Suppose you're running a small business or trying to improve sales for your e-commerce empire. In that case, running an effective email marketing campaign can be one of the cheapest and most engaging ways to connect with customers.
Although spam gives email marketing a bad reputation, customers still value emails from brands. A recent Hubspot study found that 59% of people say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions; email can be a great way to stay 'top of mind' for your customers.
If you're just getting started or looking for some inspiration for your next campaign, read on for tips and best practices to take your email marketing strategy to the next level.
When to use email marketing?
Many customers won't be ready to buy from you right away. In the meantime, start cultivating a relationship with them via email. Offering educational resources, industry updates, and special offers means you'll be front of mind when they're ready to make that purchase.
Building an email list is valuable because you own it. Unlike social media, where the platform controls the audience. With an email list, you're in control, but be careful not to abuse this power with your hard-won subscribers.
Choose the right email service provider
There are lots of advanced email marketing tools out there.
For small businesses we recommend using Mailchimp. It's powerful enough to scale as your email list grows but also very user-friendly. This is great when you're starting out and still understanding some of the basics of email.
You can also integrate it with Vonto and get daily insights on how your campaigns are performing, together with updates from your other business applications.
Mailchimp's templates and integrations make it simple to get started; from adding a signup form to your WordPress site, right through to scheduling your first welcome email sequence. You can also access advanced automation techniques that take a lot of the heavy lifting out of running a large and diverse mailing list.
Mailchimp offers a free plan for your first 2000 contacts which should be more than enough for you to get started and their site is full of valuable resources to help you learn the basics.
Define your goals
As always in marketing, we want to set goals and measure our success. This way, we can see if what we are doing is sufficient or if we need to change our strategy.
Examples of good goals for email marketing are:
- Increasing return visitors to your website
- Reducing abandoned shopping carts
- Growing sales through lead nurturing
Research your business areas that email marketing could support and define a goal that you can measure. This will give you a metric to judge your marketing spend and efforts
Start building an audience
There are various ways to create an email list. You could run a competition, use a physical signup form or offer some kind of discount or special offer for signing up.
Iconic footwear brand, Steve Madden, uses a popup to offer a discount for signing up to their mailing list. A great way to capture people browsing and help them decide to buy.
Don't be tempted to take shortcuts at this stage. Buying email lists or using shady tactics to get people's details might seem like a great way to boost your contacts, but it can create detractors and blacklist your email address and IP, which can be hard to undo.
Segment your email list to get the most out of your contacts
The leads in your email list will all be at different stages of the buyer's journey. If you take this into account in your communications plan, you will see a much higher conversion rate than just sending out generic emails.
Segmenting means organising your leads into groups so you can send targeted content to them. The groups could be frequent buyers, new subscribers or defined by how they signed up.
For example, when a new user subscribes to your list, it's good to send them a sequence of welcome emails that provide value and give an excellent first impression. A good welcome can improve the chances of them opening future emails from you.
Balancing the correct type of content and frequency for each group is the key to getting the most out of your email list without annoying people.
What kind of content should you send?
Email is personal, so make sure this comes across in your content. Incorporate an informal tone (where appropriate) to avoid any salesy stuffiness that can turn people off.
Less is more - try to stay on one subject per email to get your point across. Walls of text and mammoth emails with too many topics won't be read and cost you subscribers. Stick to short and sweet emails with a solid call to action to avoid confusion.
Around 50% of people check emails on their mobile phones, so don't forget to consider this when designing your email content. This can affect the font size you use, the size of images, and your text formatting. When in doubt view the content on your phone first, this can be an easy way to spot any formatting errors before hitting send.
Email marketing can be an efficient and cost-effective way of staying in touch with your customers and potential clients. There are email service providers available that can do a lot of the heavy lifting for you, leaving you free to build a relationship with your email list.
At Vonto, we understand that you need every tool possible to make growing your small business easier. Vonto integrates with Mailchimp and other financial and marketing platforms you use every day to serve you daily insights in one simple feed which helps you make business decisions for the better.
Try Vonto today and see what your business' data is trying to tell you.