Why Businesses Should Use Email Marketing (And How To Do It Right)
Some people say email is dead.
But you know what? They are dead, flat wrong!
Email is alive and well. And what’s more, Internet marketers regard email marketing as the number 1 activity that all businesses should engage in on the Internet.
Do you use email marketing in your business? If not, it’s time to begin.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the simple act of sending emails to current or potential future customers or clients.
But let me say this… email marketing is NOT about sending spam to thousands of people, hoping that some poor sap will bite, and buy what you’re peddling.
Email marketing is about sending carefully crafted emails to people who want to hear from you. It’s about sending emails that contain useful information related to your business and your products or services, with the ultimate intent of them buying from you, or continuing to buy from you.
It’s about adding value to the lives of people. If you don’t do that, your email marketing campaign will fail!
Getting the Email List… the Right Way and Wrong Way
To be able to send emails to people, you need their email addresses. (Yes, that’s obvious.)
But there’s a wrong way and a right way to get email addresses.
A definite wrong way to get email addresses is to use some or other tool to crawl around the Internet and collect email addresses from websites.
There are three reasons why that is the wrong way to go:
- It’s illegal to send emails to such email addresses. It is the whole reason why the CAN-SPAM act was introduced.
- It’s just an email address. You don’t know if it is valid or monitored by a human being.
- It’s an un-targeted email address. You have no idea whether the recipient is interested in what you offer.
Buying or renting an email list is also a bad idea. There are some good reasons for this too:
- The top email marketing service providers won’t let you use bought or rented email lists.
- People on such lists don’t know you and will more than likely delete any emails from you.
The best way to get an email list is to build it yourself. Again, for some good reasons:
- The people on such a list know you and would have indicated that they want to receive emails from you. Your chances of them opening your emails are much higher.
- Not only will email marketing service providers allow you to use an email list you built yourself, but they will also give you the tools to do so.
Let’s now look at how to build that list…
How to Build your Email List
Step 1: Create a Lead Magnet
Very few people will give you their email addresses simply because you ask. But if you offer them something useful in return for their email addresses, a lot more people will sign up to your email list.
Think about who your customers or clients are. What is important to them? What downloadable information can you create that is related to your business and that they will find useful?
Once you have the answer to those questions, you can create your giveaway document. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate document spanning a bunch of pages. It can be a one-page document. The important part is that it must offer value to your future email subscriber.
For example, if you run a garden center, your lead magnet can be, “6 tips to keep your lawn green and weed-free this summer.”
Create your document using your favorite word-processor (like MS Word or LibreOffice Writer) and save it as a PDF document.
Then upload your completed PDF document to your website.
Step 2: Get a Service Provider
The second step in building your own targeted email list is to sign up with an email marketing service provider.
There are several services that you could consider, like Aweber, GetResponse, Campaign Monitor, and several others. I use MailChimp. I’m not saying that you should use it because I use it, but I think it’s a great service to get started with. It’s easy to set up and use, and you can collect up to 2,000 email addresses with their free account.
After signing up, you have to configure your account, set up your email list, and set up the various emails that subscribers receive as they proceed through the sign-up process.
The sign-up process is usually a double opt-in process that goes more or less like this:
- The website visitor fills out and submits your sign-up form.
- The email system automatically sends a link back to the email address provided. The email contains a link that the person needs to click to confirm their subscription. (This confirms that the email address is correct, and prevents people from signing up email addresses that don’t belong to them.)
- After the person clicks the confirmation link, the system automatically sends a “welcome email” to the new subscriber. Your “welcome email” can contain the link where your new subscriber can download their copy of your lead magnet (step 1).
Step 3: Place Sign-up Forms on your Website
The final step in building your email list is to place sign-up forms on your website.
Your provider (MailChimp, Aweber, etc.) will provide you with code that you can copy & paste into the desired location on your website.
Two good locations to place sign-up forms would be:
- At the top of the sidebar of your website.
- Immediately below the main content of your web pages.
If you have a WordPress website and you really want to get serious about building an email list, I recommend buying the Thrive Leads plugin. It offers incredible ways to design sign-up forms, with many different display options. It also offers the ability to test different sign-up forms to see which perform the best.
How to Use your Email List
Now that you have your brand new email list with people that actually want to receive emails from you, it’s time to start using it.
An important tip is to use your email list regularly. Send out emails at least once a month, but if you have time, even more than that. Keep your list hot, but don’t overwhelm your subscribers.
To send out emails, go back to your provider and create a new email campaign.
Your provider will offer various email templates that you can use… that is, what your emails will look like. My advice is to keep it simple, but you may want to experiment a little to see what types of templates your audience best responds to.
Here are a few ideas on what to put in your emails:
- News about your company that will be meaningful to customers, like new services or products offered.
- Tips that will be valuable to your customers. For example, if you have a garden center, some tips on winterizing your garden, or preparing for summer, will be helpful.
- If you have a blog on your site where you publish helpful articles, let your customers know each time you publish a new article.
- If you have promotions, let your customers know.
The key here is to think value. What would be valuable to your clients or customers? This is about them, not you.
Email marketing is an incredible tool that every business should use.
It is easy to set up. After creating your lead magnet, decide which email marketing provider you want to use, and sign up. Then configure your account and place sign-up forms on your website. Now you can sit back with a little patience as your email list starts to grow.
If you keep your email list hot by using it regularly, it becomes a great business asset that can lead to a healthy increase in your business profits.
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