Make email marketing a priority
Email marketing is essential for building great customer relationships from the start
Ready to start-up a business? Need to expand your customer base? Email marketing should come first. Nothing is more potent than the ability to send an email directly to a new or potential customer. This is why you should focus on your email strategy before all other marketing and advertising.
Many clever online businesses set-up an email capture form on their website before the site is ready to launch because it’s proven to work. The Motley Fool reports that “email marketing yields the highest return on investment (ROI) for the past 10 years. It also has the highest conversion rate (66%) for purchases made in response to promotional messages.” Wow!
Other reasons to get started with email marketing first
- You don’t have to spend a lot of money
- You don’t need a lot of time to set it up
- Your best customers will help you grow your business
Now, let’s look at how to go about doing email marketing right with some basics.
Connect through your network
We’re in this life together and we also grow together. We’re not alone facing the challenges of each day. We’re a neighborhood and a community.
Tap into the powerful network of people who want to help each other. Your customers are the best way to connect with your next best customer. It’s very natural for people to want to help.
With email marketing, you can make it easy for your network to help you. Encourage them to forward your message to friends who may have an interest in what you offer.
Use email subscription services
Email services take the chore out of staying in touch. They have free starter templates that look great on mobile devices, which is where you will communicate with at least half of your customers. Email subscription services also integrate with social media, which is a huge time saver.
When you set up email marketing, you’ll be able to keep track of who is new on the list and who doesn’t want to hear from you. You’ll be able to split your contacts into targeted lists. This is helpful if you want to personalize different products and services, or if you want to test your message before you buy advertising.
Follow CAN-SPAM rules
Remember: You must get permission from a customer to send an email solicitation or even a receipt. It’s the law. Email marketing services follow federal CAN-SPAM laws with unsubscribe links and other features that are hard to do with a regular email account.
Get those email addresses
Now that we’ve covered the why, here are three low-tech ways to get your customer’s email address:
- Put a sheet on a clipboard by your checkout
- Have a bowl by checkout to collect business cards
- Write a note at the bottom of your receipts with your contact email and call attention to it
- Ask in person!
Once you get your website up and running, here are options for gathering email addresses:
- Add required fields on sign-up and receipt forms on your website
- Put an email form pop-up on the homepage page of your website
Email lists can be purchased, but buyer beware. These contacts are rented to you. You also risk reaching people who do not know you and may not be interested in your product or service. Try to get customer referrals because they are more likely to support your business.
What to say in your emails
Don’t write about what you’re selling. Instead, focus on giving customers what they want. Use the word “you” and not “we” to make the message more meaningful to them.
Let customers and clients know when you have new product offerings or services and of course…sales! Be creative.
- If you’re running a beauty business, stay in touch with a beauty tip.
- If you’re running a bakery, share a recipe.
- If you’re running an interior design business, write about livening up your home this season.
You get the idea…now come up with your own ways to give your customers something they care about. Let them know if you make a big business change, such as adding outdoor dining, or hiring someone new. Talk about the neighborhood. It’s also good business to invite feedback, suggestions, and reviews.
Don’t forget to sum up your offer in a call-to-action. Be clear about what you want them to do at the end of the email.
Strike the right tone
Write to your best customers the same way you speak to them to strike the right tone. Start by wishing them well or by commenting on something positive. End by thanking them for their business. Be authentic. Be you.
Keep it short
People are busy, especially in the New York Tri-State. The recommended length of an email is under 200 words. Make it easy to scan with short, bolded sub-headers (like in this blog). This way, people can skim your message in an instant.
Maintain your email list
Don’t stop at 50 email contacts. Don’t stop at 500 – keep going. People drop off email lists all the time. You must continue to ask your customers to join to keep your contact list growing. If there’s value for them in what you are sharing, they will be more than happy to sign up.
About the author
Aileen Ghee, NYWIB Director of Marketing
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