How to turn your email list into a marketing machine

Despite the continuously growing number of tools for marketing your business, such as video, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, email marketing remains one of the most effective arrows in your quiver when it comes to growing your business.

In fact, email marketing continues to deliver some of the best ROIs of any of the digital marketing channels. In fact, email provides very important and distinct advantages that other digital channels have trouble matching. While at first that may seem counterintuitive considering the popularity of other channels such as social media, the data shows that email is used more often and the numbers continue to grow year after year.

Additionally, among the advantages of email are two very important and distinct things: (1) you own all of the connections; and (2) you are not at the mercy of various algorithms and ever-shifting landscapes that can suddenly disrupt, restrict, or even shut down your ability to reach your desired audience.

The basics of email marketing 

You may be new to email marketing or even ecommerce, or maybe you’ve tried email marketing and have had some success but things have plateaued, or maybe things are going ok, but you want to step harder on the pedal. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, if you follow some guidelines, you will step up your game.

As a general rule, always keep in mind where you are. As much time and effort as you put into your emails, to the recipients, you are still one of the many marketing emails they receive. Unlike a lot of other forums where people receive advertising and solicitation messages, when you go into someone’s inbox, you are actually reaching into their domain. This is what is sometimes referred to as permission based marketing. Your subscribers are giving you permission to email them. In some respects, it is akin to being a guest in their house. So, it is important that you act accordingly. Be personable, polite, relevant, and add value.

First, you need to have an email list to which you can send mail. Alternatively, if you have developed an email list, you need to assure that you are always adding and expanding. Start with a banner or a pop-up window asking your visitors to subscribe to your list.

In today’s world, just having the banner or pop-up is usually not enough to entice enough people to sign up. Therefore, you should provide them with an incentive. This can be by giving away something for free, such as a guide or an ebook, or it can be through the offer of sending them a newsletter or perhaps, an update list, where you provide recipients with announcements of product updates or new releases. Regardless of what you offer, your goal should be to add some value to your recipients.

Laying the groundwork for your campaign 

There are three main categories of emails (some sources break them into more categories, but I believe that it all can be classified into these three). Those include, transactional, relationship-building (value add), and promotional.

Transactional emails are those that are triggered in response to some action that your customer has taken with your brand or product. This may be a purchase, or filling a shopping cart, or simply asking to reset their password. These emails include order confirmations, receipts, shipping and tracking notifications, password reminders, or coupon codes, etc. This type of email is often overlooked as an opportunity to give customers an idea of the voice behind your brand, and what it is like to do business with you. These are often good opportunities to seek customer feedback on your performance and even to provide reviews. A simple inquiry into whether you met your customer’s expectations goes a long way. It shows that it is something that is important to you and that you value that customer’s experience with your brand.

Relationship-building or value added emails are things that do not necessarily have a direct promotional value. They provide value to the recipients. These are things such as newsletters, updates, blogs, welcomes, etc. These emails are typically sent to either your entire or subgroups of your subscriber list. These are used to nudge your subscribers into becoming your customers. However, they do not typically make promotional pitches. Instead, they help build relationships with your subscribers by adding value and showcasing your talents.

The last type of email, promotional, is the most common form of email marketing, and perhaps the most powerful. The purpose for these is to make a direct offer to your subscribers. These include a new product, a new pricing announcement, promotional content, white papers or seminars, etc. They could also be triggered based on user behavior. For example, as part of an abandoned cart sequence or a repeat customer who reaches a certain level of purchasing which triggers an email promotion. A significant number of customers make purchasing decisions in direct response to emails. They serve as reminders, they communicate personalized promotions, they emphasize need for certain products and services, and since they reach into the subscriber or customer’s inbox, they receive more attention and a higher response rate than many other promotional vehicles.

Bringing your strategy together

Email marketing remains among the top online marketing methods for a variety of reasons. At the same time, because when you email, you are essentially accepting an invitation to your subscribers’ personal space, similar to entering their home, you must be respectful and use this privilege in a way that does not offend your subscribers.