The Fundamentals of Email Marketing

You may be familiar with the word “viral” when it comes to marketing. The concept behind “viral marketing” is that if you can get someone to retweet or repost your message, you’ve accomplished something. While effective, viral marketing can also be quite dependent on the strength of your connection with whoever you’re trying to reach. The truth is that there’s more to effective email marketing than simply sending out content and hoping that someone, somewhere, will want to read or share it. To really drive traffic to your website, you need to understand the fundamentals of email marketing so that you can develop a strategy that will make your emails more effective.

What is Email Marketing?

When you think about marketing, you might come up with ideas like billboards, magazine spreads, and radio ads. While all of these mediums have their place, email marketing is quite different. Rather than targeting potential customers through traditional methods, you are reaching out to an audience that you know wants to hear from you. When you send out an email, you are essentially advertising to people who have expressed interest in your products or services. Not only is email marketing relatively inexpensive, it’s also a completely free way to get in touch with your audience. Not a bad way to grow a business, if you ask me.

Why Should You be Using Email Marketing?

If you’re looking for a way to attract new customers to your business, email marketing is a great option. With every other form of traditional marketing, you’re reaching out to a population that you might not know much about. For instance, if you’re running a restaurant, you might spend a lot of money on radio ads because you know that a lot of people are listening to pop music at the time they’re driving down the road to work. However, unless your competitors are also running ads or are offering special deals, you’re not necessarily reaching the most effective audience. Email marketing allows you to target the audience that is most likely to be interested in what you have to offer. It’s a great way to cut through the clutter and get straight to the point.

Developing an Email Marketing Strategy

As I mentioned, there’s more than one type of email marketing. You have transactional emails, which you’ll send out after buying something from a business. These are automated emails that are necessary for the smooth running of your business. You’ll also have promotional emails, which you send out to promote a new product or service. You can’t go wrong with a promotional email as long as you focus on pitching something that’s useful and unique to your audience. Last, but not least, you have personal emails. These are the emails that you send out to promote yourself or your products. You might send them out when you’ve updated your LinkedIn profile or opened a new business account. Whatever the reason might be, you need to be careful with these emails as you don’t want to come off as either too aggressive or too intimate. You want your emails to land somewhere in the middle. This is where you get started. Let’s look at each step in more detail.

Step one: Selecting the perfect platform

In order to start using email marketing, you’ll need to select a platform. You might already have one in mind. If so, great, continue on to step two. If not, you’ll need to pick one up. Don’t worry, there are plenty of good options out there. One of the very popular platforms is called Mailchimp.com. It’s free and very easy to use. If you’ve been searching for an easy way to send out emails, give it a try. Once you’ve launched your account, it’s quite easy to send out email campaigns. From there, you can get even more sophisticated with your campaigns. As a beginner, you might want to stick with the basics. As you get more experienced, you can opt for more features. For example, you can add a signup form to your website. When a visitor fills it out, you’ll be able to follow up with them via email. This is also a great way to collect emails for your own use. When you follow up with potential customers via email, you’re not reaching out to a mass audience. You’re reaching out to someone who is interested in what you have to say. This makes a huge difference. If you’re looking for brand awareness, build a list of prospects and customers who are interested in your products or services and you’ll be able to use email marketing to get the word out.

Step two: Building and launching the email

Once you’ve picked your platform, it’s time to move on to the next step. This is where you come in. Building and launching an email is a two-step process. First, you want to create a campaign. This is basically a collection of emails that you’ll send out to your audience. You can include links to content, offers, and important promotions. Once you’ve collected a few dozen emails, it’s time to move on to the next step. Second, you want to send out an email. Once you’ve picked up your phone and logged into your email account, it’s time to get to work. When you send out an email, make sure that you’ve got a link to something that’s of value to your audience. This could be an important announcement, a promo code, or a discount. If you’ve got an interesting story or an offer that’s unique to your business, you can incorporate this into your email as well. This is a great way to humanize your business and connect with your audience on a more personal level. If you’ve got a list of a few hundred emails, you’ll be able to send out a pretty robust email campaign. More importantly, you’ll be able to track the results of your efforts. If you’re looking to grow your business via email marketing, this is a great place to start.

Step three: Measure the results of your email marketing

Once you’ve built and launched your email marketing campaign, it’s time to measure the results. There are a few different ways to go about this. You can track how many people opened the email, how many people clicked on the link, and how many people converted into customers. When you’re measuring the results of your email marketing, it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will be a customer. This is why you need to be careful when picking which emails to measure. If you’ve got a marketing email that didn’t convert but you know that a similar one did, it’s time to investigate why this is. Was it the content, the design, or the offer? Knowing the answer to this will help you improve your efforts in the future. If you’ve got someone who is responsible for the sales at your business, they’ll be able to tell you which ones are performing well and which ones aren’t. This is why it’s important to have an open line of communication with your team members.

Step four: Improve your email marketing strategy

After you’ve measured the results of your email marketing campaign and identified the weak spots, it’s time to improve. This is where you get creative. Sometimes a salesperson might stumble upon an effective strategy that isn’t necessarily promoted by the brand. If you’ve got someone who is responsible for the sales at your business, get them involved in the process so that they can suggest new and unique ways to improve your performance. Some of the things that you can do include A/B testing, which we’ll talk about in more detail below, and re-designing the way that you present yourself in your emails. Keep in mind that your email marketing strategy needs to fit in with your over-all business strategy. If you don’t have a clear picture in mind of what you’re attempting to achieve, it’ll be hard to monitor your progress.

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