Email Marketing Explained
You may have heard or read the phrase email marketing, especially on business-related matters. But what is email marketing and how does it apply to sales and marketing?
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a form of internet marketing which uses email to create and enhance business relationships with potential customers and clients (loyal customers). Put simply, it is the use of email to promote a company’s products and services. You can relate email marketing with other segments of online marketing, such as marketing on websites and social media platforms. It is similar to direct mail. Still, the main difference is, that rather than send mail through the postal service, the messages are sent using electronic means through email.
Examples of Email Marketing
Have you ever received a message in your email which read, “Get Product X at Discount Prices” or “Buy This Product Now to Save Big?” These are typical examples of email marketing, especially if they come repeatedly. You may notice that the same message is transmitted to your different accounts or even to your friends.
The messages sent to your inbox after a certain period by any given company are also examples of email marketing. For example, Company A might be sending you an email after a specified period, say twice a month. These messages are intended to remind you about their products or new offers.
Many of the messages sent to the spam folder in your email account are good examples of email marketing. Such messages tend to annoy you, given that they always remind you of deals you don’t want or give you information which you already have.
Email Marketing Software
The internet gives you access to various automation tools and software which make email marketing a success. These programs help send emails to hundreds of subscribers and monitor how they interact with them. Plus, they help track customer analytics, such as open rates, click-through rates, conversions, and bounce rates. Here are some examples of email marketing software:
Benefits of Email Marketing
Now that you already know what email marketing entails, does your business need this form of marketing? If you’ve not started using email marketing, it’s definitely the right time to consider utilizing this strategy. Other than helping you reach out to a broader audience, email marketing is instrumental in strengthening your brand’s reputation and relationship with customers. Here is a countdown of the significant advantages of email marketing.
1. Reaches a Wider Audience
Studies indicate that 94 percent of internet users have an email address. On the other hand, only 61 percent of internet users use social media. This implies that marketing done via email is likely to reach a wider audience than social media. A staggering 75 percent of adults who access the internet prefer email marketing to other forms of marketing.
2. Reaches the Targeted Audience
With emails, you are sure to contact the correct audience. This is because you give your customers or any person who visits your site, a chance to sign up or turn down an offer to subscribe to your mailing list. And this allows you to reach out to the ideal customer.
You do not have to use the money to send emails to your customers. A mailing list, internet access, and your company’s email are all you need to send messages to your audience. Furthermore, the recipients only need to be online to access their messages. Over 90 percent of Americans own smartphones. And about 65 percent of all emails are opened on mobile gadgets. Compare this marketing tactic with putting an ad on the TV to see the astonishing differences in costs.
4. Easy to Track Return On Income (ROI)
As seen under the section which outlines email software, marketing through emails makes it easy to monitor your business’s ROI. You can simply tell who is reading your emails, who is directed to your site via email, who goes ahead to complete a purchase through your emails, and so much more.
Email Marketing Tips
As with other types of marketing, email marketing requires using certain tricks to get the most out of it. Follow these tips to make email marketing a breeze.
1. Follow the Rules in the CAM-SPAM Act
Always be truthful in your messages. Deceptive subject lines are also a turnoff. State your name and address at the end of every email. Also, allow your customers to choose whether to subscribe to your emails or not. They should be able to unsubscribe if they wish so.
2. Create Your Own Email List
Avoid buying email lists, considering that you do not want to have a long list of subscribers who are not necessarily interested in your products. Every audience is created with a particular product in mind. Otherwise, your messages will be a turn off to most people. Build your list to avoid spamming.
3. Eye-Catching Subject and Layout
The subject line of your messages determines if subscribers will read the email or not. Ultimately, the title of your email is what appears on the inbox of your audience before they open the message. Use an impressive title which will compel the audience to open the email. Be sure also to write an attractive and convincing message.
4. Follow a Schedule
There is no need to send random messages to your clients. Schedule when to reach your audience, so that they know what to expect from you. Determine whether you will be sending messages on a weekly or monthly basis. A point to note is that sending daily messages may lead to boredom.
5. Build a Good Rapport
Why send ads all the time? Let your customers know that it is not only about products. They should know that they are as important as the products are to you. Occasionally, give tips and insights, and share your knowledge. Consider raising awareness about the values of your company. This would build a good business reputation. Make sure that you send a “thank you” message to every client who buys your products.
Email Marketing Personalization and Dynamism
Can you personalize messages? While the content above shows that email marketing involves dealing with a broader audience, it is possible to customize messages before sending them to particular customers. It is a no brainer that you give much value to specific customers. Maybe because they buy in bulk or are repeated customers. Customize the messages according to the type of customers you have. Take an example where you have to congratulate your customers on buying a product or showing an interest in purchasing it.
Also, you may want to send individual messages to your mailing list, especially during birthdays and significant life events. For example, you may offer your clients a 50 percent discount on their birthdays or during holidays. Be sure to write them individual messages but also focus on what offer you can give them during these days.
What is Your Email Content?
You now know how to start an email marketing campaign, but what should you include in the emails? Your emails include product information, new promotions, and sales. Include any announcement or news about new products and events. Mention the date when they should expect offers. And remind them that any referrals will earn them discounts and/or free services.
A marketing email should also feature links to some articles on your websites or other online platforms. Post a few customer testimonials to convince them that your products are the best and clients are satisfied. Give a few promotion codes as part of your loyalty rewards. Lastly, leave a compelling welcome message and ask them to follow you on or join (voluntarily) your social media sites.
Using Email Marketing with Other Forms of Internet Marketing
While email marketing is relatively cheap when compared to other forms of marketing, you should not focus only on this strategy. Break your business boundaries by employing different types of online marketing, such as social media marketing. Put a few ads on your company’s Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts. Consider using other business or people’s sites to market and sell your products. Include a link which requests the audience to subscribe to your newsletter or mailing list.
Email Marketing at a Glance
Marketing through email has undoubtedly become an essential tool in sales and marketing. This can be linked to the advancements in technology, many people owning smartphones, and improved access to the internet. An email marketing campaign will ultimately reach a more broad, yet targeted audience, is affordable, can be used with other marketing campaigns, and tracks the ROI. The downside of email marketing is the rejection rate, which may negatively affect the delivery of your information. Some individuals or even the email provider may direct your messages into the spam folder. And this is the reason why you should always send relevant and appropriate messages to each subscriber. With all said and done, the benefits of email marketing outweigh the small disadvantages. Good luck with your marketing campaign.
How to Choose the Best Email Marketing Software for Your Business
In the past, email marketing software was a preserve of large firms with advanced marketing plans. Today (as of 2019), things have completely changed, and even small businesses are now harnessing the power of email campaigns to arrest customers and boost sales sky high. All factors held constant, no form of digital marketing equals email marketing. However, while you can have the finest email marketing strategy in place, that does not, in any way, guarantee you success. A successful email marketing campaign is driven by a mix of factors, all of which are fundamentally important. One of such factors is the choice of email marketing software – you must simply get it right.
With a sea of email marketing tools online, you may need to burn your midnight oil looking for one that best suits your business. To ensure that you get the right software without hassle, this guide looks at 13 considerations you will need to have in mind during your due diligence. But before we go further, it is essential to first look at email marketing and its benefits. In fact, it may be difficult to know the type of software that suits your business if you don’t understand what email marketing entails.
Email Marketing and Its Benefits at a Glance
Do you understand how the traditional ‘snail mail’ marketing works? Email marketing is simply the online variant of that. While the former involves sending out fliers or coupons in hard copy (and it is actually still extremely useful even in this supremely digital era), the latter involves sending out similar items in a digital format. In email marketing, the items are typically sent to the receiver’s inbox.
Like any form of marketing, this delivers a lot of perks. It helps businesses find new clients, encourage repeat business, and boost brand loyalty. It is also very easy to track your email marketing campaigns as you will be able to know if your emails have been correctly delivered, if they have been opened, who opened them, and the kind of action the receiver has completed.
So, what do you look for in email marketing software? Wading through the myriad of available software options to land the right tool is not a walk in the park. With certain considerations, however, you should not have any problem doing it. The following are 13 of the most essential considerations when choosing your email marketing software.
Ease of Use
Whether you are a seasoned email marketer or new to the game, the fact remains that you cannot manage to completely steer clear of challenges. Of course, no marketer wants to buy an email marketing tool that is difficult to use. So, you will need to find a program that is easy to use so that your life in the world of digital marketing becomes smooth. But how will you determine that a tool is the best in light of this criterion? Simply get out of your comfort zone and do some homework. You can do your homework in many ways, including reading independent reviews written by third parties and visiting the blog section of the provider’s website. Grab any free trial offered by the provider and take full advantage of it. You could also engage the provider’s customer support agents and seek answers to relevant queries.
Like anything else, the price of email marketing software increases with increase in features. If you have a solid grasp of what you want for your business, then you should be able to choose a tool that suits your budget. While you may have been told time and again that cheap is expensive, it is not necessarily so. When it comes to email marketing, it is recommended to go for a tool with different price plans and one that allows you to upgrade gradually as your business grows. The good thing is that most providers offer different payment plans, and they allow users to switch from one plan to another without losing their data, including email lists and templates. Generally, email marketing software plans are based on the following factors:
List size: What is the total number of your subscribers? A point worth knowing is that plans based on list size may come with a monthly limit of email campaigns you can send.
Pay as you go: These plans allow users to buy credit blocks based on their current needs. They are especially useful if you are running a seasonal business, which does not require sending out emails all year round. Pay as you go plans don’t come with a fixed monthly fee.
Email volume: This refers to the number of emails you are sending out every month. It combines campaign and list size. For instance, if you have a monthly limit of 10,000 emails, you could send a single campaign to an 10,000-recipient list, or 10 campaigns to an 1,000-recipient list. Some providers will include a list limit in each plan.
High volume: High volume plans are ideal for businesses with a huge email list. Be sure to talk to the sales department of the provider about any discounts. Some high volume plans come with a unique IP address for the user.
A complete email marketing tool should work in tandem with your CRM, as well as any other technology you are using. When sending out your emails, the tool should be able to extract contacts from the CRM of your system. Think of what it would be like if the tool you are using worked in isolation! Once the contacts are pulled from the database, you will be able to divide your list into segments based on what works best for your business. This could be such criteria as life-cycle stage or demographic information.
Trying to track your campaigns but looks like something is not working quite right? A/B testing will help you effectively fix that. With this process, you can test a variety of elements, including send times, CTAs, subject lines, images, and content, to determine what your clients like and what works. A/B testing results in patterns, which help you to avoid what does not work and reinforce what works for you. This translates to improved conversion rates. Hence, A/B testing is an essential consideration when selecting your email marketing software
Template creation is important because it reduces your workload by ensuring that you don’t need to create emails from scratch every time you send out a campaign. Once you have determined what works for you best, you could simply insert it into a template and use it as many times as you want. Using templates also means that you will only have minimal data amount to be entered manually. This reduces the chances of typos and other errors. When choosing your email marketing software, be sure that it offers pre-designed templates besides allowing you to create your own templates.
Country-Specific & Industry
Sure, the majority of email marketing tools are basically the same in terms of functionality, but there are tools which have been designed for use in certain industries, including life sciences, financial services, and other industries with stringent user data rules. A point also worth noting is that data privacy laws tend to vary from one jurisdiction to another. Thus, you will need to choose an email marketing tool that will help you comply with the data laws and regulations of your jurisdiction.
Reporting & Analytics
Do you know that you could create the finest marketing message or newsletter with insightful content and witty copyrighting but if the recipients are not opening, clicking, and buying your services, you will have wasted your efforts? You can tell the behavior of your campaign recipients by keeping track of important metrics, including action rate, unsubscribe rate, bounce rate, and open rate. Hence, the email marketing software of your choice should allow you to track this information. And not just that – the tool should also be able to generate reports to guide you on what to do next to improve the situation.
As an entrepreneur, it should not be lost on you that the needs of your business will change as it grows. For instance, if you are just getting started with an online footwear store, free email marketing software may just be enough to help you run your business. However, when the business grows to a big enterprise, you will need a paid marketing tool possibly advanced features. So, while it is advisable to choose a tool that meets your needs at the current time, you don’t want to switch the tool right in the middle your campaign as this may result in the loss of data, confusion among your recipients, and all manner of negative things. It is better to get started with a scalable tool, which will meet your needs as your business grows with time.
As an email marketer, one thing to remember is that email marketing is also about receiving emails, rather than just sending out emails. This is where deliverability comes in. It ensures that your campaign hits the recipient’s inbox without being blocked. When choosing your tool, you will want to work with a provider that knows what the best practices for deliverability entail. This will ensure that your campaign is seen by as many people as possible.
A good email marketing tool should let you segment your subscriber list according to different buying cycle stages. Yes, you will have repeat and seasoned clients, first-time buyers, and customers who like shopping but don’t buy. You will also have clients of different genders and ages, as well as clients from various different locations. You will definitely not use the same marketing approach on all these segments since each one of them has got its own needs. To effectively market your business to each and every segment, you will need a targeted service.
Email personalization has the potential to put your brand head and shoulders above your competitors who may have not personalized their emails. Email personalization refers to the ability to tweak the content of an email automatically to suit the preference and behavior of each individual customer. While it involves using the names of the customers in emails, it goes way beyond just that. Ideally, personalization has more to do with your knowledge of the customer. You could know your customers by harnessing their data, including their average order value, location, gender, brand preference, and category interest. As a matter of fact, personalized campaigns deliver a higher conversion rate than emails that are not personalized.
Repeat business is very important as it gives birth to an army of loyal customers. One way to encourage repeat business is by sending out a post-purchase thank you message to customers who have just purchased your service or product. This could translate to more and more sales, which you would have otherwise lost. Make sure that the email marketing software you are using allows you to automate your emails for a scenario such as this. Other scenarios that call for email automation include abandoned cart and welcome emails.
Imagine being in a time-critical scenario where you need an immediate solution from your software provider only to realize that the customer support team is taking hours or even days to resolve your situation. Clearly, you don’t want to be in such a mess. While most software providers will provide a 24/7 customer support service via a variety of channels, including live chat, phone call, and even email, others provide the service during certain hours of the day only. You will want to go for the former. An effective and efficient support service plays a key role in the success of your email marketing campaigns. If your problems are not being resolved quickly, then you could be losing out on a number of important sales. Besides looking at how good the support service is, it is also important to check the knowledge base the tool comes with. Most email marketing software providers also offer a comprehensive knowledge base with such resources as whitepapers, video tutorials, and how-to guides to help you get around most of the issues.
As clearly depicted in this guide, the best email marketing software for your business depends on a number of factors. You must first know what you exactly want before embarking on finding a tool that meets your business needs. The features that the tool comes with play a fundamental role, while your budget and the size of your business will also go a long way in determining your software choice.