Why is Email Marketing Important for Your Business?
The very first version of an email was invented in 1965, as part of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)’s Compatible Time-Sharing System. Users could log in from remote terminals and share files and messages on a central disk. It then evolved over the 1970s to include staple aspects such as ‘to’ and ‘from’ fields, and the ability to forward the mail.
Today, electronic messages spread across the digital world and fill our lives with updates, information and details. They compete for our attention and screen space, keeping our inboxes filled to the brim.
In the digital marketing space, sending emails and developing a rapport with various different prospects is an effective strategy to grow your business. It is a unique marketing channel that can set itself apart from other digital marketing strategies especially in today’s world, where online tools can help with the automation process.
With all the different social media platforms, virtual assistants and chatbots, it sometimes seems like emails are long past their prime. However, as of 2018’s data, email marketing is still ranked as the most effective marketing channel, outperforming other digital marketing channels out there, such as social media, SEO, and affiliate marketing.
Growing Your Business
Emails act as a tool to grow your business.
It can be challenging to stand out in filled inboxes and compete for attention on a desktop monitor screen. But despite the rise of social media and unsolicited spam email, email remains the most effective way to nurture leads and boost customer loyalty.
Generate Organic Traffic
Generate Organic Traffic. When done right, email can be an effective promotional channel for interested readers. Through newsletters, you get to circulate and revive traffic to your website. Additionally, this source of traffic can be timed and planned for, giving you opportunities to integrate email marketing to your other digital marketing or promotional campaigns.
Emails can be a great source of revenue generation; You can generate revenue on a regular and by-demand basis. Emails can also be timed and planned, giving you a marketing campaign option to fill the downtime between seasonal marketing campaigns, such as Christmas and Chinese New Year.
Channel for Communication
Emails are the number one communication channel, especially for b2b email marketing. Businesses use emails on a regular basis for communication purposes. Apparently, even regular customers have a high chance of checking their emails. While time spent on other channels like social media may be longer, emails are more formal in nature and may be more suited for business-to-business settings.
You have control over your email lists. When it comes to social media or SEO, it involves positioning yourself for your customers to find you. Compared to email marketing, you have lesser control over who to reach out to. With email marketing, however, you own the email lists, which you can use to divide your marketing efforts among your client lists.
Better Conversation and Targeting.
Email converts better. Segmentation helps with targeting, and by matching the content to your recipient’s customer stage, you get to engage and funnel your clients better. Not all your readers who are on your mailing lists are ready for a purchase. However, email marketing can be used to tilt them over the fence. While all marketing channels definitely share this benefit and importance, email marketing is a less-intrusive way of interacting with your clients. Hence, there is a higher chance that you can convert them.
How to Build an Email List
Your email marketing campaign’s ROI is directly related to your email list. Emailing marketing is essentially a numbers game. With more targets, you get more opportunities of converting them into interested prospects.
However, building a ‘clean’ list of interested parties is also important, due to the nature of emails and email marketing itself. You would not want to neglect the customers who are on the fence for purchasing, but you similarly would not want to have majority of your email list including them.
When people come to your website and like what they see, they would want to be updated on your future campaigns, promotion, and news.
Some customers would prefer social media updates. It is more intimate to their personal lifestyle and signals a higher intent of purchase.
However, it is not to say that email marketing is an inferior marketing channel. Newsletter signups have its own fair set of advantages and can act as a parallel to your social media marketing efforts.
Creating a Sign-Up Form
Create a sign-up form that requires your customers to input their email. Installing a pop-up to prompt and collect your customers’ data can lead to faster growth in your email mailing list.
Having a physical, old-fashioned pen and paper sign up sheet for physical stores is also a good idea. Provide them with a counter space to sign up. You can even use the chance to make small talk to engage with your customers and build rapport.
Drive your signups through your other digital marketing channels. Get your engaged social media following to follow through with the sign up by sharing your signup form on your social channels.
Campaigns and promotions to benefit customers who have signed up can allow you to convert more followers into your newsletter. Hold a giveaway content or offer a generous discount to your lucky winner.
Offering incentives for email newsletters sign up is an age-old tactic when it comes to email marketing. Discounts, waiting list priority and limited slots or limited edition products are common incentives that you can offer to clients.
For a strategy like this, a strong call to action is important to guide and bring your customers down the right path metaphorically.
Some other common methods may include free downloads, e-books and guides.
Be Clear in Your Objectives
Simply asking for your customers’ email on your website will lead to suspicious and doubting responses.
“What type of email will I be receiving?”
“How often will I be receiving the emails?”
Be specific and explain to your potential customers about the benefits they will receive when signing up for your newsletter. Start building a customer-company trust by giving them a heads up of the frequency and content that they will be receiving.
If you promised a weekly newsletter but end up slipping and sending only a monthly update, or if you overdo it by sending a daily check-in, then you are doing it wrongly.
Commit to your promise. This helps to build trust between your company and the customer.
Supplement Your Newsletters with Great Content
Email Marketing is all about rising to meet your readers, in this case, your client’s, expectations. Apart from getting them to sign up to your newsletter, you will also have to keep them hooked and committed. You wouldn’t want them to unsubscribe.
A strong call to action can only be sustained with a good follow-up. And a good follow-up can be in the form of quality content.
Your first email should introduce your customer to your company and brand. Acting as a welcome mat, it should explain the basics of your company, the products/services that you carry and what they can expect to receive or ask from you.
Segmentation helps with targeting, along with matching the content to the recipient’s specific customer journey stage so they are more likely to read through and convert.
Acknowledging the customer journey allows you to send campaigns to your customers and prospects based on pre-defined triggers, including:
- The time since the person subscribed to your email list
- Past open and click-through rates
- Previous purchases or conversions
- The average order value
Use these points to identify the most opportune timing and message for your recipients, then select the most appropriate type of email to send out. Common messages include:
- Welcome emails, after someone signs up for your email list, an account, etc.
- Abandonment cart emails, after someone leaves an item in their cart without completing their purchase.
- Post-purchase emails, after a customer completes their purchase.
- Re-engagement emails, after a customer has left your site and has not revisited in a while.
Email marketing is for you to engage your audience and turn them into a paying or returning customer. The trick rests on the process of transiting from one stage to another.
How would you convince your customers to allow you to pitch them a product or service? Especially after the previous times when you provided a ton of free value in your emails. The transition can be a tricky one and if not done properly, could lead to drop-out rates.
Emails are a permission-based channel and asset, and it is safer to err on the side of caution.
Hence, it is important to plan your pitches and time it properly. Spacing it out, and timing it on a regular basis prevents your customers from getting surprised or offended. Furthermore, you will have a much higher conversion rate with a regular email pitch, as long as you know what to say.
You can also consider dividing your customer base into subcategories, depending on their purchase volume and interest level. There are many ways to do so, including:
- Open Rates – Reward engaged subscribers with exclusive offers.
- Inactivity – Prompt subscribers with a lower open rate. Entice them with a different, but equally attractive offer.
- Preference – Send subscribers only the type of content they are interested in. You can easily find out about this in an online survey.
Create Engaging Content
While we are on the topic of content, it is important to understand what engagement really means. Businesses which fail to maintain a regular email routine and email tone would lose their customers. It is similar to a poorly designed name card. Fail to strike an impression and your clients will just toss it away.
Balance your product updates with images and a friendly personal message. Make the email less of a ‘What we have ready to sell our customers’ and more of a ‘What our company has been through recently’. You want your customers to engage with your brand, and one of the best ways to achieve that is to bring them along on your journey with your company.
Engaging emails with easy-to-share options can encourage screenshots and promote word-of-mouth-sharing.
Position Yourself for Customer Feedback
Having a consistent communication channel with your customer base is a valuable asset, but the communication channel need not be a single one-way traffic road.
Offer your customers a survey to know more about them. Understand their problems from their perspective.
Are there products that they really like but is no longer available?
Is there a particular service that they remain sceptical about and are unwilling to give it a try? And if so, why not?
Surveys are a good way of conducting market research, and not only understand your customers more, but also the type of customers you have.
Buying an email list?
Purchasing an email list is not illegal. However, it is often frowned upon for many reasons.
Emails work on trust. Purchasing a list likely means that you lack the approval and permission of your recipients, therefore breaking the first few golden rules of email marketing.
Purchased (or rented) lists can be ineffective too, as they represent a list of clients that may be uninterested.
Test Your Email Script
With A/B testing tools, you can do split testing and test email variations. You can modify your subject lines, content, degree of personalisation and even the time of which your email is sent out.
Maintain a tone of urgency and be as specific as possible in your email content. For the subject description, it is ideal that you keep it to less than 50 characters. If you are sending our promotional codes or emails which have a deadline or time limit attached, include it in your subject title so that customers are more aware.
If you are granted the chance to include your customer’s name or city in the subject title of the email, go for it! Personalising the response for each recipient can help boost your open rates by an additional 20%!
Seek trial-and-errors to optimise your emails for better results. Different email tools exist to help you keep track of important metrics, such as clicks, openers, and money earned.
Key Metrics To Consider
Conversation rates are important as they directly impact your return of investments (ROI) and act as a good signpost for the level of effectiveness of your marketing campaigns.
Open rate refers to the rate of which your recipients open your email. It generally ranges between 20 to 30%.
The engagement of your email is shown by click-through rates. Unlike open rates, click-through rates indicate activity and action. Your readers who respond to your call for action are captured in this metric, giving you a better insight of the percentage of your audience that is interested to read and respond to your emails.
Bounce rates are the percentage of email addresses that fail to make it to your mailing list audience. Email providers and anti-spam algorithms monitor bounce rates for campaigns, domains and email addresses.
That information is then used to decide if your email will be flagged as spam.
High bounce rates can be a worrying sign, and could snowball into a larger level of uncertainty for campaigns.
Emails have an unsubscribe rate of approximately 0.5%. This is good news for those interested in email marketing, sine you will only be likely to lose less than 1% of the current subscribers.
If your unsubscribe rate is above 1%, which is the average result, consider tailoring your emails so that it targets a more specific audience. You can also ask for feedback through a prompt on the unsubscribe page.
It is vital that you also include another option for communication on your unsubscribe page. For instance, instead of email, you can update customers via text messages too. This helps you stay in contact with your customer so that they are not completely cut off from future opportunities.
Providing a survey for those who unsubscribe to your page can also give you valuable insights and feedback as to what you can improve on.
Tips and Tricks for A Successful Email Marketing
No email campaign that starts without getting permission is going to end well. Sending an email is like getting invited over for dinner. You might not always get an invitation, but it is definitely a no-no to appear uninvited.
Have a Detailed Digital Marketing Plan
Create a goal for your campaign. As with other digital marketing options, it is important to layout your end goal for Email Marketing.
Do you want to grow your brand?
Do you want to expand into another market?
Do you wish to obtain more leads and sales?
From drafting the email’s contents and format to experimenting with the design of the newsletter, email newsletters can take a substantial amount of time to create. However, a study reveals that from a 100 email newsletters sent out, only one recipient actually makes the purchase
Focus on Email Responsiveness
Test whether your emails work for all devices.
Your email should be responsive on various types of mobile devices. From desktops to laptops and tablets to smartphones, users now tend to access their email via different mobile devices.
As such, if your email does not display on these devices, the time and effort you have poured into the layout and design will fall flat. Notably, 70% of the email recipients will delete an email almost immediately. After all, everyone is so busy that nobody would have the time and patience to handle a flawed email design.
Similarly, many recipients are likely to dump their email in the junk bin if the email font is hard to read or plain intelligible. After all, how can one be excited about signing up for a product or purchasing it when they are struggling with the website’s layout? Never underestimate how important a responsive email design can be.
Personalise your emails.
Spend time on the subject lines and content. The subject line in particular, is important in getting your email opened. A study has shown that close to half of the email recipients open their email based on what they’re interested in. Hence, if you want to increase the open rate for your emails, you should first optimise the subject title of your email.
For b2b email marketing, research on your prospect company’s vision and mission to better understand them as a client and convince them that you can help expand their vision to more of their clients.
Monitor Your Email List Health
Email lists may be huge in numbers, but low conversion rates are a worrying red flag. It could be a sign of poor content and email formats but could also be a symptom of other issues.
Your emails might not be reaching your clients due to network problems, full inboxes, or even an invalid address. In rare cases, your email or domain might even be flagged as spam and you end up never making it to the inbox of your prospects.
Research also shows that open rates and conversion rates start to fall as email marketing lists grow in size.
Run your email list through verification checks and organise it to boost your delivery rates. Create an attractive and attention-grabbing subject line, then add personal touches to your content by emphasising your creative value .
Most emails will lead their subscribers to a main page through a call-to-action (CTA) button. This may lead to a scenario where the rate of your click-through to the landing page is high, but your conversion rate is much lower. In this situation, you will need to take another look at your landing page.
It is possible that the landing page design is a little challenging for users to navigate through to sign up or buy a project. Alternatively, you may simply be requesting more information than they are willing to give, which would discourage them from signing up. This creates small but troubling barriers for potential clients, which will not negatively affect your performance.
Thus, ensure that your landing page is easily accessible for all.
You can achieve many ambitious objectives with emails, such as selling products, sharing news, providing updates and even distributing vouchers and giveaways.
Emails can even be used for affiliate marketing and cross promotions.
To create the foundation for this marketing channel, however, requires time and effort. With a high commitment and labour intensive task like emailing, it is always helpful to consider hiring an external party.
Email marketing could be the defining factor standing between you and more growth for your business. A powerful driver of sales and revenue, email has a greater reach and return on investment than most other direct marketing channels available.