Email marketing has had its own share of praise and bad rap in the past. Email marketing has helped businesses grow faster, get a head-start, and helped launch many startups.
Most internet marketers look at email as a way to close a sale. But email goes beyond this. If you are a startup or a small business, here’s what email marketing can do for you:
- get you qualified leads even before you put your product/service/website up
- help you establish yourself as a trustworthy thought leader much before you push your product/service out
- increase click-throughs to your website and increase the chance of sales/purchase
- help you connect with your customers and subscribers easily and for cheap
Email Marketing Gives SMBs and Startups A Big Headstart
Most businesses rank email lower down in their grand scheme of marketing and outreach. While that’s okay, startups that started with email have fared better, faster. Why? Email is instant, gets you closer to your target market faster, and is easy to manage/test/analyze.
Startups like The Fetch started with email. Email lets you start simple, lean and easy – and you can scale quickly because the results are instantaneous.
For this reason, if you are a startup or a small business with a shoestring budget (or no marketing budget), here’s what you should do:
- Get that email opt-in page up and ready
- Promote the opt-in landing page extensively: forums, discussion boards, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook… wherever your community/target market accumulates, market your opt-in page.
- Build your email list so that you can provide value to the folks any time and expect at least a 3% CTR to your website or product page.
By having an email subscriber list ready, you are ensuring that when you hit that publish button next time, or when you launch something next time, you can tap into real people instantly. No more waiting to build a traffic to a page to figure out if it converts well.
Furthermore, email marketing creates awareness of your content, which enables it to earn more inbound links. Link building is one of the most important marketing activities to earn great organic search engine rankings, so either engage in a link building campaign (supported by your email marketing campaign) or a group like SEO.co or similar service to ensure you cover this important marketing responsibility.
Traffic From Email Is More Qualified
Neil Patel declared that traffic that comes in from the emails he sends is more engaged. Email is not just about closing the sale or conversions: email is about engagement, quality and trust. On QuickSprout, people coming to check his blogpost stay longer, comment more, and are more inclined to share it on social media than traffic from other sources.
There’s a big difference in user behavior on ecommerce websites based on where the user comes from. If the user randomly lands on a portal, she has less chances of making a purchase. Instead, when you have sent the user an email and she clicks through to your e-shop, the conversion increases. In one case study, LV= got about 10.77% conversion through email.
With email opt-ins, a subscriber trusts you enough to give you their email. This establishes a framework for building more trust and rapport quickly. If you manage to send emails strategically, you can become a well-known person/business in people’s lives. How do you think a fledgling company became Amazon?
While the stats seem interesting, it takes a bit of testing before you can hit sweet spots in getting to people do three things:
- open your emails more
To improve your open rate, you’ll have to test and tweak your subject lines. Great marketers spend 30 minutes just to come up with great headlines and subject lines that work.
- read through your email and click through to your website
A lot of factors decide the click-through rate of your email. These include:
– email copy and link positioning
– clear call to action
– overall email design
A simple, clean, minimal email almost always works better than graphic-rich emails that run the risk of not showing up correctly on some devices and email clients. A clear call to action improves the CTR – and this point is more valid in email than anywhere else.
- measure the engagement of email traffic
After you’ve got people clicking through to your website from your email, find out how that traffic performs. You should be tracking their bounce rate, if they make a comment or complete an action. Email marketing doesn’t really end with sending emails and getting people to click through. Conversion matters and for this, you’ll need to tweak the landing page.
Email Makes Follow-up Possible
John visits your website. And leaves. Two days later, he forgets all about you. And just like that, you’ve lost a potential customer.
If you had collected John’s email, two days later you could send an email to John describing your product, offering some discount or downloadable resource, telling him about the new feature your product includes etc. You are following up, you are re-connecting with a visitor, you are inching towards converting a random user into a customer.
Email makes follow-up possible, and this is extremely important for the small players (startups and small businesses) in an age of information overload and short attention spans.
Ecommerce websites use this feature to get people to buy things. John adds an item to his shopping cart but leaves without checkout. 24 hours later, he gets an email reminding him to checkout. Most ecommerce websites see a significant ROI from this reminder system, and it’s enabled with email marketing.
Email also allows you to cross-sell, promote or inform. You can do that even as you send a ‘Thank you for downloading / subscribing’ email. This increases the chances of people buying more, visiting your website more often, or subscribing to a service more easily.
Big businesses use email extensively but small businesses and startups often avoid it due to the fear of costs and resources. Actually, though, email marketing is cheaper and has an average ROI between 21x – 200x.
With the right tools (even a minimal setup like MailChimp for managing email subscribers, a simple opt-in plugin for WordPress and a set of channels to promote on is enough to get started), your small business or startup can start collecting emails and craft a profitable sales funnel.