Email is one of the most powerful marketing channels; it has become the backbone of all online communications. For businesses, using email effectively as a marketing tool will grow your business substantially. Did you know that for every $1 you spend on email marketing; you can expect an average return of $42? (DMA,2019).
Some of the advantages of email marketing include the opportunities to grow traffic, target high-value audiences, reduce acquisition costs, and boost all-around revenue. If you are new to email marketing and don’t have a clue how to start, this guide walks you through the basic steps to get started and achieve business success.
Establish Your Marketing Goals
Before you jump in and sign up for an email marketing tool and send your first campaign, it is worth taking a moment and thinking about your goals and what you want to achieve with your marketing efforts. Things such as the type of campaign you want to send, the content you include, who your target is, and how to measure success are important components of your email marketing strategy,
Keep in mind that your email marketing campaigns should have a meaningful purpose for your target audience. By establishing early goals, you can make your marketing efforts grow and build brand loyalty.
Choose a Suitable Email Marketing Provider
An email marketing provider, also known as an email service provider (ESP) is a platform that allows your business to create and send your emails, create A/B testing, store your email subscribers, and segment them into different lists. It also gives you an insight into each campaign, tracks the performance of each email, and sees who opens and engages with your campaigns and messages. In addition, you can benefit from professional email templates with drag and drop features making it easy to customize and deliver original content to your audience.
Your email marketing provider should be flexible and cost-effective, there are countless email marketing platforms available like Mailchimp, HubSpot, Email Octopus, and Constant Contact. The key is to find one that works best for your business’s marketing strategy and the size of your audience.
Build your audience
Most businesses will have some existing contacts that range from customers, providers, people you already have relationships with, and even supportive family members and friends. On the other hand, if you are starting to build your list from scratch, you can add an online sign-up option to your website and encourage your social media followers and customers to sign up.
Email marketing is all about building nurturing relationships and providing quality content, so don’t get tempted to purchase an email list. As your email list grows, you can segment your contact and send tailored email campaigns, the more personal your email feels to a reader, the better your engagement and open rates will get. Some ways you can segment your email list are by Geographic area, email engagement, past purchases, and demographics.
Plan and Execute Your First Campaign
This is the fun part! In this part, you get to create the content and design your first email. Before you start, you need to know some of the main email types and their purposes:
1. Newsletters: This is a multipurpose form of email communication sent to your entire email list, they help you promote new products, announce sales, share content marketing pieces, or keep your clients up to date on your latest business practices. Newsletters are perfect to increase your brand awareness, engagement and drive revenue.
2. Behavioral Emails: These emails are targeted by customer interactions with your business across multiple channels like social media, email, and website. Behavioral emails help you understand consumers’ needs at a particular stage of the sales funnel to move further. It drives better results as they attain higher social media and website activity, better email engagement, more subscriptions, etc. It also supports continuous improvements by revealing brand weak points to improve your products and customer support.
3.Transactional Emails: These emails are a one-time communication related to your customer’s transaction like email receipts, confirmation sign-ups and password resets. Transactional emails are an essential part of your customer experience, but you can also use them to drive traffic back to your website.
A complete email marketing strategy uses a combination of all three of the emails mentioned above. Transactional and behavioral emails can be automatically sent, but newsletters should be planned and scheduled using a content calendar.
Using a content calendar helps prevent you from spamming your subscribers and helps you to keep your team on track and send the right message at the right time. Here are some items to include when creating your marketing calendar:
- Send date and time
- Contact list
- Content description
- Email objective,
- Call to action (CTA)
In general, it is best to send at least one newsletter per month and no more than two emails per week. Keep quality over content, it’s best to send fewer high-quality emails than several non-relevant ones.
Your email marketing platforms provide you with different templates and tools to create your email just the way you like it. You can also get inspiration from other sources such as emails you’ve got in the past, competitors’ emails, Pinterest, or online sources.
Test and refine your emails
Email marketing is a process that will never be 100% perfect. Since it’s constantly changing it is recommended to track different metrics of your campaigns including deliverability, open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate. Combined, these metrics help you determine the success of your email marketing strategy and identify where you need to improve your content.
A/B testing is a great tool that lets you send two versions of an email and figure out which one performs the best. This test will give you insight into which subject line gets the most open rates, what time of the day you should send emails, and the best text for your CTA buttons, among others.
Most email marketing platforms include A/B testing features that automatically split your audience for you. It’s important to keep in mind that you should only test one element of your email. Including A/B testing in your email marketing will tailor your strategy over time.
Are you ready to start your email marketing strategy?
Email marketing is an essential tool for all types of business. It’s a staple to any complete marketing strategy as it proves the best return on investment and is the preferred method of communication for most customers. However, email marketing success depends on your own strategy and the goals for your business. This process can be overwhelming, but now you have the tools to get started! Take the time to establish your goals, identify your audience, and find the right email marketing platform. Good luck on this new marketing journey you are about to embark on!