Email marketing is arguably one of the most cost effective and easy-to-manage marketing channels.
The days of annoying spam emails are quickly fading away and email marketing has taken a more user-centred, permission-based model. When implemented correctly, email is a way to speak directly to future and current customers who want to be spoken to.
Is email marketing right for your business? The short answer is yes. Regardless of the size of your business, this form of marketing is quick and easy with many opportunities for automation (depending on your email marketing provider).
How to get started
First off, you’re going to need an email marketing provider. There are a number of options and you should always shop around to make sure your provider is offering the functions that will match your marketing objectives. MailChimp is an industry standard that offers a wide range of templates, automation, analytics and a free plan that allows for 2000 total subscribers and 12,000 emails per month, ideal for smaller businesses. Beyond trials, most providers will require a monthly fee.
Now you need to build your subscriber list. Depending on your email marketing service provider, you will be able to embed email signup forms on your website. These forms come in many different shapes, sizes and colours to match your brand and select where you’d like the form to live on your website. Different forms can group subscribers into different categories (newsletter, promotional communications, etc.).
What types of emails should you be sending
Let’s go over a few common types of marketing emails.
Newsletter: Perhaps the most popular form of email marketing, the newsletter keeps subscribers infomed on both the industry and the specific business whose letter this signed up for. Newsletters often consist of changes to products or services, new products or services, industry news, a link the a new blog post, a message from an executive and/or a small promotion. An important thing to remember is that it’s called a newsletter for a reason. Subscribers want news, this is why they signed up in the first place. It’s likely that unsubscription numbers would increase if a business begins sending communications that their subscribers didn’t sign up for.
Welcome Email: This email is often sent when a subscriber first signs up for a newsletter or any other form of email communication. It commonly consists of a message from an executive and a promotion or call to action that urges the subscriber to call the business or purchase something online.
Promotion Email: This type of email marketing is directly targeted towards getting a subscriber to become a customer, offering discounts or other promotions on products or services.
Every email communication should have a call to action (CTA). A CTA asks readers to take some sort of action, whether that’s to call a broker to get a quote on car insurance or a promotional offer. The CTA will feature a button or text that directs readers to a webpage.
It’s important to note that the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns balances on the trust built between your subscribers and your business. Businesses must operate on a permission-based model of email marketing. If the subscriber didn’t sign up for it, you shouldn’t send it to them. It’s best not to have unsubscribers remember your brand as annoying. All email communications must feature an unsubscribe button (typically at the bottom of the email). This is a built-in function on most email marketing service providers. Be sure to use an accurate and engaging subject line to increase your open rate (percentage of subscribers who open the email).
You should always test any email marketing communications before sending them to your subscribers. Send a copy to yourself or a team member, and view it on desktop and on mobile to ensure everything is looking great, spelled properly and grammatically correct. You should also note that you can segment your subscriber list based on a number of different factors. Most email marketing service providers will have functions through which you can choose to communicate with specific groups of subscribers. MailChimp will allow you to target new subscribers, active subscribers, inactive subscribers, men, women, age demographics and more. This is a great feature if you’re looking to speak directly to a specific audience.
How to measure success
Email Marketing, like other forms of web-based marketing, is trackable. Through your email marketing service provider you will be able to see long-term and short-term metrics (and trends) pertaining to subscriber counts, email campaigns and individual communications. A few important metrics to keep your eyes on are:
Subscriber Count: How many people are on your email marketing list or lists. This can be broken down into specific email groups (newsletter, promo, etc.).
Open Rate: The open rate will tell you the percentage of subscribers who have opened your email. This can be tracked based on a specific email or an entire campaign.
Click Rate: This is the percentage of subscribers who clicked a link (CTA) to your website that was attached in the email.
Unsubscribers: Perhaps as important as the success metrics above, the unsubscriber count can be a good indicator of when it’s time to switch up your strategy. Unsubscribers can be tracked on a specific email or a campaign.
As with any marketing effort, email marketing will take time. It will require analysis, experimentation and refinement before you get your strategy just right or find a system that works for your business.
It’s a long game that’s well worth playing. When done well, email marketing can foster customer retention, customer acquisitions and build trust and transparency between your brand and members of your most engaged audience.
Becci Taylor, BBA Marketing and Program Coordinator