A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO Email Marketing For Small Business Owners
According to expert opinions, email marketing still remains one of the best digital marketing channels for reaching customers and growing your small business in the 21st century.
Research data further gives more credence to this expert opinions as studies have shown that people check their emails many more times during the course of the day than they visit any social media site or search engine.
That’s why creating compelling email marketing campaigns is a top priority for every entrepreneur who hopes to drive conversions and improve sales along the way.
But there’s a challenge—many small business find it hard to employ this highly efficient marketing opportunity as a medium to grow their businesses.
The great thing is that you are here. This article will introduce you to the basics of email marketing and also build on this foundation.
Basics, such as how to start email marketing, why email marketing is crucial, and the benefits one can obtain from email marketing are what you need to grasp and understand in order to truly see the marvels of email marketing.
So why don’t you follow the next few steps in your marketing campaign with this email marketing guide for beginners.
Table of Contents
What is email marketing?
The use of the email goes way back to the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW).
It is therefore the first, and one of the most reliable online marketing channel for businesses.
Despite it being one of the oldest online marketing channels, it has still been able to maintain its top position among its pack.
Email marketing is a communication flow entailing the use of email to send relevant information to an audience, build relationships with them, and easily convert prospective customers into clients.
Your email list consists of people who are interested in your business brand or products and through this marketing communication, receive updates on your business/products’ activities and learn everything they need to know before purchasing your products.
In order to ensure that your email marketing campaign becomes a source of revenue to your business, it is important that you build your email list from an audience that is interested in your products and also greatly benefit from it.
What is an email marketing campaign?
It is a synchronized set of messages sent intermittently to subscribers, and specifically crafted to influence buying decisions and encourage actions such as subscription and downloads.
With the right strategy and email marketing service in place, managing a successful email marketing campaign shouldn’t be a problem.
» How to use email marketing campaigns to promote your business
Email marketing gives you the platform to relate and reach out to your target audience with the click of a button.
By focusing on the needs and preferences of your subscribers, your chance of success is far higher than if you were to send random messages to just about anyone.
For starters, there are a few general types of email marketing campaigns that businesses employ at different phases of the marketing calendar.
Here are a few helpful examples of email marking campaigns:
- Welcome series of emails
The way you welcome your subscribers will make a difference on the long run.
You can do better than just sending a basic welcome email when there is a means to send a continuous flow of emails that would help build a lasting relationship with your subscribers.
- Onboarding email campaign
Here is a great way to for businesses to introduce their products and services to a target audience.
A well-planned and implemented onboarding campaign should be able to give your subscribers an idea of what your products can do for them, and spur them to choose the most suitable package to buy.
- Product announcement campaign
This is probably self-explanatory. During a product announcement campaign, you will be able to inform your subscribers beforehand what to expect in your new product, thus building a whole new level of anticipation towards that product.
It would be best suitable if you create and send a series of emails that show different features and benefits of the product rather than just a single mail.
- Sales campaign
The main objective of every sales campaign is to induce more sales. Therefore, you need to keep your messages concentrated towards boosting conversions.
It is perfectly normal for a few subscribers to become inactive after a period of time. In fact, you should not be afraid to remove inactive email addresses regularly.
You could save yourself some time and energy by running various re-engagement programs for subscribers who have stopped reading and following the links in your emails.
What are the advantages of email marketing?
What can I really gain from engaging in email marketing? Will the rewards be big?
These might be the questions in your mind after getting to understand the concept of email marketing.
There are many key benefits of email marketing that make it the right choice for businesses – both large and small – that need an effective digital marketing tool.
» It is cheap
This is a basic requirement for most small businesses that run on limited funds.
Email marketing services are budget friendly. There is always the right subscription plan for your needs.
You can always decide to start with a basic plan that is easy to afford and maintain, upgrading to a higher one as the size and profits of your business increases.
Professional email marketing software providers like Constant Contact or GetResponse have a basic plan that can be as low as $15 per month.
Despite the low cost, they provide you and your business with features such auto responders, marketing automation, tools for building your email list and every other thing your business needs to grow.
» You have complete control
You can easily plan your communication effectively through email marketing since you are given total control over every aspect of the email marketing process.
Here, you can:
» Easily design your emails, landing pages and web forms.
» Decide on the type of email marketing campaigns to run per time.
» Tag the contacts on your list for easy personalization.
» Divide your email list into portions for a more precise targeting.
» Create a marketing automation that suits your business goals.
With all these, you will be able to showcase your uniqueness among the other businesses or competitions.
» It is highly targeted
An email list is considered to be of high quality when you have and know the exact amount of people who are really interested in receiving the notifications or newsletters you send to them concerning your business.
This can only be achieved when you build your email naturally. Get to know those interested by asking them to confirm their subscription status.
With the knowledge of the exact number of people subscribed to your list, you can easily track and monitor the results of your marketing scheme.
Such results can include the number of people who read your mails compared to the number who received them.
Based on the information you have gathered from the results, you can then make changes to your plan and optimize your email marketing campaigns.
This is the reason why one can build a large email list that brings a striking revenue to the business.
» Easy to use
The creation and operation of an email marketing campaign is actually easy.
With the help of drag and drop editors, you can easily design your email templates, landing pages, web forms and marketing automation.
Many service providers provide the right tools to help you with the above mentioned functionality in addition to helping you track your performance over time.
» Customers love it
It has been noted by the DMA that most people’s preferred means of communicating with small businesses is via email.
The study reveals that well-designed email marketing programs are usually important and non-intrusive compared to other marketing channels.
Moreover, emails have to wait in the inbox until recipients are ready to open and read the messages.
» Measure results easily
Improve your chances of success by incorporating your email marketing platform with some online analytics tools such as Google Analytics and Clicky.
You can then vary the performance of individual emails in your email marketing dashboard and track the behavior of users on your website at the same time.
With this, you can ready set goals for your email marketing campaign, track conversion rate of customers, and measure the ROI.
» Highly rewarding
In comparison with other online marketing channels, email marketing brings the highest return on investment to any business.
The features of this marketing platform ultimately guarantee that almost nothing will go wrong if due process is followed.
If you run and measure your email marketing activities the right way, they’ll become a proven source of revenue for your business.
» Fully automated
Create any type of email marketing campaign of your choice with the use of the drag-and-drop editors that make the process of creating a well-designed email hassle free.
Moreover, email marketing automation helps to develop a continuous workflow that suits your email marketing campaigns.
For example, new subscribers to your list automatically get a welcome message even at the dead of the night when you are fast asleep.
» Gain access to mobile phone users easily
With the rising number of emails being opened on mobile phones, businesses can use this opportunity to connect more with their customers and easily sway their buying decisions.
According to a recent marketing study, more emails are opened on mobile devices (26%) compared desktops which have an open rate of less than 17%.
This implies that you can easily connect with your customers on the go and equally synchronize the activities of your online marketing campaign to be more compatible for mobile devices.
How can email marketing help my business?
The whole essence of marketing is to present your business before the right audience as many times as possible.
In order to maintain a successful business, you will need to communicate with your customers regularly.
This does not rule out your subscribers who are yet to make a purchase as email marketing seeks to take them on a journey from being just subscribers to your loyal customers.
Here are the ways email marketing can help your business:
· Create awareness
Use the full force of email marketing to its full potential by creating and using web forms, and landing pages that will help you connect with your target audience and invite them to subscribe to your email list.
Using drip campaign, it is seamlessly possible to perfectly represent your business brand, notions and results in your mails.
· Pitch your products
Since your customers are always going to be comparing your offers to that of the competitors, it is then important that you explain why your goods and services would suit their needs or rather satisfy them.
To help you with this, you have to make use of a remarkable email marketing campaign that would assure them that they have found what they have been searching for.
· Become an option for potential customers
Get your business brand to be among the top-of-mind brand in your industry with email marketing, and become of one of the business brands that will be shortlisted by its prospective customers.
· Hit the bulls eye
This would be the best stage to persuade your customers into buying certain goods and services from you.
At this stage, your customers already know their needs and understand that your goods will satisfy them after comparing them to that of the competitors.
Despite the fact that all business transactions end with a sale, it is important that as an email marketer you work beyond the period of purchase.
As an email marketer, you will need to keep in touch with your customers and see if your goods and services match up to their prospects.
Keep in mind that satisfied and happy customers tend to be repeat customers and eventually put out a good word about your business brand to their friends.
What’s the ROI for email marketing?
Going by a 2018 study conducted by Litmus, the return on investment for email marketing is estimated at 38:1.
Therefore, if you invest $1 into email marketing related activities, you will earn $38 in return.
Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that this value is not fixed – it’s only an estimate.
The return on investment for your business will be influenced by the following factors:
- The quality of your email list.
- The number of subscribers.
- The relevance of the content.
- The email template.
- If your CTA (Call to Action) is clear and persuasive.
How to calculate ROI for email marketing?
Now that you know the average value of email marketing’s return on investment, you will probably want to know the how to measure your ROI and compare with the average.
It’s not difficult to estimate the ROI for your email marketing campaigns. Simply take note of your overall revenue and divide it by the total amount spent.
For example, if you generated $300 in the sales of your products while investing $50 in the campaign, you will simply estimate your ROI in this fashion:
Total revenue: $300 – $50 = $250
Total spent: $50
ROI: ($250/$50) * 100 = 500%
How to get started with email marketing?
Wandering how to do email marketing for your small business and growing it from zero to an automated comprehensive sales-generating system?
Or probably struggling on the thousands of advices, and guides on the internet, trying to decide which one would work for your business.
Worry no more. With the 5-step method listed and explained below, you should not find difficulty building your perfect email marketing strategy from nick.
1. Build and grow a massive list.
It would be pointless if you plan on building the picture-perfect email marketing strategy without a growing email list.
However, the more important duty is to build your customer database by selecting the right audience to market your products to.
Thus, the question is – how to build an immense email list and keep it growing every single day?
Well, you could start with the following:
- incentivizing your customers to refer you to their friends,
- hosting a popular contest or give-away on social media platforms and collecting emails from the participants afterwards,
- asking for account sign-up in the checkout process after purchasing from your store,
- writing fascinating blog posts and contents, and using loyalty programs to gift points for subscribing to your email list.
2. Map out your customer’s journey.
In order to establish a long lasting relationship and communication with your customers through email marketing, you will need to converse with them on a personal level.
With the helping hand of technology, you can automatically send follow-up messages that are personalized to a limitless number of customers at the same time; highlighting the road map for your customers.
To further help you draft your customer journey, you place yourself in your customer’s situation and ask yourself questions such as:
- Where do my customers come from?
- What do they normally do / view / search when they enter through the homepage?
- How long do they stay on the store / How many product pages do they visit before leaving?
- Where do they normally abandon orders?
- What types of products / collections do most of my customers buy?
- How many days later will customers come back after the first purchase?
Answering every question yourself in a well detailed manner at each step will help to build a killer email marketing strategy.
3. Develop an email marketing flow
Predict your customers’ responses, and actions, planning on what kind of emails to send to your customers at every step.
Mold your emails in a relevant, and personal way that delivers useful messages a customer needs.
The crucial starting point is to define the conversion goal you want to achieve for a customer group, so that you can customize the exact content to send to them.
Be as creative as you can, whenever you see possible conversion drops in the customer journey, you can fix the problem with a killer email message and convert customers back to your store.
4. Choose the right email service provider to run email marketing for small business
Save yourself a lot of time, money, and energy when you use the right tool to implement email marketing for your small business.
How to find the right tool that would help you implement that right email marketing on your business?
Look no further than an email service provider that supports list segmenting, A/B testing among other salient features.
Click here to discover the best email service providers for your small business.
5. Make decisions based on metrics
It is generally advised that when it comes to marketing, one should make decisions following a series of tests and then optimizing your methods accordingly.
For example, to decide on whether a newsletter campaign would succeed or not, one would have to look at the
- unsubscribe rate,
- click-through rate,
- open rate,
- conversion rate, and
- the ratio of the expected revenue to actual revenue at the specified period of time.
Not forgetting to include all related costs to establishing the program and maintaining its procedures, such as
- cost per email sent,
- fixed cost for your email service provider (ESP),
- coupon code offered,
- human resources and
- other costs.
These will help to figure out the final return on investment (ROI) of the campaign.
You could then bring the performance of your campaign to its best by monitoring and comparing your metrics to that of other top industries engaged in email marketing.
What are the keys to successful email marketing?
To obtain a good ROI from email marketing, you must possess three key success factors:
- A strategy
- Good tactics, and
- The right tools.
With these three in your grasp, you will be able to run successful email marketing campaign and yield impressive results.
Let’s take an in-depth look into two of these success factors and finally direct you to a post that talks about the right tools for a successful email marketing campaign.
1) Key Success Factor: A well thought-out Email Marketing Strategy
There is a strategy for almost any human endeavor on the surface of the earth and email marketing isn’t left out.
A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve an overall aim in the long term. So, let’s take a peep into how this affects the art of sending emails.
What is an email marketing strategy?
Your email marketing strategy are the series of steps and long-term vision you have for your email marketing activities.
Although, there are a lot of business that thrive without a well laid out email marketing plan, it is still important that you draw one if you want to produce results.
Why you need an email marketing strategy
Your strategy is the foundation that your campaigns will be built upon. Converting leads to customers won’t happen by accident.
You need a well mapped out series of analysis, information and action plan for the different phases of the marketing journey and relationship you are working to build with your customers.
How to develop a simple email marketing strategy?
Creating an email marketing strategy isn’t a difficult task to accomplish. It is not compulsory to deal with all areas at the same time, you can include more details as you gradually progress.
For starters, areas that your email marketing strategy could cover include:
a) Your long-term goals
You decide and write down the goals you hope to achieve during the course and at the end of your email marketing campaign.
Your goals and objectives should be achievable, and measurable. Below are few examples you could consider as your objectives:
* Grow the number of subscribers by 30% before a specific date
* Increase open rate and click though rate by 7% before a specific date
* Increase ROI for sales campaigns by 15% before a specific date
b) Your Ideal audience
One of the key success factors to draft in your strategy if you hope to have an appreciable ROI from any campaign.
So when identifying the right audience, you will need to ask yourself certain questions such as, who are the people most likely to benefit the most from my offerings?
When you have found the right answers, going after your audience is even easier.
The more you know about their needs and likings, the more effective your email marketing campaigns will be.
c) Your competitive advantage
You will have a hard time trying to create an email marketing campaign that would easily persuade the ideal audience into buying from you if you do not know have a Unique Selling Proposition(USP).
Questions asked by the targeted audience such “why should we buy from you?” should be easily answered by your business’s USP.
Therefore, to get the right USP for your business, you will need to fully analyze your products and services, and identify the benefits to your customers, keeping it as short and precise as possible in the process.
You could also clearly describe the solutions you have for their problems and equate them to the customer needs.
Also, in order to get a competitive advantage, you could reach out to your customers and ask why they chose you rather than the other business brands in the same industry as yours.
As seen above, a good competitive advantage will help you greatly when planning your overall marketing presentation.
d) Your Assets
Draft out the necessary tools and personnel that you require to make your email marketing campaign a success.
Your resources may include freelancers like email marketing specialists, graphic designers, content designers, writers, analyst, etc.
Also, highlight the necessary email marketing tools that will help you effectively plan and implement your plan.
e) Key Performance Indicators
With a lot of metrics to track, the best thing is to align them all with your business goals, outlining the key performance indicators that will help you make the right business choices.
Below are few important metrics you could consider:
- The number of subscribers: One of the metrics to pay attention to is the number of email addresses on
your list. Since you built your email list naturally, it should take no time to generate impressive results, as your list continues to grows.
- Email open rate: This is the frequency at which your emails and newsletters are opened within a period of time by subscribers.
- Click-through rate(CTR): This is the ratio of the total number of clicks made by your subscribers on a given link present in an email. It is derived by dividing the total number of clicks by the total number of emails sent.
- Click-to-open rate (CTOR): It is the unique comparison between the total number of clicks and total number
of opens. This is a metric value that tells you if your email marketing campaign is engaging. Therefore, if
you have a high CTOR, this might mean that your subscribers find your content, emails to be engaging.
- Conversion rate: This refers to the percentage of subscribers who have completed the intended action or fulfilled the campaign goal.
f) Customer journey
It is important to look at the big picture and draft out the full pathway for your customers as the embark on this important journey.
Evaluate and sort out where best you could make your quickest returns at every step of the way.
2) Key Success Factor: Good tactics
These are certain email marketing activities that you apply to your strategy. Below are some email marketing tactics you can consider:
- List building
For the best results, you will need a large database of prospects.
To grow your email marketing list, you will need to create web forms and landing pages that will attract your target audience into subscribing with you.
This is why building your email list remains one of the most crucial job as an email marketer.
This involves dividing the email list into groups of subscribers who share the same qualities and interests.
Thus, allowing you to send the right type of personalized data or content that would suit that segment.
Relevance is the key to engagement. It is that which helps to get your subscribers to open your emails, click on the links, and follow the CTA’s you have for them.
Monitor your subscribers carefully, try to find out their needs, preferences, goals, and problems.
You will then be able to send out the right message at all times.
- User-friendly design
A user friendly design will significantly affect conversion. Web forms, landing pages and emails should be crafted by an experienced design team.
- Tracking results
Before you start tracking results, it is important that you know what metrics to give attention to and find the right tools to fulfil this goal.
- Testing and optimization
Most successful businesses arrive at the best templates for their mails after years of testing and optimizing.
So, make some changes to discrete components of your campaign, like emails, landing pages, and web forms and monitor the effect of these changes using key metrics to see how each and every change affect your overall performance.
3) Key Success Factors: The right tools
Without the right tools, you will not be able to implement your strategy and tactics correctly. Having the right tools should be part of your campaign’s strategy.
To better make a decision on some of the best marketing tools available, we have compiled a list of some of the best email marketing services available today.
Click here to learn about the top email marketing platforms for your small business.
Finally, there are many ways to view the key success factors of an email marketing campaign.
However the central idea is to focus on building a list with the right audience and subsequently reaching out to them according to their needs.
Fully equipped with this important steps to starting email marketing for small businesses, perhaps it is time for you to apply what you have learnt and watch both your campaign and business bloom