How Does Email Marketing Work?
If you’re struggling to reach your target customers, there’s still hope. Learning how to do email marketing might provide the solution. It’s a bit different from traditional direct marketing. Email allows companies to get permission before they contact potential customers.
In the old days, companies often bought email lists. It’s a similar strategy to pulling physical addresses out of the phone book. That doesn’t work anymore.
Now, savvy marketers ask prospects for their email addresses. This strategy creates a transparent relationship between the marketer and the prospect.
If you haven’t started an email campaign, now’s the time to start. Whether you send a simple text-based email or learn how to create HTML emails, it’s one of the easiest, least expensive marketing strategies available, and it doesn’t take much time or effort to set up.
That doesn’t mean it’s easy. If you want your emails to convert prospects into customers, you need a sound strategy and the right tools.
What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a direct marketing channel that lets businesses share new products, sales, and updates with customers on their contact lists. Its high return on investment (ROI) makes it crucial to most businesses’ overall inbound strategy.
Modern email marketing has moved away from one-size-fits-all mass mailings and instead focuses on consent, segmentation, and personalization. This may sound time-consuming, but marketing automation handles most of the heavy lifting for you. In the long run, a well-designed email marketing strategy not only drives sales but helps build a community around your brand.
Why Email Marketing Is Important
Email isn’t a new technology. In fact, it was one of the very first means of digital communication to arrive back in 1971. But at 50 years old, email marketing is used today more than ever before.
You may be thinking, “Do people really still use email? Isn’t social media where it’s at for marketing today?” While it’s true that social media is an important channel for any digital marketing strategy, email has several advantages.
First, email marketing campaigns can be personalized to a greater extent than those on social media. Next, costs are considerably lower than for other channels, especially considering the reach and conversion rate associated with email marketing. This is part of what makes email marketing so ideal for small businesses.
How Does Email Marketing Work?
Email marketing works by connecting you to your prospective customers via email. You can collect email addresses in several ways.
- Ask website visitors. Use a form to invite prospects to subscribe to your email list. Explain what they’ll get in return, such as special coupons or insider tips.
- Offer a freebie. You might collect subscribers faster if you dangle a proverbial carrot. Many companies offer free white papers, ebooks, and other resources to new subscribers.
- Encourage sharing. At the end of your emails, ask your subscribers to forward the message to others. If their friends and family members find your email compelling, they’ll sign up too.
1. Getting Permission
You can’t just add someone to your email list and start sending them marketing messages. That would be considered spam, and you could get into serious trouble for it (low deliverability rates, blacklisting, and legal action could all be taken against you).
Instead, you need to get permission from each individual recipient before you can add them to your list and send them marketing messages. This is known as opting in.
You can give people the option to opt-in to receiving your marketing messages by
- Including a sign-up form on your website,
- Offering a freebie in return for an email address,
- Running a competition where entrants have to provide their email addresses to take part
- Rewarding existing customers for referring new leads who sign up with their email address
2. Keep Your Word
If you stand up to a friend for drinks, he or she might forgive you. Keep doing it, and you’ll lose a friend.
The same concept works for email marketing. If you make a promise, keep it.
For instance, you might tell your subscribers that you send emails once a month. If you start blasting them with weekly emails, you lose all credibility.
The same goes for email content. Don’t promise weekly coupons if you can’t deliver. If you promise original content, don’t send blog article reprints.
3. Build and grow your email list
For email marketing to work, you need to have a BIG list of active subscribers so the most important task in your strategy should be how to grow your email list.
As mentioned above, it’s not only a matter of adding random people to your list but people who manually registered to receive your emails.
Growing and maintaining an email list is tricky but with the right approach and tools, it can be a valuable asset for your business.
The best ways to increase your email subscribers are:
Publish great content on your site – if your content is not what users want, whatever technique you use, it won’t help you get more subscribers.
If, on the other hand, your content provides value to users, your email list will grow faster.
Give them incentives – Free eBooks, trial offers, and other ‘gifts’ are great incentives to offer to users in return for their email addresses.
4. Sending Relevant Content
When it comes to email marketing, relevancy is key. Your recipients shouldn’t feel like they’re being bombarded with irrelevant messages that have no value to them – they should only be receiving content that’s of interest and that’s going to add value to their lives.
While your marketing message can be anything from upselling to cross-selling, the main goal should always be to provide your recipients with content that they’ll find useful.
Some ways to make sure your content is relevant and interesting include:
- Sending timely content: If you have a time-sensitive offer or piece of news, make sure you send it out in your emails so that your recipients are always up-to-date.
- Personalizing your content: Using the recipient’s name in the email subject line or body can go a long way to making them feel like the email is for them.
- Using rich media: You can make your emails more visually appealing and engaging by incorporating images, videos, or infographics in them.
- Using active language: Using words like ‘discover’, ‘unlock’ or ‘learn’ can encourage your recipients to click through to your website or landing page.
5. Use Autoresponders
An autoresponder sends an email to a prospect based on his or her behavior. You can use autoresponders to automate the sales cycle and maintain contact with your leads.
For instance, send a “Welcome” or “Thank You” autoresponder message when someone subscribes to your list. Do the same with each significant interaction.
You can also use autoresponders to reconnect with a prospect. For instance, if Customer A bought a product two weeks ago, you could automate a follow-up email that highlights other products that might interest him or her.
6. Recognize The Value of Your List
Your list might not seem valuable when it consists of three addresses. It will grow, though, and become increasingly valuable.
As you develop a larger audience, you must respect the relationship you’ve established with them. Keep your promises, don’t let content quality drop, and get clear about your goals.
Websites, social media platforms, and other online marketing channels are undeniably beneficial. However, your email marketing list is your direct line to your prospects. Don’t waste it.
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