Are you thinking about email in the same way you always have, in fact, are you paying it less attention than ever before?
Unfortunately, many businesses don’t make full use of email marketing and yet the world’s most successful businesses – both online and bricks and mortar – use it to generate revenue and boost profits.
Some think it’s gone past its used-by-date but it remains one of the most highly effective ways of marketing a business.
Think about which companies you receive emails from. You’ll find the big brands, the highly successful businesses, are generally using email in a strategic way because it’s working for them.
The main role of email marketing is to engage customers and move them along the sales process. It not only helps build a stronger connection with your brand and increase retention but it’s also an effective way of generating revenue.
The sales process
From when someone opts in to receive your email updates to being a first time customer, then a repeat buyer and hopefully a loyal customer and brand champion one day, email can help move people to action.
However, you’ll often hear people say they don’t read emails that are sent to them.
While that’s true, and is going to happen to a portion of your recipients, when you have a targeted list and you’re delivering something of value to someone, email can help you build stronger connections with your customers and ultimately sell more.
One of the great things about email is that it’s low cost and with automation systems today, it can give you rich data about your customer base.
What you learn from emailing your customers over time, such as who opened them, clicked a link, purchased something, or made an enquiry, can help inform other marketing decisions.
It’s also a great way of testing ideas before you embark on an advertising campaign too.
An email list enables you to directly target your customers on other platforms too as you can upload the list to social media platforms and make offers to them there, in addition to the information you send via email.
And it helps you find similar target audiences. Facebook will take your list and find other people in the same demographic, with similar interests in the locations you select so an email list can really add a lot of value to your marketing program.
Email done properly is by no means easy. It’s a strategic communications and marketing channel and needs appropriate planning and testing to get the most out of it for your company.
To give you further food for thought about using email, or indeed optimising it, here are the three main business email categories and examples of how they can be used.
- Transactional / operational
These emails area all about day-to-day customer service.
Messages that engage new people who have recently joined your list and nurture existing connections.
Information that advises of sales and offers and keeps your customers in the loop, well informed and helps generate additional revenue.
Examples: Transactional / operational
These are the emails that are often sent by automated systems and triggered by an action such as joining an email list, an enquiry or online purchase.
While you could be forgiven for thinking these emails are fairly dull, they can add value if they’re used correctly because the person being sent the email is generally expecting it and knows who it’s from.
The types of emails that can be characterised as transactional include:
- Order confirmation
- Purchase receipts
- New account details
- Return confirmations
- Delivery or shipping details
- Support tickets
- Password reminders
All these emails provide an opportunity for you to: strengthen your brand, generate leads, engage and nurture, foster loyalty and boost retention, and sell more to your customers.
Could you be thinking about email marketing in new ways?
- Welcome / onboarding email for new subscribers
- Thank you for purchasing
- New article / blog post on website
- Rewarding best customers
- Invitations to events and confirmations
- Business / company updates or announcements
- Short surveys
- Referral requests
- Requests for case study
These types of emails provide a great opportunity for you to provide that human touch, to personalise your contact, make people feel good about their connection with you and always deliver value.
These emails enable you to deliver further value to your customers with the aim of making more sales and increasing revenue.
You’ll be selective with who you’re sending these to, based on your customer segmentation, but these emails, and what supports them, have the ability to inject further value into your business.
- New content just for subscribers
- New product release
- Information session (including webinars)
- Event announcements
You have two types of delivery mechanisms available:
- Manual broadcast
When you’re setting up your email marketing program, you’ll need to determine which emails should be issued based on a trigger, which would mean an automated message, or something you decide to issue yourself, even if it’s to your entire list.
Customer journey campaigns
As said at the outset, email marketing is about helping to move people along in their customer journey with you.
With that being the case, you need email campaigns at various stages of the sales process.
The emails themselves fit into the three categories, as above, but there are five main campaign types designed to facilitate the steps your customers will take.
As a person is just getting to know your brand, this first impression email and series is all important.
Be genuine, warm, open, honest and crystal clear about who you are, what you do and what this connection with you will be about.
- what they can expect from your company;
- the benefits of dealing with your business;
- what you’ll do – such as the type of content you’ll send and how often;
- what you want them to do;
- what they’ll gain; and
- the next step to attaining more value.
You want prospective buyers to feel good about their initial contact with you and be interested in looking for further correspondence from you.
It’s also a good time to point out that you want them to “whitelist“ your emails so you know they’ll receive them in their main inbox.
Think of what else you can add, or link to, that will deliver them extra value. Aim to make your company shine and build a strong relationship from the outset.
This campaign is for those who are subscribers to your list and have shown an interest in what you offer, they have may clicked through to an article you sent them, downloaded something free about a topic particularly relevant to them, but haven’t yet purchased.
It’s important to know what they’re interested in, acknowledge their early interactions with what you have to offer and then promote the next step, which is purchase.
At this stage, you may not be offering your core product, it may be something of lower value so ensure your step matches their intention and where they’re at in the sales process.
When someone becomes a buyer it’s an ideal opportunity for you to present another offer to them.
Thanking and congratulating them for the purchase they’ve already made is a great way to begin followed by setting out the additional value you can provide and the benefits they’ll receive.
If they’ve purchased something at lower cost and not one of your main products, it may be too soon for them to buy again, so it’s important to gauge where the person is at and read the signals to date so you don’t harm the relationship.
Sometimes relationships take a while to get going so it’s useful having a campaign you can use to activate those connections that didn’t take flight initially.
Every email campaign will consist of people who disengage and don’t open them but it doesn’t mean they don’t want to ever. It’s important you get back in touch and find out if they’re interested. It took some effort, and likely dollars, to get them in the first place so it’s good practice to follow-up.
Developing a campaign that helps you to segment your customers is best practice marketing. You can craft a message that goes to all, or most of your database, and then categorise them based on what you ask them, who engages with you, what they click and any other actions they take.
This will make future email campaigns more targeted and ensure you’re talking to people who want to hear from you and are more likely to respond.
Segmentation helps you avoid that awful feeling of not wanting to bother people or add another email to someone’s inbox.
Your email marketing will be more effective the more targeted it is and you’ll feel good about what you’re communicating because you’ll know it’s valued, welcomed and actioned by your key supporters.
Email marketing is seemingly straightforward but requires careful planning, an automated email system, copywriting, offer creation, testing, monitoring and refinement to be effective.
Plus, there are a number of legal and compliance matters that need to be adhered to following changes to the Spam Act 2003 but they shouldn’t hold you back.
Avoid lost opportunities for your business and help meet your goals this year by getting started on implemented an email marketing strategy.
If you’d like to discuss your marketing needs, please use the Contact Us button and we’ll be in touch with you soon.