Back in the early days of the Internet, email was the best way to virtually communicate with customers. Today, many small business owners make the mistake of thinking that email marketing has already hit its peak and that people will complain if a company message arrives in their inbox. But rest assured, email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that should not be ignored.
Email marketing is a great way to segment audiences, increase brand recognition, continually deliver value, and nurture leads down the sales funnel. When done right, it can generate quite a bit of profit for a low investment.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways to maximize on email marketing efforts and grow a business:
Many small businesses collect email addresses via a website’s opt-in form. Often times, all of those email addresses populate one massive email list, with every individual receiving every email that a company sends out.
We think that there’s a better way.
Businesses want to segment their audiences’ email addresses, just as they do with a customer’s industry or other defining characteristic in the real world. Creating multiple email lists that sort a master list of addresses can help businesses deliver the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Once a business has segmented its audience, it’s important to begin segmenting email content. A series of articles written on one topic may not be of interest to every customer. So, let’s explore some unique ways to touch base with contacts via email:
When an individual initially signs up for an email list, send them an introductory email that offers a brief synopsis of the brand and how they will be receiving emails in the future.
A company newsletter is a great way to update customers about recent business happenings. With a consistent schedule, such as weekly or monthly emails, a newsletter can generate a sense of trust in a brand, due to consistency. Newsletter content can range from industry news, evergreen blog content, tips or advice on using a product/service, and company announcements, such as new employees. The sky’s the limit! Just remember, a company newsletter is intended to generate hype and keep a small business top of mind.
Holiday emails are a great way to stay in touch with an audience, without being intrusive or self-promotional. A holiday email can be as simple as three sentences, wishing everyone a Happy New Year, with a colorful company graphic attached. Holidays are year-round, and they allow for some creative freedom when it comes to email content.
New Arrival Email
When a new item or service is being offered by a small business, an email can help to spread the word about this new must-have. In a new arrival email, consider including a link to more information or a “Buy It Now” landing page. Many major brands, such as Apple and Google, offer great examples of this in the smartphone industry.
Customers are always looking for a deal. Touch base with those audience segments who you haven’t heard from in a while to offer them a special offer on a product or service. This will entice them to jump back into the sales funnel. Promotional emails are not limited to 50% off coupons or free giveaways. So, keep ROI in mind. Think things like free shipping or 14-day trials. Use this opportunity to get creative!
Think of emails as a way to direct customers through the sales funnel by pointing them in the direction of a business’s most useful content. If a reader finds an email on hard water useful, they may click the call-to-action that’s located at the bottom of the email, which prompts them to schedule plumbing maintenance in their home. Consistent, quality email marketing that is relevant, on-topic, and full of value will help earn and grow customers’ trust. These types of relationships are the key to conversion success.
In print marketing, direct mail was email’s equivalent. Cost savings is a huge benefit of going digital with customer communications. Think of the money that can be saved on printing, envelopes and mailing costs, which direct mailers traditionally accrued. Nowadays, there are many free email marketing clients available.
MailChimp and Constant Contact are two easy-to-use, powerful email marketing clients for those businesses that are just starting out. Both options are free to start. Constant Contact features a 60-day free trial period, whereas MailChimp allows for a completely free service for the first 500 subscribers. Both platforms allow powerful customization options:
- Personalized Sign Up Forms
- Customized HTML Template
- Drag and Drop Interface
- Multiple Email Lists
- Full Analytics Database
- Social Media Integration
- Integration with Multiple CRMs
Before there was social media, there was email marketing. Regardless of the massive success that social audiences can offer a business, email marketing is still a digital marketing strategy that is worth your time and attention. Remember that if any social network went down today, you’d lose those individuals—but, email addresses? Those are concrete and allow you to reach your audience at any time.