Email Marketing 101: Simple Tips to Get You Started

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Email marketing has become an indispensable tool for many brands and marketers to stay in touch with their customers as internet penetration increases worldwide. In 2019, it is estimated that nearly 300 billion emails will be sent and received daily worldwide. This is a sharp rise from 269 billion emails sent and received two years ago. With how popular email is, it is no wonder it has become a great marketing source for marketers globally.

Getting started as an email marketing beginner can seem daunting. But it is not. In this handy guide, you will learn everything there is to get you started on your email marketing journey.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is simply the use of email to deliver messages to your customers. These messages can take different forms. It can be coupons for loyal patrons, surveys to get feedback from customers, items on sale with special discounts, updates on what’s new with your business or even birthday and holiday messages. There is no limit to the messages a marketer can send via email.

In email marketing, the messages sent can take various forms as already mentioned. Here are 3 common types of emails:

  • Trigger emails: These are usually activated by an action a customer performs on your website. Making a purchase, a reservation or even signing up to a newsletter triggers an email that contains a receipt for the sale, confirm the reservation or shows appreciation for signing up with offers to explore the company’s website or blog.
  • Newsletters: The purpose of newsletters is to build a relationship with the customer base whether they are making a purchase. Typical newsletters are conversational in tone, contain new information that may interest patrons and lack advertisements and sale messages. These emails are sent regularly with companies opting for weekly, bi-weekly or even monthly emails. Newsletters differ from other emails in that the customer agrees to let your company keep in touch by subscribing on your website.
  • Direct emails: You can call these type of emails updates. Brands send these to their clientele to inform them about new products, upcoming sales and special offers. These emails also contain links so customers can check out the products or special offers with the goal of making a purchase.

Email is a direct and cheap way for businesses to reach out to their consumers. Companies can customize emails they send to their customers with images, gif, videos, text and even links to websites. Email marketing offers a variety of ways to cultivate and maintain a relationship with your clientele.

What are the benefits of doing email marketing?

Let’s talk about how email marketing can improve your marketing efforts and make conversions easy for your company.

Email marketing makes it easy to build a relationship with your customer base. Businesses that have a great relationship with their clientele often enjoy repeat patronage. Another benefit of having a special relationship with patrons is word-of-mouth recommendations. Repeat customers will usually recommend your business or product to their friends and family, bringing your brand new customers.

Email marketing is cheaper and more direct than traditional forms of advertising. Unlike TV adverts, flyers and billboards that cost a lot of money and are shown to everyone (including people who aren’t interested in your business), email marketing costs a lot less and target clients who have expressed an interest in your business either by making a purchase, using your product or signing up to your newsletter.

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Email marketing is known for is its high Returns on Investment (ROI). For every dollar invested, you stand to make $38 back. That is an ROI of 3,800%. It is easy to increase revenue using email marketing. Taking advantage of impulse buying is one way to accomplish this. When sending direct emails, email marketing uses links to products that make buying an item easy. It takes less than 5 minutes. Emails can offer discounts to customers who have items in their cart lying around for days without making a purchase. Most other forms of marketing often lack this ease and high returns.

Businesses are making a global impact with email marketing. Your brand does not have to be limited to having customers who are in your geographical location. With email marketing, brands can reach consumers who aren’t even on their continent. Becoming an international brand has never been easier.

One of our favourite things about email marketing is that it is easy to get started and get in touch with customers. Starting an email marketing campaign doesn’t require an expert. Anyone can learn to do it. Its ease of use is why many small businesses use email marketing. Keeping in touch with your clients has never been easier. With one touch of a button, your message lands in the Inbox of thousands without you spending too much effort.

Measuring the impact your marketing efforts are having is so easy with email marketing. Email marketing platforms allow you to track open, click-through and even conversion rates. This makes it easy for you to see how well or badly your email marketing campaign is doing. If your campaign is doing badly, you can easily alter parameters on your marketing platform within minutes.

Getting started with email marketing.

Now, you know what email marketing is and the benefits it has for your business; you are no doubt rearing to get started. Before you jump on the email marketing wagon, here are great tips to help you get started:

What are your goals?

Before you become a superstar of email marketing, you need to first define your email marketing goals. These goals need to fit into and further your broader business goals. You need to ask yourself:

  • What are my marketing goals?
  • What role will email marketing play in achieving those goals?

Maybe you want to use email marketing to drive more traffic to your website, increase revenue, send relevant content to your subscriber list, increase the number of subscribers or even integrate email marketing with other forms of marketing like social media marketing.

Once you have identified your goals, you need to make sure they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Time-bound). Say one of your goals is to increase the number of subscribers on your email list. You can make this goal smart by adding a numerical value to it to make it measurable and it becomes something like “increase the number of subscribers by 20%”. Write down the ways you can achieve this goal to make it actionable.  Make sure your goals are realistic and set a time frame for their achievement. Increase the number of subscribers by 20% in 3 months seems more realistic for an established brand than increase the number of subscribers by 500% in 3 months for the same company.

Define the goals you want to achieve, make sure they are specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.

Create an email marketing strategy.

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You have your goals and can’t wait to get started. Now, it’s time to define a strategy to achieve those goals. Your email marketing strategy is your battle plan that ensures all your email marketing goals are met.

Your strategy ensures that all actions you take are bringing you closer to your goals. Your strategy needs to include choosing an email marketing platform and other automation tools, identifying your target customers, building your subscriber list and creating content that your target audience is interested in.

When identifying your target customers, for example, you need to think of:

  • Who are your current customers?
  • Who are your competitors’ customers?
  • Who needs your products/services?

Once you have answered these questions, you can now identify your target clientele by deducing what they all have in common. You determine common information like age, gender, location, occupation, income, education level, marital status, etc. This information alongside others like hobbies and personal traits will make it easier for you to target these customers. Knowing your customers and their habits make it simple to create messages that will resonate with them.

Choose an email marketing platform

Let’s get down to the juicy stuff. To start your email marketing efforts, you will need a service that lets you send bulk emails to your subscribers. That’s where the email marketing platform comes in.

An email marketing platform is an email software offered by an email service provider (ESP) that enables email marketers to send bulk emails to their subscriber list. Examples of email marketing platforms include MailChimp, Get Response, Drip, SendinBlue, ActiveCampaign and more. The typical email marketing platform is usually self-serviced which means you have to create and send the emails yourself. ESPs offer other services like campaign management software, Inbox monitoring, rendering test platforms and list broking which is exactly what we offer here at B2bdataguy.

Some of the functionalities you commonly see in email marketing platforms include:

  • Creating email templates or using pre-existing ones
  • Sending emails to your subscribers
  • Maintaining your subscriber list
  • Analytics and statistics of campaigns and emails so you can gauge the success of your email marketing campaigns.

Choosing an email marketing platform will depend on many factors like your price range, functionalities like mobile optimized templates, integration with other marketing software and response handling. You need to look at your needs and see which platform offers the best option for your business.

Grow your email list

You’ve chosen a platform that works best for your business. It is now time to add subscribers. For many businesses, collecting email addresses can be an unpleasant chore that takes forever. This aspect of email marketing is one that no one can escape.

Businesses often have to decide between collecting people’s emails the traditional way or list broking. List broking is an easy alternative to get started on your email marketing journey. For more information, check out our services.

If you go the traditional route, getting people to opt into your email marketing is best achieved by providing something of value. You can offer free downloads, fun updates or stories, e-books or email series that requires a customer to submit their name and email to access the freebie. Using an incentive to get subscribers is a popular way to grow your email list. It takes time and patience but that email list will be worth it.

Audience segmentation is intricately tied with email lists. It is the practice of dividing up your email lists into smaller targetable categories. You can segment your wider email list into:

  • Customers for people who have already made a purchase
  • Interval update subscribers for people who subscribed to weekly/monthly updates
  • Subscribers to your newsletter

Sometimes, there is an overlap in categories when segmenting your audience. For example, some customers may have opted to receive updates from your business. This set of people will get emails targeting customers who have bought products/services from your business before and those for people who want to receive updates. You can test different messages in different categories to see which yields better results. By dividing your email list, you will send more targeted emails to your subscribers.

Craft quality content consistently

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One mistake beginners in email marketing make is not following through with great content. Once someone has subscribed to your emails or newsletter, you can’t just bombard them with adverts and sale messages. Doing this will turn them off faster than you can say unsubscribe.

Send a follow-up email that lets your subscriber know what to expect from your business such as the content you provide and how frequently you provide it. Always deliver. If you promise content once a week or bi-weekly, keep to the schedule. Nothing drives off subscribers quicker than inconsistency.

You can be a guru at crafting amazing content with top-notch SEO for your website but still lack the knack for creating great email content. Understanding how mini copy works will help you conquer creating content for email. Remember, consistent quality email content will get you better open, click-through and conversion rates. Creating content that your subscribers find valuable means they will look forward to receiving emails from you, read the emails and perform the actions you wish them to. If you own a small clothing store, emails should focus on giving value like providing relevant content like “Best Ways to Combine Outfits in your Wardrobe to Achieve a Fall Look” will endear you to your subscribers.

Creating quality content will make it simple to include a few sales messages in your emails. Finding the right balance between providing quality content and marketing products to your subscribers will ensure they keep reading your newsletters.

Understand email analytics

With all you have learnt so far, launching your first campaign should be a walk in the park. Before you put everything into practice, you have learned basic email analytics. Just like web analytics, email analytics enables you to measure how well your email marketing campaign is doing. The insight it provides allows you to adjust parameters to get your email marketing campaign right on track.

Nearly every email marketing platform provides analytics. But we’re sticking to the basics here with:

  • Open rate: This tells you how many people open emails from you. If you have done your job well with the content and built a great relationship with your subscribers, your open rate should be high. A low open rate tells you that many of your subscribers aren’t engaged. This should tell you to rework your content and subject line.
  • Click-through rate (CTR): This shows how many people click on links in your emails. If you have links to special offers, this gives you a good sign of how many of your subscribers are clicking on the links. A low CTR would mean your message didn’t resonate or wasn’t targeted enough. Reworking your copy can help you improve this metric.
  • Unsubscribe rate: tells you how many people used the unsubscribe link at the end of each email you send. If your unsubscribe rate is higher than your subscription rate, then it means you are no longer providing value to your subscribers. This means a return to the drawing board.

Keeping a close eye on these metrics should tell you what to tweak in your campaign.

Wrapping things up

Conquering email marketing is easy even if you’re a beginner. The key is to keep putting one foot in front of the other by learning new techniques, tweaking and refining your email marketing processes. The better your email marketing processes and efforts, the easier it will be to achieve your marketing goals.

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