This post is Part 2 of our Business Growth Series.
- Read Intro: A Game Plan for Growing your Business in 2014
- Read Part 1: Set Goals to Improve the Online Presence of your Business
A common goal shared between all business owners, regardless of business size, is to increase sales. After all, that’s part of the reason you went into business, right? You want to spend your days doing what you love, and you want to make enough money to keep doing it. So, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, make more money and convince your ideal customer to choose your business instead of another, you simply have to put a digital marketing plan into place and stick to it.
Traditional marketing methods such as print advertising and direct mail are costly and no longer as effective as they once were. In a 2013 survey posted on our website, we asked you “Which form of advertising do you believe is the most cost effective?” The results were clear: 36.59% chose email marketing, with social media a close second at 24.39%.
Email marketing is the foundation for any good digital marketing plan. By sending regular email communications, you can drive sales while also remaining top of mind with your ideal customers. Here are some tips to help you get started with email marketing in 2014:
Tip #1: Make it easy to subscribe, unsubscribe and update profile information.
Use your website to help build your email list by placing a “Join Our Email List” button somewhere visible on your website. Placing the link at the top of your website in the header section will help it stand out. Also, you should always have a link in each email communication you send that allows customers to either opt out of your communications or update their information. If you don’t have a place to unsubscribe, you run a higher risk of your customers reporting your email as “spam.”
Tip #2: Always have permission to send email communications.
The cardinal rule of email marketing is to always have permission from your customer to send email communications. Using a purchased email list or marketing to unsuspecting customers is a quick way to break trust, and it does much more harm than good for your business. We help our clients grow their email lists with permission-based collection methods and never allow the use of purchased lists.
Tip #3: Make sure your customers know they will be receiving email communications from you, and even how often.
You can set expectations by placing a notice on your website, opt in form and through the use of an automated “Thank you for joining” email. By using an automated message, you let customers know right away they will be receiving email communications from you, and you also offer them the immediate opportunity to unsubscribe if they wish.
Tip #4: Use a freebie to get more subscribers.
People love free things, and it’s an effective, low risk way to introduce ideal customers to your business. Our client, Doe Run Farms, offers a free meal planner to anyone who subscribes to their email list. Think of what would work best for your product or service, whether it’s a coupon or a free digital download. Just make sure it is relevant and something your ideal customer will actually take interest in.
Tip #5: Be Mobile Friendly.
Many of your subscribers will likely be viewing your email campaigns on their mobile phones, so it’s important that your campaigns are responsive and display well on mobile devices. Using a simple, one column design with a clear call to action phrase is a good start. Make sure links and graphics are large enough that users can easily view and click on them from mobile devices.
Tip #6: Always stay relevant.
If you want your emails to be effective, they have to be relevant to your ideal customer and their interests. Ideally, your campaigns should be promotional AND informative. Offer up some free resources or tips on topics your ideal customers find interesting, and then include a special offer or coupon for your product or service.
Tip #7: Integrate social sharing and social media links into your campaigns.
Encourage your subscribers to share your email communications directly to social media sites through the use of social sharing links. You can also direct traffic to your own social media pages by always including links to your pages in every communication you send.
Putting it all together
Getting started with email marketing can be difficult and overwhelming, but it is worth every bit of the work you put into it for the return of investment you will see. Email costs nothing to send and it allows you to stay in touch with your customers and encourage them to buy. By getting creative with your content and staying in touch, you build trust with your ideal customers while staying ahead of your competition.
Email marketing also serves as the foundation for your digital marketing plan. Use your website to promote your email newsletter, and then use your email newsletter to direct traffic back to your website for further engagement and sales. You can also link your social media strategy and email campaign strategies together to further develop each message you want to send to your ideal customers. Email marketing also helps with SEO by regularly sending traffic to your website. It’s not uncommon for our clients to see big spikes in website traffic on the days we send out email campaigns.
How do you plan on using email marketing to grow your business in the New Year? Leave a comment below and let me know what unique ideas you have for your email marketing campaigns.