Email Marketing is huge.
It’s one of the most popular — if not the most popular, form of digital communication. According to radicati.com, more than 112 billion business emails are sent out each day. They estimate the number to increase by 5% each year.
What’s more, is that those numbers mean that roughly each email user is sending and receiving more than 122 emails a day! Crazy, right?
Well, maybe not too crazy when you consider all of the ways we use email.
We have our reminder emails for subscriptions about to expire. We have newsletters, coupons, tips and tricks, order confirmations, political campaigns, friends and family, meeting notifications and so many other ways that we communicate through email.
Which doesn’t even include the multiple devices we use to check our email.
So I’ll say it again, email is huge.
But, it becomes more potent and powerful when you combine email and marketing for your small business.
Let me explain…
Back in the day, marketers would send a stranger (also referred to as a “suspect”) a piece of mail with a offer to purchase a product. This type of marketing through snail mail is known as direct mail marketing.
And it was huge.
The thing that made it so important to companies was that it allowed a company’s product and services to be sold to anyone with an address.
This meant that you didn’t have to wait for someone to walk in your store or see your billboard to know what you offered. You could just send them a direct offer through USPS.
What made it so difficult, though, was the cost associated with envelopes, stuffing, printing,and postage. The cost of direct marketing made it difficult for companies with less savvy marketers and advertisers to continually get a good Return on Investment (ROI).
As the internet began to grow (5 bonus points if you remember and can name the company famous for, “you’ve got mail!”) more advertising agencies started looking for ways to model direct mail marketing and print advertising online.
There were a lot of 1-to-1 relationships that made the potential results of marketing with email quite appealing. Here are just a couple realizations:
- instead of sending a family member a letter through the postal service, more people were sending letters electronically.
- the address wasn’t a street mailing address, instead an electronic mailing address.
A New Star is Born – Email Marketing
By this point, you likely have an idea of what email marketing is. Although, it made not be clear. Put simply, it is communicating your marketing message(s) in 1 or more emails and sending it to likely (or unlikely) people who might buy what you offer.
When you think about it, it’s difficult to understand why more companies don’t use it. Everyone has an email address, and by everyone I mean a lot of people. 🙂
Know anyone that has a Facebook profile? They signed up using an email address. How about Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn or any other social media account.
You see, email marketing is huge. And it’s important that your company should be using email marketing to connect and engage with potential customers.
Email is also a very robust medium that can be read on any device. It can be pure text and have a focus on a particular sales message. It can be filled with attention-getting graphics and video to engage a subscriber with dynamic content.
With email marketing you may send messages on a schedule, after a user performs an action, or when they visit a page on your website.
I know, email marketing it pretty cool.
But it gets cooler…
Unlike traditional radio, billboards, and television advertising; email marketing is about sending emails to people who actually want them.
Not indiscriminate ads and marketing campaigns to unsuspecting people.
But, valuable and highly targeted email content to people who’ve expressed interest in what your company offers.
In most cases, a company will get permission from a subscriber before emailing him or her. This is what makes email marketing standout from the crowd, because it highlights the right people. It also can prevent you wasting time by trying to qualify potential customers.
I know what you’re thinking…”Say what? You can actually nurture and develop subscribers into paying customers without spending more time?”
Yes and yes. But first you have to figure out where and how you want to store all of those eager subscribers on your email list.
I recommend you purchase a subscription to an Email Marketing Software (EMS) company. These types of companies have worked long and hard to help you manage a database of email subscribers.
Over the last few years the email marketing industry has exploded and so have the software companies meeting its needs. Below you’ll find some of the companies I’d suggest you start with. By and large, they all have the tools and features you’d want to start out with(two of the links below are affiliate links, they are noted with an asterisk).
- *Active Campaign
- Constant Contact
But How do you DO Email Marketing?
There a ton of different types of email marketing campaigns you can send to people wanting to learn more or buy from your company.
NOTE: if the term “campaign” is new to you, just think of it like a political campaign. Essentially, a candidate wants to distribute a message that connects with anyone interested in the same values or perspective. For example, if you think good roads are important and candidate would want to create a campaign strategy to show you how much he or she values good roads.
There are multiple email marketing campaigns to choose from, but for the context of this article I’ll limit it to these types of campaigns you could create:
- Welcome / Onboarding: this type of campaign is great to welcome new customers and explain how to use your product or service. In the initial and following emails you could cover the most pressing questions customers generally have.
- Knowledge / Indoctrination: these are used to build trust and explain what you are about. These can be great for non-profits because you can share your story and go deeper with engagement.
- Replenish / Renew: think of this as a coffee or nutritional supplement campaign where the product runs out periodically. If you run this type of campaign you’d need to have data on when clients generally run out of a product.
- Abandoned Cart: say you’re shopping on a website and get interrupted while several items are in your shopping cart. This type of campaign would send the shopper several “did you forget to purchase/don’t forget to check out” emails.
- Revive / Reengage: this type of campaign may be used for a neglected mailing list that hasn’t heard from you in a long time. You’d reengage with them by sending “warm up” emails before selling to them again.
- Nurture: it’s very common to hear, “you don’t ask someone to marry you on the first date.” Well, the point of nurturing is that you convert leads into customers (or you deepen customer loyalty).
- Promotion / Coupon: these are sometimes tied to nurture campaigns or to other campaigns. But, you can also see them alone in the wild…think of a time when you were asked to register early for an event in order to get a discount.
Where Does Email Marketing fit into your Business?
Starting an email marketing campaign for your small business may be easier than you think. Plus, it really is a low-cost way to engage with customers and nurture leads into customers.
Most companies that you find doing email marketing already have some sort of online presence. They may have one social media account like Facebook or Twitter. They have a website and are thinking about ways to make the website more visible in search engine results.
Whether you are that far along or not, the most important thing to get started for your business may be having a couple of pages on your website with the products and services you offer.
In this way, subscribers of your email list can click a link from an email to learn more from a product page.
Here is an example of what email marketing for insurance agents could look like.
STEP 1 – Determine The Goal
Insurance agents have a lot to think about when it comes to goals. Should they focus on the person who’s not ready to buy today, but may be 6 months later? Or, should they focus on a particular product they sell, like life insurance, health insurance, or car insurance?
To keep things simple, I’m going to make the goal about selling car insurance.
Boom, there you have it…the goal is to create a campaign for an insurance agent that seems car insurance.
Now that we have the goal, let’s move on to step two.
STEP 2 – Identify the Impediments and Business Pain Points
A problem an insurance agent could have with selling car insurance may be the time it takes to followup with prospects after they’ve filled in a quote form.
Most people are in a hurry and get quotes from several companies while shopping. So an agent could create a campaign for prospects after they’ve requested a quote for car insurance.
It could be as simple as 3 emails…
Email #1: We’ve got your quote, could you confirm these details are correct?
Email #2: The Right and Wrong way to buy car insurance
Email #3: How to get the most from your car insurance
The point here is not that you are necessarily giving a potential customer something that can’t be found online.
It’s that you are giving value and having more than one touch point. You can do the same type of short email campaign for any industry.
STEP 3 – Signup and Create Your Email List
This step can get quite advanced pretty quickly. But the main point here is that a person would go through the following sequence to get added to your email list.
- Person submits contact form on website for a car insurance quote.
- Person is added to email list with the Email Marketing Software you purchased.
- Email Marketing campaign begins and automatically sends email to the new contact via an email autoresponder.
Select one of the Email Marketing Software providers from the list above and get busy.
If you have any particular questions about how to do this, feel free to go to the contact form and ask.
TIP: There are several ways to build and grow an email list. A simple search in Google or Bing could also prove to be helpful.
STEP 4 – Write and Enter Email Campaigns
At this point you would essentially write the emails from Step 2. I only gave three sample ideas, but this could easily be expanded for your industry and the needs of your prospects.
I’d suggest having all of them written and then entering them into your email marketing software. Because of this, you may want to write just a few to get started and add/remove emails over time.
TIP: Keep it simple, don’t use images or graphic-heavy email templates. I suggest making each email look like you personally sent it.
STEP 5 – Rinse and Repeat
After a few people have started receiving your email marketing campaign take some time to see what’s happening. Look to see if people opening email #1 and #3, but not email #2. Look for whether or not people are forwarding your messages, or any other way they are engaging with the emails.
This will give you insight into things you can change and potentially make more sales.
All Good Things Come to An End
If you’ve read this whole article I’m truly impressed!
It’s long, I know.
I tend to get long winded when I write these type of articles. But know that I truly want to see your business grow and we’ve only scratched the surface of email marketing.
If you have any questions please reach out to me on the contact page, or checkout my course on Email Marketing (it’s free).