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Understanding the Basics of Email Marketing

When trying to find the best options for cheap and effective marketing, one of the very first things you should think of is email. As one of the most powerful forms of marketing around, it’s up there with the most reliable tools that you can have, not to mention the fact that it’s great value for your money. Email marketing, though, is uniquely challenging and it’s as easy to fail with as it is to succeed at. If you are serious about using e-mail marketing, you need to know how to do it right. In this article, we’ll break down the key credentials of a successful, lasting e-mail marketing campaign!

But before we begin, why do you actually need email marketing?

  1. For one, it can provide you with a chance to build a targeted list of potential customers.
  2. It also allows you to make a targeted message, aimed at very specific ‘segments’ of your market.
  3. You can automate the process to a great degree, turning prospects into long-term customers, all without having to put in too much grunt work.

Getting Started

To begin with, you need to look at how to get permission to email people in the first place. Start off by creating some form of sign-up option on your official website. A subscription box with an enticing call-to-action that asks for the reader to sign up to your newsletter or download a white paper is a great start.

Don’t just start contacting emails on business cards and grabbing emails from social media etc. This is unsolicited marketing, and will land you in some trouble. There are all sorts of laws about this kind of thing, not least is GDPR, which can actually leave you with a hefty fine if you don’t get people’s consent to contact them. You need to have express permission, which is provided when they choose to subscribe to your mailing list and service. By creating an opt-in form, you make it easy to contact people in the future and market to them.

Building a List

Now that you know how to get people to sign-up to be part of your list, how do you entice them to join?

Most of the time, you need what is known as a lead magnet which is basically something you give them in exchange for signing up. So, you could convince them to sign-up by giving them something like:

  • An online book that allows them to learn about a particular subject or topic.
  • A resource booklet that allows the customer to complete something on their own.
  • Access to a webinar, product sample, service trial or a simple price estimate.
  • Coupon codes to help them save money when they next shop with you.

Each solution is well worth your time and consideration. The best way to build a list, though, is to make sure it offers value to the reader. Don’t just attach any old content or add-on; make sure it’s relevant and genuinely useful. For example, throwing some cookbook with recipes that you own the rights to would make no sense if you are offering construction services! It would make sense, though, if you ran a healthy eating business or something on those lines. Building a list means making sure that you offer them something relevant as a hook to make them sign-up. Brainstorm ideas relevant to your industry.

More importantly, though, you need to match up the item to fit with the demographic you’re aiming at. You need to be able to create a plan of action that allows you tailor the offering to the right people. So long as it’s applicable to your audience and offers something genuine, useful and relevant (as well as delivered right away) this works perfectly.

Designing Your Opt-In Form

The next challenge that you face is creating an opt-in that actually attracts attention. This means making sure that your opt-in form makes people want to click it in the first place. This is harder to do than it may appear! While the visuals should be down to you in terms of making it fit with your theme/site/industry, we recommend that you apply the following style guidelines:

  • An enticing headline that makes people want to click on it and to see what you have to offer them in the first place.
  • A description that makes it easy for people to know why they should sign-up and what the benefits include.
  • A visual description that’s all about including an image of your lead magnet, such as the book, coupon or guide.
  • A form that asks for key information like name, email address to make them sign up and want to do so in an instant.
  • A subscription button that stands out from the rest of the page and makes them want to hit that button and sign-up with you.

Do this, and you’ll be much more likely to capture leads.

Splitting the List

While we would never feel comfortable telling you how to talk to your customers, we do recommend that you split up your customers into smaller segments. And no, we don’t mean in a way that’s going to get you arrested! Sending the same email to someone who has already made multiple purchases isn’t going to maximise the value of your time and effort. RIght off the bat, for example, you could use customer data to recommend related products based on what somebody already purchased. Get it?

So, you need to segment your lists into various categories. This allows emails to be more relevant to each customer. From segmenting based on how long they’ve been with you to segmenting on age, location, gender and buying habits you can make the experience personalised and, therefore, better! If you use a CRM, you can easily tag each customer based on their data: middle aged man, no previous purchases, but has spent plenty of time looking at the fishing rods you’ve got for sale. Sending automated emails based on this data allows you to boost open rates and improve the chances of getting repeat business from that person.

What Do You Do Now?

Well, if you’re completely new to email marketing, we recommend that you check out one or two of our posts guides on CRM and automation. While the above only scratches the surface of a very in-depth and challenging subject, you should keep scratching-- there’s a lot to learn, but there’s also so much to gain. Simple email automation can save you so much time, close sales, and engage with customers better than ever before, so learn more and dive in.