Go take a look at your email inbox right now. How many of your emails are from brands? Chances are you’re subscribed to at least a few brand email lists, and despite many proclamations over the years that email is dead, it’s not on death’s door yet. An email marketing strategy is a great way for your small business to build relationships with customers.
If you’re like 99% of us, you’ve already checked your email at least once today. And customers are ready and willing to receive emails from brands - 61% would rather get branded offers via email than through any other channel.
So how do you create an email marketing strategy that works? We dive in below.
Developing Your Email Marketing Strategy
Before you release your messages into the wild, it’s important to have an overarching strategy behind your email marketing. None of your digital communications, regardless of channel, happen in a vacuum, and should align with your larger marketing efforts. Your strategy takes into account any big marketing initiatives that you have coming up as well as the points along the customer journey where there’s an opportunity to touch base with your audience.
You also need to determine how you’ll build your email list – make absolutely, 100% sure that you have everyone’s opt-in to email them. Opt-in simply means that a user provides explicit permission to be added to your email list. You can either require a single opt-in, where a user signs up for your list once and that’s it, or a double opt-in, where a user signs up and then receives an email with a link to confirm their subscription.
Buying an email list is not recommended, as the people on it likely won’t know of or want to engage with your brand. Would you want to get emails from a company you’ve never heard of for something you didn’t sign up for? Creating an email subscriber form on your website to capture relevant information and build your list is a much better option.
And this is probably a no-brainer, but worth reiterating: your emails should have the same look and feel as the rest of your marketing materials. Dedicating time and manpower to creating something that is visually appealing and in line with your branding helps make your messaging more interesting and memorable.
Automated vs. Manual Emails: What’s the Difference and When to Use Them
Now that you know how to build your email list, it’s time to get cracking on your messaging. And luckily, automated solutions exist to make your life a whole lot easier.
Automating certain email marketing messages can make it simple to connect with your audience on a regular basis. There are several kinds of messages you can automate:
1) Onboarding/welcome: Welcome new customers to your list and create a good first impression with these emails. They can include things like discount codes, video links, store links, or blog links. And as our inboxes become more cluttered, welcome messages are a great place to prompt users to set their email frequency preferences.
2) Loyalty/reward: To reward email list subscribers, you can send messages that include exclusive offers like discounts or early access to sales or content. This provides something of value to email subscribers and gives them a reason to stay subscribed. Things like special birthday offers or product/service usage anniversaries would apply here too.
3) Cart abandonment: People add things to their cart and then leave the page – it happens. While some of these users may have no intention of actually buying your product or service, others might be on the fence, and a reminder sent within an hour of their visit can be the push they need to order. Include photos or a written list of the things in their cart to keep it personal and remind users what they’re missing. And time in-email offers carefully – give them a time limit and consider upping the discount amount with each subsequent abandoned cart email you send in your series.
4) Feedback reminders: One of the simplest ways to determine what’s working and what’s not? Just ask. Prompt email subscribers to leave you feedback, whether that’s through replying to your email directly, filling out a form, or visiting a review site. But remember, don’t directly ask for reviews – you can be penalized by review sites if you do.
Unautomated or manual emails typically fall into the realm of specific product/service launches or updates, newsletters, and blog, podcast, or video promotion. These emails are all about information – give users some useful info as opposed to a hard sell. Use these messages to build relationships and foster trust with your audience so that when you are ready to sell, they have a reason to want to purchase from you.
An email marketing strategy takes a little bit of legwork up front, but the results are well worth it. If you’re ready to tackle your social media presence next, click here.