Email marketing for beginners

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is an integral business tool for brand development, customer relationship management and sales growth. Email marketing is not a way for a business to hold out their hat for donations, but a powerful part of your marketing tool belt.

Why is it important?

Competition is so fierce that you cannot afford not to be noticed. Email marketing is an effective way to have a direct conversation with existing and potential customers. While it doesn’t seem that a simple email newsletter is a ‘conversation’, once you begin to understand that it is in fact a way to garner feedback from and create relationships with potential customers, the sooner you will start to see your brand develop.

Creating an email marketing campaign as a beginner.

1. Choose a way to deliver emails

A beginner to email marketing? Chances are, you’re also a beginner to coding. You don’t need to know how to code to create a well-designed, attractive and informative email marketing campaign.

Have a look at ActiveCampaign, AWeber, CampaignMonitor or one of the simplest email marketing tools, MailChimp, and follow their instructions to develop your first email newsletter.

2. Get permission

This is the process of acquiring emails. Whatever way you do this (such as including a pop up window in your website for subscriptions), it is important to be clear about what the person is signing themselves up for. Let them know how often they should expect an email from you. How will it relate to what they want? Do they get specific benefits such as discounts from signing up to your newsletter? For example, consider using a one-off 10% discount for any new subscribers to help attract numbers. The most important thing is to let users know what they are signing up for. This could include news, discounts, product info, blogs or other forms of information/entertainment. If you have a request to sign up to a newsletter on your website, instead of including a button that says “No”, consider detailing what the person is saying no to, for instance, “I don’t want to receive the latest news from…”

Tip: as an extension of this idea of ‘getting permission’, be sure to include the request, perhaps at the top and bottom of a newsletter, for the user to add your email to their address book so you emails to them do not automatically end up in their junk mail folder.

3. Be consistent with what you promise: don’t under-perform or over-perform.

Deliver on exactly what you promised your new subscribers. If you promised two emails per month, don’t send them five, and don’t send them one, send them two. The only instance in which you can be more flexible is if the subscriber can reasonably expect to get a range of different sorts of newsletters from you or if your newsletters are news dependant. Remember that consistency is an important part of establishing a relationship with your subscribers.

Tip: be sure to have a sign-up email for new subscribers. This is an email that will be sent to new subscribers either immediately or at some strategic time following their sign-up with your newsletter. Without this you risk users forgetting why they even signed up for your emails.

4. Use your data

Most email marketing platforms will provide you with some degree of data collection. The extent of information you can receive and use often depends on the level of your membership with the platform. A common free data tool is A/B testing. This allows you to test variables. For instance, test send times – are your emails more effective when people are travelling to work, at work, or at home? As well as this, test the design of your email marketing to see what gets a better response. This A/B testing should be a non-stop process of improvement.

Tip: some key terms when collecting/analysing data: Open Rate – how many of your subscribers clicked on your email (measures: how well you’ve built a relationship), Bounce Rate – how often users enter your newsletter and then leave without clicking any of the links on the email, Click Rate – how many users clicked a link in your email (measures: the quality/relatability of your content), Unsubscribe Rate how many users you lost in that one email (measure: analyse any weak points in your email that are causing unsubscribes).

5. Be strategic

You are free to segment your subscriber list according to what they want from your emails. Perhaps you have a product-related email, and perhaps you have a news-related email.

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