Email Marketing Strategies
“Yes, email marketing still works.”
I remember laughing out loud when I offered that answer several years ago, in response to a small business owner weighing his options for reaching customers. I laughed because it was hard to believe many people were already perceiving email to be an ‘old school’ way to communicate. At the time, Facebook was still in its blushing youth, Twitter was a curiosity, LinkedIn seemed ‘kinda’ useful, and Instagram and Snapchat were only twinkles in their developers’ eyes. Nonetheless, it was clear that the ways we communicate were rapidly evolving.
Oh how things have changed in the years since I offered that answer! Regardless, I’d respond the same way today. Email has held its own and is a strong—and necessary—component of marketing strategies focused on effectively connecting with customers. It’s also a highly trackable way to meet your customers wherever they are on the path to purchase, and it works in concert with other digital marketing strategies to compel action.
Are you in the email marketing game, but it’s been a while since you gave it a “fluff”? Are you a blank slate? Give these practical tactics a review, and plan your course of action now to make email marketing work for your business.
1. It Starts with the List.
First and foremost, you need email addresses in order to conduct email marketing (no extra charge for that bit of brilliance!). What are you doing to capture emails?
Simply ask for email addresses, always. Include a spot for an email address on every form you hand out to customers or potentials. Instruct salespeople to get an email address from anyone who drops in the showroom. Include lead capture mechanisms on your website—and in more than just one location (did you know including a lead capture in your website’s main navigation can be very effective?).
Minimize the contact info you request in your lead capture tactics. If you have a customer’s name and email address, you’ve got what you need. Do not scare people off by asking for their phone numbers or additional information. Your chance of getting any info drops significantly the more you ask for.
Be magnetic by offering incentives to increase opt-ins. Make it worth people’s while to share their information with you. Provide a discount code or some other value offer as thanks, and make this an even exchange.
Promote your lead magnets strategically. Get in front of the right eyeballs in order to attract the best, most targeted leads for your business. Use Google and Facebook ads in this effort to create highly trackable results.
2. Keep Your List Clean through an Email Service/Automation Tool.
Maintaining an email list should not be a manual task! It’s imperative that you select an email marketing service that’s scalable with functionality suited for your needs. If you’re new to email marketing and wish to get your groove while managing costs, you may want to start with solutions such as MailChimp, Constant Contact, or Emma. These services were born to help keep your email lists clean, create attractively branded emails, offer data on opens and click-throughs, as well as provide seamless op-tin/opt-out capabilities. Over time, many email marketing services have also added automation tools that let you create responder emails to simplify the process of staying engaged with customers.
If you’re further along with your email strategy, it’s time to look at marketing automation solutions such as Infusionsoft, Hubspot, or Pardot to take your efforts to a more mature, strategic level. Note that I’m talking “marketing automation” versus “CRM” because you’ll likely be better served in going with a tool that was born to support the marketing function. Many CRMs are missing some fundamentals of lead nurturing that you’ll need—or they’ve added them along the way as separate modules that cost more or may not work as seamlessly.
Whether you’re going for an email solution or a full marketing automation platform, please note there are countless options out there. The brand names I’ve mentioned here are prominent players in each realm, but they are not even the tip of the proverbial iceberg of options. Though I can’t predict which service will be right for you, I can advise that you start searching with well-known companies, as these will have more resources and support for you. If you select the right tool and commit to using it strategically, the money you invest will be very well spent.
3. Make the Email-Facebook Connection for the Win.
When there’s a mention of social media marketing, most business owners immediately think “Facebook.” That’s logical; it’s the behemoth of social platforms with 1.94 billion monthly active users. But I’m here to tell you, you’ve got to spend some money, time, and strategy parlaying the pay-for-placement environment Facebook’s created for businesses. Otherwise, your Facebook efforts may not bring much measurable gain for your bottom line.
However, if you’re willing to ante up some budget dollars and put Facebook’s tools to use, you could see some pretty compelling results—specifically if you couple these tools with your email marketing efforts. While this topic could merit a complete course unto itself, I’ll share some key points here to point you in the right direction.
Add the Facebook pixel to your website. This little bit of auto-generated code properly placed within your website’s HTML can be a magic bullet of lead nurturing when used in concert with other tactics. This code makes it possible to track people online—from pages on your website to ads on Facebook—so that you can intelligently engage with them.
Import your email lists into Facebook. This integration will help you target those leads already on your list within the Facebook environment. Almost as importantly, you’ll then be able to create look-alike audiences that match your existing leads’ demographics and interests, furthering your reach to potential customers within Facebook.
Invest in Facebook advertising. There’s a reason so many businesses advertise on Facebook: it works! The good news is you can start small; as little as $5 a day can result in a decent campaign that feeds itself through measurable results. Well-crafted ads targeted to your highly defined audiences can inspire response, and with the pixel in place on your site, you’ll be able to know where people landed on your site.
Tie it all into email marketing to nurture sales opportunities. Using your automated email marketing solutions, you can set up triggered messaging to directly engage site visitors with personalized emails that may help to close the sale or compel the desired action you were going for. All elements work together to push the leads through your marketing funnel.
4. Take Action Now to Get This Going!
Every day you’re not capturing and nurturing leads, you’re losing potential sales. This is a must-do part of your overall marketing strategy. Of course, you don’t want to create your email content in haste or hurriedly choose automation solutions when there are budget dollars involved. Move quickly, but also move intelligently. If you need to seek counsel or wish to hand over this task to a seasoned pro, drop me a line via my website, msg2mkt.com. I’d be glad to help you asses how to make the first—and correct—step toward thinking inside the (in)box.