Table of Contents:
The Beginner's Guide to Effective Email Marketing
- Why Email Marketing?
- Creating Your Email Strategy
- How to Start and Grow Your List of Subscribers
- Email Content 101
- Email Design 101
- Which Email Platform is Right for You?
- How to Write and Send Your First Email
- Email Marketing Best Practices
- Email Automation and Drip Campaigns
- Helpful Resources
Do you have a strategy or set of goals for your other marketing programs? For example, do you want to add a certain number of social media followers by the end of the year, or do you have a goal to make a specific amount of revenue from your website each quarter?
Your email marketing program should have a strategy and goals as well. It’s one thing to send emails to your customers or leads, but it’s another to send emails that are designed with a purpose in mind – and that purpose should be growing your business.
Let’s take a look at how you can create your own unique email strategy, and how having that strategy will help you in the long run.
Email as a Relationship Building Tool
Your existing marketing programs are designed to help you grow your business in one of two ways. They may be directly connected to revenue – for example, you have a website because it will help you sell products or collect leads. Or they may indirectly lead to revenue by creating awareness or moving people through your sales funnel.
Email marketing is somewhere in the middle of these two sides. For ecommerce websites, it can certainly lead directly to sales; for B2B companies, it can attract new leads. But it may not do this right away, or your email messages may only be the start of a relationship with a potential new customer.
For that reason, it’s important to view email marketing as a way to build relationships. Your messages might not always lead to revenue, but they will almost always lead to awareness. Used in tandem with the rest of your marketing, email can play a very important part in motivating potential customers to take some kind of desired action.
Defining Your Email Marketing Strategy
Keeping that in mind, when you create your email strategy, your initial goals may not be so much revenue-driven as other channels. “Make $1000 on every email” or “attract 100 leads through email each year” could absolutely be viable, but it’s hard to say if they’re realistic. So for the immediate future, you should create a strategy that focuses on how you expect email to help you build relationships.
This might mean making broad statements such as:
- We will use our email messages to educate more potential subscribers on the value of our our software
- Our email campaigns will help us reach more potential customers who do not yet know much about our company
- Email marketing will help us create long-term customers instead of having many customers who only purchase from our store once
A statement like this is the start of your strategy. Without any subscribers or revenue, you need to be broad and focus on the end goal, rather than dollar or lead amounts.
Of course, as time goes on, you can redefine your strategy so it’s more specific. So the statements above, after a year or two, might look like this:
- We will gain 20,000 total email subscribers who are interested in learning the value of our software
- Our campaigns will convert 5% of subscribers into leads by educating them
- We will gain $4,000 in yearly revenue from email messages targeted specifically at converting single-time purchasers into returning customers
How an Email Strategy Will Benefit You
So how will having an email strategy help you? It’s simple: whenever you compose a new message or think about a topic for your email, you will be able to refer back to that strategy and ask “will this help me achieve my goals?”
If the overall goal of your email marketing program is to attract new business leads, you can therefore eliminate any content ideas that aren’t relevant to what you do, or aren’t potentially convincing enough. And if you want to increase your sales, you can ensure that you’re structuring every email with a clear call to action that will help you do that.
Without an email strategy, it will be tough to also determine when you’re successful, or when you’re struggling. You need to have some kind of reference point to look at. This can be tough at first, if your goals are broad or yet undefined, but later on it can be a huge help in refocusing your efforts.
Now that we’ve covered email strategy, let’s start looking at how you can go about setting up your email marketing program. The first step is to decide how you’re going to attract subscribers to your messages -- and what kind of messages you’re actually going to send.