As more and more people turn to social media to get their marketing messages across, Maddison Selleck, Chief BDO VentraIP argues there is still a place for email marketing.
There has been an unmissable and inarguable trend in the world of marketing, where corporations and SMEs have been using social media platforms to get their message across. While this does have a place in the market, and with it comes its obvious impact, this does not spell the end of the road for traditional email as either a communications tool, or a way to effectively market a product or service.
Even as the shift in online trends has gone from predominantly desktop to hand-held devices, there remains plenty of room for email marketing. Millions of businesses worldwide still use email as a successful way to promote themselves – a recent study by Litmus found that among 13 billion emails opened in 2016, a staggering 54% of them were opened on mobile devices. Emails are still getting the job done.
Getting started with email marketing is not as hard as you think, and when done properly, is much more effective than you’d expect.
A solid foundation
To start with, you’re going to need a solid foundation when it comes to email, that means the software. You’ll need a way to obtain potential customers’ email addresses, as well as a way to send the emails out. There are plenty of service providers who can help you get that done, including popular email marketing platforms from MailChimp, Constant Contact and Campaign Monitor. They also offer pre-built email templates and ‘drag and drop’ editors, which means you can create beautiful emails even without design or technical expertise.
With this foundation, you’ve now got a way to collect email addresses …and a large potential audience. It’s from there that you can start building your distribution list.
Build a list
This is going to require more than just having a hyperlink on your site inviting people to subscribe to your newsletter – we all wish it was that easy. One good way to do expand your list is to offer something extra, an incentive that comes from being a subscriber; something like a ‘members only’ discount, exclusive offers, or early access to new releases. People are suckers for being part of an elite club. Membership has its benefits, after all.
Find your message
With a means, and an audience, you now need a message. An effective email marketing strategy is more than just a sales pitch. A good tip employed by many effective email marketers is found in developing a relationship with your audience. Do this and you can enhance the customer’s perception of your brand name, rather than just of the product or service itself – what they call ‘brand equity’. Do this through helping to solve your customers’ problems, or by showing them how they can get the most out of what you’re selling. A return sale is more likely once a relationship has been established.
You don’t want to spend too much of your work life (or your downtime!) manually sending out emails. It’s like spending more time writing your diary than you do actually living your life. There is technology called an autoresponder, which lets you to set up a chain of emails to be sent to your subscribers. This allows you to build your dynamic and relationship with your customers through a consistently delivered set of emails. Remember to keep them personal, interesting and engaging, though. Autopilot works for distribution…. Not so much for the creative content.
Trial and error
Finally, you’ll need to take it for a test run to find out what works, and what doesn’t. There’s a host of commercial, ‘off the shelf’ email marketing software packages available to use, which lets you test subject lines as well as the content of your emails to figure out what has the best results and improves your bottom line. But don’t be restricted to the email medium itself when it comes to dipping your toe in the waters. Do what you can to find out what content, offers and deals you’re making lead to the highest among of email sign-ups; find out which method got the most traffic to your site, and what different approaches to your written content paid off more. There’s a lot to weigh up.
Whatever new social media and instant messaging platforms take off tomorrow, rest assured that email as a form isn’t going away too soon. So, while it’s still being used by a significant number of consumers, you should make the most of it and optimise your email output to make you stand out from the crowd.