This post is a guest post by Brandon Rhodes
With the ever-increasing popularity of social media promotion outlets, email marketing seems like more and more of an old-fashioned technique. However, even though email marketing isn’t the most glamorous weapon in any business’ new customer acquisition arsenal, it’s still a great tool for bringing in new customers, or giving your existing customers a reason to return.
Here are a few tips on how any business can start their own email marketing efforts, without sacrificing any features or functionality, and without having to part with too much cash.
The first trick to starting up your email marketing is to figure out what your business has to offer readers across the web. An email following is challenging to maintain; it must maintain a high level of quality, or risk being labeled as junk mail, and dismissed, or sent to a spam folder. Once this negative perception falls on your campaign, there is little that can reverse it.
The solution to this high tightrope is making sure your email distributions are valuable to your readers, not just to your business. Don’t just inform your customers about a product which just entered your stock, instead offer an incentive surrounding that product. A good deal is newsworthy to your customers, while a new product line is only news to you. Think of it this way: anything you send your customers that isn’t of interest to them, may very well be dismissed as spam. And let’s face it: if you don’t know your readers well enough to send them an email that interests them, your business’ problems are probably more profound than just its lack of email marketing.
The next challenge you’ll face is distribution. Fortunately, however, there are a wide variety of tools that can help you navigate the legal and technical barriers standing between you and your customers’ inboxes. Even more fortunate is that these services won’t cost you a ton of money. Services like MailChimp or Constant Contact will streamline your customer acquisition by managing your recipients, formatting email contents, and more. These services can help you manage some of the delivery difficulties which often plague email campaigns, and can cause your offers and newsletters to end up in spam folders, instead of before your customers. They also, perhaps most importantly, keep an eye on the strict legal implications on email marketing, and keep your campaign firmly on the right side of the spam laws.
Even with all of these elements in place, you may find yourself harboring some nagging questions about your email marketing prospects. One that I certainly would have is, “Who am I supposed to be sending these emails to?” Certainly a fair question, but not one that is difficult to answer. An “Opt-in” email campaign, to gain followers, is just like it sounds; you need to have your participants opt-in. This can be accomplished in several ways: through a direct sign-up form on your website, or by offering your newsletter as an add-on to your product or service.
Through these sign-up techniques, you can turn a simple, one-time visitor to your site into a recipient of your email campaign, and, with any luck, a regular customer!
Even though social media and paid search are quickly taking over the digital marketing budget of many companies, there is–and should be–a place for email marketing in every company’s customer acquisition plan.
Brandon Rhodes works for Response Mine, offering strategic customer acquisition and lead generation services.