Why is email marketing so important?
An introduction to email marketing
Email marketing is one of the most important things you can do. I am sure you will already be familiar with the concept of email marketing because you will have most likely have been on the receiving end of it yourself. There are lots of different ways for small businesses to use email marketing, for example, to send ‘cold calling’ emails (not the done thing nowadays), to send offers and updates, to send out a newsletter, or to thank you for purchasing a product or service.
All of this should have been carefully thought out, and it can all be automated using the vast array of software available.
take control of your online destiny
All businesses need an audience but many small business owners (especially when starting out) think all they need to do is to build a virtual audience online via social media. Sure, social media marketing and networking is great and an essential part of your overall marketing strategy but you don’t own your audience.
You could have a million followers but if the platform went down so would all of your connections. Just like that.
So you need to put another strategy in place so you can rely on yourself, and use social media to support your business.
You need to be in control of your online destiny!
The benefit of email marketing is you own it
There is lots of evidence to show how email marketing is effective:
- The web is driven by email
- It’s private and secure
- Customers prefer email
- It’s mobile and convenient
- Email is the #1 source for online purchases
- It can all be automated
“More than half of the world’s population uses email” Lyfe Marketing 2019
“Search engines and social media networks are constantly updating their algorithms …which can affect your search results ranking and social visibility. Imagine if a big algorithm change comes through and you get buried under the rubble. Having a strong email list in such a scenario will be a lifesaver. You would still have a direct line of communication with your leads and customers and can keep them informed with the latest company news and updates.” Mailmunch
How do You get people to join your email list?
Here are some easy tactics to start with:
- Invite all of your current email and social media contacts to join your list. Sure, your Mam will likely NOT be your ideal audience (love you, Mam x), but by starting with friends family, contacts, past work colleagues, and so on, the list will start to grow. You can always clean your list up further down the line.
- Contact all of your past clients. You might not have had an email list when you worked with them, and 80% of transactions are said to be from repeat buyers…
- Place your sign up link in everywhere!
- For example, add it at the bottom of your email signature, and in your social profiles
TIP: PEOPLE MUST ACTIVELY OPT IN TO YOUR LIST
Since the General Data Protection Regulation came in a couple of years ago, you must be confident that the people on your email list chose to be on it. Here is everything you need to know about GDPR.
Then things get a little more complex
To move onto the next level, and grow your new list, you need to entice ‘perfect strangers’ (i.e. your target audience but don’t know you from Adam yet) to sign up to your email list.
To do this, you ‘warm up’ your ideal audience by building the ‘Know, Like, Trust’ factor. The aim here is to introduce people to you and your business in a non-salesy way. This way you build up a relationship with your audience.
You want to encourage your audience to go from STRANGER to PROSPECT/LEAD to CUSTOMER to REPEAT BUYER.
We gently guide them on a journey so they take the action we want them to (in this case, we want them to sign up to your email list). At this point, you really need to map out a strategy outlining what you want your customers to do and how you’re going to get them there. (I can help you with this!)
There are lots of different types of these journeys, often called ‘funnels’ (this is another post entirely), but for now, let’s concentrate on a funnel which will encourage people to sign up to your email list.
We start by creating something they will find really useful, so they are more than happy to give you their email address in exchange for this free gift.
It’s your ‘free signature offer’ that helps or interests your audience in some way, and it must add value, be relevant, and address something that your audience wants or needs.
create a free downloadable 'signature offer' (lead magnet)
Your free signature offer (also known as a lead magnet or free download), should be something your target markets wants and needs! See the graphic below for 8 examples of offers you can create. You can really demonstrate your knowledge and expertise, and don’t be scared to share some of your top secrets.
Create A focused landing Page
This is a special web page (also known as a sales page or squeeze page) or ‘pop up’ which focuses your audience’s attention on the free offer. It should be simple and impactful, and entice your audience to click or subscribe.
Here’s an example of a pop up I found whilst researching this blog post, and I couldn’t resist signing up! When I entered my name and email address it took me straight to a PDF. Within seconds I had a quality free e book to save and read whenever I want. Brilliant.
(Note – lots of people really dislike pop ups – they can be rather annoying)
So to recap, your viewer clicks on a link, which will prompt them to enter their email address and name, then a link will take them directly to the free offer, or it will tell them to check their inbox where the offer will be waiting for them.
What needs to happen when someone subscribes?
It is so exciting when you receive an alert that someone has signed up to your list! Once people have signed up to your list, what happens next? Do you just leave them in the cold? No – first you need to thank them for signing up for your free offer, for joining your list or agreeing to receive your newsletter.
They have now become a willing and interested prospect – after all, they clicked on your link and gave you their email address so they’re waiting for you to contact them! The next step is to send a series of automated emails thanking them for signing up, welcoming them to your world, and allowing them to get to know you and your services/products, but in a non-salesy way.
(Be aware of freebie hunters!)
At this point, it is worth mentioning freebie hunters!! If we’re honest, lots of us do this – you spy a useful freebie and you sign up, get the freebie, then unsubscribe again! It’s a bit cheeky isn’t it? Just be aware of it – it could explain why your list grows one day then shrinks the next.
Setting up your Automated welcome sequence
Your initial email campaign should flow in a sequence, and should always start with a simple ‘thank you for signing up’ email or message and a link to the free offer or download. This process is known as ‘automation’, and in essence, the process to follow is:
* Write your email sequences
* Select the software you want to use (I use Mailchimp and MailerLite)
* Set up your sign up form and landing page and connect them to your website
* Create an autoresponder within your software which will send the emails out at predetermined intervals.
What other kinds of emails can you send to your subscribers?
After your welcome series has come to and end, you can now continue to send your subscribers emails. Send them things they will find useful, informative and/or entertaining, for example:
- Alerting them to your latest blog post (and include the link)
- Your current offers
- A new course you’ve created
- A regular newsletter
- Tips and hints that help them with problems they face
- Embed a short video (for example, a ‘how to’ demonstration, or your latest YouTube or Facebook live video
- A personal update – share more about your own journey
Email marketing is so important as part of your overall strategy to be more visible online. It’s an important part of attracting new leads, and nurturing your previous or existing clients. Take control of your online destiny, start building your list, keep on building it by sending great content and reaching out to the people on it. Over time, people will learn to (hopefully) like you, like your stuff, your style and when they need your service, they will remember you and get in touch.
If you need a hand with your email marketing, I’m certified in Mailchimp and MailerLite – check out my Email Marketing Support & Training services here.
How to be more visible online
This blog post is part of a series on the three basic elements of your online presence that you need to get right. Do these three things and you’ll be well on your way to having a more consistent, attractive online presence.
Simple business branding
Easy ways to create a professional looking brand for free.
Why you need a website
A guide to why your website is your real business asset,
Why Email Marketing is so important (this post)
Reasons why you should build an email list, how to do it, and why you shouldn’t rely solely on social media.
About the author
Jackie Salmon is a freelance web designer & virtual assistant based in Northumberland, England. She offers website design, Email Marketing and online content support & training for people who help people.