Build an Email Marketing System You Can Be Proud Of

I know a lot of you are curious about email marketing. What it is, how to do it, does it still work in 2019. I figured instead of my little articles, I’d put together a more complete resource answering all your questions.

This article will focus on what it is and why you want to do it.

What is Email Marketing?

Email marketing is using simple, plain old emails to sell your products and services. It can be as simple as emailing people about your offer, or a complex, multilayered, finely tuned system. For now, let’s keep it simple.

Let’s say you have an offer. How do you use email to get it to people who might want it?

You could send unsolicited emails to people. It’s tricky – people don’t like being spammed – but it can work.

Or you could get people to come to you. On your website, ask people to sign up to your email list. You can then send them emails about your offer.

Both have pros and cons.

And both need to be done well – otherwise, you’ll be spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.

But that’s okay. After all, that’s why you’re here.

Does Email Marketing still work in 2019?

Short answer: yes.

Longer answer:

Plenty of people will tell you email is dead. They’ll say Facebook killed it off or whatever. They’ve been saying stuff like that for decades, though, and the stats don’t back them. Despite all these new platforms, email is not only surviving, it’s thriving.

There are more than 3.8 billion email users today. By 2022, this is expected to grow to 4.3 billion. That’s a tasty market – bigger than any social media platform.

Email volume also trends upwards. In 2017, 269 billion emails were sent a day. By 2022, that’s expected to reach 333 billion. So, yes, people are still emailing each other.

But most importantly:

The return on investment for email marketing is rising, too. In 2018, every dollar spent on email marketing yielded $32.28, an increase of $2.25 over the year before. Not only does it pay off, that payoff is increasing.

But why?

The Secrets behind Email’s rise

Email has many advantages over social media:

It’s personal. On Facebook and Twitter, you’re bombarded with ads you don’t want. With email, any ad you don’t want probably heads straight for your spam box. You control your inbox and who can send messages to it, something social media tends to lack.

Your email list is yours. Social media can shut you down without notice. Think that only happens to racists? Think again – enough outrage (real or manufactured) against you will see these platforms shrug and abandon you. If that happened, you’d have to start over. But with email, even if you’re banned (which is highly unlikely) you could take your list to another provider.

It’s useful. Sure, we probably receive too many emails these days. It still remains one of the best ways to stay informed and stay in touch.

Want to get in on the email action?

The Importance of Permission-Based Email Marketing

According to a Merkle report, permission-based email comprises about one-quarter of the time a person spends with email, second only to emails that are personal communication with family and friends. The converse of that, however, is that 75 percent of those in the study said they choose to opt-out of permission email because emails lack relevance; 73 percent said they opted out because emails were sent too frequently, according to the report.

So where is the fine line drawn? How do you create a powerful, permission-based, email database with key contacts and then provide them with timely, relevant information, versus obtaining qualified email leads only to lose their interest because of the negatives perceived by the recipients? The key to email marketing success is to find the balance, simply because this medium should be at the cornerstone of your marketing mix.

How to Build an Opt-in Email List – To start, creating an opt-in email list provides a foundation of qualified leads with which you can nurture and build relationships. Customers and prospects who visit your website and like what they see are more inclined to join an email list at that moment because they want more of what you have to offer. These visitors are the same people you want to target, much more qualified than purchasing a third-party list, particularly since email addresses change quite frequently. Plus those who opt-in at your website, or double opt-in through a confirmation email, are genuinely interested in your products and services so there is great chance of converting these leads into sales and repeat customers. The other downfall with third party lists is that you have no idea how many emails these contacts are receiving, from companies other than yours. With your own personal opt-in list, you know exactly what the volume and frequency is for sending emails.

Do It Yourself Versus Using an Email Marketing Company – While creating your own database and having total ownership in-house may sound appealing, it can become extremely cumbersome and time consuming to manage. If you don’t have an automated system in-house and linked to your website and databases, you will end up having to manually make changes like removing an email at a subscribers request or trying to figure out and determine your analytics for each email. Permission-based email marketing services for small businesses, like Constant Contact and iContact, manage everything for you, from utilizing your opt-in from your website to directly collect emails in a database they house to offering design templates for your communications and emails. And, because services like this firmly follow anti-SPAM laws, your emails actually make it to where they are supposed to go.

Defining Who You Are – Clearly having someone “ask you” if they can be on your email distribution list is much better than randomly sending information to third-party lists. But permission-based email marketing affords you the opportunity to also build your brand recognition with those who truly want to hear from you. Opt-ins can also be tempted to sign up with the offer of free white papers, case studies, and password-only access to special areas of your website.

Create a positive image of yourself – Recent studies have shown that those who opt-in or make purchases from a particular business have an increased positive impression when that business sends them email. With email marketing, you can develop and foster a relationship that may have started simply out of necessity and begin to build toward a gaining a long-term customer.

More and more people are tolerant about permission-based email marketing; however, you must not overstep those boundaries of trust. Relevant and timely information, special promotions or incentives will continue to build trust between you and your customers. But, emails every other day or information that is simply off-target from what your customers want or work with on a daily basis will lead your customers to opt-out as quick as they opted-in.

A dedicated marketing professional, Michelle Kabele has been helping technology companies develop award-winning channel partner programs and marketing strategies for over 10 years. Michelle has worked extensively with small businesses throughout North America.

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