Many consider email marketing as the de facto way to generate leads—just think of the countless offers and specials you get in your personal Inbox daily. But email marketing is more than that, it’s a general outreach tactic that every business can benefit from to help improve brand awareness, promote events and compliment your social media efforts.
Is Email Marketing Still a Valid Tactic?
There’s been a lot of debate too about whether social media has replaced email marketing as a primary marketing communication tool for businesses. The truth is there is room for both.
Your social media fans and email subscribers want many of the same things – to connect with your business, learn about special offers, etc. But social media fans are getting harder to reach. Facebook tools now let users filter content and Twitter feeds come and go at light speed!
With email, you have a direct audience who has entrusted you with their email address. This audience, unlike in social media, is pretty much under your control. Your message is going to reach them, when you want it to.
So How Do You Get the Most Out of Your Email Marketing Efforts? Here Are Six Tips that Can Help:
1. Choose the Right Email Marketing Software
Selecting or upgrading your software starts by acquainting yourself with the feature set and pricing model that works best for you. Most providers offer the basic “email blast” option that lets you send one message to many, but there are also other more sophisticated options available that let you send specific information to specific audiences at specific times. These tools help improve overall campaign performance and ROI and should be looked into. Also check the price points and make sure you are getting the plan that makes sense for your current and future needs.
2. Build an Opt-In Email List
Building an in-house opt-in marketing list is your first step towards email marketing success and will help you avoid CAN SPAM violations. Don’t waste money buying a list of likely targets; build your own organic list of prospects and customers. This article has some tips on doing just that: Five Tips for Building an Opt-In Email Marketing List.
3. Be Targeted, Don’t Blast
It’s unlikely that all your readers want the same thing or have the same interests, so segment your mailing list based on purchase history, geography, gender, etc. Your email sign-up form and CRM records can capture some of this information. An annual email survey across your entire base can also help build a picture of your audience.
4. Extend your Brand through Your Email
Not every email is going to generate a sale, but the next one might, so you need to ensure your email is easily and consistently recognized with a look and feel that reflects your business and marketing identity.
5. Get Your Content Right
Content is an area that creates most concern for small business owners. How do I try to make a sale without sounding salesy? What should my subject line say? What am I going to offer?
If you are writing a promotional or campaign-based email:
- Ensure your messaging and offer ties in with any overall campaign message/theme.
- Make your offer beneficial, relevant, and timely.
- Think of your subject line as a snapshot or teaser of what you have to offer inside.
- State your offer more than once. Use a call out box and place it near the top of your email so that readers on mobile devices and those with little time can see it clearly. Then restate it in your body copy and link it to your website, making sure the promo code or activation mechanism is working beforehand
For tips on creating content for your newsletter, read: Seven Tips for Getting more from Your Customer E-Newsletter.
6. Connect Your Email Marketing with Your Social Media Efforts
Don’t forget to align your email and social media efforts:
- Use and Reuse Your Blog Content –Use excerpts of your blog posts to create e-newsletter content. Link back to your blog for the full article.
- Share Content and Events on Social Media – Some email software lets users share content on Facebook and Twitter and monitor “Likes” and comments.
- Encourage Your Social Media Fans to Subscribe to Your Email List – Add a subscribe link to your blog page, to your Facebook page, and make it known that your offers are available exclusively to newsletter subscribers before you post them to social media sites.
- Add Social Media Icons and Links – Add visible links to your social media presence from your email template.
- Get Useful Email Updates from the SBA - Sign up for email updates, newsletters and more from the SBA.