Whether you are just starting out or already have a dedicated customer base, email marketing can be a powerful tool to build your brand and encourage customer retention.
Email can be easy to overlook in favour of social media, but if you ignore the inbox you could be missing out on one of the best channels to engage with your target audience.
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
- 99% of consumers check their email every day
- 59% of respondents say marketing emails influence their purchase decisions.
- >59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI.
- 78% of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the last 12 months
Pretty impressive! And it makes sense – if someone is subscribed to your newsletter, they are either an existing customer or have expressed interest in your product.
Compared with paying to advertise to a group of people who may or may not care about your business, with email marketing you are talking directly to someone who has told you they care about what you have to say.
Email marketing should function as a tool to maintain that relationship with your audience by keeping your communication consistent and valuable. This means reaching out consistently with information that people actually care about.
So what is the best way to start marketing through email?
Most email clients (Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook etc.) offer some form of mail merge, which will allow you to email, multiple people, at the same time.
However, these platforms have limited functionality and if you are serious about scaling your business we recommend using Mailchimp for your email marketing unless you are looking at an all-in-one system like Hubspot. If you are looking into that kind of set up check out our blog on Hubspot here.
Mailchimp is a dedicated email marketing system which will allow you to create mailing lists (so you can send some email to existing customers vs. prospective customers for example), create professional newsletters, automate your email campaigns (set it and forget it), and integration with your e-commerce platform.
It also offers templates for all kinds of email communications, as well as signup forms you can drop on your website to collect new email addresses for your database.
Mailchimp also tracks what happens with your emails (e.g. which emails were opened, which ones went straight into the trash) and provides you with analytics to help you make more informed communications choices. It can be a powerful source of sales leads.
Most importantly, Mailchimp is affordable for small businesses and those just getting started.
- You should have an existing relationship with anyone in your database (in other words, they should have “opted-in” to your emails), otherwise, it is probably not legal for you to be mass emailing them
- Resist the temptation to pay for databases of contact information online – these are unlikely to convert to sales and may be a violation of the terms of service of your email provider
- Take time to familiarize yourself with the features and look for articles online to walk you through the most commonly used features.
While we’re on the topic of email, don’t overlook one of the easiest ways to look professional while maximising free advertising… setting up an email signature!