Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Email revolutionized the way we communicate in the 1990s, and it’s remained a powerful tool to reach people. (Think of the last time you sent a paper memo to your employees.) Even though email may seem a little dated with social media microblogging apps like Twitter or instant messaging and texting, the truth is that email is an extremely effective tool to reach people. Not only is it cost effective, it enables you to reach the audience you want to target with ease. Users who opt in to your email list or interact with your brand and therefore subscribing means they’ve learned about your business and what it has to offer. They’re hooked and in a perfect position to read more. They’re ready to convert. The Businesses that Benefit Most From Email Marketing: Yours The beauty of email marketing is that it doesn’t discriminate against any industry. Just about any business can benefit from a well-thought and sound email campaign. That means that pretty much anything from HVAC specialists and car dealerships to online retail outlets and dentists can reap the rewards of marketing via email. Direct Marketing Association says the average return on investment (ROI) for email marketing is 4,300 percent. That’s astronomical. To boil it down to a dollar amount, for every $1 spent on email marketing campaigns, the average ROI is $44.25 according to Exact Target. How to Get Started on Your First Email Marketing Campaign While finding your email groove may prove to be difficult at first, it is possible to become a marketing master. The first step to reaching your current and potential new customers via email is to establish an online presence. Build a website, register a domain name and begin building your lists. Your website should have a contact form so your customers can get in touch with you and ask any questions they may have. Even if your customers don’t reach you via contact form, it’s wise to ask for an email address when you do business with them to allow for easy and seamless communication. Even if you gather email addresses from current customers, make sure you have permission to disseminate information to them. There’s nothing worse in the marketing world than someone saying, “Who are you, and why are you talking to me?” If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. A great website is paramount to effective email marketing, and is essential to developing a strategy, and once your website is on point, you can then plan on what information you want to send to your customers. What information could benefit them and help you achieve your goals for your business? Maybe your brick and mortar business has expanded to multiple locations and you want people to know where where they are. Or maybe you just posted a new article to your website and you want eyes on it. You might even be running a great special or sale and want to reach the people most likely to capitalize on it. Develop a strategy and execute it. To help you deliver your well-planned campaign, use a tool such as MailChimp or Constant Contact to help you do everything from create and design your email templates to build and maintain consumer lists. Those tools even have options to help you decide when to send your email to reach the most subscribers. In other words, the above online tools take the guesswork out of sending your emails. They help you get the most eyes on your content. What Information You Tell People Makes Them Want to Convert One email marketing mistake we see a lot is not providing useful information in emails. You absolutely must send valuable content to your readers. If you send out useless information at best they’ll unsubscribe from your list and at worst they’ll do business elsewhere. You may be sending enticing offers, providing ways to do something better or more efficiently or raising awareness for natural disaster relief efforts. No matter what, make sure it’s something they’ll want to read. If you’re just sending out useless information just to send out something, you may get a few people to open the email, but you won’t get the staggering results from email marketing that you can bring if you’re sending out amazing content. Online dating is ubiquitous in today’s world. With that in mind, think of the emails you send as a message to your most recent matches. You might respond to the ones who just say, “Hey!” However, the ones you end up actually meeting up with will give you something more. Those matches will let you know what they’re about in interesting ways and let you know they care what matters to you. Your email subscribers look at their inboxes much like they do their dating app accounts. They’ll swipe left (delete) on the profiles that don’t provide any content and they’ll swipe right and actually talk to the ones that look like they’re fun and have something to offer. What else can email marketing do for my business? We’ve mentioned the huge ROI email marketing can bring, and that figure may seem a little impossible. It’s not. Over 205 billion emails are sent every day, and that number is growing by three percent every year, meaning that over 246 billion emails will be exchanged by the end of 2019. Your business needs to be a part of that. While social media engagements and Google searches are integral components of solid online marketing strategies, and they certainly create conversions, your customers like convenience. Nothing is more convenient than opening an email app and seeing a great subject head that may be for a good or service. With email, your customers don’t need to search for what they want. It’s right in front of them and you reap the benefits. Consumers largely prefer email as a business communication method. Phone calls are invasive and people hate being interrupted. Emails allow the consumer to engage with your business on his or her own time. Most consumers like to receive emails at least weekly. (Having said that, however, do not, under any circumstances flood your subscribers’ inbox with emails. That will make your subscriber lists shrink quickly.) Email marketing also allows you to be where your customers are. The vast majority of smartphone users actively check their email with their cell phones. Many users even have alerts and notifications pop up so they know immediately when they have something new in their inboxes. The Anatomy of a Great Email We’ve discussed the necessity of delivering useful content, but what does that really mean? What makes one email better than another? Here’s what separates great emails from mediocre ones that don’t convert: Be Creative. You aren’t the only business trying to reach customers via email, and you want to stand out from the others. Your new online tools can help you design visually-appealing emails that look professional. Fill those with your own custom, unique content that pertains only to your business and your customer base. Make sure it’s relevant, and that it’s what your audience wants to read. Get by with a little help from your industry friends. Follow current marketing trends and play with animation, fun web fonts, GIFs, bold colors, emojis or even personalized video. Some companies have sent video emails in which the narrator said the recipient’s name. Every customer likes to feel like the company they’re doing business with cares. Get the word out but don’t be too “salesy.” Your customers are smart, and they’ll be leery of your company if they think you only want their money. The content you send should put your customers at ease and not seem like a high-pressure sale attempt at a used car lot. Your tone of voice is extremely important because it shows that you understand your audience. For example. let’s say you run a lawn and landscaping company. Your target audience is likely home or business owners who will want tips on how to make their lawns green or great deals on mowing and tree trimming services. Don’t bore them with jargon or the chemical composition of the fertilizer you use. How to Get the Word Out About Your Email Campaign Creating the best, most valuable content for your emails means nothing if people never see it. Use every platform you can to get people to subscribe to your lists. That could mean using social media, guest posting, or even hosting webinars. Be in the communities you want to grow in, and engage with your audience in any positive way you can think of. Your effort will pay off. Your business can benefit and grow by using email marketing. Your campaign needs to be well-planned and deliver information your audience wants to read. Yes, it can be difficult to get your bearings, but your effort can mean huge, measurable results with much less of an investment than other marketing methods. Remember, anything worth doing is worth doing right. Take the time to plan out and refine your campaign using the tips above and you are bound to see what makes email marketing a “go to” strategy for most.