’ve probably seen this at work in your own inbox –all the big corporates use email to keep in touch with their customers, sell their wares and promote sales, special offers and new products.
Often you’ll find email marketing working seamlessly with a customer retention management system (CRM) where you get an email that’s customised just for you. For example, Qantas sends out monthly Frequent Flyer points balance emails to all their Frequent Flyers  – this includes their point balance of course, but also there’s always a couple of special offers: flight specials, credit cards, accommodation… Qantas is always selling… and so should you be!

 

Still not sure it’s for you? Here’s some statistical proof:

  • 62% of businesses produce more than a third of their digital business revenue through email.
    Source: eConsultancy Marketing Budgets Report 2012
  • You get more sales per transaction. People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than people that do not receive email offers.
    Source: MarketingProfs Marketing Mixer Webinar, 2012.
  • Direct mail might have a higher response rate than email, but email costs 100 times less.
    Source: Harvard Business Review, August 2012
  • Email pays, it averages a ROI (return on investment) of $40 for every $1 spent.
    Source: MarketingProfs article 2012

But, it’s not a magic bullet. There ARE some tricks to doing it well. But first, we’ll start off by saying what you SHOULDN’T do… Like ever.

Don’t be a spammer!

Email Marketing is not a way to generate new leads from people you’ve never met or never had contact with before. There’s a name for this sort of thing – it’s called spamming. And it’s just not kosher!

It’s been common practice (in some markets) to buy lists of email addresses – maybe up to a couple of million people at a time, to try to push their services… but it’s not a good idea. You need to focus on quality, not quantity.

No matter how tempted you might be, seriously, just don’t buy lists and spam random people. Not only can it make you look really, really bad (lumping you in with Russians touting knock-off pharmaceuticals and mail-order brides), it’s also illegal under Australian law. You can be fined tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for flagrant breaches.

But what’s the best argument against spamming potential customers? Spamming doesn’t actually work! See this article from MailChimp (superstars of email marketing):

 

So who do I target?

Simple – your existing network. All your existing and previous customers and contacts are prime targets, as well as anyone who’s filled out a lead capture form on your website. Just ensure you don’t include anyone who’s told you they don’t want to hear from you, and make it easy for them to get off your list (unsubscribe link on every email please).

You’d think that was counterproductive wouldn’t you? Helping people get off your list. But it’s actually a good thing. There’s lot’s of studies that show a smaller, leaner email list full of people who WANT to hear from you is much more effective than a list of people who couldn’t care less about you or your brand.

 

How do I know If I’m breaking The Spam Act?

The easiest way to know what you’re doing is legit is by asking this question:

Do you have permission from each and every person on your list to send them emails?

If the answer is yes, you’re golden. If the answer (for anyone on the list) is no – don’t send them an email. You’re breaking the law!

If you built your list by using lead capture, you should have collected permission when you captured the leads. So make sure your lead capture boxes tell them they’re giving permission for you to send them info.

The most cost effective form of marketing

Email Marketing is the most cost effective form of marketing out there. Perhaps this is because – when done right – everyone you’re talking to is already a customer or has already “engaged” with you in one way or another (signed up, downloaded an eBook, etc); so you’ve already got their interest – the initial building of trust is already done.

For all those leads you’ve meticulously gathered, segmented and classified – now that they’re in your database, it’s time to help them get to know you.

Consider writing the email from you personally as the business owner – you want to connect with people, and people want to connect with you, not your business.

Think about your existing customers – do they know about all your products and services? There might be services you offer that they’ve never considered, but when it comes time for them to find someone, will they think of you? Email marketing will help keep you on the top of their minds.

 

So – what works?

From our experience, here’s three steps to successful email campaigns:

  1. Firstly, share something personal about yourself but relevant to your audience. –  (this is where blog posts can come in!)
  2. Then educate them in some way about what they’re interested in. (this is where cherry picking content from your lead capture ‘products’ can come in!)
  3. Finally, sell them relevant services and products you have to offer that help solve their problems

If you plan your website well, you should be able to re-use content from your website in your email marketing – you shouldn’t have to write much for your regular newsletter except a brief introduction and possibly a signoff. But of course, it’s horses for courses. You’ll find what works best for you. The one piece of advice I must give you is to:

 

Never waste an opportunity to keep the conversation going.

 

So don’t make your email marketing campaign a dead end. Make sure you develop ways readers can keep engaging with you, for example:

  • At the top or the bottom of your email, invite them to join you on Facebook and/or Twitter.
  • Throughout your email encourage them to click links to read more (which leads them to your site).
  • Offer them ‘one time offers’ to make extra money from every stage of your sales pipeline.

 

Are there any low-cost items that a prospect could buy before or after a “major” purchase? Remember you can sell your expertise here too. For example, putting eBooks up on your website for sale is a great way to go.

Segment your lists

It’s usually good practice to send one kind of newsletter to your existing clients and another to your prospects. The reason is because the aims, and the emotional hot buttons you’re going to be working with may be quite different. Not to mention you’ll have a much richer relationship with your existing customers than a stranger. Build on that.

 

Measure your success

Measure your success through campaign reporting tools. You can’t improve what you don’t know. You may have reporting tools built into the email marketing platform you use, or in the CMS behind your website (Web123 clients do it this way), or you may need to plug in third party analytics (this is a bit trickier).

However you do it – make sure you know what percentage of people are:

  1. Reading your emails (approximately)
  2. Clicking links in your emails
  3. Enquiring or buying something after following a link from your emails
  4. Unsubscribing from your emails

By comparing these rates to the content in your emails (or the frequency at which you’re sending them out!) you can get the balance right. Always test and measure.

 

Build your list!

Lastly – make sure that you’re constantly building your list! Collect consent to send email marketing wherever you can – not just on the website: at trade shows, in your shop, when you meet people. The list is king!

 

How did you like this blog? We’d love you to share what whats for YOUR businessLeave us a comment below!

 

We talk more about this and more in our eBook 7 Secrets to a Hugely Profitable Website. Download and read the whole thing – your bottom line will thank you for it!

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