Sometimes when it comes to digital marketing, you’ve got to stick to the classics.
Sure, a piece of digital marketing is embracing the new in order to compete, but you don’t want to forget where you came from either.
That means when it comes to advertising your product or service, the ever-changing methods that affect search engine optimization (SEO) should still be adhered to. But don’t forget about the tried and true aspect of digital marketing that has been around since the conception of the Internet: email marketing.
While it doesn’t take a qualified and experienced digital marketing consultant like me, Mauricio Pina, to cook up an email, it does take an expert to run an email marketing campaign effectively. When done properly, you can turn your email list into sweet, sweet conversions.
What is email marketing?
In a nutshell, email marketing is essentially what it sounds like. It is a section of digital marketing that uses email to encourage the purchase of whatever goods or services your business offers. While this definition meets the purpose of what email marketing does, what email marketing truly is can be defined as a way to foster business relationships with potential clients or customers by keeping them informed with a tailored marketing message.
That means NO SPAM! It is a delicate balance between personalizing an email to keep customers engaged and selling your product. No one likes spam, and an impersonal email barrage of your goods or services to a large audience will lose you customers faster than you can say “PageRank”.
“Personalize thousands of emails in an email marketing campaign? Sounds impossible, Moe.”
Hear me out real quick. Yes, I would not advise going through each email you have on an email list. But that still doesn’t mean that you can’t personalize them.
While I don’t recommend that you get to know your customers intimately – like their thoughts about the Franco-Thai War of 1940 – you can get an idea of who they are by collecting small amounts of relevant information through, say, a survey.
This will give you the ability to see who your typical customer is and if you collect specific information – like a date of birth – you can personalize not only their email but their whole experience with your business.
A prime example of this is when restaurants send out emails to their customers offering a discount off of a meal on the customer’s birthday. This works for the business two-fold:
- It helps develop and maintain a relationship with the customer(s).
- Increases sales by increasing customer loyalty.
But this only works if this is an email list that you have grown, NOT if they are emails you have bought from some third-party vendor. The latter is no better than sending a blind email blast to people that may not be interested in your goods or services, and the more spam they receive, the more they will grow to resent your business.
However, don’t assume that all of your customers want to subscribe to your email list, either. Automatically signing them up without their permission will hurt your business. Permission-based email marketing campaigns where customers are asked to opt-in rather than opt-out are your best bet to grow that email list full of customers that want to hear about specific deals or services that you carry.
Oh, and you’ll also want to optimize it for mobile, as over half of emails are generally opened on mobile devices.
“I’m still not buying it, Moe. Convince me why I should use email marketing.”
Simple. It’s relatively easy, cost-effective, proven, and easily measurable.
Email marketing is easy to set up and manage. It offers more analytics and reporting capabilities, providing crucial insight to click-through rates, open rates, bounce rates, and conversions. These make it much more simple to track what is working and what isn’t in your campaign, giving you the ability to modify your strategy for maximum effectiveness.
Email marketing is cost-effective. It is an inexpensive way to get the word out about your products and/or services compared to other mediums.
It can be successful if done right. Emails have the ability to hit their targets in terms of a specific audience or ideal customer. It allows you to target by demographics (e.g. age, income, gender, etc.). Remember, however, while Facebook can do the same, more people have access to email than they do to social media.
Lastly, email marketing allows a wider range of customizable formatting capabilities than you would get through any particular social medium post. Have you ever tried to sell something on Twitter, especially when their character limit was 140? Yeah, it was tough. Of course, you want to keep your message short. No one likes to read a wall of text.
“But you said not too long ago that SEO and technology are always changing. Aren’t Email Marketing’s days numbered?”
Relax, it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. In a recent report conducted by HostPapa/a>, they found that:
- 94 percent of people who use the Internet use email. Only 61 percent use social media. That means that email marketing has the potential to reach more people than social media like Facebook or Twitter.
- 75 percent of adult online users claim that email marketing is their preferred marketing method.
Let’s get down to brass tacks. Email marketing gathers more eyes than a social media post does, as per what is evident from the statistics above. That isn’t even taking into account that your target audience may not even see your social media post within their feed but they sure will see an email in their inbox. There it will stay until read or deleted.
That’s not to say that you should forgo social media for email marketing, however. In truth, the two go together like warm apple pie and vanilla ice cream—or pumpkin pie with whipped cream if that’s your thing.
A properly tailored email sent to an appreciative customer may earn their business, but you could be stopping your own growth if you have no social media icons that direct them to “Like” or “Share”. This small gesture allows customers to connect with your brand, upping brand loyalty.
Don’t forget to sauce up these emails with a testimonial or two from satisfied customers you pulled from your social media platforms, and at the same time, don’t forget to encourage your followers to sign-up for your email newsletters.
Email Marketing Tips Moving Forward
Email marketing can really have a beneficial impact on your business. It opens up the opportunity for people to visit the links to your website or blog that you send along with the email, increasing your sales potential.
The following are a few tips that you can use should you decide to go lone wolf with your email campaign. Tread lightly as email marketing demands balance, lest the spam that your customers may complain about will tear your business apart.
- Stick to the rules – The CAN-SPAM Act was enacted for a reason, and honestly, it’s just good business. These rules cite that you:
- Don’t use false or misleading header information.
- Don’t use a deceptive subject line.
- Identify the message as an ad.
- Tell recipients where you are located.
- Tell recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails from you.
- Honor those opt-out requests promptly.
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf.
- Consistency is key – Stick to a schedule when sending out newsletters and ads. Remember, the key is balance. Don’t send a barrage of emails every day to the people on your email list, but one email every other day shouldn’t hurt.
- The email list – First, don’t purchase email listings. More than likely you’ll get a bunch of people that aren’t interested in what you have to sell and sending them ads anyway will brand you as a spammer. Once that happens, you lose all credibility.
For a little more information on these topics, you can view the compliance guide here.
While you’re at it, refrain from spamming ads at them too. Use email marketing as a way to build rapport with your customer base by sharing your expertise, tips, insights and other things of value within your market. Also, you can use this as an opportunity to showcase how your customers—with their permission, of course—interact with your service or product.
Build it from the ground up:
- Collect information from customer surveys.
- Do a little bit of background information on the types of people that purchase similar products in the industry.
- Use Facebook to make lookalike audiences based on trends in your market.
- Collect data from your website regarding viewed products, abandoned carts, or customer wishlists.