If you have an email address, you’ve no doubt received an email newsletter from either a company you’ve done business or another source. Some of them you may have read, while you sent others into oblivion or unsubscribed. As a new business owner, you may be asking “Should I even bother with email marketing?”
The short answer is “yes.” Email marketing-when done right-can be a valuable tool for marketing your product or service. Getting started is simple when broken down into steps.
Which program do I use for email marketing?
There are many entries in the email marketing software segment. Applications such as Constant Contact and Mailchimp have been around the longest and are the most user-friendly. Both have free and paid options, depending on the size of your mailing list and how many extra features you’d like. Sign up for a free version of each program and experiment to find the one that is most user-friendly.
The software allows you to set up a full email sequence (we’ll get to that in a minute) and to either create your own template from scratch or edit a pre-built template found in the app. You can customize with template with brand-related colors, fonts, and images.
Subscribers must opt in
Before you send that first email, subscribers must voluntarily opt in. You can build your email list either through a form on your website, or through a program such as LeadPages if you don’t have a full site. Get familiar with the anti-spam laws in your state/province and make sure your email sign up form clearly states its purpose.
Ready, set, send!
Email apps are so user friendly its easy to integrate them with your website, registration program or lead magnet. Names will automatically be collected and they will either automatically carry over to your email software, or they can be manually imported as an Excel or .csv file. If you host an event, the event registration software will automatically collect the names of those who have opted in.
Extend a warm welcome to new subscribers
Create a welcome email to thank new subscribers. This email will be triggered when a new subscriber signs up to receive emails from you. Include what they can expect from future emails.
Later on, you can create a full email/sales funnel with email for each step in a customer’s process with your product or service. This is referred to as an email sequence and is designed to create trust, loyalty, and eventually sales.
Crafting your first email marketing campaign
Worried about sending our your first marketing email? Don’t be! Today’s email marketing programs make it easy. As you create your email, the software will give you instructions and feedback on your subject line, preview text and other features (available with paid versions). Mailchimp has a feature that will analyze your subject line, fonts, sentence length, and preview text and give you real-time feedback.
Once your email is created, email a test copy to yourself. Open the email and see how it looks from a reader’s perspective. Test any links and make sure they work correctly. You can always return and edit the email before you send it.
Modern email marketing software has the option of scheduling your emails for a specific time/date. Make sure this feature is included with the plan your purchase.
Was your email a success or flop?
Once your campaign has been sent, the software will automatically provide feedback on the number of opens, clicks, bounced emails, and unsubscribed readers. Some email programs will automatically delete email addresses that bounced (rejected) your email.
Some email software packages have a feature that compares your click percentage with similar campaigns in your industry. Aim for a percentage that is the same or higher than industry average. A high open/click rate indicates your audience is interacting with the email content and is interested in the product/service you’re offering.
A low click rate can mean the opposite, and it’s time to improve your open/click rate.
How to boost your open/click rate
- To begin, test your delivery times. Trying the standard times such as early morning, noon for lunchtime and late evening may not work in your case. It could be an odd time like at 2:15 or 5pm, for that matter.
- Segment your list by different categories such as demographics, customer sign up date, or other criteria.
- Be consistent like sending out newsletters on a daily or weekly basis.
- Insert a lot of visuals such as videos, flyers, pictures, and graphics.
- Include custom social media links, so your audience can visit and follow you on social media.
- Cut words that trigger spam filters. Each email program will have prompts for changing certain words that may trigger recipients spam filters.
- Keep it short and to the point. Provide links to long-form content such as articles or posts you’ve written.
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