Understanding email marketing
– To many, email marketing feels a little old and antiquated. It almost comes across very similar to direct mail, in that you’re sending a newsletter, an offer, a flashy postcard, alongside dozens of other letters, in the hopes that someone not only reads it, but responds to it. And sure, the older model of email marketing was a lot like that. Marketers purchased giant lists of email addresses and then sent completely irrelevant offers in hopes of catching a handful of leads, and thus, the boom of spam. And while that still happens, the modern marketer is turning to their own email list to drive interaction and revenue, and this is because many customers welcome communication from brands they already interact with, just like our own acceptance and use of snail mail coupons from businesses we frequent.
Today’s email marketing is typically built on a list of users who have subscribed to receive communication from you, they’re interested in hearing what you have to say and potentially getting a special offer not available elsewhere. On one hand, your email marketing efforts will be about acquiring new subscribers to your list, and on the other, retaining and generating revenue from those subscribers. With email marketing, you can inform existing customers of new products, upsell them to a more premium package, or even encourage them to share your business with their peers.
Email is very much alive in today’s online marketing landscape, so it’s worth building a strategy around. Now email marketing is very strategic. Each message needs to be carefully crafted, include a strong call to action, and arrive at just the right moment to get noticed. If it’s not relevant, it gets deleted. Think about your own email habits. What are you opening, and why? What are you clicking on? You might even consider keeping track of every marketing email you open over the next couple of weeks, or even looking back at those you opened historically.
Try to identify patterns, and use those ideas to your advantage. Good email marketing is built on customer segments. Any time you acquire an email, you should track where that email came from. If you have the resources, it would be ideal to also track which emails made purchases, how much revenue did that email derive, and even associate demographics or persona information if you have it. For example, I might have multiple email lists for an online storefront. I can have a list of customers that made a purchase in the last 30 days, customers that have made repeat purchases, and a list of people who added an item to their cart but never converted.
Each of those segments would receive a different email from me. Good email marketing is hinged on the idea of a drip campaign. So for our abandoned segment, I might send an email in the first 24 hours that says, hey, you still have an item in your cart. There’s only one step left to checking out. Maybe 72 hours later, I’ll drop another email. Free shipping today only, with the coupon code shipfree. View your cart now. And the following week, I might try one last desperate attempt with another coupon, a reminder of their cart or some additional information on the company and why it’s so great.
And that’s just one example of many. Automated email marketing is a must have in today’s digital landscape. There’s so much potential revenue sitting in your email list. To get the most value out of email, you won’t be using a typical email client. Instead, you’ll need to leverage an online provider, such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. These systems will let you tailor your lists, set up automatic triggers, and track results, and we’ll talk more on this later. Email marketing is still a valuable tool. Focus on generating your own email list versus purchasing one, and you’ll likely see much better results.