Email marketing can be a very powerful tool for any small business owner looking to grow their business by staying connected with their target audience.
Success in email marketing is more than just collecting email addresses and sending out the occasional email blast. To really be successful in email marketing, you need to develop a plan for how email marketing fits into your overall marketing strategy. You must understand what you wish to accomplish with email marketing so that you can understand what steps need to be taken to be successful.
One often overlooked step is building and managing a loyal email list. This might be the most important step in the entire process of developing a successful approach to email marketing.
A long list of email addresses is worth next to nothing if the users of those email addresses are not engaged or do not wish to hear from you. For your email marketing efforts to be successful, you must have a strong foundation to build on.
That means building and managing a list of email addresses with users who are engaged and excited to hear from you.
Know Where Your Email Addresses Come From
Because there are many, many ways to collect email addresses, we will NOT go into detail into that aspect of building a list. Rather, we will say that however you do collect email addresses, make sure you actually know where they are coming from.
This helps in the following ways:
- Planning – As you develop a plan to build your list, you want to have an idea of where those email addresses are coming from. This will help you plan your messaging to maximize interest and collect as many email addresses as possible.
- Management – When you know where your email addresses are coming from, you can group them in your CMS. This will allow you to send more personalized emails because you are able to reference how and where you know the contact.
- Awareness – If you know them, then they most likely know or are familiar with you. As a consumer, it is annoying to receive constant emails from unknown sources. You want your audience to know, like, and trust you. Sending an unsolicited email is NOT the way to accomplish this.
In short, one of the worst ways to build a list is to purchase a list of emails. Those generally do not amount to much and may end up harming your brand much more than generate any revenue.
As you collect email addresses, make sure that you get consent to send emails. If you are collecting emails online, this is rather simple because there are a variety of ways to get consent.
The tricky part comes if you are collecting email addresses offline. If you are collecting email addresses by having people fill out a paper form at a checkout counter or some event, then make sure to clearly have something asking for consent. Scan the hard copies so you have a digital record and save the paper copies as a backup.
If you are collecting business cards at a networking event, do the polite thing and ask if you can add them to your list. Most business professionals attend networking events to connect and generally say yes.
Send Welcome Email
As email addresses are added, send a welcome email. Online collection makes this process easy as you can set up automation to get welcome emails sent. You can set up multiple welcome emails that match the path the new contact made to being included in the list.
The same can be done with offline collection as well. Takes a little more work, but the effort pays off in the end.
Let Audience Manage Their Subscription
This is really helpful for businesses that have multiple types of emails. For instance maybe you have an email that is sent with helpful content pertaining to your industry, another set of emails that promote sales or discounts, and a third set of emails that promote local events. Allow your users to only receive the emails they find most useful.
This will allow your audience to feel more in control because now they only see the information they wish to see.
Allow Audience To Easily Unsubscribe
This is an easy one. If someone does not want to receive any emails from you, let them unsubscribe. You only want active and engaged contacts on your list. If you make the process of unsubscribing difficult, then you will most likely upset your audience and damage your brand.
Only Send Valuable Content
Collecting email addresses is one thing, but actually keeping your audience engaged and wanting more? That is a whole other discussion. To do this, you must send content that is meaningful to your audience. It must provide value to them or else they will ignore you and then eventually unsubscribe.
Connect better with your audience by speaking to their needs. Look to generate a conversation by addressing your audience’s most pressing needs. Doing so will increase your chances of your audience staying engaged and eventually taking action.
Email marketing takes time to be successful. However, the rewards are well worth the effort. If you are able to build a long list of loyal email subscribers and are able to properly manage that list, then you will always have an audience that is ready and excited to hear your message. They will be motivated to act and even tell their friends and family. This will put you in a great position to establish your place in the market and grow your business.