Email Marketing Beginners Guide
Email marketing is an often overlooked tool for businesses. Not to be confused with spam, Email marketing is the process of sending out batch emails to your clients or anyone who has signed up to receive emails from you. This can be a hugely effective method of getting repeat business from your customers. Of course it can go beyond getting repeat business depending on how you advertise your email list and what you write about.
Benefits of email marketing
- Build repeat business
- It's very cost effective
- Communicate regularly with your customers
- Target specific customers
- It's environmentally friendly!
Who can use Email Marketing?
Email Marketing can be used by anyone, what type of business you are may affect how you use it. It's common for larger businesses to have mailing lists but any business can do it - it's easy and effective.
The main ingredients for a successful email campaign are:
1. Your Mailing List
These can be made up of your customers or anyone who's signs up to receive emails from you. Build this list over time by using some of the techniques i've listed further down the page.
Generally speaking emails are normally sent as 'html' rather than 'plain text' to make them more engaging, as we can add images, links and formatting. Using specific software to send email helps to create formatted content with the added benefit of being able to track what happens to the email after you send it - how many customers viewed it, what action did they take, what was the most popular link etc.
Sending out email from Outlook or similar is not going to get you the best result. It's difficult the make it look engaging, it's hard to track and most importantly it can cause you to get blocked as spam. One of the many reasons I use Business Catalyst to build websites is the built-in Email Marketing system - no need to learn another piece of software or mess about importing and exporting contacts.
Your content will vary depending on what type of business you are. For example if you are a serviced based business you might like to advertise extra services, and if you sell products you could advertise new products or specials.
I also believe its a good idea to include information in your emails other than just your product or service. Giving away some helpful advice or knowledge in your field can help people stay engaged with your emails, build trust in your business and increase your list if the email is shared. For example if you were Spotlight, you might send out an email with monthly specials on fabric, then another part of your email content might be an article or video you've created on how to make a simple lampshade out of cloth and wire - two products you sell. It shows that you are thoughtful about your customer and that you are knowledgeable about your subject.
Building your Mailing List
If you don't have a list already you can start one today. Even if you don't plan to start an email marketing campaign now you might like to in the future.
Here are some ways you can grow your list.
- Add a signup form on your website
- Ask people when they come in store
- Add a link to your email signature
- Take a clipboard with you to business functions and networking events
- Advertise your list on Facebook or social media
- Create an offer in exchange for a signup.