How to Make the Most of Email Marketing for Your Growing Business
With a plethora of affordable online marketing options, you may wonder which online business promotion tool can offer the biggest bang for your bucks. The answer is simple - email marketing.
Emails: Most Effective Online Promotional Tool for Business
According to a 2012 McKinsey Survey, emails are 40% more effective at acquiring customers than social media (Facebook and Twitter). Well crafted promotional emails also generate higher per transaction sales compared to social media campaigns.
In a 2012 survey by Constant Contact covering 728 small business organizations, email marketing and the website strategy were rated higher than other online promotion tools.
Marketing activities in order of their effectiveness (Source: Constant Contact survey)
- Email marketing - 83%
- Website (Content and SEO) – 71%
- In-person interactions – 68%
- Social media – 49%
- Events 41%
- Outbound calling – 33%
- Public Relations – 22%
- Direct mail – 21%
- Traditional advertising (TV, radio, print, etc.) – 17%
- Pay-per-click – 17%
Emails are effective simply because of their potential reach. Even though email usage has declined in recent years, 91% of Americans still check their emails once a day. So if you have something credible to say, chances are your promotional email will get opened. Here are some interesting statistics on email campaign open rates depending on the industry and company size.
Recipe for Successful Email Marketing
Statistics confirm what you probably knew all along – email marketing works! However, before you dive into email marketing, ensure that you have two crucial ingredients in place.
- Build a relevant email marketing base. Part of the solution to developing a successful email campaign lies in your 'email base'. Building an email base of genuine customers and prospects takes time. There are many ways of building your email subscriber base:
- Encourage visitors to your website to enroll for your email newsletters
- Allow in-store visitors to sign up by way of forms
- Offer coupons and discounts exclusively to customers who are part of your email base
- Use direct mailers to inform potential customers about your website and email community
- Use every opportunity to promote your website via business cards and collaterals. Participate in trade shows, networking events, and seminars.
If you are just starting out you could consider 'purchasing' an email list, but that could simply lead to a waste of your precious marketing dollars.
- Write Engaging Email Text. An effective email is one where the content is simple to read, with a clear benefit for the reader. Here are some tips for writing engaging copy for your next email campaign -
- Write a compelling subject line. The subject should immediately indicate the 'benefits' of clicking on the email.
- Identify your target audience before you write the email copy. If you have more than one target segment, then draft a different creative for each.
- Convey one distinct message in your email.
- Convey the message in blocks of easy to read information. Use images and bullet points.
- Give readers the option to read the email in text or HTML format.
- Aim for a singular action. For instance, should customers who read the email call your helpline, register on your website, or refer the email to a friend? Including a deadline is a great way to encourage your readers to take action.
Small Business Friendly Email Marketing Software
Here are 4 email marketing software that can make designing and managing your email campaign a breeze. Each program offers different features, so it's wise to look at each one and determine if it fits your business needs today...and tomorrow.
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing software. You can send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for free; no contracts, and no credit card required. As your subscriber base grows incrementally, so will the cost of sending the emails. However, their growing business pricing plan is very affordable.
ConstantContact is also an extremely popular email marketing software. While they do not have a free email marketing plan, they offer the most pre-built templates which is great if you have never designed an email campaign before. The website allows you to directly import email contacts from Gmail and Outlook. The pricing for this software starts at $15.00 per month for up to 500 email contacts.
Another easy to use email marketing software, AWeber offers beautiful email templates and has a drag-and-drop editor to customize your message. Their pricing starts at $19.00 per month for up to 500 contacts.
Built exclusively for small businesses, Infusionsoft covers all aspects of lifecycle marketing - lead generation tools to attract visitors to the website, CRM functionality to improve lead conversion, and e-commerce tools to automate sales fulfillment. The base pricing plan starts at $199 for 2500 contacts and 12500 emails a month.
While email marketing is the most effective promotion tool you can use in your business, it will only be successful if you do it right. This includes using the right technology, following proven tips and strategies and analyzing each and every campaign for effectiveness and then regrouping if necessary.