Email Marketing and Your Business Plan

By: Machielle Thomas | 24 Jan 2018

Email is the wave that marketers are finally catching. According to a 2015 study, for each $1 spent on email campaigns, companies can expect an average return of $38. With a return on investment—or ROI—this high, it’s important for companies to tap into this easy revenue building practice.

Email marketing is simply the act of sending an email to a prospective or current customer. When many Americans spend most of their time perusing the internet on their phones and computers, it’s no surprise that email marketing has become more beneficial to businesses.

If your company has not taken advantage of email marketing, let’s walk through some key considerations to get started.

Choose an email service provider

Before you write content, grow subscriber lists, and consider strategy, you have to choose the right service provider for your business. Email service providers allow your company to design personalized emails, send emails to large groups of people, and track email results. If you do not have a designer on staff, be sure that the provider you choose has a healthy number of email templates. Each provider also has plan options that cover the number of emails that can be sent per month. This should also be a major consideration depending on the size of your company. Need a starting point? Here is INC’s list of the top email service providers in 2017.

Build out a strategy

Creating a strategy is imperative to having successful email campaigns. From knowing who you are talking to, to identifying what you’d like to say, your strategy is a key indicator of your potential success.

In order to build a strategy you have to be prepared. It’s important to understand your audience and decide how to create emails that they will be interested in. You’ll also want to consider the following:

  1. Identify your content niche
  2. Identify goals and key performance indicators, or KPIs
  3. Decide on your email cadence
  4. Create an email calendar to plan for future campaigns

Collect Email Addresses

Before you can send an email, you must have a list of people to send them to. Start with your current customer list and prospects. Begin to ask new customers if you can use their email for promotional or transactional emails at the time of purchase, through social media, or through an online sign-up. Here are a few simple ways to collect emails:

  • Add a subscription box to your website
  • Add a pop up box to your blog
  • Offer valuable information in exchange for email addresses
  • Improve your SEO (more page views = more potential subscribers)
  • Ask for email addresses through social media
  • Run a promotion or giveaway in exchange for email addresses

Repurpose Content

Finding ways to recycle and reuse your current content allows for multiple uses of the same content, virtually eliminating additional work hours. Not only can you repurpose the content you have on your blog by sending an email, you could also use the same content to create visual graphics for social media.

Blog content

Using your current blog content provides another way to share the content you have already written. Perhaps your email subscribers haven’t read your blog, now you have delivered the content you want them to see, directly to their inbox. Use your favorite blog post or the highest performing 2-3 blogs from the previous month to create a monthly email newsletter that goes out to your customer list.

PR and company news

Most companies have newsworthy content to share with their customer base. If there is a new rollout or product, use this time to announce it to your subscribers. If your team made national news or if your company just went public, share it!

While you don’t want to overwhelm your customers with a laundry list of emails, learn to recognize when something newsworthy takes place and keep your customers in the ‘know’. If they are invested in your brand, they will appreciate the information.

Ensure you are compliant

Before you send a business email, be sure you have legally obtained the right to send to that person. Most customers opt-in to receive transactional emails, but not marketing emails. Transactional emails are emails that are triggered by a transaction or action from a customer. For example, when you make an Amazon purchase, you have opted in to receive notifications when your item has been purchased, when the order is being prepared, and when it’s shipped.

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is a spam law that established the national standards for sending corporate email by providing guidelines. Non-transactional emails are required to have an option to opt out. Meaning, if you are sending out an email outlining a new product, company news, or even to say, Happy Holidays, you’ll need to be sure the recipient has opted in first. Additionally, in each email sent, you must have the option for your recipient to opt out.

Implement Your Process

Now that we have the basics covered, let’s talk about how to implement your email marketing campaign.

First, you should create a welcome email that confirms that someone has signed up to receive your messages. Choose your template, messaging, and subject line and start off small by choosing your first piece of content and using it as a test run. Your first few emails will give you an idea of which days, times, and subject lines work best for your subscribers.

What have you found to be the most challenging part of creating an email marketing program?