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We have all heard of email marketing, and chances are you receive it in your inbox. But few of us know how to use it so it strengthens our customer relationships.
What is Email Marketing?
In simple terms, email marketing is when a business sends an email to a group of people, such as customers, using email. It can take many forms, such as a newsletter, adverts, announcements of new products or services, and specials or promotions. If done correctly email marketing can be a great way of staying in contact with your customers while also promoting your business.
Why use email to market your products and/or services?
Email marketing has become popular relatively fast because it allows a business to quickly and easily reach their target markets in a much more focused and less expensive way than traditional marketing such as radio, television or print adverts.
It can help you to stay in contact with customers who have purchased from you, while introducing them to new products or services. Or, you can use it to providing customers with useful information enabling you to build a relationship with them that can lead to trust, more business and loyalty.
Email marketing is currently more trusted and effective than social media in converting sales and maintaining ongoing relationships. For more information read How email is crushing Twitter and Facebook.
Email Marketing Software
There is some pretty smart tools around to help businesses with their email marketing. Some tools even allow businesses to group their customers based on information such as – how long they have been a customer, their spending habits, likes and dislikes and demographic information. The business can then send out emails to specific groups providing them with ‘personalised’ emails containing information that is likely to be of interest to them.
Most email marketing tools will store emails in a database and provide some kind of campaign management capabilities. The more sophisticated software include CRM (customer relationship management) and salesforce management tools.
The great thing for smaller businesses is that many of the email marketing software providers offer a free version. Their logic is, that if you business' needs grow beyond the limits of the free product you will upgrade to their paid version, rather than search for a new product.
Before jumping in and choosing the first email marketing software you come across - do your research. Consider what your business wants to achieve. Talk to friends, colleagues and other businesses about the tools they are using.
PCMag.com provides a great article on free email marketing tools, which includes a detailed comparison of 9 free email marketing tools.
3 Tips for Getting Started with Email Marketing
- Grow your database - Include a sign-up form on your website and social media channels, and encourage customers to sign up to receive updates, specials and promotions. Consider running competitions or promotions to encourage your customers to sign up to your mailing list.
- Don't overdo it - You want to make sure you keep in regular contact with your potential customers, but without flooding their inbox with your emails. If you contact them too often they will delete your emails without reading them, or ask you to remove them your mailing list. Once or twice a month is enough.
Plan your approach - Create a content plan. This is a schedule of your planned online activity, it identifies your target audience, topics, objectives, responsibilities and how you will measure the effectiveness of your emails. Having a content plan can take the stress out of email marketing. Refer to Content Marketing Planning for how to get started.