Emails. Don’t you just love them?
These little bundles of joy appear in our inboxes every day to deliver us news, promotional material, bills, rent inspection notices….
All the things that make life worth living! Much like our physical mailboxes, our inboxes get filled with a lot of stuff we have zero intention of reading.
Unless you’re one of those amazing people that keep their inbox at zero and organises important emails into folders, then you most likely have a bunch of unopened emails from a bunch of businesses that you’ve either purchased from or pay a regular fee to.
As a consumer we like to think of promotional emails as spam, much like how we treat the endless print catalogues we still receive in the mail but be honest, sometimes you do read those catalogues.
Every business should do email marketing…..maybe.
If you’re looking for ways to market yourself, your brand or a business you’re a part of then email marketing is usually one of the first recommendations you will find online. It’s a tried and true method that has existed almost as long as the internet has. Social media platforms may rise and fall, but email will most likely always be around.
If you had a huge Facebook following and then suddenly the platform wasn’t operating how would you communicate with your customers?
This is very common reasoning that many email marketing enthusiasts espouse (usually to potential clients) and the logic is solid.
You want a direct line to your customers and you don’t want to have to go through a third-party to do it.
The undeniable fact is that a mailing list provides you with a huge amount of data on your customers; however, you need to take into consideration how we as a modern society now use email to navigate the internet.
Do you want my personal email, my business email or my spam email?
Be honest with yourself, how many email addresses do you currently use at the moment? If you have more than a work email and a personal one then you’re not alone.
Everyone in our office has at least 5 separate email addresses. This is a brief rundown of what this writer’s various addresses are used for.
Main personal email: Used for dealing with businesses, emails from friends, bills etc
Work email: Pretty self-explanatory
Freelance work email: Gotta have a side hustle
Hotmail email address I still use from high school: It’s what I used to make my Facebook and Apple accounts with and I can’t be arsed changing them
Spam email: If a business tries to force me to give them my email to get something then they get this one.
Sound like you? Maybe you have even more email addresses. Unlike your home address, you can have as many emails as you want across different mail servers. The beauty of this is you don’t have to be tied to one specific identity online but for businesses, this means getting leads from a mailing list is even more difficult.
So, what is a business to do?
Never fear, for we are here with some advice on how to best qualify if your business would benefit from an email marketing campaign and how you should go about implementing it:
Not every business needs to run an email campaign.
Just like any other marketing decision you make for your business the first thing to consider is who your target audience is.
You’ve most likely got a customer profile made up already, so refer to that and really consider whether your ideal customer will benefit from receiving regular email updates about your business.
If your business is aimed at a younger audience, then they’re probably spending time on social media platforms over sending and receiving emails (as no one under the age of 20 is on Facebook anymore).
Use those social media platforms to connect with your customers over email.
On the other end of the spectrum if you’re offering products or services around organisation and productivity then you may find your customers spend a lot more in their inbox labelling and categorising their various emails.
Some people use their inboxes specifically as a database, signing up to mailing lists so they have a business’s details on hand when they need it.
If you have an audience like this congratulations! An email marketing campaign will be of great use to you IF you do it correctly (but we’ll get to that later).
Now while not every business will benefit from a email marketing campaign we will say that for B2B businesses, an email campaign combined with robust blogging is a vitally important marketing strategy to consider.
Blogging is free marketing you can create and promote on your social media platforms and around the internet on various blogging sites that shows your expertise in your specific niche.
Giving people the opportunity to learn more about you from the comfort of their inbox will help you retain customers over time.
Just because your email wasn’t opened doesn’t mean it’s not working.
Sometimes we get so concerned with what we’re putting into our email campaigns that we don’t take a minute to stop and think about the inherent value of the email itself. Whether an email is opened or not can sometimes be irrelevant.
Sometimes it just sitting in someone’s inbox is all the advertising you need. If your email heading includes your business name then that’s a constant reminder that your business exists every time that person skims through their emails.
Utilise your email heading to capture the attention of your customers. Make a joke, use emojis, quote your favourite movie (but of course always remember to keep in line with your brand image).
Services like mailchimp and activecampaign provide a great deal of information when using them to run your email campaign.
If you’re seeing that your emails aren’t being opened then don’t think of it as a problem, think of it as an opportunity.
You’ve got a list of people who have willingly opted to learn more about you so you’ve just got to figure out what’s stopping them from taking that last step.
Tricking people into joining your mailing list isn’t going to work.
Do you remember that time when if you wanted to do anything on certain websites you would HAVE to sign up to their mailing list? That annoying little pop up you couldn’t get rid of until you hit submit.
Well luckily things have gotten better and businesses now have to specifically ask your permission for you to join a mailing list.
But a lot of businesses still utilise techniques to “trick” people into signing up for their mailing list. And while you may get a huge amount of email addresses, they might be:
a) a spam email someone uses for any mailing list, or
b) put off by the fact that a business used underhanded techniques to get their details.
The latter is most likely going to lead to a quick unsubscribe for you and a bad taste in their mouth for them when it comes to your brand.
Yes, you may feel apprehensive about just giving people the option to sign up to your mailing list, about not putting it in the most obtrusive pop up you can think of, these techniques are guaranteed to work to get you those addresses.
However, wouldn’t you rather have an email list full of people genuinely interested in your business?
People who are passionate enough about what you do that they decide they want to hear from you regularly?
If you’re serious about actually forging customer relationships, rather than just having a big list of email addresses you can target ads to, then not manipulating site visitors is a good place to start!
And finally…. How often do your customers want to hear from you?
That’s a loaded question, isn’t it? If you’ve ever dealt with SaaS businesses or have done a free trial of a subscription service then you have most likely gotten an almost daily deluge of emails from “Tim @companyXYZ” asking you constantly how you’re going with the trial.
As you may have noticed from the image at the beginning of the article Skillshare loves sending out weekly emails and why wouldn’t they? They are constantly bringing out new courses.
The issue with that is that most businesses opt you in for EVERYTHING when you sign up for a mailing list leaving you to manually go in after the fact and if you do want to get some emails from them, deselect the emails you don’t want.
This creates a situation where email campaigns become an either/or affair for the people receiving them. You can either get drowned in emails or you can unsubscribe not have to worry at all.
There’s a simple solution to this. Let your customers personalise their email when they first sign up. Providing a more robust mailing list experience automatically makes a person feel more in control of how they interact with your business, putting them at ease.
If you run multiple mail campaigns for various aspects of your business give site visitors the option to sign up to the ones they want. This not helps them but also helps you get a better understanding of what types of campaigns work the best for your target audience.