Click and connect: The essentials of email marketing
What exactly does email marketing entail?
Email marketing, or e-marketing, is simply using email to communicate with your customer base or potential customer base. This enables you to promote sales, special offers and new products, and even to understand your customer base better using surveys and analytics. It’s also incredibly cost-effective, providing a return on investment that can be as high as $38 per $1 spent. That makes it roughly 40 times more effective for acquiring new customers than social media, according to Campaign Monitor.
It’s all about that database.
Your database is your list of email recipients. What you want is a high-quality database of people who have engaged with your brand and expect/want to receive emails from you. This is what makes email marketing so powerful – because you’re talking to an audience who is already engaged and receptive to messaging from your business. It’s also really damn helpful if you’re looking to turn a one-time buyer into a lifelong customer of the brand, because you can offer highly individualised, strategic messaging in a personal way. That’s marketing gold right there!
So, how do I find the right people to email?
The single best way to find high quality email recipients is to let them come to you. Include a newsletter signup form on your website and social channels, and consider having a good old-fashioned signup sheet at the counter if you have a physical storefront. This will enable you to build up a list of engaged email recipients who are open to new offers and solutions from your brand.
Thinking about cold-emailing? It pays to be careful about contacting people who have never heard of your company. If your emails are reported as violating the Australian Spam Act your business could face penalties. You’ll also need to include a mandatory unsubscribe option so people can opt out, which is included on most email template services like MailChimp (more on this later). It’s worth reading about the Spam Act here to ensure you’re sticking to the rules.
How do I create my emails?
Designing engaging emails used to involve a designer and coding, but these are not vital now. MailChimp is one of the best known email services, and for good reason. It makes designing and sending emails incredibly easy, it gives you control over your different subscriber lists and it’s free if you have under 2,000 subscribers.
Remember, every email should include:
- A topic that is relevant and interesting/useful to the recipient
- A clear call to action
- An unsubscribe option
If your database is set up (and in some cases, segregated) correctly, you can personalise emails by name, location or preferences. Doing this can increase your open rates by 50%, which leads to many more eyeballs on your message and more conversion opportunities (that’s the amount of people who will click a link and take action). More advanced email programs can sync with your online retail store and recommend suggested products based on customers’ previous purchases. Email can be a bit like a virtual shop assistant.
Timing … is everything
Timing really matters when it comes to sending emails out. Airlines and hotels will often offer their sales midweek, when office workers are dreaming about escaping the drudgery of everyday life. If you’re promoting a sale you might plan to send emails out one day ahead, as the sale starts, as you add new sale items and in the final hours of the sale.
The most important thing with timing is to try and understand your audience and how they’re likely to connect best with your message. You can even split-test (or A/B test) email sending times to maximise responses.
Streamlining your call to action
Every email should include a strong call to action so your customer knows how to take action. Depending on your business size and offering, this could be to call your team, fill in a form or to click directly through to purchase a product. You can even remind online retail customers that they have items left in their cart and prompt them to complete the purchase. Ideally, you’ll be converting potential customers into repeat customers through automated channels which frees up your resources while maximising those sweet, sweet returns.
Email marketing can be as simple or as sophisticated as you need it to be, but the golden rule is to contact your lists with appealing offers and information at a time that they’ll be receptive. If you’d like some help getting started, just get in touch and I’ll be happy to help.