Email is still one of the top channels for marketing a business. Used correctly, it can be an effective and inexpensive way to drive sales and leads, grow brand engagement, increase customer loyalty, promote events, grow your fanbase and conduct research. Whereas communicating with fans on social media relies on the social platform’s algorithm, if you grow your own email database you control how and when you communicate to it. This article explores practical pointers for getting started and tips for improving your email marketing strategy.
First, choose which email service provider you will use. There are many email marketing platforms available where you can store data, design templates, create, send and track your campaigns. One of the most popular is MailChimp - it’s free, easy to use and integrates well with web builders like WordPress, Shopify and Squarespace. Others include Drip, dotmailer, Constant Contact - take a look to see which has the features and interface that appeal most to you.
As well as promoting your products, services, promotions and events, emails should give people information that is valuable to them and not purely focus on sales messages. You can offer tips, advice, news and stories that align with your brand values.
Emails should be sent at regular frequencies (but not so often that you are bombarding) and it’s a good idea to create a content plan for the year so that you can organise your time and plan send outs around events and promotions.
|Events and promos||Content ideas|
|January||New Year||Healthy recipes|
|February||Valentine's Day / New menu launch||Interview with chef about new menu|
|March||Free bottle of wine||Book a meal for two or more in March and get a free bottle of house red / white|
Take a look at these different small businesses to see how they use email marketing.
Dan runs an ecommerce business called Mount Hope selling handmade leather notebooks.Find out more
Toni runs an Italian street food stall called Pizza Pie.Find out more
Pavan is a PR freelancer for hotels.Find out more
Jemima runs an online shop business selling wedding rings called Eternally Yours.Find out more
Data capture and communications with customers should be a priority for all businesses. Even if you’re really busy you should make sure you are asking people if they want to hear from you so that you have a strategy in place should things ever get quieter.
Here are some suggestions as to how you can grow your email database:
Any marketing that you do should be tracked and measured so you know if it’s giving you a return on investment and which content is working best. Any data is better than none so start now, keep it simple and start small. Your email service provider will have reporting tools that will provide you with a wide range of stats, the top line being:
For tracking user behaviour on your website beyond the click and purchase, you can tag the links in your email campaigns with Google Analytics (presuming your website is already using Google Analytics). You’ll be able to compare how your email campaigns stack up against your other referral channels (for example, other websites, Facebook, search engines).
Automation means that certain campaigns can be automatically sent out so your marketing can tick along in the background without you having to constantly manage it. They can be set up in your email service provider and will offer additional revenue opportunities and will help to eliminate repetitive tasks. Personalise your automated emails so that you’re saving time without compromising on creativity.
You’ve chosen your service provider, you’ve started a calendar for content, events and tracking and you’re ready to get started. Here are a few more really useful resources and tools to teach you more and help you with brilliant marketing emails…
Your business will process data everyday including email addresses and other customer information. It’s extremely valuable to you so you must keep it safe and you’re legally obliged to keep it secure.Read more
Branding should be consistent across all your marketing channels. It should appeal to your target audience, represent your personality and be easily recognisable.Read more
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