Email marketing has long been regarding as a very risqué subject. When people think of Email marketing their thoughts generally move straight to thinking about SPAM. But email marketing is much more than SPAM, when done correctly email marketing can be an extremely effective form of communication to your customers. Without it many of your customers would not be able to be informed of your most current activities within your business. This guide will be best practices guide to how to effectively email market to your current customers and also to your prospective customers.
Choose an email marketing system
There are many different email marketing systems to choose from, Mailchimp is a very popular choice with over 2 million people using Mailchimp. It has great functionality and links with a lot of the major CMS systems such as WordPress, Joomla, Magento and shopify. The integration is key as you want to try and automate as much as possible. Another popular choice for email marketing software is Contact Contact. All of these systems you do not require any separate hosting as these systems are all SAAS providers meaning they provide the service and the entire infrastructure that goes with it.
Once you have chosen your software the next thing you need to do is build your database.
Build your database
You need to make signing up to your database easy. It needs to be clear and simple fields to drive people to sign up. You do not need to collect all their information if they just want to get specials emailed through from time to time. You do not need their date of birth, country of origin or anything else like that. You just need simple fields to enable you to email them. If you need further information from them you can get it later in follow up emails. You can have at the bottom of your email a link that gives them the ability to update their details and provide more information.
You want to be very clear about what they will receive. Even show them a sample email that you send as party of that mailing list. This will let people know what they are signing up for.
To drive continued growth of your database why not place a link on your email and website that allows your customers to send your email list details to a friend that might be interested in subscribing. This word of mouth referral often has a very high conversion rate and also drives trust for your list because people would not refer you if they didn’t trust you.
Segment your database
Once you have built your database you need to intelligently cross reference your database and be able to allocate certain tags so you know who of your list has what characteristics. There are unlimited ways of tagging your subscribers. You may tag your subscribers as current customers and prospective customers. Another great way of tagging customers is by the amount of engagement and also what type of engagement. Are they your big spenders? By categorising your clients, this will enable you to target different groups such as customers/non customers.
Automate your automation
You need to try and automate as much of your email marketing as possible. You can setup triggers that will enable you to deliver proactive delivery of content. Some great examples of this would be sending a welcome email a few days after signup with a discount on the first order, or an email for when they have been a customer for 2 years and a thank you for being a loyal customer. You need to create a life cycle of your customers and send emails at regular intervals. This will enable you to plan the emails and ensure they are sent on a regular basis.
What about when people want to leave
People unsubscribing is inevitable, but why don’t you ask them why they are leaving, they may only want to UN-subscribe to a part of your email marketing program. Maybe they are no longer interested in a certain product or service that you offer so there is no point to them continually receiving your emails when they no longer are interested. The chances of them engaging are very low.
Drive Engagement it’s the key to success
You need to ensure engagement with every email you send out. One of the main triggers the ISP’s use to mark you as a spammer is whether or not you get actions on your emails. Make sure that your call to actions are large and clear and that users know what will happen when they click a link or an image.
Email marketing in combination with a great website and solid hosting will ensure your business succeeds online. Be very careful about undertaking bad email marketing practices it can have long lasting effects and damage your brand. Mailchimp has a great blog devoted to email marketing you may find some further knowledge on how companies are using email marketing to grow their businesses. http://blog.mailchimp.com/
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