Email marketing, if you aren’t familiar, is exactly what it sounds like — utilizing your target audience’s inbox to reach them with useful information (be that a newsletter, offer, helpful tips, discounts, etcetera).
Chances are you have at least one example of email marketing in your inbox. In fact, if you’re a marketing person, you probably have a few marketing emails in your inbox right now that are about email marketing.
Email marketing can be utilized by virtually any company, and if your company isn’t using it, you’re probably missing some pretty valuable opportunities. It may be one of the most effective marketing tools out there right now.
The overarching benefit is the opportunity you have to build a relationship with a potential client who is receptive to your message. You reach people where they are; people who have invited you to be there. You can build loyalty and revenue with that type of audience.
Here are a few guidelines to keep in mind when considering email marketing:
This one should go without saying, but anyone who is new to the concept should read this next sentence very carefully. Do not send emails to people who have not opted in to receive emails. Did someone give you their business card with their email address on it? That’s good networking on your part, but that is not permission to email them your newsletter. You may have a friend who would love to read about the sale you have going on, but that doesn’t mean they have given you permission to send them emails. Sending those emails won’t just be annoying to the people receiving them, it may even get you suspended or kicked off of some marketing services. Be a good marketer and always get permission.
Have A Purpose
Your email needs to have a purpose and strategy. You can educate a person, you can try to sell them something, you can even give something to them, but do not waste their time. You will find people will “unsubscribe” in droves if you send them something that doesn’t pertain to them.
Make every effort to ensure that the email is relevant to the recipient. If you are a retailer promoting a sale of women’s wear, try to make sure your email list consists mostly of women who have expressed interest in women’s clothing. That sounds pretty elementary, but it’s surprising how many companies will take a shotgun approach and send out an email to everyone they have ever come in contact with. This just leaves a sour taste with the recipient and can hurt the company’s brand as a result.
Don’t Be Annoying
We’ve all had it happen to us. We give a company we like our email address and suddenly our inbox is getting blown up with daily messages. Unless the content of those emails is extremely engaging, a daily or even weekly email to a client or potential customer is likely to end up with a lot of people on your list hitting “unsubscribe.” Think long and hard on whether or not what you are about to send out will mean something to the people on your list. If it doesn’t, don’t send it.
Can We Do Email Marketing Internally?
Sure you can, and it’s much cheaper. But that doesn’t mean your company necessarily should. There’s a lot to consider — most importantly time and, as a result, money. If you or someone in your company has the time to research all the best practices, create the emails and keep on a consistent schedule, then yes, you can absolutely do it internally. There are many services out there — ConstantContact, Mailchimp and others, that can help streamline the process. Most businesses, however, don’t have a dedicated person that has the time to do that.
The other option is to hire a marketing company to execute your email campaigns. While the act of sending emails is essentially free, what you pay for when you hire a company to do your email marketing is the time and talent it takes to create the content of the email, set up the campaign, monitor the campaign for optimization and knowing all the best practices of email marketing (so that you don’t have to).
Whether doing it internally or hiring an outside resource, most businesses out there will find they can help their bottom line with good email marketing strategies and campaigns.