An Introduction to Email Marketing
Email is an inexpensive means of promotion. It can help you gather essential information about your business and customers. For example, Constant Contact, an email marketing software, lets you add polls to emails. That’s a great way of collecting data and making any communication more fascinating.
With email, you can measure practically everything from campaign effectiveness to engagement and other data. For instance, you’ll know exactly how many people opened your message and clicked on specific links, including website visit durations.
Email marketing makes it possible to discern the elements of your campaign that’s working, so you can refine things accordingly for better future results. Not many marketing tools offer such control, which is why it can increase revenues.
It has the highest ROI of all online promotion tools. Marketers estimate a 35% return on every dollar spent according to DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker.
A well-built contact list can drive the following areas:
- Lead generation
- Customer acquisition or sales
- Audience or customer engagement
- Customer loyalty or retention
- Brand awareness
- Types of Emails
- There are two types of emails – these are transactional and marketing.
A transactional message is sent because of an action or inaction. For example, a customer or prospect that’s sent a confirmation after subscribing. Similarly, notifying your customers about a system outage is transactional messaging.
These messages push a specific commercial purpose, such as announcing a discount coupon. The timing matters a lot when sending marketing emails because you want as many people as possible to interact with the message.
Furthermore, each country or region has laws that govern marketing messages, such as CAN-SPAM in the USA or CASL in Canada. Refer to the appropriate laws in your area or a legal advisor before sending marketing-based messages.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing
Getting started isn’t complicated once you know the steps to follow. Let’s take a look at three things you must do to begin.
1. Establish Goals
Before looking at email marketing services and selecting a vendor, consider your objectives. Think about what you intend to accomplish. That should keep your energies focused, ensuring you’re targeting the right audience and mailing out effective campaigns.
You should also consider how success will be measured. Establishing goals and defining metrics for measuring performance ensures your business objectives will align with marketing initiatives.
Here are some examples of email marketing objectives:
- Convince more people to donate to your cause
- Drive more traffic to your site to increase opportunities
- Promote products to boost sales
- Keep your customer base updated with upcoming events or changes
- Convert more interested prospects into leads for the sales team
2. Get an Email Marketing Software
It’s all about communicating with people. And you shouldn’t mail out random content; it needs to be targeted, which is where email marketing services help. You also need to manage your contacts, and needless to note, excel spreadsheets won't cut it. You need an email marketing platform.
These systems will help you manage your contact list and run marketing initiatives efficiently. You should pick a platform that ticks all the boxes that count the most, specifically the following:
- It can integrate seamlessly with your website and existing tools
- It’s mobile-friendly and offers many responsive templates
- Automation and auto-response handling features are present
- The platform’s capabilities can be expanded via integrations
- It offers opt-in or subscription forms, popups, and other lead generation tools
- The email templates are flexible and easy to customize
- The platform has good analytics and reporting
One example of software that ticks all the right boxes is GetResponse. The company offers a simple and intuitive platform that makes it possible to create interactive campaigns even with limited knowledge. Plus, it has more than 500 pre-designed templates you can use. It's one of the best email marketing services out there.
3. Build Your List
The way you go about building your list will depend on your goals. Your chosen platform should have plenty of tools you can lean on to build a list or capture addresses. Feel free to examine the list of email marketing services here.
You’ll need two main ingredients to begin building your list. First, you need a valuable resource that can be given away for free. Second, you need to create opportunities for people to subscribe.
- Valuable resource – This is a lead magnet or irresistible offer that can entice people to sign up or subscribe. For example, “200 Tax Incentives for Small Business Owners” is an enticing offer.
- Subscribe opportunities – This is the use of landing pages, blog posts, and anything else you can embed in a subscription form. For instance, you can place a site-wide subscription form at the top of your site.
If you already have a contact list, those emails can be imported into your platform. But make sure you have permission to reach these people.
Common Terms You Should Know
Jargon can confuse beginners, so here are some common email marketing terms to boost your fluency and understanding:
- ESP (Email Service Provider) – This refers to email marketing services or software vendors.
- Personalization – Using subscriber data (e.g., interests, names, etc.) to customize content is called personalization.
- A/B test – As the name suggests, A/B testing is a way of comparing the results of two messages. You can test several subject lines and content simultaneously.
- Marketing automation – This is the process of automatically sending out emails based on pre-set triggers.
- Dynamic content – When you display content based on a subscriber’s data, that’s called dynamic content. For example, the system can automatically show a different banner or text to existing customers.
- CTR (click-through-rate) – CTR is a measure of how many individuals clicked on a link, image, or other action.
- Email deliverability – The ability of your message to reach the recipient’s inbox is deliverability.
- Soft bounces – Refers to a message that reached the mail server but couldn’t be delivered because of reasons like the mailbox being full or the server down.
- Hard bounces – This is when the message can't be delivered because the address is invalid, the message was blocked, or the domain does not exist.
- Autoresponder – Refers to automated messages triggered whenever someone sends you a message (e.g., out of office responses).
- Open rate – This is the percentage representation of the number of people that open your message.
- Mass email – When you send the same message to many people simultaneously, that's called mass email (or bulk mail).
- CTA (call-to-action) – Any request or order intended to encourage subscribers to take action (e.g., 'Join Now').
- Mail client – This refers to the application or software you use on a computer to read and send emails, such as Apple Mail or Outlook.
- Double opt-in – This is when people subscribe (step one) and then receive a follow-up notice to confirm the address used (step two).
- Segmentation – List segmentation is categorizing or separating your contact list into different groups or segments.
By now, you can probably see the enormous potential of email marketing. Before you start doing anything with it, make sure there are clear goals. Then you need to choose a software – something that has all the tools necessary to run successful campaigns. Don't worry; there are many email marketing service providers. Lastly, develop a strategy for acquiring subscribers. Good luck.