The following 10 questions people have about email marketing cover topics including what is email marketing, how email marketing works and what are the most popular email marketing services.
1. What's email marketing?
Email marketing is the sending of email to a users inbox, usually on a regular or semi-regular basis. The email is often formatted in HTML or as plain text and may contain images and links.
2. How email marketing works?
There are many variations on this, but for a service such as MailChimp:
(a) A visitor to a website fills in a subscription form on a website which links to MailChimp. On submission they visit the MailChimp website to confirm their subscription details.
(b) MailChimp stores the user email address and any extra data submitted
(c) MailChimp may send a welcome email to the new subscriber. This email may offer a discount code or another welcome offer.
(d) The MailChimp customer creates a new email to go out to the list. This email may contain offers, news or other content and will have links to sections on their website.
(e) The email is either scheduled or sent immediately.
(f) The subscriber receives the email in her inbox. A small percentage of those that receive it open it and may follow an action.
3. Is email marketing effective?
The key to running a business is to market yourself in a way likely to generate sales for the lowest cost. Given how low cost it is to send email it remains an efficient method of marketing. Open rates and click through rates are low, but email lists can be (if you are lucky) very large.
A typical Google Ad may cost you £3 - £4 to achieve a click. An email will cost you pennies to send.
The key to success in email marketing is to get and keep subscribers.
4. What email marketing mistakes should be avoided?
There are many mistakes possible with email marketing, but the most likely ones are:
a) Failure to opt subscribers in to your marketing following the required procedure.
b) Failure to provide a simple mechanism for customers to unsubscribe from emails.
c) Thinking you can handle either of the above using a spreadsheet or other method.
d) Using a company email address / email server to send emails because its cheaper than a service.
e) Failing to test emails in a wide range of email clients before sending.
5. What email marketing service is best?
This tends to depend on what you need. Some services are expensive, but feature rich. Others are cheap but offer a poor experience.
6. Is it legal to send marketing emails?
Yes, if you have asked permission or you have an existing business relationship. The wild-west of email marketing days where you bought a list and sent to a contact until blocked is over. Real penalties exist to punish this now. DPR and PECR legislation has laid down the rules.
7. How can email marketing help my business?
Email marketing can help with most stages in the digital marketing funnel. It can create interest, consideration, action and is good for after sale follow-up. It can drive customers to your website, update them on products or deliver offers.
Email offers a return on investment that more than justifies the minimal outlay.
8. How can email marketing boost sales?
Say, for instance you had an email marketing list of 5000 people with a click through rate of 3%. You’ve got a product which costs £20 and link to this from the email. 150 people click through and view the product. Of that 150 people 5% immediately buy (so 7). For one email you’ve sold products worth £140. Now follow up those that clicked through but didn’t buy and try to prompt them to buy by offering a discount. Another 5% buy. The amount you earn from one email starts to rack up.
9. Where to get email marketing lists?
Don’t. It isn’t worth it. Build your list organically. But, if you are a business you can use companies like Experian to buy validated and legal lists.
10. Why email marketing is important for small business?
It’s cheap and can offer a decent return on the money and time you invest in it.