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What is email marketing, and how do you do it well?

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Email marketing is still one of the best online tools you can use to promote your business. Used effectively, it can help you promote your site, make money with affiliates, interact with potential customers. Here are the basics you need to know about email marketing in order to be successful.

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a kind of direct marketing that uses email as a way to communicate with potential site visitors and customers. Direct marketing is essentially an umbrella term that’s used to describe virtually all forms of marketing that deal directly with the target user, which means bypassing every other means of advertising channels like TV, radio, and print.

Companies primarily use email marketing to collect the email addresses of potential clients and prospects and submit email messages to those specific subscribers that contain key information regarding their products, services, or special offers.

Why every business should consider using email marketing

Due to the effectiveness of email marketing, it’s used by a wide variety of people including website owners, small business owners, affiliate marketers, and bloggers. Email messages are sent directly to the subscriber, which is different from blog posts, online articles, or banner ads that require the individual to visit your site in order to explore your content. It offers additional, opt-in method to reach interested users.

Spam and email marketing

It can be easy to dismiss email marketing as being spammy. Undoubtedly there are many spam emails sent and received every day. However, email marketing is an incredibly useful and legitimate tool for information dissemination and user interaction, that is beneficial to both sender and receiver.

Email can be used as an effective marketing tool without the need to worry about annoying your target users; so long as the content of your quality email newsletter remains ethical, helpful, and relevant to your audience, you have nothing to worry about. Some of the best information come through the email marketing channel.

Launching your email marketing campaign

Here are four easy steps you’ll need to follow in order to get started on your email marketing campaign endeavors.

  1. Build your email list

    First you’ll need to come up with a good web form that your target users will use in order to subscribe. The majority of companies use simple graphic interfaces that will help you build your forms. Just drag and drop the fields wherever you like. Some companies even offer a vast selection of pre-made forms to choose from for your convenience.

    If you use a WordPress site, there are plenty of pop-up plugins to help you. They usually will pop up a subscribe form when they user leaves your web-page (an exit popup), or else it will pop up if you scroll a certain distance down the page.

    Exit popup

    In order to drastically increase the number of your subscribers, offer something free, such as a useful report, or eBook, to give away to people who are subscribe to your email list. However, depending on your particular niche, it may include something else like an audio or video file, a collection of images or icons, or even some piece of software.

    You should also explain clearly what any subscribers should expect from your emails, in terms of frequency and content. Will the email be come out once a week, or once a month? Will it contain promotions or just simply inform about new posts on your website? Once you set expectations, you should stick to them: if you promised a monthly email, then don’t send a weekly mail, as this can be interpreted as spam. Stick to what you promised and you won’t alienate your subscribers.

  2. Use quality email marketing software

    Once you have a list of subscribers that have opted-in for your emails, you’ll now need an email marketing software program that will help you to manage email addresses and send messages, generate an auto-responder, gather statistics, etc. Basically, there are two kinds of email marketing software: hosted and self-hosted.

    • Hosted

      For most users, hosted email marketing software solutions are the better option. The company hosts the software on your behalf. Simply log onto their site in order to manage your lists and go from there.

    • Self-Hosted

      Using a self-hosted system, you’ll need to both install and host the email marketing software yourself using your own server. Usually, this option is for users with greater technical skills and more time.

      You’ll need to pay close attention to a couple of important factors when deciding which email marketing company to go with:

      • Deliverability Rate

        Deliverability rate refers to the percentage of emails that actually reach their destination sent by the company.

      • Available Features

        Consider the features the company offers such as scheduling options, auto-responder options, pre-made web forms, etc.

    Some of the most popular email marketing service are listed below:

    Before you can send your first email blast, you’ll need to import your list of subscribers into the email software. This is usually a straightforward copy and paste, or a file upload. It should be easy to see where to do this in your email marketing software.

  3. Build a solid relationship with your subscribers

    The real value of any good email list is a result of two primary aspects: the size of the actual list, and its overall response rate. It’s not enough to just focus on the size of the list. You also need to ensure that you have a solid relationship in place with your subscribers as well so they won’t delete your messages as they come in. What’s the best way to accomplish this task? Only send out the best quality content to your subscribers.

    In some cases, and only some, it can be a good idea to generate an auto-responder series that all new subscribers will experience. The initial email in the series can be sent immediately with a quick, introductory statement that can include a link to the incetive or free gift you’re offered them.

    A follow-up email can be sent a suitable period after the initial one, that offers some useful information that your subscribers can use. For example, it could be a great tip on how to solve an ongoing problem they have.

    Another follow-up, could be sent out after another suitable period, and should contain more useful content. Keep in mind that the first couple of emails are very important since they will primarily set the tone of your email newsletter and create trust between you and your audience.

  4. Promote your products or services

    But do it tastefully! After the first series of emails, you should already have a fairly good relationship with your audience. At this point, you can start promoting your products or services. However, don’t go overboard with it. In this case, sincerity and moderation will go a long way or else your audience might unsubscribe from your list.

    Regarding the frequency of your messages, there’s basically no real formula for it. Some people send emails every day, while others choose once a week. This will be entirely up to you. The next time someone asks you ‘what is email marketing’, you can simply reply that it’s the one marketing tool in your arsenal that’s helped your business more than anything else.

  5. Analytics

    Most email marketing services will provide analytics to report how well your email campaign has performed. There three main data points reported: open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and unsubscribe rate:

    • Open rate

      This reports the number of times your email was actually opened and read. If this number is low, then it means people are not opening your email, possibly deleting it when they see it. So you will need to work on providing more value or improving the relationship somehow.

    • Click through rate

      If your CTR is low, then your message is not proving effective. You need to work on improving your copy, or work on focusing your message more.

    • Unsubscribe rate

      If you have a high unsubscribe rate, you need to figure out why this is happening. Have many unsubscribed after a particular email, or auto-responder mail, or particular subject. This may require a little investigation, but when you find a potential cause, it’s important to try to remedy the situation, and rework the part of your campaign that is causing readers to unsubscribe.

Email marketing is a crucial part of any marketing strategy. By following the steps in this article, you should be able to increase your website traffic, build relationships with potential customers, and ultimately grow your business.