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Is email marketing effective for your small business
Take a look at some of the reasons why you should invest your time and money into email marketing.
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Top Email Marketing Software
How To Get Emails For
E-mails are one of the best tools for any marketer. It is an effective way to reach customers and potential customers without putting in the kind of extra effort required in other marketing techniques. Used correctly, e-mail marketing can be a huge asset, as various businesses have found to be true. In order to execute this strategy successfully, you will need a good email marketing software application setup first.
So what exactly is e-mail marketing?
E-mail marketing is a marketing tool that involves sending e-mail messages to customers and potential customers in order to communicate with them, to enhance their relationship with the business sending the e-mails, to encourage repeat business, and to build customer loyalty. It has become one of the most commonly used tools in marketing these days.
How Can It Help Your Small Business?
You’d be amazed at the effect a really great email list can have on your business. If you do it right, you’ll end up with what amounts to a bank. Imagine having a list of not just prospects, but loyal customers whom you can just send an email out to and get back $$$.
To get there, though, you’ll need to pay attention to some do’s and dont's as you create your email marketing list. Make you've got a great email marketing service before you begin collecting subscribers, having the right platform can make a huge difference on your long term profits.
Every component of an e-mail message that goes out – from the source of the e-mail to the design and offers in it – contributes in deciding whether it will be opened and perused by the customer or tossed in the spam folder.
How do You Decide Whom To Send the email to?
The biggest question that arises when you decide to employ e-mail marketing as a tool is that where do you get e-mail addresses from? There are multiple sources for this. The simplest source, of course, is the database of people who are already your customers.
However, if you only send e-mails to people who have already used your business, you are missing out on a large chunk of potential customers. So how do you find these potential customers, get their e-mail addresses and then use e-mail marketing to convince them to do business with you?
Here is one video for understanding the concept of e-mail marketing that you might find useful.
What should you not do?
Before going onto what you can do to have a good database for e-mail marketing, it is important to understand what not to do. One of the most generic and apparently easy ways to get a lot of e-mails is to buy an e-mail list. In the face of growing sales targets and problems with lead generation performance, just buying an e-mail list seems like the easy way out. However, this is a very bad idea, as any seasoned marketer can tell you. Here’s why:
1. You’re uninvited
There are few things people hate more than spam clogging their inboxes daily.
- Sending out thousands of e-mails to addressees who have no clue about you or your business is not a wise decision. E-mails on these bought e-mail lists are generally retrieved in a very non-transparent fashion.
- The owner of the e-mail may have agreed to the terms of service of the e-mail list provider, but that is not the same as voluntarily opting in.
- Some e-mail lists are even put together by using automatic web crawlers that try to find every possible e-mail used on the web through any way possible. It is of little surprise that such lists yield bad results. People end up getting so fed up that they resort to using tools like this to get off such mailing lists.
2. The accuracy of the data is in question
Although the e-mail list claims to be ‘up-to-date’, most of these lists have e-mails that are either inaccurate to begin with or those that have grown out of use.
- Yes, there are certain services that offer to double check the accuracy, but even then you cannot be a cent per cent certain. The following study explains why:
- The above study by Hubspot studies the problem of database decay and concludes that every year, your e-mail marketing database degrades by around 22.5%. Apart from having less and less effective e-mails every year, imagine what impression you would create if you sent an e-mail with an inaccurate custom field.
- If the e-mail list is not upto date, you might end up e-mailing someone who used to be a product manager at a company last year but has now shifted his business elsewhere. By addressing him as the product manager of the old company, the first impression you make is a negative one. This bought e-mail lists are not up-to-date and accurate.
3. Too much personalization, too soon
Too much personalization is as bad as too less. Personalization is attractive, sure, but only when the customer already knows you.
- Receiving an e-mail from a business with which you haven’t interacted with at all that contains personal details about you or your business isn’t good relationship managing, it is downright creepy.
- See this example of an e-mail where in the first ever e-mail sent the marketer discloses that s/he has already made an intimate study of the business of the e-mail recipient. Hereare some examples of really bad e-mail marketing techniques.
- The tons of spam emails are exactly why customers may never open your email. The Federal Trade Commission, for instance, allows customers to report against unsolicited mails, so you have to be really careful.
Check out our email marketing automation reviews page to see how you can easily create personalized emails that automatically get sent to the right person at the right time.
4. Email people without their permission
This is a big one. Whether you’re thinking about stealing or buying a list, you need to stop and realize the huge negative effects that kind of email marketing can have on your business and your marketing. It’s not worth it. Even when you’re signing people up for your own list, you should be careful - a confirmation email is always a good idea. Be careful not to blast out emails to lists you've bought, you should always use opt-in forms on your website.
5. Fail to deliver on your promises
Remember what I said about incentives? Well, make sure that you can deliver on whatever incentive you promised, and right away, too. This is your first exposure to your prospect. Make it look good!
6. Make it difficult to opt-out
OK, so there’s a lot of debate about this one. But honestly, if you make it harder for people to opt-out of your email list, you’ll be more likely to end up in spam folders. Frustrated readers who want to get rid of your emails will mark your email as trash or spam without reading, leading to a bad image for your marketing campaign. Plus, you don’t want those people anyway, right?
What should you do?
Now that it is clear what not to do, it is important to know what to do. Here are some of the things that you should be definitely doing when creating your email list.
You can’t build a good email list until you know whose emails you want. What’s your demographic? Individuals? Businesses?
Get more specific. Men? Women? How old? Get as detailed as you possibly can and then take the next step: where will you find those people? Do you know? If so, then that’s where you need to be getting emails.
Use what you already have
Do you really want a great quality list of prospects already interested in your product? Then you need to take advantage of every other type of marketing you got. Do you have a business website? Put a few opt-ins in a sidebar or (better) have a pop-up opt-in that visitors can quickly put their emails in. A great way to build credibility and trust with your subscribers is to send out a weekly or monthly email newsletter full of unique quality content that provides real value to your audience.
Play around with different mediums, always directing your marketing to what should be the focus of your marketing strategy: your email list.
While many people try to build their own email list, they’ll have some kind of advertising that amounts to, ‘give us your email so we can send you emails.’ I’m going to tell you right off the bat that that’s really an awful incentive.
Offer an ebook, or a whitepaper, or something. This is where you need to do your research too. What does your demographic want? What can you offer them?
Which is the best method to use?
While there are many methods used to create an e-mail database, one of the best and easiest methods is to use e-mail marketing software. There are many good options in the market, such as Aweber, Getresponse, Convertkit, Streamsend and Active Campaign.
These websites allows you to collect your own database of e-mail addresses by creating your own opt-in form and then using it on your website. The biggest benefit of these sites is that you do not need any coding knowledge for this process.
How do you use Aweber?
If you are thinking to go in for Aweber, here is how the whole process works. Following are the steps to avail a one-month free trial and create your own e-mail marketing list:
Step 1. Signing up for a trial – Go to the Aweber website and choose to sign up for a free 30 day trial. You will now be directed to a form where you need to fill out essential details.
Step 2. Filling in essential details – For your free trial you can choose between three plans – monthly, quarterly and yearly. Now you need to fill in all relevant information, including personal and billing information.
Step 3. Using your account – Once your account is confirmed, you can start using it. The first basic thing you have to do is create your own list. Open My Lists> List Settings. Here, you will see a lot of different options that you can choose and set according to your preferences.
You have to fill in the list name, list description, contact address etc. You also get additional options such as company branding, which are optional to fill.
Step 4. Setting up your confirmed opt-in message – You now get to set the message your customers/ potential customers will see that invites them to opt in for e-mail marketing. You have to choose a subject, introduction, and closing.
The subject should be short and succinct.
The introduction should be brief, yet should explain what subscribing entails. You may choose to assure the user of no spam messages.
A small closing greeting, as personalized or generic as you wish.
Step 5. Sending messages – You can send messages to your subscribers at the click of a button. All you have to do is choose messages from your dashboard. Here you will get the option of choosing between broadcast message and follow up message. For a broadcast message, you can set a specific date and time for when it will go out to all your subscribers.
Step 6. Publishing a web form – This is the last and most important step. Click on ‘create web form’. Here you will see different templates to choose from. After you have chosen your template, you can edit any part of the form by simply clicking on it.
For changing the name of the form and the thank you page, click on the ‘settings’ option. Finally, when you are ready with your form, click on ‘I will install my form’. An HTML link will be generated that you can copy and paste on your website.
No matter how much social media marketing grown or new trends come into the picture, e-mail marketing cannot be completely replaced as e-mail is the most widely used service by all classes of people. As such, it is important to extract the maximum benefit out of it.
If you're going to be building a huge email list, you may want to check out our comparison of mass email services before starting out. In addition to Aweber mentioned above, other good email marketing software tools include Get Response, Convertkit and Active Campaign.
However it is also essential to tread carefully as one wrong e-mail can earn you the reputation of a ‘spammer’ in the mind of a potential customer, thus not only ruining your chances of them ever again using information in an e-mail sent by you, but also significantly diminishing their chances of doing business with you.
The best way of going about is obtaining a legitimate, verified, voluntary database of people who are or would be interested in hearing from you.