When we think of all the ways we market to our customers and how we grow sales and our customer base, we have almost too many options. We have the traditional means, like Radio, Television, Newspapers, Magazines, Mailers, and Billboards to marketing and advertising. Yet still now we have newer ways to market through digital means. Digital is an ever increasing and expanding medium, but let’s say that for this episode we’re talking about website content, social media, blogs, search like Google and Bing, and social media (too many things to list). Of all the possible tools and apps to use there’s one that consistently is the go-to for marketing your business that every business, entrepreneur, and cause should use.
In this episode of Marketing Distilled I wanted to talk to those busy and hardworking business owners about using Email Marketing to grow their business. Lots of people think that email marketing is passé and no longer relevant, but in this episode I want to get you excited about using email marketing to grow your business. Email marketing isn’t dead. On the contrary, it’s still alive and it’s still bringing business to those who use it well. In this episode you’ll learn how to do email marketing well and get right on using it for your business.
Point 1: Why should I use email marketing for my business?
There are lots of reasons why you should use email marketing for your business. Nearly everyone checks email at least once a week, some check their emails once a day, or even many times during the day. So email gives you a direct channel of communication between your business and someone who may want to buy from you. Email also is the best way to build that know and trust factor that businesses need and customers want before they do business or buy something. It’s a great way to build a relationship. Also, having an email list is a crucial piece of data. As of now when I’m recording this, you can upload your email list to Facebook to create audiences that you can serve ads to, and what’s more, is that Facebook (as of now) will use the data they’ve collected about the people on your list to create audiences that are similar to yours so that you can get more people interested in your products or services.
What’s most compelling here is that you have a direct way to interact with and tell your customers and audience what’s new, share stories, and more. You don’t have to wait for an algorithm to either deliver the message when it thinks it should be delivered, if at all. Also, the best thing about email marketing is that whatever message you are sending, is delivered instantly.
Point 2: What do I need to start email marketing?
Well, there is a fair bit of things you need to get started so let’s break it down into everything you might possibly need:
You’ll need a branded email address, for example: [email protected] . You don’t want to use a more generic email like [email protected] Those scream amateur and unprofessional. You can use a service like Microsoft Outlook or Google Workspace to help you set up an email address like this one, or contact your IT department.
You’ll need to sign up for an email service provider. Some thing like the following services will do well:
What these services let you do is give you lots of features, like integrating with your website, segmentation (which is separating your list into different groups), email sequences, and also emails that are sent if people forget to buy something from your website.
You’ll need a few email message templates, and these could be anything from this list:
- Blog Post template (if you want to share your latest blog post with your list from your website)
- Newsletter (this could range from different products, updates from your business like employee of the month
- Featured product (this could be a featured product that you’re promoting on it’s own)
- Job Opportunities (sending opportunities to your customers and hiring from your tribe is a great way to find talent)
Anything else you want to tell your audience or your list.
Finally, you’ll want to decide on a frequency as to when you’ll email your list. This could be weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. It’s less about frequency and more about consistency at this point.
Point 3: Next you’ll need a list of email addresses to email
The next thing you need to be successful at email marketing is an email list. This seems to go with out saying, but building a list is vital for your success. How do you grow your email list? Assuming we’re starting from scratch, here’s the best way to grow your email list. It’s good to understand that a person’s email address is a pretty personal thing. Customers and the general public don’t just give their email addresses freely. They know that you’ll probably email them! It’s true, you will, but you want to create a safe space by ensuring that they know that you won’t sell their information to other people, or even loan it out to others. So you’ll need to make sure that you make that clear to the person looking at your form.
Next you’ll need to develop some sort of a lead magnet or way to entice someone to give you their email address. there are lots of different types of incentives:
- A PDF download that contains some sort of information, like a gear list if you sell gear like cameras, tripods, and lenses or video equipment
- A White Paper (also a PDF download) that conveys some sort of information, this could be anything from a recent success in your business and how you can help your customers,
- A Three Part Series – Customers could use a series of emails to help get them oriented or familiar with what you do. For example, help your new customer make something so you can sell them something later.
- If you’re selling something online, then ask people who buy your products if they’d like to join your email list.
These are a few of the examples you could use to capture email addresses online on your website, but what about building your email list off line? Well, then your approach should be a little different. In your store you’ll need to make sure all your staff is trained to let them know that if they would like to receive the opt-in that they should join the email list.
You could have a well designed form that is easy to fill out and that encourages legibility. I know this is old school, but sometimes old school is what works. Especially when you have tech issues or some other problem that comes up in the store, or you’re in a location where you have limited access to the internet. You will just have to enter the data in after your event or whatever you’re doing.
Whether you do online or offline email list building you should at the bare minimum collect a subscriber’s email address (duh) and the subscriber’s first name. Maybe last name too, but the idea is to make it a quick and easy process. You don’t need to worry about mailing address, phone number, or any other piece of information.
Well, there are three points to help you succeed in Email marketing We’ll be back after a word or four from our sponsors.
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Break 2 – Benchmark 8
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In 1773, three McAfee Brothers named James, George and Robert left Virginia westward to explore the uncharted territory that would later become known as Kentucky. Traveling by canoe at first, the McAfee Company eventually followed a native trail overland that led to the great buffalo crossing, where the brothers surveyed the land now home to the world’s most award-winning distillery – Buffalo Trace Distillery. The surveyor marks left behind are known as benchmarks and this bourbon whiskey honors the pioneering spirits of these early American explorers.
The nose bears caramel notes with a delicate stone-fruit backdrop. A robust and sturdy palate with some fine leather notes mingling with dry tobacco, a touch of oak and a hint of dried cherries. The finish is smooth and calming.
Point 4: You need to make sure that you get your emails delivered and read.
Now that you have everything you need to get started I bet you’re wondering, if we go through all the trouble to get setup for email marketing, we’d better make sure we do everything that we can to get those emails delivered and read, which is absolutely true.
The first part is about deliverability. In your user’s first signup email you need to make sure that you have your new subscriber add you to their safe senders list, either by adding your email to their contact list, or some other means. This will tell their email client (the app they use to check their email) that this email address is someone I want to hear from. That way they will make sure to get your email.
Now that your subscriber is set to received, how do you make sure they get read? There are really three key elements that you ought to use and keep in mind. For this it’s all about the subject line. The subject line should entice the recipient to open the email. How do you do this? I rely on really three elements:
First, most if not all email service providers include mail merge tags to insert various pieces of information collected in the email. So, be sure to insert the subscriber’s name in the subject line of the email. When people see their name it automatically captures their attention.
Next, you’ll want to write compelling copy that entices the subscriber to take action. In his book, Product Launch Formula, Jeff Walker lists about eight mental triggers that can encourage people to buy or to take action. Here are three that you could use for your email subject lines:
- Anticipation – people get excited about future things. Use anticipation for your email subject lines. Great for events or upcoming product launches
- Scarcity – we all know that products and services have limited supply. People don’t want to miss out on things, or not get things that are hot right now. (Think about the hottest Christmas Toy of the year.) Using scarcity will help you increase sales or purchases.
- Social Proof – nothing attracts a crowd like a crowd, and subject lines like (John, learn why Jim chose to buy this … )
Lastly, I want to let you in on a secret. You can use emojis in your subject lines. Yes! Those little graphics can be the difference between someone reading your email and not. These little images will help attract the eye and further emphasize your message. If you have an upcoming event, use the calendar emoji. Is it going to be Taco Tuesday coming up? Use the taco emoji. You get the idea.
So, to write great subject lines, use the subscriber’s first name, use strong copy using anticipation, scarcity, social proof, and finally use emojis to further attract the eye.
Point 5: Use Scheduling and calendaring tools to get ahead
My favorite feature of all social media platforms and tools is the ability to schedule posts and content to be sent or published at a future date. Take time to figure out what email messages you need to send and coordinate with your entire marketing mix. The idea is to get ahead of the game and be proactive and not reactive and in charge of your business. This is also a means by which you can test to see when the best time is to send an email.
For me, it’s been an exercise in developing a theory based on assumptions and seeing what works. Every email list is different and it’s up to the marketer and team to figure out the best time to send emails and the worst times. I’ve learned over the years that early morning is a great time for emails to be sent because people check their emails in the morning. Evenings are not as great because people don’t check their email because their focus is elsewhere. One idea I had working for a quick service restaurant that’s famously closed on Sundays is to email the list when they can’t have what the restaurant sells. It was brilliant because it primed the pump for sales on Monday. Which brings me to the next and final point about optimizing and understanding your email marketing over time.
Point 6: How do I optimize my email marketing?
Optimizing your email marketing takes many different forms. To do so we have to understand some basic metrics that marketers use to gauge their success.
- Open Rate – Open rate is a ratio of people that have opened the email versus those that didn’t. It’s always better to have a higher open rate. You optimize your send times and subject lines to help increase your email open rate.
- Click Through Rate – your click through rate is the ratio of people who, after opening the email, clicked on any of the links you have in the email copy. This could be the blog post link to read more, the product listing on your shop, or some other thing in your email message.
Those are some basic metrics. One advanced technique to use is A/B testing. Essentially you split your list up into two groups and you send the same email message, but you change one element of the email message. You only change one. This would be words on your subject line, button color, images, or even time sent. This testing gives you clues on what works best for your list. It takes time, but when you do this you will help you better design emails and help you make better decisions in the future.
Email marketing is a vital component of your marketing mix. It gives you the power to directly communicate with your list of people who want to hear from you. To get started you’ll need a branded email address, an email service provider, and a few templates. Growing your list is vital and begins with the creation of various opt-in strategies and relies on you creating a safe space for your subscribers. Write email subject lines that get your email read and opened. Use scheduling tools to get ahead and get organized in your email marketing, and finally, optimize your email marketing using metrics and A/B testing using one element at a time.
Thanks for listening to Marketing Distilled I hope that you’ve enjoyed this deep dive episode on email marketing. I’m your master distiller Jonathan Gaby, and tune in in a couple weeks (give or take a day) to the next episode.