Email marketing involves sending email messages to a list of subscribers that contain information, offers, discounts, and promotions. That’s your message, delivered directly to a prospect’s inbox. Sound like a good idea? Read on and see if it’s for you and your business.
The Basics of Email Marketing
The first step in email marketing is to build a list. You can do this by either creating a website or using offline materials to capture names and email addresses.
This is what’s known an ‘opt-in’ list and it’s very important that people chose to be on your business’s list. If they haven’t opted in, they won’t be responsive to your offers – they may not even know who you are! Adding business cards from a networking event to your email list is another no-no. Aweber is an email management tool that is opt-in, I use it for my newsletter and autoresponder.
The most effective way to get people to sign up is to offer an exclusive freebie (known as the ethical bribe) or discount, this can be done by placing an opt-in form on your website or blog in prominent places. Mine is in the top right of the sidebar and under the post. Once they’ve signed up, you send them an email to confirm, and they receive the free offer or discount. A software program called an autoresponder is used to manage your list and automatically sends the messages that you create to your subscribers.
Getting names and email addresses is just the beginning of your marketing relationship
You then have to nurture (love) your list and build a relationship with them. You can do this by providing helpful / useful information and good quality content. Your reader starts see you as a trusted expert and a friend, this builds trust so that you can then start making targeted offers. Quite often your list will email you with questions and their thoughts rather than comment on a blog post.
Email marketing is useful for any kind of business, whether online or off. In fact, it’s an easy method for offline businesses to increase engagement with customers. Email is also a great way to market to mobile phones and mobile devices. You can send coupons they can use at your bricks-and-mortar business and it can be used to market location based events and increase footfall.
The Benefits of Email Marketing
- Email marketing is wonderful because it’s cheaper and faster than direct mail. Instead of spending money publishing brochures and other print materials, you only have to compose email messages. Unlike direct marketing, you also get global reach.
- It’s easy to monitor and track the response of your prospects to your emails. The autoresponder service that you use to manage your list will handle your tracking for you, giving you detailed analytics.
- You can easily see which messages are getting opened and acted upon and which aren’t.
- The only real disadvantage of email marketing is that people might ignore your emails. With all of the spam people get, your messages may end up in their spam folder. ]
- Government regulations have also gotten stricter about how you do your email marketing and what you must include in your emails
How to Make Email Marketing Work for You
The first rule for success with email marketing is that you should never buy or trade for a list. Subscribers need to opt-in and confirm their subscription. When you buy a list, not only are you getting untargeted prospects who are probably not interested, you’re also spamming them when you send unsolicited messages. With anti-spam laws like the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003, you could pay dearly for this.
When you do start making offers, be careful about the products and services you promote. Don’t pass off anything on your list that’s less than the best quality. Loving your email list is about building trust, and one bad product recommendation can destroy that trust quickly.
Remember that people can unsubscribe by simply clicking on the link at the bottom of the message. You must have the unsubscribe option in your emails. You cannot trap people on your list and then torture them with spammy offers.
Always be responsive to your list and treat them with respect – they are people who have made a commitment to you. When they have comments or questions, listen and communicate with them.
Pay attention to your email analytics so that you know what works and what doesn’t.
If you use Aweber for your email marketing or another service like Mail Chimp, you’ll get stats that show you how your email campaign worked.
You’ll see open rates – how many people on your list have opened that email.
You’ll also see clickthrough rates, and if the email has been forwarded on. All of this information will help you improve your email marketing so you can adapt it to get better results.
Email marketing is one of the most common and effective types of marketing used online today. There’s a popular saying among online marketers and blogger that goes along the lines of, ‘The money is in the list.’ but the truth of the matter is the money is in the relationship with your list. Businesses who take care of their list keep their subscribers for the long-term.
PS if you liked this post you may also like my instantly downloadable book on Amazon – Zero to Email Marketing Success
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