You’ve probably heard that email is dead. Email lacks the luster of social media. Spam has driven people away from using it. Blogs and social media have replaced it. Don’t believe it! Email may be old, but it’s an effective content marketing method, with a great return on investment. It’s easy to use, for marketers and users. Email filters and new laws have made email spam much less of an issue than it once was. Even better, email marketing compliments your other content marketing. Email marketing is a highly effective way to build an audience, generate leads and get your message out to your users.
Why Use Email Marketing?
Why use email marketing when investing your content marketing efforts in social media and blogging appear to be the better choice? Simply, email marketing works! In fact, its very effective. Email is inexpensive and easy to use. It’s great way to generate quality leads, nurture users through the sales funnel, and build relationships.
1. Email marketing offers greater exposure than other channels. You might think that your blog or social media have more exposure. Generating traffic and getting dedicated readers is challenging. Most people just skim blog posts. How many people will see your tweets or Facebook updates as other tweets speed by and someone clicks on the funny cat picture instead of your Facebook update?
2. Email marketing is highly targeted and focused. There are few ways to customize and personalize messages across social media. Email lets you easily customize and personalize each email message. You can set up auto-responders to provide specific emails at specific intervals. Messages can be tailored to the particular point in the buying funnel a user is in or for post purchase follow ups.
3. Email marketing lists have more committed users. Email marketing is permission based. A person has to make an effort to add themselves to your email list. Clicking “like” or “retweet” doesn’t require much effort‚Äö√Ñ√Æsubscribing and verifying your email address through a double opt-in form does.
4. Return on investment is very good. Email marketing is relatively cheap with a high return on investment… and the investment is minimal. It doesn’t require a lot of time or effort to implement and use. There are several email service providers that make it very easy, and many of them offer their services for free if you are below a certain threshold (usually less than 1000 subscribers, which many small businesses fall under).
5. Email marketing works everywhere. Everyone has email. They can read your emails on their home computer, their work computer, their tablets, and their mobile phones. By not limiting where and how a user accesses your email, they are more likely to open them and read them.
6. Email marketing compliments your other content marketing efforts. Blogging and social media are still important. Use your blog to build your email list. Use your email list to build your social media. That’s what makes email marketing so great, it doesn’t cannibalize your other content marketing efforts or render them ineffective.
7. Email marketing generates leads and builds relationships. Your users gave you permission to talk to them. This opens the door for a more personal dialogue. Give your users valuable content and then ask them to take an action, whether that be the next step in the sales process or something as simple as letting you know what they think. Its a great way to generate and nurture leads, and build relationships with your users.
Tips for Effective Email Marketing
Email marketing is content marketing and content is critical if you want to create an effective email marketing campaign. You must entice people to subscribe by promising them unique and valuable content, get them to open your emails with great subject lines, and keep them wanting more by providing great content, all while building a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship with them.
1. Provide unique and valuable content. People expect unique and valuable content that isn’t already on your website. Users don’t give up their email address easily and they won’t let you keep using it if you don’t provide them with valuable content. Use irresistible headlines (and subject lines) and effective messaging. The same rules that go into writing content for your blog apply to emails.
2. Make it personal. Email can easily be customized for each person. Use their name, as well as your own, in the emails. Send emails from a real email address, not a generic one. Write as if you were talking to a friend, using “you” in your message. Find out what your subscribers want by asking them with “Just click reply to this message and it will come to my personal in-box.” This is a great way to find out what you users want so you can provide them with better content. It also builds a deeper, more trusting relationship‚Äö√Ñ√Æthey have your email, not some generic one.
3. Keep your emails clean and straightforward. Don’t clutter your emails with lots of images or excess information. Some of the best and most effective emails are usually about one topic and, more often than not, they’re a simple plain-text email. Not only is this the best way to ensure that users can read the message with any email client, but it also keeps the user focused on the actual email message instead of clicking away.
4. Have a plan. As with all marketing, you should develop an email marketing plan. Define what your users want and determine how you will provide it. Decide what emails you will send and when you will send them. Frequency is important and you should vary how often your send emails based on the user and where they are in the sales process.
5. Use analytics and test your emails. Modern email service providers include a variety of tools that provide you with tons of actionable data. Make use of it to determine your engagement levels. Use split testing to find the best email headlines, content and calls to action. Send one version of your email to 10% of your subscribers and another version to a different 10%. Whichever performs best, send that to remaining 80% of your subscribers.
6. Understand the basics. Email marketing is not spam and you want to avoid being labeled as a spammer. Follow these basic rules to keep your subscribers happy.
- Ensure everyone on the list has agreed to be there‚Äö√Ñ√Ædon’t add email addresses without people’s permission (using a double opt in method is best).
- Give subscribers the ability to opt out of receiving your emails.
- Make sure the sender information is clear and they know its coming from you (using a real person’s email is best).
- Comply with CAN-SPAM rules.
7. Think long-term. You are building a relationship with your users. It takes time to build trust. Keep information concise, to the point and focused on the user and their needs. Don’t email too often or not often enough‚Äö√Ñ√Æemailing more than once a week is annoying, emailing less than once a month and users might forget about you. Don’t make hard sells in your emails. Start slowly by asking the user to take simple actions and build them up to the point when it will feel comfortable and natural to ask for their business.
Email marketing is an effective way to get your message out to your users and generate leads. Email is inexpensive, easy to implement and easy to use making it a great way to build an audience that is committed and cares about what you have to say. You can build relationships and connect with your users on a personal level. Email marketing isn’t going away. It compliments social media and an enhances your other marketing efforts.