Do you find yourself overwhelmed when thinking about your email marketing campaigns?
What I would like to explain to you in this blog post is that email marketing doesn’t have to be difficult or painful. It’s a powerful tool that (when used correctly) can be automated for your benefit but if you don’t know how to use different email marketing strategies, you can’t expect good results.
Always start with great content
This can be in the form of a useful report, a video, an infographic, an article etc. The emails must have a clear point to them. Even if you’re promoting a new blog post on your website; show a snippet of it in your email. Show enough of it to be useful to your reader but stop there and give them a direct link to your blog post. If it’s more of a newsletter style email then ensure that there’s something useful in your content that they can take away from it.
Be Strategic with what you share
Using Offers as a form of engagement strategy can help promote what your business is about. However, what you need to be mindful of is that there’s got to be something in it for them. For a good offer to feel successful, it shouldn’t feel manipulative, pushy or salesy. A good offer feels helpful and intuitive. When you promote an offer via email, ensure that you don’t sound too corporate. Word it as a friend who wants to help the recipient.
Focus on building the relationship
Promoting offers and great content however, doesn’t always help you build a good relationship. If only marketing were that easy! Every email must add value to the reader. You’ve got to send something that your reader is looking for. Something that will either inspire them, make them money, save them money, save them time, save them pain etc. Relating to their pain and offering a solution is a sure way to ensure that every time they see your name, they must feel that value is coming their way. So make that email a good one. Your readers want to feel accomplished, that they actually read the whole thing. Make them feel better about themselves.
Another critical important point with this strategy is to make sure to reply to your readers. Nothing is more important than this one thing. You complete that connection by responding. People want to know that you’re real.
What I would really like to emphasise is that email marketing isn’t just about keeping your contacts up to date with your business and its movements.
What do your readers have to gain from that? Why would a reader want to know about how the economy has (or hasn’t) affected you? That your sales have doubled since last year? There is nothing that they can gain from that knowledge and take away. Use email marketing as a tool to educate your mailing list.
Consumers have developed the attitude that if there’s nothing in it for them, then why bother? It’s an attitude that businesses have had to adapt to and comply with to keep their contacts interested and it’s a rule that we must all abide by when marketing. Question your emails before you send them and think “Why would I pay attention to this? What can my readers gain from this?” because at the end of the day it’s their attention that you want to maintain and should always be your utmost priority.
Infusionsoft – The holistic approach
Infusionsoft is what we consider king of the crop. Selling themselves as “Small business sales and marketing software” they are so much more than just emailing software. Infusionsoft is a full sales and marketing automation tool. Email marketing is just one of the many tools provided. It’s a full CRM system, with marketing automation and eCommerce tools. So what can you do with Infusionsoft that you can’t do with other tools mentioned here? In short, you can automate your sales and marketing based on customer behaviour. For example, if someone adds a product to their shopping cart but doesn’t checkout, an email can be triggered reminding them to complete their order. Perhaps you want to automatically send discount coupons to customers on their birthday? Or, maybe you want to create funnels that turn your non-paying subscribers into customers.
With Infusionsoft this is all possible. We have recently adopted Infusionsoft which for us is proving to be an invaluable piece of software that allows us to manage and automate our marketing. This software is a great investment and perfect for small businesses. If you’re running a small business with between 2-5 employees this would be the perfect investment for you to set up your processes for them to work away in the background leaving you to comfortably get on with your day job.
However, if you want to use more traditional email marketing, here’s our take on some of what’s available:
Email software, which one suits you?
Email marketing has grown enormously and is the most popular form of communication, even above all the social media sites.
GetResponse is currently viewed as the up-and-coming underdog in email marketing, with its services including: responsive email design, a landing page creator, effective A/B testing, form builder, auto responders, email creator and email intelligence with over 500 professionally designed newsletter templates to choose from, all of which are mobile-optimised straight off the shelf. They cover all basic ground and they offer a free 30 day trial for you to test their services yourself. Their most popular account type is a limit of 2,500 subscribers, at a small cost of £15.50 per month.
Aweber is one of our favourites and we use it for our clients who have purchased a support package with us. Aweber cover all the basics with editable sign-up forms, email newsletters, auto responders, a drag-and-drop editor, subscriber segmenting, email marketing tracking and the ability to manage subscribers. For those starting out, it has great reporting to help you learn what does and doesn’t work. Their email campaign creator is great at walking you through how to setup your signup forms and newsletters, as well as allowing you to send unlimited emails. With no tie-in long term contract, they offer your first month at just 69p and the rest at £11.78, providing your account has no more than 500 subscribers.
Sendy sells its services with simplicity in a cost-effective manner. It is by far the most cost effective email marketing service, as they use Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) to send emails, which costs about 62p per 10,000 emails. However Sendy does allow you to cheat a little; you don’t have to mess around with double or even single opt-ins. To some of you, this may be its biggest sales point however we always recommend that opt-ins are what stops your emails from being classified as spam because those who want your emails have opted in to receive them.
The user interface on Sendy is extremely basic, but has everything you need for basic email marketing e.g. reporting, a campaign builder, and contact lists. There is a one-off fee for purchasing the software which is £36.58 and from thereon it’s as much as 62p per 10,000 emails. If you’re after a self-hosted email marketing service, or a cheap way to send a large amount of emails, it’s definitely worth considering.
Mailchimp, like Aweber, has a visual drag-and-drop interface that allows you to visually build what you’re going to send. Unfortunately there is one clear downside to using Mailchimp and that is that because so many marketers use Mailchimp, their newsletter templates look familiar. While you can customise these, they somehow always have that Mailchimp newsletter look. However, their user interface, reporting, and campaign manager is intuitive and easy to get the hang of. Mailchimp also offer two different pricing structures; pay as you go, and a monthly subscription. If you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers, you can send up to 12,000 emails per month absolutely free. You are entitled to upgrade to get add-ons like autoresponders, email client testing, delivery by time zone, and Social Pro when you upgrade to a paid account. If we stand by the assumption that you have a maximum of 2,000 subscribers and want all those add-ons and the promise of being able to send unlimited emails, then it’ll only set you back no more than £15.78 per month.
It’s up to you and your businesses needs as to what software you decide to choose – or if you’d prefer we managed your emails on your behalf so you didn’t have to, then do look at our support packages.
We do hope that this post has been beneficial to you and that we’ve aided you in your quest to improve the service your business provides to your clients. We always love to hear your feedback so if you have any queries or comments then don’t hesitate to get in touch.