The What and How of Email Marketing
According to email marketing reports, 247 billion emails are sent every day and 91% of consumers will check their email at least once every day. In a world of emails, the audience is expected to grow from 2.42 billion to 2.7 billion, businesses need to understand and implement an email marketing plan to ensure a successful company. Just sending emails to a large group of people is not going to work either. A business needs to send out something that attracts attention and focus but that is simplistic and interactive. This email is most often the first interaction they will have with the company and it better be a positive one.
Why does your Business Need to do Email Marketing?
In this flattening globe, businesses need to find ways to market their product to a large clientele while not spending more than needed. Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to get the word out to a large audience and at a relatively low cost. Let’s start out with discussing specifics.
Virtual Word of Mouth. Emailing will keep your customers informed about the company and will help to establish a relationship with them. This builds a form of trust and increases your brand awareness. This only works if you create an email marketing plan that is interesting and informative without being over complicated.
Larger Presence. This form of marketing also creates larger traffic to your site and/or attendance at your events. This gives you the ability to send out emails to a large audience with less effort than other forms of marketing. When sending out information on a large scale make sure you are taking into account the audience so that you can cater to their demographic and get a larger response rate.
Low Cost with Higher Response Rate. 72% of marketers believe that the ROI of email marketing is very good and on average the return on investment is $44.25 for every dollar spent (http://www.icontact.com/blog/email-marketing/). Email marketing enables you to get information about your company and events to a larger audience and at a lower cost and, in-turn, a larger turnout.
Compiling Demographic Information the Easy Way. When people sign up to receiving your newsletter or other listservs, they are often required to fill out simple demographic information. To understand your consumers you need to know the demographics of those in your target market. If you are focusing on high school students interested in study abroad, that information is vital to knowing how to market to that niche.
Types of Emails
It is important to not only create a connection with them, but to give them a reason to stay connected to your company.
Welcome or New Arrival Email. This needs to be as simple and direct as possible. You are acknowledging the consumer and creating the initial contact with them but you do not want to overwhelm them with information. Remember that about 64% of your consumers will read this email on their phone so you will need to be as simple and easy-to-read as possible. (http://emailexpert.org/infographic-10-must-know-email-marketing-stats-2014/)
Newsletters. These announce upcoming international fairs or events, small history lessons about the company, a student alum biography, specific news that surrounds the company or the field, services or products, scholarship information, and any other bite sized information your audience may need or want to know. These should go out once a month, at minimum. This could be argued as being the most important form of email marketing as this keeps your audience informed and up-to-date.
Event or Celebration Emails. These are going to be holiday or event emails that attract attention and often will remind them of your company. These increase sales since these usually will included some form of discount or coupon but also are small reminders that your company is still there.
How to build your email database
As you can see it is essential for a business to have email marketing, but how do you get the emails?
Social Media. With so many people on social media this is one of the best ways to connect with those interested in your product. Each social media platform has different opportunities to have people to sign up. You must be willing to research various platforms in order to create an effective sign-up plan for each.
For example, Facebook allows you to create a tab to focus on sign-ups for more information or newsletters. When using any form of social media you have to remember to engage them and use gentle reminders on how they can benefit from signing up. (http://thedma.org/advance/data-driven-marketing-ideas/coming-up-at-eec14-using-social-media-to-boost-email-marketing-roi/)
Use your blog or website. Create a page where readers can register for more information. Also majority of sites have an option that allows you to create a popup screen that allows the reader to sign up for more information. This is an easy to way to utilize something you already have in place and get people who are already slightly interested.
Events. When you are having any form of event, make sure you have sign-up sheets that allow your target audience to put their name down for more information. This is an easy way to gain new contacts that you might not have gotten in other mediums.
Cross Promotion: Working with Universities or other companies that produce a similar product or service will help to get an email base started. Networking gets your name known with their company but will also allow you to piggyback on their email database.Holding an online contest could help to get a larger email listing as well by having a giveaway or sweepstakes. Contests will always get you emails if the end result is someone winning some sort of prize.
You Have Your Database, Now What?
Now that you have thousands of emails, what will you do with them and what kind of emails will you send?
Find the best marketing platform that fits your needs. There are many platforms out there and a majority of them have a free trial you can utilize. A good place to start is a reviewer site like comparz.com. They have a large list of web-based software that users and business have reviewed. Some suggested platforms would be Constant Contact, MailChimp and iContact. All have a free trial opportunity that will allow you to get a feel of their service and find the best fit.
HTML or Text? You will have to decide between HTML and Text when sending out email marketing. HTML tends to be more creative and eye catching but some carriers may screen them out. Text can usually be easier to use but often will not be as exciting to read.
Learn Photoshop and InDesign. While you have to decide whether to use HTML or Text, it is important to know how to create something that attracts attention and the more self-sufficient you are as an email marketer the easier the process will be.Many email marketing platforms have templates that you can work with but for a super fancy format you will have to create your own.
Subscribe to other newsletters and see what they are producing. Get an idea of what is out there and how they accomplish their tasks. Find out what kind of designs they do and the consistency of receiving their emails.
Figure out what your goals are. Knowing what goals you want to accomplish with email marketing will help to ensure success. Planning what exactly you are sending to people will get a larger response rate and when your content is relevant your unsubscribing rate will decrease. Sending out emails blindly and not acknowledging who your target market is will ultimately get your emails deleted.
Use the emails that you already have and get your newsletter going. The earlier you get started the faster the process will go.