Email marketing is just one of many useful online marketing activities, and it works by sending commercial messages to consenting subscribers. Along with social media and content marketing, email marketing is a staple in most marketing plans since it can attract high conversation rates and because it was the first online marketing activity to gain mass adoption. Just consider how e-commerce giants like Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba leverage their customer databases to drive sales through email marketing.
At all times, you should consider email marketing as a tool to enhance your subscriber/customer relationships. When you think about it this way, as opposed to just thinking about revenue, you’ll put your subscribers first and consider how best to market to them.
What You Should Be Sending
Value Added Content – I subscribe to CrunchBase because I find value in their daily digest regarding startup funding activity. If their email content suddenly changed and omitted this info, I would likely unsubscribe. People subscribe because they want to receive value for their subscriptions. Value can mean many different things, so your goal is to understand what your subscribers desire and provide it to them. My email marketing value proposition is to offer a monthly recap of my posts to folks who are too busy to keep coming back to my site. It’s a very straightforward proposition that appeals to many people.
Special Offers – There’s a portion of the market that subscribes because they want to keep abreast of special offers, for instance, upcoming sales events, discounts and price reductions. Although I don’t send offers frequently, I send the occasional email highlighting a special deal on my online courses.
Your email marketing plans should consider these four areas.
- Layout and design refer to the ascetics of an email, and you’ll need to decide: color scheme, font, font size, width, sections, images, videos and other nuances that affect conversion metrics. Most email service providers offer various customizable templates, drag & drop functionality and more to create fantastic looking emails.
- Quantity speaks to how much content on average will be in your emails. Alternatively, you can see it as your average word count per email. The question then becomes how much is too much or too little. Verbosity can be a conversion killer in the busy and KISS (keep it simple stupid) times we live in today. I take a less is more approach and try to keep reader page scrolling to a minimum. I want my readers to understand want I’m sending them within seconds.
- Frequency addresses how often you will send your subscribers emails, which of course depends on your business. For example, an online store can get away with sending more emails compared to a self-employed consultant. The best approach here may be to start with one email a month then increase accordingly. Additionally, a search revealed a few studies on the best time of day to send emails and one concluded that between 8:00 pm to midnight is the sweet spot.
- Segmentation builds upon the information you receive from user accounts and opt-in forms. The richness of your data will enable you to segment your subscribers into different groups based on various demographics. On the other hand, many internet marketers including myself focus on collecting only email addresses since this will suffice for our efforts. From the onset, you should decide how important segmentation will be to your marketing activities then implement those fields (make them required inputs if necessary) into your account signup and subscriber forms.
10 Benefits of Email Marketing
Perhaps you aren’t doing any email marketing, or you are, but you need a refresher as to why. Let’s highlight several significant benefits.
Free or low monthly fees
There are many free email marketing services, e.g. MailChimp and MailPoet, that will allow users to send emails for free up to a specified subscriber count. When you cross that threshold, just as many paid email marketing services are available to choose from. For instance, I started with MailPoet then upgraded to AWeber.
High return on investment
As marketers, we can spend our budgets on many approaches and tools. Email marketing offers an excellent way to maximize spend according to various sources, for instance, for every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing and 7 in 10 people say they made use of a coupon or discount from a marketing email in the prior week.
Higher conversion than social media
This statistic blew me away when I read it; “E-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.” In other words, email marketing trounces social media marketing so it should be a top priority in your marketing plans.
Let’s say you decide to run a costly video marketing campaign using YouTube and AdSense. How soon will you know if your campaign is working? With email marketing, various data points start to appear the second after you send your emails so understanding the effectiveness of your campaign occurs in real-time. For example, you gain insights into the delivery rate, opens, clicks, conversions and other metrics as soon as they occur.
People check their emails daily
I’m on social media every day, but I know a lot of individuals who are not. Conversely, most people check their emails at least once a day as it has become a part of their daily routines. Most things you can shut off, but it’s relatively difficult to turn off the email tap completely. As a result, email marketing can yield higher penetration rates compared to other activities.
Direct to consumer
An email is sent directly to a subscriber, unlike other marketing activities whereby consumers may stumble upon them by chance.
Keeps people in the loop
Many people want to stay informed about the topics that interest us. Receiving an email is much more efficient compared to visiting different websites or searching for information.
Compare receiving an email to a salesperson knocking on your door or a call-center rep calling at dinner time. Email marketing is less intrusive than other activities, so your subscribers are more likely to consider the content of your emails.
Easy to create
Contemplate the time and energy it takes to create print ads, webinars, and promotional videos then consider how easy it is to whip up an email. In fact, some of my most profitable emails have been created in under an hour. As previously mentioned, most email service providers offer various customizable templates and drag & drop functionality that simplifies the creation process.
The upper end of email marketing strategy encompasses a high degree of customer centricity i.e. tailoring emails to each subscriber based on his/her profile. This takes my point regarding segmentation to the Fortune 500 level by leveraging the brains of savvy marketers and using premium software such as Infusionsoft and SalesForce to name a couple.