Email marketing is essential for every business, but only if you do it effectively. Don’t just send your emails out into space. Run an effective email marketing campaign with these six tips
It was official as of March 20, but with the weather finally cooperating and bringing warm temperatures, it now feels real: it is spring, which means it is time for spring cleaning.
Sure, this should include tidying up your home and even brightening up your office, but when it comes to small businesses, spring cleaning must also entail examining and adjusting your online marketing strategy.
Launched in 2008, deal-of-the-day site Groupon gives small businesses the chance to attract new customers by offering discounts on selected products or services. The model has given some unknown brands a bigger platform for sales, but others have criticized Groupon for absorbing too much of business’ profits and only attracting bargain-seekers, thus failing to build brand loyalty.
Depending on your brand, offering a Groupon deal might be a good idea for your business. Of course, it is not enough to just offer your Groupon customers a one-time deal and then expect that they’ll keep flocking back for more. If you are serious about using Groupon to attract and keep new customers, then you will need to implement some effective customer retention strategies that fit with your overall marketing campaign.
Email marketing has become an instrumental tool for small and large businesses everywhere. Getting customers to sign up is easy. However, if you do not want consumers pressing the dreaded Unsubscribe button, you will need to employ some basic email marketing practices.
Email is very much part of our daily lives. So is email marketing. From the last post about this digital age you know; a recent Pew Research study showed that 92% of Americans use email and 60% said they used it daily. Email is an invaluable marketing tool for local business. It effectively stretches a business website sales funnel. Not all visitors necessarily purchase or become a viable lead on the first visit to a website. Email is used to maintain contact, to educate, engage and in the end, sell. Email marketing is an essential component of any online marketing plan.
When you consider a good lead conversion rate from website visitors is 7%. This leaves 93 out of 100 visitors who leave your website without converting. What a waste. There are steps you can take to mitigate these wasted visits. Some of that 93% that leave have an interest. For whatever reason the time is right for them to convert. If you collect email addresses on your site and through other channels, you can increase the conversion rate measurably. The first step is to maintain contact by collecting email addresses. There are numerous ways to gather email addresses. We will limit ourselves here to some simple steps you can take on your website. The screenshot from our website below shows two email capture data forms.
Here are some methods you can use to acquire opt-in email addresses online:
- A free eBook
- A free white paper
- A free trial membership
- A free SEO report (change for your business)
- Offer membership to a club – like a coupon club
- Include a link to email sign up on all your outgoing company emails.
There are many methods to acquire email addresses offline, here are a few:
- When you host an event use a raffle to collect email addresses
- Put an offer on the back of your business cards to get people to sign up for your newsletter.
- Bounce-backs – Get them back! – Send a postcard
- Fish bowl at your store front with a monthly drawing.
The days of “Spam” are long dead, it is important to remember that recipients of your emails are by choice. The CAN-spam act sets a low bar for compliance. In 2011 businesses should do everything they can to send emails the the recipients “want to read”. The first step is to use a reputable Email service provider, (ESP) these ensure you are spam compliant and also provide the tools you need to ensure you are reaching your audience in a way they like.
If you are in business you have probably heard the ads from many Email Service Providers:
Now you have email addresses and a way to deliver interesting and useful information to your subscribers. It is worthwhile planning what you want to achieve from your email list and then how you plan on achieving the goal you have set. The critical thing to remember is that your method must include be interesting and engaging for your subscribers no matter what you are trying to achieve long term. The next post will be describe some of the processes you can use to take advantage of email marketing.
Even as an online marketer, I get annoyed at online marketing sometimes. Granted, I may be a little more picky than some since it’s sort of “my thing;” yet, I’ve learned a lot about Internet marketing, and especially email marketing, as my inbox has began to fill up over the years.
It seems like you can’t even buy a shirt anymore without being added to an email marketing list. As someone who gets a lot of emails, I’ve seen some great ideas for email marketing. It remains extremely popular with 92% of Americans saying they use email. If you’re trying to figure out if you should begin marketing to your current and potential customers via email, here are a few ideas and filters to use:
Use an Opt-In List to abide by CAN-SPAM Laws
Opt-in Lists – Start out with the basic rule which happens to also be law-abiding. Use an opt-in list, meaning make sure everyone who you send emails to has “okay-ed” that they receive emails from you. The CAN-SPAM laws for businesses indicate that when you send solicitation emails, it must be to an opt-in list. Few things annoy me more, lose my loyalty or completely turn me off than getting emails from companies that I never signed up for nor requested.
Keep Your Email Marketing Short
Keep your emails short, and especially if they are going out frequently. Also remember that more and more people are using smart phones and don’t want to take the time to scroll through your long email nor wait for a dozen photos to load. Keep the photos minimal, the text tight, and your email direct and to the point.
Offer Something In Your Email Marketing
Email marketing is great if you can offer something to your recipients. Try offering a coupon or free shipping if you’re a retailer. You can also highlight special services or giveaways through emails. This way you can not only track who opens the email (which is built into the services ESPs offer – like Constant Contact) but you can also see who’s acting upon your offers.
Go the Extra Mile in your Email Marketing with Linking
Go the extra mile when you send emails by including other sites and maps. If you’re going to be suggesting people visit other websites or get driving directions, include links and maps in your email. It makes it all around easier.
We love this local business movement in its second year. It should be called “local” not small but the initiative is an excellent one. Driven by American Express it provides a focal point for leading customers to local businesses. Held on the Saturday after Black Friday. This is a day when we can all celebrate shopping local and support local business owners in our area. American Express is providing access to free tools we recommend for growing your business.
The move toward local business is not just on the Saturday after Black Friday. Local business has opportunity every day of the year. Smart phones and location technology online are driving a local revolution. Online search is turning more and more local. People don’t just want to know who has the product or service they are looking for – they want to know who has it close by.
Are you taking advantage of this beneficial shift? What can you do to get ready?
Are you engaging with your customers? Generating contact on Facebook, Twitter or through a regular email.
Is your business listed online? Claim you business on Google Places, Bing Business Portal and Yahoo Local Listings.
Add a lot of pictures, videos of your business. Create amazing offers and publish online.
Its a fun and exciting time to be a local business and Turn The Page is absolutely thrilled to be part of the journey with so many great small business owners.
Whether your business is strictly online or is a brick-and-mortar, email marketing is still a great way to promote your business. Is this being forgotten about? Let’s see… it’s simple, it’s quick.. it will help to stay in touch with customers.. why aren’t we all doing this more?
Here are the reasons we believe your business should be using email:
1. Keep your customers informed. Having a consistent email sent out either weekly or monthly will keep your customers in the loop. Sending special offers or business updates will influence your customers to keep coming back. A great example of this is an email service reminder (ie. It’s time to schedule your next oil change!).
2. It’s cost effective. Rather than sending out expensive mail, you can save on postage and printing collateral. Email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to stay in contact with your customers.
3. It’s trackable! Marketing no longer has to be done blindly. With email, you can track those who open, click, call, and even buy. This helps you know what works and what doesn’t.
4. Traffic to your website. With a well-planned strategy, an email marketing campaign can draw a lot of quality traffic. With several embedded links to your site, a customer skips any potential distraction from your competitors during a search. Also, in comparison to business cards or direct mail pieces with your URL listed, email marketing is easier for individuals to visit your site since they just need to click a link.
5. It’s easy & fast. Email marketing campaigns are somewhat painless. With the correct guidance and advice, email marketing can prove to be very time effective as well. Once content, links, and tracking have been put into place, an email can be in a customer’s inbox in no time.
6. You can make it voluntary. If your first thought about email marketing goes to those annoying emails that you receive but immediately delete, you can avoid following suit. Send to customers who have used your products and services and who are already interested in what you have to offer. With a successful campaign, you can even begin to encourage people to subscribe to newsletters and special offers.
7. It can build rapport. By staying in contact with your customers, emails turn into relationship marketing. Your customers will begin to feel connected to your business and not want to go anywhere else.
We strongly believe in all of these advantages to running an email campaign to market your business. If you’d like your business to have high open, click-throughs, and conversion rates, you’ll want to be sure that you stick to sending only relevant, timely, and engaging emails.
My advice: Don’t do this alone. A great marketing solution is a team effort and you’ll want to work with experts. For more information, contact Turn the Page Online Marketing to learn how this can help your business grow.