Using email marketing in your business is one of the most cost-effective ways to get your message out, build relationships with your customers and send updates as they occur.
While many marketers would have you believe that email marketing is dead (just as they try to sell you their course in the same breath), the truth is that emails are not going away any time soon.
With that out of the way, what are the advantages of email marketing? How can you use it in your business to build more loyal customers? And more importantly, how do you get started? These are all questions that we’ll discuss in this article. Keep reading to find out more.
What Are The Advantages Of Email Marketing?
There are some undeniable advantages when using email marketing. Here's a list to get you started.
It’s Super Cheap To Send Emails.
Email marketing is very cost-effective compared to other promotional tactics. Every time you send an email, it costs practically nothing. There's no need for production or shipping, and the only investment is your time and labor.You can choose from various templates available on the web (most of which are free) that come part and parcel with your email marketing software. These templates allow you to customize your logo and company colors, so they look professional and brand-specific.
Of course, as your business grows (i.e. the number of subscribers on your list increases beyond a specific amount), so will the budget needed for email marketing services.
With that said, once your list has grown enough to spend hundreds of dollars per month on an ESP (email service provider), chances are that you’ll have tested adequately what works and what doesn’t.
Some companies spend hundreds of dollars each month sending out promotional emails to their contacts, which helps them generate more sales and actions from their promotions. This means that the return on investment (ROI) that they get from email marketing far outweighs the costs associated with it.
Email Marketing Is Easy To Track
You can easily track the people who open your email and the click-throughs to your site, so you can see which emails are converting. You will know exactly how many times your message was opened and by whom, so you can compare it to previous campaigns for better optimization.
Suppose any of your contacts unsubscribe from receiving future emails. In that case, you'll also know about it because the number of contacts on your list will be updated in real-time. Collecting this data takes a little bit of time and effort (especially at the beginning to set up), but it's worth it when you see your sales increase month after month.
Consumers Are Well-Acquainted With Email
When people receive an email, they know exactly what to do with it. It's a lot easier to navigate than a new piece of technology, where everyone seems to be confused as to what to do with it and how to use it.
Email marketing effectiveness is so high because nearly everyone has an email service and knows how to use it. This means that If you have an easy-to-find signup form on your website or blog, people can opt-in by entering their address and start receiving your emails.
From the customer’s point of view, there is no need for anything to be set up - which means that you can start communicating with your target audience fast.
It's Fast - Almost Instantaneous
The speed at which marketers can send hundreds of emails to their list makes email marketing one of the most valuable marketing tools available for business owners. The time it takes to press the send button and have the email delivered to the right person is almost insignificant - which is not true for many of the other types of marketing channels.
If you send daily emails, for instance, there's a good chance that many of your contacts will start waiting for your messages to hit their inbox at a specific time. This repetition helps build trust and lets them know that you have their interests at heart. They feel that they are important to your company because you give them special attention by sending messages throughout the week - providing value and solutions to their problems.
This type of relationship might be tough to build on other platforms where there are so many other distractions happening (think Facebook timeline just as a basic example).
The flipside of this low barrier to entry when it comes to email marketing is that competition might be fierce (based on the niche you’re in). If you don’t email people enough (while providing the right value), they will forget about you and what you can offer them sooner rather than later.
People Can Easily Forward Your Emails If They Resonate With Your Message
Another advantage of email over other marketing channels is that users can forward your emails to friends or colleagues if they think something is interesting. When you send regular messages to their inboxes, people tell others about what you're doing. The word spreads quickly, and before you know it, you have an ever-growing group of contacts who are interested in your products, services, or anything else that you offer.
Email marketing campaigns make it easy for customers to share information about your brand with others. Word of mouth can spread like wildfire within social circles, and this can be the type of free advertising you need to get the ball rolling and build momentum within your business.
Not As Difficult To Build Brand Identity And Loyal Customers When Compared To Similar Marketing Channels
Similar marketing channels, such as targeted direct mail campaigns, are a great way to get people's attention - if you have the time and resources required to let these channels have the desired effect. In reality, most businesses do not have these luxuries.
Since email marketing is much less expensive, and recipients end up checking their inboxes at least a couple of times each day, email marketing provides you with a much more direct route to your target audience. If you send something relevant and helpful, they'll remember your brand the next time they have a problem that they know you can help solve.
It's Easy To Test What Works - And Understand What Doesn't
Creating a professional marketing campaign only to realize it's ineffective is a colossal waste of resources for everyone involved. Fortunately, when it comes to email marketing, you can send virtually unlimited email marketing messages to individuals' inboxes (please don’t spam anyone).
This enables you to test various messages and imagery to see what works and what your audience responds best/worst to. When you consider channels such as social media marketing, testing and tracking is more complicated - which is great news if you’re using emails to market your business.
As an example, businesses that sell clothing might split their email lists into control groups and experimental groups. The people who see the emails from the first group receive something that has proven to be successful for other companies in the past (like a specific promotion).
On the other hand, those who receive emails from the second list only get something that the clothing company might be experimenting with. This could be something that’s unique, unexpected or even an item that the business owners are unsure about in terms of its marketing success.
With this type of testing, marketers can quickly figure out different promotional content and measure how well each performs against what’s proven to work in the past.
While everyone has a subjective opinion on what might or might not work, conversion rates depend on many factors. Using email marketing, you can measure things accurately and let the numbers guide you with how to proceed.
Email Marketing Might Convert Better Than Traditional Advertising
Compared with traditional advertising options like radio ads, television commercials, or print ads, conversion rates tend to be higher when brands take the time to create a professional email marketing campaign.
Spending marketing dollars on email marketing platforms can not only increase your chance of generating new sales but also helps you maintain communication with existing customers - which means that you’ll be the first company that comes to mind when they need what you offer.
For example, if someone purchases one of your products online and then receives an email the next day that promotes another item they might enjoy just as much (or be interested in buying later on), you can easily double the amount of money you make from a single customer. In addition, you’d be providing such customers with a stellar experience that they’d love to rave about with their friends - talk about win-win for everyone involved.
If companies had to use a billboard, a radio ad, a TV ad, or any of the other traditional means of advertising, there is no way that they can target past customers directly.
Creating Segmentation With Your Email Campaigns Is easy To Accomplish
In our final points in this series of advantages, professional email marketing campaigns should keep segmentation in mind. Segmentation refers to the process by which an email is sent to a group of people but not others.
In other words, your list is divided into subgroups that are made up of people that have specific interests, needs, or any other criteria that make sense. By choosing the correct list of contacts to send your email messages to, you can increase people's chances of opening, reading, and acting on your promotion.
For example, some businesses create segments of their list based on which products customers have purchased in the past or whether they've received a coupon code from a specific company in recent weeks. They could also be grouped into specific segments based on how frequently they opened your last 5 messages or even if they clicked on any of the links in your emails.
If you're unsure how to use email marketing segmentation effectively, think about the customers you have and what subsets of your offer they might be interested in. You can also quiz new customers as soon as they make their first purchase to find out precisely what they are interested in - and then act on it by creating the right segments.
This will allow you to focus on small groups and send promotions that speak directly to their needs - instead of sending general mail to everyone involved.
How To Get Started With Email Marketing
Now that we’ve hopefully convinced you of the advantages associated with email marketing, let’s speak about the steps you need to follow to get your email marketing campaign going.
Identify Your Target Audience
The benefits of email marketing come when you take the time to know who your ideal customer is. The first step involves figuring out who you want to have on your email list.
To get started with this process, think about (and answer) the following questions:
Remember that as your email marketing campaign gets going and evolves, you can always add more categories to segment your contact list by. For example, if someone makes a purchase from your company and then returns for another product or service later on, you can add them to a separate ‘repeat customers’ category.
The goal is to keep updating and refining your groups so that every promotional email sent out has the best chance of success.
Develop An Email Marketing Strategy
Once you've identified who will be receiving your promotional emails, it's time to develop a strategy that helps ensure the people on your list actually read what you send and act accordingly.
This could mean anything from buying a product, reading a new article that you’ve just published, watching a company video, or even returning to make a second purchase.
While this might sound like common sense, there are no concrete rules when it comes to developing email marketing strategies (since they depend on one’s specific business needs) so you have to be prepared to adjust your strategy as you go along.
Understand Where Your Target Audience Hangs Out
Once you know who your ideal email marketing customers are, it's essential to figure out where they spend their time while online. Think about the typical websites people visit when it comes to the product/service that you offer. Moreover, consider the various stages of the customer lifecycle. At the beginning of their customer journey, people are more interested in getting to know general information about potential solutions, whilst at later stages (i.e. closer to buying), their desire is for much more specific information.
Understanding which type of person you want to have on your email marketing list is key to figuring out how to get them to subscribe to your list (more on this in the next point).
Hook Them In With Valuable Content
Getting potential customers to join your email list is the essence of this type of marketing. In exchange for their email, offer them something that’s of value - this can be an eBook, a video, or even a one-to-one session (this might not work if you deal with low-cost products).
Whatever you choose, ensure that your future email subscribers will benefit from what you are offering. As a result of this, handing over their email address to you ‘costs’ far less to them than what they can expect to get out of what you are offering. In other words, joining your email list will become a no-brainer.
Create A Content Plan
Once you've identified your target audience and figured out where they hang out online as well as what content you’re going to use to ‘hook them’ to join your email list, it's time to create a content plan. This will help determine what promotional campaigns are sent out at specific points during the upcoming weeks, months, or even years.
Some companies decide to adjust their email marketing strategy based on different seasons or holidays (check out our article on holiday email marketing), while others use evergreen stuff in their content.
The right content plan will help your company reach out to customers with interesting offers and get a yes more often than a no. Having a content plan set up will also allow you to test different types of promotional materials (e.g., email copy, call-to-action buttons on landing pages, etc) to maximize online sales and conversions.
Create Landing Pages
Landing pages used for specific campaigns are another critical aspect of an email marketing strategy. These are web pages created to send people to after they click on a link in your email. This type of page aims to make it easy for people who have opened one of your emails to perform an action - like making a purchase, filling out a form, etc.
You can set up a landing page with product comparisons where you compare and contrast two (or more) items that your target audience might be interested in. By giving your recommendations on such a page, you build up your authority on your business subject matter and help people decide which solution will best help them solve a problem they’re going through.
Needless to say, you will also get a commission or a sale when someone buys a product that you recommend.
Write The Copy For Promotional Emails
When writing promotional emails, you should keep things short and sweet. Longer messages are likely to get skimmed or skipped altogether by busy people who simply don’t have time to read all the details - they just want to understand what you’re offering and how it will help them get away from pain and/or move towards pleasure.
Here are just a few tips that will help you write more effective email copy:
Send Initial Emails To Test Recipients
One of the best ways to find out if an email marketing campaign has the potential to be successful is to send out several test emails. Many companies do this after creating different promotional materials (e.g., email copy, landing pages) to see which ones seem to resonate with customers the most.
These tests should help you determine what your target audience prefers because you'll be able to compare how many people clicked on links in specific campaigns that did well versus those that didn’t.
Evaluate Results And Adjust Promotional Strategy If Needed
Using the data you get from the previous tests, you can ensure that you are moving in the right direction and make the necessary adjustments.
The results of your email marketing campaign are likely to vary based on many factors - these can include the time when you send a message, the subject line, the length of your email as well as a hundred other variables. It’s vital for companies who are sending out promotional emails to keep track of their results.
Otherwise, they will have no clue if their strategy is working or not, and even worse, they won’t understand what is causing both positive and negative results.Some of the email marketing metrics that marketers can track when evaluating results are the following:
Once you've made any necessary adjustments, it's time to send out additional test messages and see if changes lead to better results. Once again, you should keep track of the key metrics that are important in your business.
The advantages of email marketing are undeniable. Email marketing is crucial to any online business and should not be overlooked when thinking about building long-term relationships with your customers. Email marketing opens the door, and it is up to your business to walk through and provide a great customer experience once someone has trusted you with their email.
By following the above tips when setting up your email marketing campaign, you will be well on your way to achieving the results you desire. While there are other concepts to know when it comes to email marketing, we hope that the above information has convinced you to give email marketing a try.
Here are some other posts that you might find useful on the topic of email marketing: