Email marketing has been around in one form or another since the internet arrived in the early nineties to change everything. As email became an important tool of communication among friends, relatives, and even strangers, top marketers quickly identified it as a way to communicate effectively with clients and prospects. Trial, error, and and a gazillion spam filters later, today’s email marketing is a refined strategy geared toward distributing a marketing message to those who want to hear it, promoting brand recognition, and encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business. But above all, the purpose of email marketing is that of driving traffic to your website where sales can be made. Let’s take a look at how it works.
Find Your Audience
What every email marketing campaign needs is a list of engaged subscribers who opt-in of their own accord, providing you their email address because they actually want to hear from you. Growing a list like this takes time and ingenuity.
Here are some proven tips for pulling in members.
- Make it easy to subscribe. Provide a prominent and simple subscribe form on your website that highlights the benefits of being a member of the mailing list. Add links to your subscribe form on all pages of your website.
- Find partner sites. Look for other sites that will allow you to post a link to your subscribe form.
- Include a link to your subscribe form on all correspondences. Consider extending an invitation to “share with friends” and share through social media.
- Ask customers who call in or visit with you if they would like to join your email list.
- Be an active blogger. Share your knowledge and expertise by posting articles to your website and by commenting on the blogs of others. Some people may want to hear more from you. Offer them a link to your subscribe form.
- Use social media to build your email audience. An individual who is willing to “like” or “follow” may also want to sign up for your email newsletter or exclusive offers. Having an email subscribe form, or a link to it, on Facebook and Twitter can only serve to increase your subscriber base.
Give Your Audience What They Want
Some suggest that email subscribers are the most mature and loyal audience among online subscribers, and the kind of individuals who are looking for good information that they can share with others. It’s important to consider your subscribers have invested something of themselves in providing their email address, and that they expect something valuable in return. Here are some email marketing best practices to consider.
- Write a compelling subject line. Create a sense of urgency and intrigue while giving the reader an indication of what to expect once they’ve opened the email.
- Provide substance. Exclusive offers and relevant content go a long way with email subscribers. Take blogging a step further than press release format, and communicate directly to your target audience. Speak their language to inform and engage them.
- Be visually appealing. Because everyone’s time is precious, you will be competing with every other email your subscribers receive, not just those in your area of expertise. Subscribe to a number of popular emails and check out the competition. Take notice of what you like or don’t like.
- Have a website worth visiting. Each email should include several links to your website. As mentioned earlier, the ultimate goals of email marketing is to increase traffic to your site and get more sales. That means your website must be in shape to do a majority of the selling.
- Send emails regularly. Stay at the top of a user’s mind by staying in touch. Businesses and consumer bases are built through regular contact.
- Value your audience, for they are corporate assets. Discovering ways to connect with subscribers can be a matter of trial and error. Nurture them, engage them, ask their opinion and make adjustments as you go.