Email marketing has long been one of the most effective ways of marketing a business online. It’s simple, direct and given that email use is nearly ubiquitous, not limited demographically.
Email is a great way to generate new customers, not just secure long-standing ones. The key to achieving this is to be forthcoming with the eternal customer question ‘what’s in it for me?’
1. Set up a mailing list
The first step in any email marketing campaign is to establish a list of email addresses to send your e-newsletters to. There are a number of ways to do this, but the most important thing to understand is the legal details around collecting email addresses for marketing purposes.
There is the option of buying a list of email addresses, which can help increase exposure, but it could also hurt the perception of your brand online. For the purpose of finding and engaging new customers, it’s best that the list is made up of people who have actively signed up out of interest in your business.
Recipients that have ‘opted in’ to receive your e-newsletters are much more likely to respond well to regular marketing emails, even if their interaction might be less than inspiring to begin with.
In order to build an ‘opt-in’ email list, it’s essential to give prospective customers lots of opportunities to sign up to your newsletter. For example, your business should be looking to leverage existing touch points with customers and asking for an email address wherever possible. Eg have a newsletter sign up form on the website, collect email addresses when before and after booking confirmation, in-store at the point of sale, at industry events, in sales calls etc.
Be transparent about what subscribers will receive upon signing up to the list. This not only ensures they’ll be more receptive to your marketing, but can help to sell the idea of the newsletter to them. For example, it’s important to let people know the benefits your emails have to offer them, including discounts, exclusive offers, invitations to special events, or even access to helpful information they might not receive otherwise.
We also recommend you include a ‘forward to a friend’ function on your e-newsletters. This will encourage your existing customers to forward your emails to their friends and help you expand your list.
2. Give them what they want
Content is king! The better and more relevant your email content is to recipients, the more successful your email marketing will be.
3. Strike a balance between content and promotion
Once you have established an email database, it’s wise to resist the temptation to simply hammer your customers with your products and service offerings. Although broadcasting promotions might feel like the most direct way to increase your customer numbers, balancing offers out with genuinely useful content is a much better approach.
In order to ensure a reasonable conversion rate from an email marketing campaign, it’s best to add more value than just a promotion. Not everyone will be interested in a promotion – those that aren’t, will unsubscribe after a few emails. If you turn the focus of each email to providing useful content, recipients will be much more likely to stay interested in your business.
4. Use auto-responders
Many site visitors will be simply too wary of being spammed to sign up for an email newsletter. As a way of enticing such tentative prospects, we recommend you think about using an auto-response function. Eg recipients will receive useful information once a week for 5 weeks. At the end of the 5 weeks, they can choose to sign up for the newsletter to continue to get more useful articles.
5. Be personable
It’s a good idea to be as personable as you can afford to be in your email marketing. Acknowledging recipients as individuals and taking the time to respond to their queries will result in a more attentive and forgiving database.