If you are wondering if email marketing is right for your business, it probably is. Often times email marketing is more effective than social media marketing and even paid search. With emails, you are pushing your message to your audience rather than relying on them to see your post in an ever crowded social platform or in an ad online. Emails help keep you top of mind with your customers, inform them of new offerings you have and maintain a constant contact with them even when they aren’t actively engaging.
And, in an ever changing world where we are forced to work remotely due to COVID or other factors, its never been more important to keep in touch with your customers.
So, if you aren’t using email marketing in your business, now is a great time to start! The two biggest things I hear from clients in why they may not be doing email marketing currently is: 1. they are unsure how to get started, and/or 2. they do not currently have the resources to stay on top of it.
The first thing you can do to get started is to choose an email service provider (ESP). This decision will help drive other decisions as you begin. There are a number of great email marketing tools, and there should be one that fits your company’s budget & needs. Personally, I like Mail Chimp quite a bit for a variety of reasons. Its in-expensive, and has plans that will grow/scale with your company. Mail Chimp is easy to use, and has lots of tools for reporting, creating templates and managing your lists that make it attractive.
Similar to Mail Chimp is Constant Contact, which shares many of the same important features as Mail Chimp. Constant Contact (like Mail Chimp) also has options to connect to e-commerce platforms like Shopify or WooCommerce making selling products a breeze! Either option is great for small to medium size companies. There may be greater complexities for larger companies with massive email lists, and in that case, if one of these tools can not help you, there are other options as well.
Cultivate Your Mailing List
This is the most important step. You don’t want to just start collecting random emails or buy a list of users and start sending to them. First, they don’t know your brand yet, and will likely just move your message to trash, or mark you as SPAM. Second, adding a list of emails you have not collected organically through your website, social, or via business you have done with them, may not be CANSPAM compliant can create problems for you ESP, and cause you to get banned from using the tool or worse yet, blacklisted from sending emails… which could even result in you having deliverability issues with your internal email accounts for you and your team.
Mail Chimp, Constant Contact and others provide some nice tools to use on your company’s website to allow your visitors to subscribe/opt-in to your emails. To jump start your list growth you can offer incentives like free consultations/estimates or sponsor a giveaway to encourage people to subscribe to your email. There are lots of ways to grow your list, the important thing to consider is to grow the right list. You want people who will have an interest in your product or service. It doesn’t help you to have a large list for the sake of a large list if they aren’t interested in doing business with you.
Set Up Your Tool
Once you have a list to add to the email tool you chose, you can begin creating your email templates. There are some templates built in to most tools that you can modify with just a little technical knowledge (of course DOJO can help as well), by uploading a logo, selecting fonts, colors, etc. I like to recommend having 2-4 different templates to use so you have one for different needs.
You can also set up a Welcome email (the email that thanks them for subscribing and perhaps tells them a bit about what to expect from your emails), as well as any other transactional emails you may need. If your business is an e-commerce business, that means emails like order confirmations, shipping status, backorder notifications, etc. If its more of a service based business, that may just be confirmation emails. If you want to get really fancy, you can create segments for your list to further customize your messages to specific audiences.
This can be the most time consuming and perhaps the most intimidating part of email marketing, deciding what to include in your email marketing. Its often difficult to come up with many subjects to write about. What I like to do is think about face to face meetings/interactions you have had with customers, or even friends and family when you have talked about your business. How did you pitch them? What did you share about your product or service? Are there any news worthy events that have affected your business that you want to talk about? These are all great places to start!
Now you just need to create a eye catching subject line! You want your subject line to be short (think 40 characters or so), and something that can catch your reader’s eye immediately. Most of the email tools have testing features that will allow you to test subject lines by doing an A/B split where you can split your list in half and then see which subject line had a higher open rate.
Test, Read & React
That leads us to the final thing to consider when starting your email marketing, testing, and reading the results of your campaigns so you know how best to react to them. Before you even do an A/B test, when you are done creating your email campaign, run a test send to yourself and a few other key stakeholders in your business. This allows your own team to correct any mistakes before you send to your customers.
Then, schedule your send at the best time for your industry, or (over time as your ESP tool collects data) use the data from your past sends to see when your customers are most likely to open emails and send at that time. After a few days, take a look at the reporting of your campaign, look at open rates, and click thru rates in particular. This will tell you how successful your send was, and give you information that may help you to improve future sends.
Overall, have fun with it. Send emails that you would enjoy if you were a customer. Create an email schedule that will help your team keep up a consistent cadence with your customers (maybe once a month to start, or once a week) whatever it is, consistency is key.
And as always, if you have any questions about email marketing or would like some help getting your company started, or maybe just to take on some of the management of your program, drop us a note!