Email marketing is a must for every business that would be here in the next 10 years. It is the most profitable direct marketing channel.
The list you get from your email marketing campaign can be a powerful tool in your hands. It can help you engage more customers, get repeat sales and position as an authority.
Email marketing is one of the most affordable and effective marketing strategies your ecommerce business can take advantage of.
This morning, I was pondering about which is better? Email marketing or social media marketing? Subscribers or followers?
We spend too much time on social media doing the unnecessary. We like, comment, and post almost irrelevant thing.
Hardly 10% of those using social media understands the marketing side of it.
We use social media in a rush hoping to see the next post and engage as fast as possible. With email that’s not so. You can only read email one time at a time.
Also, people are more open to business via email than on social media. This makes email marketing an essential strategy in your business.
I deleted most of my social accounts and focused on email. At first, it was not encouraging. There were no more likes (favourites), no comments (replies) nor shares (forward).
Sooner than later, I realized my investment in email marketing strategy both in time and money was never a waste.
Staying in touch with your customers is an important part of running a successful ecommerce business.
And as such email marketing is no doubt a strong pillar to the success of these business.
In this article you will learn what email marketing is, the right strategies, tools and platforms you should be using.
Email Marketing Meaning
Email marketing is when you send a commercial email message to your subscribers. And subscribers are people (customers) who signed up to your email list giving you authorized permission to send to them.
In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent the first email including a series of numbers and letters looking more of a password than a message.
Unlike the internet of today, then, the email was sent from one computer to another. He (Ray) also introduced the “@” symbol to the email world.
A marketing manager at the Digital Equipment Corp, Gary Thuerk, sent the first commercial email to list of email addresses.
Right at that moment, email marketing was born.
Today, email marketing is no longer one-size-fits-all because what works for one customer may not for another.
You will need to segment your customers and personalize your emails to them for better conversion.
The right email marketing strategy is used to inform, engage and build a brand around your ecommerce business.
Why is Email Marketing Important for Small Businesses?
- Email marketing boosts both your personal brand and business.
- It generates you more leads (subscribers) in a quick time.
- With email marketing, you can stay in touch of your previous customers.
- It allows your reach out to customers who checked out your products on the site without buying.
- Email is accessible to all age groups opening the door to a wide range of audiences.
- Customers are more patience reading email since they can read one at a time.
- It is cost effective. Most email marketing tools offer from free plans to pricing packages to suit all budgets.
- You can personalize and know you are sending email to the right audience.
- Email marketing tags your business, “premium” compare to sending message on Social media.
- Over 72% of consumers prefer email as their source of business communication. Almost 61% of people enjoy weekly promotional emails.
Benefits of Email Marketing to Your Business
1 Position as an Expert
One good benefit you enjoy with email marketing is it positions you as an expert. And as an expert, clients tend to pay you more. Also, you get to choose whom you want to work with.
But you wouldn’t become an expert overnight. It takes a high level of discipline and focus in sharing relevant information to your list.
You have to create educative and engaging contents for the type of people you want to work with. These contents can be articles, podcasts, infographics or videos.
When I started as web designer, I created contents relevant to the web design industry. Soon I realize it was not the way to go. Because, my potential clients are not fellow designers but those with no knowledge of design.
When you create any content, do it for your audience and not your fellow business owners. Also, be willing to share with your mailing list.
To help position better as an expert, I suggest you do the following:
- Email interested articles to your subscribers once or twice a week – no more than three times.
- Share your podcast or videos to your list and include an excerpt and a link to the full content.
2 You Stay Afresh
How many of the people you have worked for remembered you? How many of them came back or referred you to a friend in need of your service?
People soon forget the person they work with to achieve their goals. This is most common with clients than customers.
It’s not their faults, they are caught up in the busyness of life. We all have challenges occupying our hearts we never wish was there.
This is where email marketing comes in handy. You can use it to keep in touch with your past clients.
Some clients may like your work but are not ready to hire immediately for some reasons best known to them. With email marketing, you can keep your thought afresh in their mind.
You need to be consistent with sharing valuable newsletter no matter how busy you are to engage your list.
Inform Your Subscribers
Email marketing helps you inform your subscribers of your work schedule.
There is limit to the number of hours you can work each day. If you choose to work with one client per week, let them know.
This email marketing strategy helps people to hasten. They will feel a sense of urgency and respect your schedule.
Let them know how many project slots you have to work on each month.
Also, with email marketing, you can inform your clients and customers of the increase in your charges.
Or you inform them of a future increment so they make their offer now.
Save Time Save Energy
You need email marketing to automate your onboarding process. That is converting your potential clients to paying clients.
I struggled with answering client’s emails and calls when I started out in business. It became too stressful.
Some customers will talk and talk for a long time with nothing to offer. Some will call you just to know the price and other won’t reply your emails.
To combat this, I decided to automate my onboarding process using email marketing platforms. It saves me a whole lot of time and energy.
When a user input their email and first name on my site, they automatically receive a welcome email in their inbox.
This email guides them on step-by-step method on how to make payment and submit relevant information I need to design their ecommerce site.
Using email marketing for your small business profits you much more.
Email automations is about taking repetitive task off your hand and organize the work flow automatically.
Using automations in email marketing can make the difference in how clients and customers perceive your business. It eases customers working with you and help gain repeat sales.
Email marketing does not have to mean removing the uniqueness (human touch) of your business. It simply means you can make things easy so you spend more time doing what you love.
Chasing clients to ask for testimonials of your work with them is not funny. And it makes you look needy. Email marketing has provided the way out of this.
So, your customers ordered one of your luxury products, wouldn’t you like to get a testimonial from them on how great they have been using your products.
All you need do is to create a drip sequence in your email marketing templates using automations.
Project Completed: Send an email thanking them for choosing to work with you. Also, give a guide material on how they can get the most out of the work you just completed for them.
7 Days later: Send an email stating you are checking up on them and also to know if they have any questions. Or need your help.
30 Days later: Send an email asking what the result of your work has been so far. Use this medium to request testimonial based on the positive results you delivered to them.
Let them know you prefer testimonial with detailed information than generic one.
Using email marketing can help your business grow. It allows you to include your personality and style into your business.
What are Types of Email Marketing?
How do you know what message to send to your customers?
To help you out, I have mentioned here four different emails you should consider sending.
Transactional emails are messages you need to send to customers in order to facilitate a transaction or provide a product or service, as requested by the customer. For this reason, you don’t need to obtain consent from the customer to send this email marketing type.
When a customer purchases your products or services, it is important you send them transactional email showing what they ordered and the invoice.
You should send this email marketing type to one customer at a time as it must be specific.
Information emails are emails used in promoting an eBook, events and more. And as such, you must personalize this email to specific users.
This email marketing type should consist of up to 5 emails sent across a month.
Don’t forget to include a clear and bright call to action (CTA) leading a customer to a dedicated landing page.
These are emails you send regularly on weekly or monthly basis. Most times, they include a summary of your most recent content.
You will make your email look appealing if you include an image, title and excerpts of article(s) you are sharing.
This email marketing example is the perfect way to inform customers of company announcements, news in your industry.
Make sure to make it simple.
As an ecommerce business owner, you agree with me over time it’s rare for a product to have same price for years. This call for the need of email marketing.
Products update emails are emails you send to your customers about a new product or a major update on an existing.
A products email doesn’t need you going about the bush. Keep it simple and short.
How Do I Start Email Marketing for my Business?
Choose an Email marketing Platform
Businesses use Email Service Provider (ESP) to send marketing emails to their contact list. An Email Service Provider sends and manages email marketing campaigns for businesses.
Another name for email service provider is email marketing tools, email marketing software, or email marketing service.
You may ask, “why can’t I use Gmail and Yahoo to send mails?”
Gmail and Yahoo are used for personal purposes and not recommended for mass emails.
If you use them, they will flag your account for suspicious activity. The worst part is your email entering spam box.
And also, they are limited in features you need to keep business running.
Build an Email List
Building an email list requires hard work especially at the beginning. Yet, you will receive a high return on investment when you send emails to willing subscribers.
But you can’t send emails except you have a list of email addresses to send it to. That tells you it is time to start building your email list.
How do you build an email list? To build your list:
Create a Signup Form
When people come to your website to read a post or buy a product and they like what they see, they will want to stay in touch with you.
A signup form at the end of your content is a good way to grow your list in a quick time.
Your email marketing provider will most likely provide you with a form.
If you have an engaged audience on social media and you will like to have them on your email list (which you should). Get them to sign up through your form.
Tap into billions of users by sharing your website on these platforms.
Offer discounts of your products to your customers to sign up.
You may also give out free items to first time visitors in exchange for their emails.
Build a landing page and place your signup form in easily visible positions. These positions include the upper layer (above the fold), middle and footer of your website.
Send a Welcome Email
Now a visitor has signed up on your email list. What next? Step up your email marketing strategy by sending a welcome email to the subscriber once he is added to your list.
A welcome email is an automated message you send to new customers and subscribers. The idea of a welcome email is to introduce your brand create a first lasting impression.
In your welcome email, tell subscribers to add you to their contact list so they wouldn’t miss your email.
Build an email marketing campaign
Now that you have sent you first email (welcoming email), it’s time to strategize sequence and structures of your other outgoing emails.
To build a successful email marketing campaign, you need have a clear goal of what you want to achieve.
Your goals could be:
- Announcing new products.
- Promoting existing products.
- Offering discounts when a customer buys in large quantity.
- Getting more downloads for your eBook and software.
Whatever you want to achieve, be clear about it. Doing this, you will benefit from email marketing.
Email marketing campaigns performs better when sent on Tuesday or Thursday in the mornings around 10:00 AM or in the afternoons around 2:00 PM. Other best times are 6am and 6pm same Tuesday and Thursday.
What are Best Email Marketing Tips and Practices?
You should not buy an email list
The email lists you buy will be largely useless. Because, these set of persons are not targeted.
It’s like promoting a coke via email to a diabetic patient. You have the right product and marketing message but wrong list.
The emails you send affect the people you are sending to and also leaves a wrong impression killing your brand.
Also, most of the emails you send to a list you bought will land on the spam box and you will get high unsubscribed rate.
Don’t use third-party lists. They include purchased or rented mailing lists, and lists scraped from third-party sources, including public websites.
Get permission before sending:
Everyone on your list should have opted in to receive emails from you. And their permission should be express and verifiable.
If you use your email marketing provider signup form, they track the permission for you.
Include an unsubscribe link.
Your subscriber chose to opt in your signup form. They should also have the choice to opt out whenever they want to.
Federal anti-spam laws require you to give people a way to unsubscribe from your list in every campaign you send.
Make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe with a clearly visible unsubscribe link. If people can’t find the way out, they’re more likely to mark you as spam.
We require you to use our unsubscribe link.
Use Double Opt-In
Opt-In refers to a visitor signup process. And there are two types of opt-in for email marketing.
As already mentioned, the term ‘opt-in’ refers to the signup process. There are two different types of opt-in for email marketing:
A single opt-in is when a subscriber is added to your list once he clicks the submit button.
Double opt-in is when you send a confirmation email to reassured a subscriber’s intent to opt-in to your list.
You automatically send a link to the subscriber’s email asking he verify he wants to sign up.
Double opt-in does help in avoiding email typo error which decreases the number of bounced rates you get. Also, double opt-in increases your email deliverability.
Optimize subject line and preview text
A successful email starts with a subject line that grabs the attention of your recipients.
Make your subject line personal or descriptive.
Give your contact list a reason to check out your content with the preview text.
Use a short subject line not more than 30 characters.
Use an easy to remember Sender Name and Address
Everyone is careful about what emails they are opening because of the fraudulent activities going on the internet.
A recipient will first ask in his heart, “Who sent this email? Is it genuine?”
You can answer their questions and conquer their fear using your brand name and address.
Stick with a single call-to-action (CTA)
When you give man too many choices, he ends up not choosing or choosing wrongly. This is what happens when you include too many links or buttons in your email.
Each email you send should have a goal. Are you introducing new products to customers? Are you educating your clients on how to do a particular task?
No matter your goal, use a single call-to-action (CTA).
Keep your list up to date.
Do you have subscribers who have not been responding to your email marketing campaign for a long time? See if you can get them interested again.
By updating your email list, you remove the inactive ones and add the newly gotten ones.
An updated list increases your email deliverability and ensure higher engagement rates.
Keep your database up to date for optimal deliverability and higher engagement rates with your email marketing campaign.
Email Marketing Questions
Should I use HTML or Plain Text in my email marketing?
The debate of whether to use an HTML or plain text has been long going for years among digital marketers.
I have no preferred one. Plain-text can be just as effective as HTML.
It all boils down to your audience and the types of emails you’re sending. It most depends on your purpose of use.
Here is my recommendation.
If you are a writer having much dependency on words with little to no images, use plain text. If you run an ecommerce business, use HTML for your email marketing.