Email Is a Relationship and a Conversation
As a small-business owner, you are always on the lookout for affordable ways to spread the good word about your business to potential customers. More importantly, you want to connect and maintain healthy relationships with customers, as this is how you guarantee good business referrals and word of mouth.
If you find social media confusing, you’re not alone. Lots of entrepreneurs haven’t figured it out yet, and it’s also time consuming if not properly monitored. Traditional advertising methods are effective, but are sometimes too costly for small-business owners to engage consistently in.
So, which avenue do you utilize that won’t stress your budget, and is “easy” enough to invest time in?
Email marketing is your answer, and is a measurable and very effective way to keep in touch with current customers while attracting new ones.
I asked Chris Brogan what he felt was his “main meal” in social media after he tweeted “Facebook is the potato chips of my social platform.” His response was email.
Email marketing requires a small time investment of your resources, and allows you to send personalized messages.
How do you get started?
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1. Know your audience
Your email marketing campaign won’t make sense if you don’t know who your target audience is. Research on who your customers are (and who you want to attract) is very important, as it enables you to send targeted messages. Come up with a game plan that outlines who you want to target, the messages you want to send, and the goals you want to achieve.
Once you have a plan figured out, it’s time to segment your audience. The introductory email you send to potential clients differs from the product updates you send to established clients. Segmenting your email list allows you to craft specific content for specific people, so that you increase the chances of recipients actually clicking and reading through your email.
Your email campaign messages can take many forms, including newsletters, tips, posters, coupons, promotional material, and updates.
2. Study success stories
To find ways and ideas to make your email campaign much more successful, find the success stories of companies and entrepreneurs that have made email work for them. With such success stories, find out the frequency of their email messages, the type of templates they used, the time of day that they found recipients to be more receptive, and so on. Such information is gold for your campaign, and will help as you craft an email marketing game plan.
3. Focus on quality content
For most forms of online marketing, quality content is king. There really is no way to keep audiences interested other than by providing quality and informative content, period. A lot of email marketers make the mistake of focusing too much on the “salesy” stuff. Audiences will quickly tune off if they don’t see your content as valuable and helpful to them. Always aim to provide updates, tips, insights, and content that is of real value and helps audiences solve their problems.
The 80/20 or 70/30 are good rules of thumb to follow when it comes to creating email content, with the higher number denoting the percentage of valuable information your email should contain, and the smaller number the percentage of “salesy” stuff.
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How email benefits you
Email offers the highest returns to your investment when compared to other online marketing techniques such as social media and online ads. Constant Contact, an email marketing services provider, puts the return on investment (ROI) of email at about $40 for every $1 invested. That’s some good money.
More to the ROI benefits, almost two-thirds of internet users check their email everyday, which means that if you come up with a great email, your (target) audience is likely to check out your information. Email is also easy to access, much less confusing, and its customization allows you to custom-craft messages that keep the relationship between you and clients stronger.
When utilized effectively, email marketing can spur word of mouth marketing, brand awareness, customer loyalty, and referral for your business, all at low costs. You really have no reason not to implement an email marketing campaign now, not with all its benefits.