Email Marketing: The most effective and economic tool in disguise to Grow your Business .


There is no dearth of strategies in digital marketing, but one that outshines all is Email Marketing. It might come as a surprise to many that a technology, which was around during the advent of the internet, still delivers results. In terms of Return on Investment (ROI, it stands at 1:40, a dollar invested will turn into $40. This is the kind of statistics that get every marketer excited. A cost-effective practice that is high on results. 


That said, it does give you results but there is a fair amount of work involved before we can start on our Email campaign. This write-up seeks to incorporate practical suggestions that can motivate businesses to select Email marketing as a critical strategy to advance their business. 


Introduction


Even today, with the multitude of communication tools available, people still check their emails on a daily basis. With the arrival of Smartphones, it has become much easier to access mails from anywhere. This has further improved the scope of email as a reliable inbound marketing tool. Before we proceed, let’s delve into the definition:


“It is the practice of sending branded messages preferably to a group of people (existing & potential customers) on a frequent basis is known as email marketing.”


In fact, every mail recipient has consented to receive emails from a brand or business, which makes it a form of inbound marketing. An email message can serve various purposes including – promotions, offers, discounts, new products, product updates, introduction to a new blog post and more. 


Email Marketing – The Start


While email marketing is enticing, it is critical that the initial groundwork has been done. To begin, there must be an email list in place – a collection of email Ids of past customers and future prospects. The big question now is – “How to create an email list?”


Drive Traffic to your Site 


The content on the site and how well it is visible to search engines can make a huge difference. In addition, presence on social media sites and promoting content on them can provide the means to bring visitors to the site and grow your business


Let’s look at improving traffic through SEO practices

   

  • Keyword Research: Align the content to keywords that aren’t highly competitive but are capable of generating a reasonable amount of traffic. Do an active search using available tools to select viable keywords. 


  • Long-form Content: Studies have suggested long-form content with in-depth explanations performs better on search compared short or thin posts. Create content that is >2000 words that provide value to the user

  • Create Fresh Content: It doesn’t necessarily mean producing new posts. Rather, it talks about re-visiting your old content and updating them with the latest information. This provides Google algorithm with ‘freshness’ signals to the content on site.

 

  • Include Images: Images placed in the content makes it reader-friendly. Include keywords in ‘alternative text’, file name and caption makes it easy for search engines to understand the content.


  • Include Keywords Throughout: Insert keywords in the Post titles, URLs, and in ‘Alt-text’ describing the images.


  • Technical SEO: Improve website loading time, get registered on Google Search Console (GSC), add the business to Google MyBusiness, make the site mobile friendly and create neat site architecture can all contribute higher ranking on search

  • Build Backlinks: Google prefers sites that have other sites pointing to them. It improves credibility and is considered the foremost ranking factor. You can build backlinks through blogger outreach, guest blogging, broken link building and more. 


These are the broad outline on generating traffic to a website or blog with SEO. Once the traffic starts pouring on to the site, do not miss opportunities to ask for email Ids in exchange for an email newsletter, e-book or participation in a promotional offer. Slowly but surely, there will be an email list with a critical number of qualified subscribers who have willingly opted to be part of your list.  


Pointers to Improve the Traffic Flow


In case you are completely convinced about the benefits of Email marketing and want to make it integral to the online business strategy. Then, implement steps that would grow the email list getting you exclusive access to a bigger audience. Such a strategy will pay rich dividends as there will be less dependence on big online companies, especially for eCommerce websites to gain traffic. 


Let’s look at 12 of them in brief:


  • Giveaway or Contest: Once having attracted traffic, engage with them through giveaways or contest. Offer them gift certificates or free products, persuading them to part with their email Ids. It is win-win for both parties.


  • Timely Pop-Ups: A well-timed pop-up without annoyance, like when they are about to exit a site can be the perfect tactic to solicit email IDs.  


  • Articulate Benefits: Most times a user would not be aware of the benefits of being part of an email list. Be upfront on the frequency and exclusive privileges offered to subscribers giving them more than a reason. 


  • Exclusive Landing Page: A form in the sidebar asking for mail Ids for a newsletter is unlikely to elicit a response. Actively promote the benefits through an exclusive landing page.


  • Social Media: On social media, apart from the link to the homepage, including the newsletter landing page link to get more visitors to sign-up. 


  • Reduce the Form Fields: Have reduced number of fields in the opt-forms, the lesser the better. Ask only for name and email ID to begin with.


  • Create a Quiz: Everybody likes quizzing, ensure results are sent via email only to get more sign-ups.


  • Long-tail Keywords: Ranking short-tail keywords on search engines is difficult due to increased competition. Instead, turn your focus towards long-tail keywords that drive traffic for terms with specific search intent for better placement on SERP. 


  • Split-test: Get the best versions of landing pages, opt-in forms through A/B testing which helps in gauging user preference before-hand.  


  • Optimize for Mobile: All pop-ups and opt-in forms have to work on mobiles as more traffic gets generated from there. 


  • Facebook Page: Include an email sign-up button on the Facebook page linked to your blog or website.


  • Paid Ads: Get started with a nominal amount on Facebook Ads to drive traffic and sign-ups.  


Implementable Pointers to Creating Great Email Campaigns


Now that we have dealt with traffic with an added focus on building an expansive list, it is time to create an email campaign that produces optimum results that serve the business goals. There are various aspects to an email campaign and a fair amount of attention to the preparatory stages can make the entire campaign worthwhile. Let’s look at each one of them one-by-one:


  • Craft the Subject Line: This one of those elements in an email that makes the first impressions on the reader. It decides whether an email will be read or not. We need to put enough thought into making a compelling subject line that gets clicked by the recipient.

    

  • Sender’s Name: Most brands make the make the mistake of including the company name in the sender’s field, it makes the communication impersonal. Include an employee’s name, instead, to make the message more humane.

 

  • Power Words: There are words that appeal to person’s emotion to prompt him to take action, do your research on words that drive action and include them in your subject line and in the main body of the message.


  • Provide Value: The emails being sent have to offer value, it could be timely updates of the industry relevant to the user, good old storytelling about the brand (emotional connect) or could offer exclusive privileges only for subscribers. Content has to elicit lasting interest to sustain engagement.

 

  • A/B Testing: Most email marketing software come with the option to test elements such as subject lines before sending the actual mail to gauge the level of engagement beforehand.  


  • Preview Text: Presently all email clients offer a sneak peek into the beginning of an email. This text has to hook the reader into opening the mail by appealing to his curiosities. When done consistently, it produces higher-open rates.


  • Keep it Short: The rule-of-thumb is to make the email reader-friendly and even if the reader just skims past, he should get a rough idea of what it is about. Stick with 25 words per sentence and paragraphs not extending beyond three sentences. 


  • Include CTA: A good marketing mail will only have one CTA and will insert it strategically at multiple spots in the email to drive useful action from the reader.


  • Be Polite: Some marketing messages almost seem to scream on the face. Avoid the usage of unnecessary Caps and Exclamations to get attention. Try gett0g across politely. In the worst case, the message might get labelled as spam. 


  • Put the reader first: The email has to communicate – how they are getting benefitted while underplaying the promotional aspect. Else, there is a good chance the audience will opt-out from the list by quickly reaching out to the unsubscribe button.


  • Focus on Benefits: A marketing message has to keep harping on the benefits rather than on the features, it makes the message more enticing.


  • Align the Landing Page & Email Copy: The mail directs traffic to your landing page. However, if there is a mismatch between the email copy and the contents of the landing page, all effort comes to a nought along with a lost conversion. Keep the message consistent on both to ensure no confusion.

 

  • Easy to Unsubscribe: There will be folks in the email list, who are interested in the brand but aren’t comfortable with frequent emails. If you make the opting-out process cumbersome, all the goodwill towards the brand will evaporate quickly.


  • Optimize for Mobile: Most emails are checked on the mobile today. Make it easier for the user by adopting responsive email templates that easily adjust to smaller screens.


  • Select the Right Time: Choose the best time to send the email and it can differ from business to business. According to popular research – 10 AM happens to be most appropriate.


Features of Automated Email Marketing


We have covered the creation of an Email, now it’s time to send the email. You can do it manually or can automate it depending on the number of subscribers. A business with less than 500 subscribers can handle their email marketing through manual means. However, an email list of thousands of subscribers does require enterprise-level implementation. Select email marketing software that takes off of the pressures of bulk messaging by ensuring relevance and personalization go together. This can be much beneficial to eCommerce website promotion for better conversions.


Once having installed the software, it is essential to understand what value it offers to the customers. Here, take a look at the features:


  • Trigger Emails: These are the most common type of automated emails that get generated based on subscriber’s behaviour. It reduces the tediousness associated with email correspondence. Most popular include – welcome emails, onboarding emails, abandoned cart emails, life-event emails (birthdays, anniversaries etc).

 

  • Drip Feed Emails: It involves a series of emails, sent to the recipient in a stipulated manner based on their response. The idea is to target the prospect by accelerating his journey through the sales funnel. By following up regularly the chances of conversion are quite high.

 

  • Subscriber Segmentation: Every email marketing software offer subscriber segmentation to reach a specific audience segment. Brands segment subscribers into groups based on location, job titles, product usage and even how they got introduced to the brand. By adopting the process, the chances of click-through driving suitable action are substantially increased.

 

  • Personalize the message: Addressing the recipient with their first name, location or sending their preferred products on email can get their attention to foster a healthy relationship with the brand.

 

  • Analyse Results: After having done the hard work, it is essential that results are inferred and analysed. Some of the key metrics include:

  1. Email Delivery Rate: The number of emails that actually reached the user’s inbox. 

  2. View Rate: Out of the emails received, how many of them were viewed. Most emails offer a preview text, which allows deletion without being read. A good view rate means, your email survived without getting deleted.

  3. Open Rate: Out of the emails that were viewed, how many were open and read by the user. Subject lines are seen as essential for this event to take place. 

  4. Click-through rate: Having read the emails, how many of them click the CTA. A high click-through rate can signal that the mail created heightened interest among the recipients.    

  5. Conversion rate:  Having click-through, how many engaged in an action expected of them. It can be a sale, opting for a webinar, requesting a demo - any measurable action can be a conversion. 


This covers major features offered by automated email marketing software. Select software based on your needs and look for compatibility with your existing systems like CRM, which is crucial when there is an expansive email list.  


Benefits of Email Marketing for Business


Until now we have covered – driving and improving traffic to the site, pointers to great email campaigns and features of automated email software. Finally, we would look at the prime benefits offered by email marketing, which needs to be integral to your online marketing strategy. Here is the list one-by-one: 


  • Improves Sales: Emails can actually improve sales with strategized messaging. You are sending emails to an audience that already has a preference for your brand, meaning higher conversions. Send mails on - products that are often purchased, products similar to previous purchases and offer discounts on select purchases. Such emails can actually result in impulse buying with studies revealing a healthy percentage of marketers confirming that email marketing is their biggest source of ROI. 


  • Generates Traffic: Sending emails with links in them, generate traffic to your site. More traffic translates to better SEO and a higher ranking on search results.  You can include links to other pieces of content on the website or blog to keep your audience engaged with your content to improve trust & brand awareness as well. Be mindful about creating a specific CTA with each mail to affect the click-through rate.

 

  • Generates Leads: Apart from improving sales, email marketing can be used to nurture leads and improve conversions. Suppose someone downloads an e-book from your site. Then, you start following-it-up with drib mails to make him agree to a product demo. This is one of the ways to accelerate the lead generation process through emails. Plus, this kind of marketing is especially suited to generate qualified leads, without wasting time and effort identifying qualified and bad leads.

   

  • Cost-Effective:  Unlike traditional forms of advertising email marketing is quite inexpensive. It does not involve a lot of resources to produce, while traditional marketing involves elaborate photoshoots, editing, printing, and ad placement along with staff salaries. All it takes for email marketing is a copy-writer and a graphic artist, who can create an email campaign in a day. Budgetary constraints never come in the way of an email marketing campaign.

 

  • Strengthens the Brand: Email marketing strengthens the brand because it offers direct and exclusive access to your subscriber’s inbox. By producing valuable content over time, they will start identifying as an authority in the industry, further improving your credibility. Going further, you can solicit opinions from subscribers about the content being offered and the type of content they would want in the future. Such conversations help gain clarity on the marketing approach further cementing the brand’s relationship with the customers. 


Final Thoughts


Email marketing is one of those practices that when done correctly and purposefully is bound to bring tangible results. One of the good things about email marketing is that – you are less dependent on big online companies and their platforms. Meaning, you become immune to algorithm updates.

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