It’s estimated that 294 Billion emails are sent everyday. That’s comes out to 2.8 million every second! While those numbers are certainly daunting; don’t let that intimidate you from using Email Marketing to Grow Better Business! As one of the oldest, tried, tested, and proven Online marketing strategies available, Email Marketing can be a valuable strategy to have in your arsenal of marketing tools.
Forget about the billions of emails that are swirling around cyberspace everyday. Let’s focus on how the average Small Business owner can begin to use Email Marketing to acquire new customers or stay in touch with current customers.
1. Create your own Customer Contact list.
Regardless of whether you’ve been in business for one year or one decade, look at the customer contact lists that yd beou already have at your finger tips. Begin to gather that information and keep record of it in a central location, like a Word document or even better, an Excel spreadsheet. As you become more experienced, we’ll discuss more efficient ways to keep track of email addresses, but for the beginner, just getting organized is the first step. Your goal with email marketing, is to segment or “group” your like customer contacts together. For example “Current Customers” vs. “Interested Customers.” If you don’t have that information at this point, that’s okay; you’ll get to that point later.
2. What message would your customer want to hear from you?
Notice… I didn’t ask “what do you want to say to your customer?” We are all inundated with advertising messages, offers, and promotions every minute of our lives practically. As technology advances, so too does the advertiser’s ability to put their message in front of potential customers. Even though this may be the only email your customer is receiving that relates to your business, it is certainly not the only email they will be receiving that day! You are competing for the attention of your customer! What do you think they would like to hear from you? Your message could be as simple as letting them know you have a new website or Facebook Page. Every email doesn’t have to be, nor should it be, an effort to get them to buy something.
3. Choose your Email Service Provider (ESP).
You likely have created an email address for your business with Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail or one of the other dozens of internet service providers. Forget about that! You are going to need to manage your Email marketing more effectively and professionally if you expect to see a positive ROI (return on investment). You’ll need an email address from your business domain (i.e. email@example.com) . Whomever hosts your website (assuming you have one) will provide at least one free email address for you as part of their service.
Using and ESP (email service provider) is important, because you’ll want to see how many of your email were actually delivered to your contact list, how many of your emails made it to “the inbox” vs. sent to a spam folder, and how many of your customers actually opened and viewed your email. This will prove to be invaluable information as you progress with your Email marketing strategies.
There are many very affordable ESP’s that have designed their programs to be very user friendly, even for the most technologically challenged. Icontact, Constant Contact, MyEmma, and MailChimp are just a few that offer Small business owners off-the-shelf solutions for Email Marketing. Most base their pricing structure on the number of contacts in your list, and the number of times a month you’d like to send emails to that list.
After you’ve spent some time addressing these 3 simple steps, you’ll be on your way to sending out your first Email Campaign! We’ll examine the next steps to take in “Email Marketing 102.” Stay tuned… you’ve just begun to plant the seeds of Email Marketing, and in no time at all you’ll be able to Grow Better Business like a Pro!