In this blog post I look at the main considerations when implementing email marketing:

  • Your communications are reaching your current and potential customers directly to their inboxes and not relying on social media where your message may by missed
  • Your email list doesn’t have to be huge to make a difference to your business. What would 10 new clients do for your business?
  • Be in it to win it. Start building your list today
  • Send the right message to the right audience by segmenting your list
  • Spend time looking at the results and following up

Keep your community close to home

As a big fan of listening to podcasts and in particular those from well-known online marketing experts and bloggers, I would be a rich woman if I had a pound for every time I heard their advice on email marketing. The phrase ‘don’t build your house on rented land’ crops up with increasing frequency. What this means is that you should be careful if you rely purely on social media for creating a community as you never quite know what Facebook might throw at us next. Over the past two years or so the reach of your posts to a Facebook page has dropped to about 5% of your Facebook likes as the ‘pay to play’ model takes hold. Additionally, relying on your website hitting the heights in the Google rankings can be tricky unless you are employing the services of a nimble SEO expert. One change and your rankings can plummet.

The online marketers extol the virtue of collecting subscribers to your email communications as the route to focus upon. Once you have a confirmed email address you have permission to communicate with that person on a regular basis and, unless you are very unfortunate, it’s unlikely you will lose their email address or be hit by an algorithm change.

There are of course rules and best practices to be followed and regulations such as the GDPR EU privacy law to follow from May 25, 2018 but it is the simplicity of and the potential for email marketing which makes it so compelling.

The Myth of ‘The Money is in the List’

I am somewhat ambivalent about the advice that some marketers give that the more email addresses you collect the better. It’s a bit like saying the more LinkedIn connections you have the better. On the one hand, yes, you have more messages going out and potentially a higher rate of success by sheer volume but on the other unless the quality of those connections is high there is little point in this mass emailing. Whilst email marketing is inexpensive there is still usually a cost involved.

The recommended size of a list is totally dependent upon the type of business you are in. For a company selling high value software as a service in the enterprise space a small, highly targeted list is likely to yield many more benefits compared with a large unwieldy random set of email addresses to sales@… Or info@… Think how much more effective a sector-focused newsletter is than one that is generic. We all prefer communications to be focused on solving our particular problems not just a generalities. On the other hand, an ecommerce store selling low margin goods a large list is much more appropriate.

Build your list from the beginning

If you are considering email marketing but have yet to start, begin NOW – not tomorrow or next week or month – NOW. The sooner you start sending regular useful information to existing and prospective clients the better. Even Pat Flynn of Smart Passive Income and Darren Rowse of ProBlogger and Digital Photography School regret not starting their lists earlier. Fortunately, they twigged pretty quickly the error of their ways and now have 100s of 1000sof subscribers and businesses built on email and content.

If you haven’t selected an email marketing provider yet I would highly recommend saving potential clients in a group using your existing email service or even to a spreadsheet. Office 365 has a People app to help group your contacts and other email services will provide this function too.

Segment your list

Whether you have a list of 100, 1,000, or 10,000, separating your audience into different segments depending on their characteristics or interests allows you to send specific messages to specific people.

In a world where we are drowning in information, ensuring the right message is going to the right people increases the likelihood of them reading it and taking action. This approach turns the general into the specific.

For example, if I run a spa with three offerings – beauty treatments, therapies and products, I may decide to segment my customers into three lists. This allows me to offer loyal beauty treatment clients a specific special offer or to cross-promote other services with a discount.

Monitor the results

In a noisy world it is hard to get your message heard. Once you have crafted your email designed the layout added an image and sent it out, the next step is to monitor who opened and where they clicked. Clear call to action are a must – what do you want your readers to do? Make it clear by using icons or boxes with instructions.

I have recently streamlined my list by collecting all those who had opened emails in the past year. This has meant my open rates have shot up to 55%!

Taking email to the next level

When you have:

  • chosen your platform,
  • created a template,
  • gathered your contact information and
  • sent out your first few emails,

…the next step is to implement some automation and this will be subject of an upcoming blog post.

If you are looking for the latest trends in email marketing, take a look at this post from eConsultancy:

So to sum up:

Email marketing is the most successful online channel for growth, outstripping social media, paid advertising and search. It is easy to implement requiring little technical knowledge and it allows you to develop close relationships with your existing and potential clients.