There are a thousand things you do in a day and reading emails is probably one that’s as regular as brushing your teeth! So, if someone told you email marketing is dead – you shouldn’t believe them.
Crafting emails is a work of art. So much goes into a good email! This is your ultimate guide to how email marketing works and what you, as a small business, can do to take advantage of this underappreciated platform – email.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is a form of communication, where you send out information about your brand/company via Email.
Are you launching a blog? Send an email. Do you want to promote an offer? Send an email. Want to request a payment? Send an email.
Why do people still ’email’?
In the age of instant messages (SnapChat, Whatsapp or Slack), why would people be interested in emails? Legit question.
Simply because Email and the internet have too much history! It’s like that one relationship you can never forget no matter how loving your current partner is.
Back in the day, before the tech space was crowded with instant messaging services, email was the gateway of communication. Your inbox was your news feed, it was your passport and your online storeroom. Come to think of it, not much has changed. Only more options have surfaced.
In fact, even to sign into a social media platform, you would require an email! Email is relevant because it still feels personal, safe and easy to operate.
Why your Business should Try Email Marketing
Here’s some number-backed research on why email should be a major part of your marketing plan:
- The total number of email users is expected to exceed 2.9 billion by 2019. (That’s the approximate population of India and China put together)
- Gmail alone has more than 1 billion active users.
What’s more? Emails have a median ROI of about 122% (more conversions, more sales!). Take Lenskart for example. The internet-based specs seller increased its traffic from 0% to 6% only via targetted email marketing!
Getting Started with Email Marketing
Ready to start your first email campaign? Here is a sample checklist to get you started:
Why do I Want to Send Emails?
Figure out the purpose of your email campaign. Do you want to spread word about your business? Would it be about your product? Would it be a request to subscribe to your blog or an online course you are offering?
Broadly, there are two types of emails – Marketing and Transactional.
Marketing emails include:
- Product updates
- Educational content
- News/Blog Updates
Transactional emails include:
- Payment/subscription/purchase confirmation
- No-reply emails like delivery/payment failure
Once you’ve decided the type and purpose of your email, sign up with an Email Service Provider (ESP) to start collecting email ids of your potential customer. An ESP is a platform that allows you to send emails in large and track your campaigns.
Who Do I Send Emails To?
This is the tricky part. The first step to identifying who you want to send your emails to is to build upon a list of potentials. The list can be your existing customers or new. Here are a few ways to build your first email list:
- Put an opt-in form on your website or online store via your ESP.
- Place relevant Call-to-actions on your social media page – like a sign-up button on your Facebook page.
- Build a blog and let people subscribe to your blogs via a form.
- Cross-promote your content. Guest blog and ask the other party to allow you to collect emails on their platform via the guest posts.
- Get email IDs at offline events. Collect business cards!
- Host a webinar.
Promote your opt-in form on social media. Ask your friends to subscribe and forward your opt-in messages on social media. They could also help you promote your website.
What do I send in my Emails?
Now that you have created a mailing list, it’s time to work on your email. Depending on what you want to communicate in the email, you can choose to include images, gifs and even videos. We’ll tell you a little secret though: text is best! Plain text emails have the highest open and click rates.
Because most inboxes tend to think of image/video mails as “promotional” and trash it away in spam! Imagine a friend wrote you an email, would he be sending you large flashy images/gifs with a ton of external links? Probably not.
But how do the other’s do it? How do promotional emails still land up in your inbox? Professional ESPs specialise in helping you deliver your emails to your customers. These are mostly paid services.
Things to remember when drafting your email:
- Create relevant, kickass content. Keep it short, crisp, effective!
- Optimise your HTML. This affects your delivery rate highly, so take a little extra care.
- Craft a catchy subject line. If you can’t come up with something quirky, go for vanilla, straight-forward subject lines.
- Add a clear, preferably BIG (noticeable) CTA button.
4. Decide between shared IP or dedicated IP. An IP (internet protocol) is the real address of your online store or website. Email services either use one IP to pool in IPs of several domains, which is a shared IP. Or, you can choose to buy your own dedicated IP – which is generally high maintenance and expensive.
5. Segment your email list. You can segment it via demographics, returning/existing or new customer and send a certain type of offer/content to a certain segment. This boosts the performance of your email.
6. Don’t forget to add an “unsubscribe” button in your email. You don’t want to annoy your customers if they don’t want to hear from you. Also, keep the “reply” option open, especially for marketing emails. After all, email is about communicating with your customer!
Testing my Email:
Once you’ve drafted your email, send it to a test group of friends or employees to see how the email looks in an inbox or whether they are receiving it in their primary inbox. There are dedicated tools that can help you check the deliverability of your email.
Sent! Now what?
Congratulations! You just sent your first email campaign. But you’re not done yet. Monitor your email campaign’s open and click rate to help you understand the effectiveness of your email.
Don’t forget to keep segmenting your email lists. Compare and analyse the feedback received from your customers.
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Try the Instamojo experience today!