Do yourself—and your business—a big favor: don’t completely give up on email.
You may be done with it now, but I guarantee that you’ll be checking it later today anyway. How do I know this? The odds are in my favor.
When it comes to ROI, email outdoes just about every other platform—including social media. In fact, according to a recent Hubspot report, when email marketing is done well, it generates an astonishing $38 for every $1 spent. You math wizards probably already know this, but I’ll state the obvious for everyone else: that’s a 3,800% return on your investment.
For just a second, think about how often you check your email. Do you check it every day? How about twice a day? Don’t be ashamed. You’re not alone. In fact, 91% of people who have access to email check their inbox at least once a day, and according to a recent survey, 90% of workers check their email EVERY FEW HOURS!
Look, you can quibble about whether Facebook or Twitter is the better platform for your business. You can talk about marketing on TikTok til the dances dry up. But the one channel virtually ALL of your customers and clients are on is email.
Email is EASY!
The best part about email is that it’s super easy, and not all that expensive. Before you consider launching a Facebook page or going all in on LinkedIn, your first marketing channel should be email. The two major email platforms—MailChimp and Constant Contact—are both super easy to use. Mailchimp is free for up to 2000 subscribers, although some of their free options have been greatly scaled back in the last year. Constant Contact requires a monthly fee, but their plans start at just $20 a month. Email marketing, like all marketing, requires some thoughtful deliberation.
Getting Started With Email
Email marketing, like all marketing, requires some thoughtful deliberation. What are the things you need to think about when jumping into the email marketing game?
The first and most important thing is to make sure you have something to offer. Just like blogging, you can’t make your emails or newsletters all about you. There has to be a value exchange of some sort. To earn clicks or opens from your subscribers, you have to provide them with something intriguing, and that means taking one of three approaches.
Offer Something Useful
The first, and probably most effective, is to offer something useful. If you’re establishing yourself as an authority in your industry, one great way to do this is to offer something like an ebook, a digital tool of some sort, or maybe even a special offer on a product or service that only people who have received your email can benefit from.
Offer Something Interesting
You could also offer something that’s interesting. Maybe you’ve got a great story to tell—one that will resonate with your audience. Maybe you helped a client or customer with something special and you believe other people could benefit from knowing about it. Whatever it is, be it a product update, a special event invite, or an announcement you want to make, do yourself a favor and make sure it’s relevant, not pitchy.
Offer Something Timely
The other way you can provide value is offering something timely. This could be a limited-time special offer, a reminder about an upcoming holiday or gift-giving occasion, or just a public service announcement.
Beware the Unsubscribe!
No matter what you decide to send, though, make sure it is done with great care and attention. Most email platforms offer analytic insights into how your campaigns are performing, and subscribers are unforgiving. Email them too often or with irrelevant content, and they’ll unsubscribe—which is the death-knell for email marketing. Once someone unsubscribes, you’re NEVER getting them back.
There are two other kinds of email campaigns you should know about as well. One is the drip or trigger campaign, and one is the transactional campaign. Both require a little bit of work, but they offer significant payoff.
Drips and Triggers
The drip campaign, sometimes called a “trigger” campaign, is a series of emails that are triggered by a specific action or event and are automagically sent to the recipient at specific times and dates. One of the ways we’ve used drip campaigns in the past is by following up on an e-book marketing campaign. Someone would download the ebook and they’d get an auto response thanking them for the download and providing a link or attachment to their e-book.
As part of the drip campaign, we would send the recipient several more automated emails over the days or weeks to come. In this case, they’d discuss certain parts of the e-book and offer some additional information to contextualize it. Each email would have an increasingly urgent call to action, with the final one culminating in “the big offer.”
It’s important not to overkill. It’s smart to send between four to 8 emails, but no more than that. At some point, your subscribers will start to get a stalker vibe and you’ll get a big fat unsubscribe. No one wants that.
Amazon is amazing at drip campaigns, and they have it down to a science. Ever notice how about three weeks after you’ve left something your cart, Amazon will remind via email you that it’s there? And then follow it up with other emails with similar products? Yeah. Those are drip campaigns.
The transactional campaign is automated, as well. Typically, this involves a purchase of some kind, with the recipient getting a receipt, a thank-you, and an additional offer. They might get a few more emails suggesting products that go with the item they purchased. Or, maybe, they’ll identify new ways to use that product. Transactional emails, though, are typically once and done. After all, they’re just reinforcing the purchase and trying to build up some brand loyalty.
How Often Should You Send Emails?
For the vast majority of our clients, we send one email out a month. That’s just often enough to stay top of mind and remain relevant, but not so frequent that the recipient will want to unsubscribe.
These are typically newsletter-type emails that include what I refer to as a “centerpiece” and some additional content for the recipient to explore. This part of the email is great for promoting the blog posts we’ve published that month, and you’d be surprised at how many people click through to read the content.
As With All Marketing, Content Matters Most
You may be noticing a trend emerging in all this email talk– content. Just like social media or any other marketing campaign, email requires substance. Make sure the content you produce is engaging, readable, and valuable, and people will want to click out from your emails to read them.
There’s one more major item we should discuss. How do you get email subscribers?
Building a Subscriber Base
The first step is to scour your customer lists and any other lists you may have. If there are emails on them, load them into your email platform. Next, make sure your website has a subscribe option that connects to your email platform. Try to include a “Forward to a Friend” option on your client emails, so recipients are encouraged to share them with like-minded people.
Another way that works is website popups. Believe it or not, popups on your website asking people to sign up actually tend to have a higher rate of success than many other methods. It’s weird, but it’s true.
You can also use your social media platforms to solicit email subscribers as well, and that brings me to the subject of ads. Building an email list using ads—social media ads, specifically–is one of the most effective ways to generate engaged, relevant subscribers.
Now, that said, subscriber campaigns do require quite a bit of creativity. If you do them well, though, the payoff can be huge. The key here is doing it well, and making sure you always have good content.
So, the lesson here is pretty straightforward. Email is one of your best resources for gaining new business or new interest in your products or services. If you’re not using it, you should start today!
Headline Consultants offers a variety of ways to maximize your email marketing and can also help you develop high-quality content to engage people when they get to your website. Reach out to us today or give us a call at 717-381-5385.