/ August 1, 2019/ Email/ 0 comments

Email marketing is alive and well. The reports of its death are greatly exaggerated. There’s a host of data that shows that email is still a very important tool in any marketing strategy. It is, by no means the only tool, but its importance tends to be forgotten with “the new great thing.” Social media is of course the top and with posting to your channels and running an email campaign, you can cover most of the areas that will ensure success. Now that email is mostly becoming automated, it’s even easier to run an ongoing campaign that achieves your goals

Sales are flat from your website? Maybe you’re not getting leads? People are visiting but the bounce rate is high? Maybe you can’t advertise on any platform, or don’t have the budget for that? No worries, email marketing is one of the last most cost effective ways to reach people. Stats show that 80% of retail professionals indicate that email marketing is their greatest driver of customer retention. You can’t go wrong with a well planned and executed email campaign. A simple “Welcome email” generated in 2018 generated 320% more revenue than other promotional emails. This means you need to be less “spammy” and more “chummy.” Email marketing is still an effective way to reach customers and bring return business.

Email marketing then

In the old days, way back when email was young, everyone treated email like a quicker version of snail mail. There is a hilarious story by Matt Beaumont, written around the new millennium called E: A Novel. It tells the story of an ad agency in London who have just been given the power of email. The effect is catastrophic. One of the staff falls for a Nigerian scam and finds himself fin Africa trying to bring money to an “African Prince” (Spoiler alert: he survives.) But the point is that in the beginning email was virgin territory and people like the Nigerian’s fell upon it as a way to make money. This is the genesis of spam.

Spam is, for the want of a better description, an unwanted solicitation via electronic mail. You didn’t want it and you wished it would go away and for a few years we suffered with our inboxes inundated with junk. Things have changed since then we have better filters and with the advent of Gmail better ways of screening crap. It is not perfect but it works. This means that you cannot be sending email willy-nilly, you need it to come from a bonafide source and be structured so as not to be considered spam.

Email Marketing now

Nowadays we have automated and more intelligent systems that help us get our message to our intended audience. Email marketing now is far more advanced that it was even 10 years ago. We have learned how to write and present the right message to the right audience.

Email sign ups have not reduced over the years they have actually increased. Now with the advent of e-commerce and online shopping, email has become part of the transaction process. you cannot go anywhere without leaving your email signature on at least one website a day. Email addresses are your digital footprint throughout the internet. This is an opt-in situation so using the right technology we can provide a service by pushing content to them in the simplest way possible that they are interested in. Everyone knows email. No one exists online without an email address or two.

Companies such as Apple and Amazon are now rolling out solutions whereby you can buy items directly from an email in your inbox, there is no need to go online to a website to purchase an item, this gives more power to online marketers. The least amount of steps needed for a customer along a funnel means more sales. But we aren’t all there yet.

At this moment in time remarketing is still the ultimate goal. I have spoken about remarketing in my last blog post about Google advertising. Suffice to say that it ensures return business. We are too hung up on trying to get new business and ignoring those who can potentially return and give us a sale.

Unfortunately email marketing requires a little bit of investment. We are no longer using a free or totally free resource. You need to give something back, a discount, a free item, a PDF book about your product, something tangible to engage the customer. Offering something in return for bigger return business is a small price to pay. Sometimes it isn’t even something that is expensive. The email reader may just want some information they find handy. The reason they signed up in the first place.

What’s the best email marketing platform

I use Mailchimp. It was one of the first and it still is the best email platform. Setting up a campaign in MailChimp is a step by step template process that requires no coding or understanding of HTML. There are others like Constant Contact that pretty much do the same thing. But I do recommend MailChimp mainly because it’s free to sign up for basic services.

MailChimp is free but when your business grows you will have to pay for the advanced services. most of these email management sites have a cap on the amount of email lists you can create, the amount of emails you can feed to, as well as the type of templates if you can use. They all vary. If you would like to make a decision you can see a comparison of two of the best ones here.

A quick and dirty guide to setting up an effective email marketing campaign

How do you start an email campaign? Well first you need to build an email address list. This is actually very easy if you are a brick-and-mortar outfit you can easily ask customers to give you their email address. People do this without thought sometimes. You fill out a spreadsheet with those emails and you can easily import it. Better yet, have an email signup form on your website and that adds directly to your email platform. Once you have the email list you can create your first campaign.

If you notice that on some sites as you move your mouse to close the tab or your scroll down to the bottom of the page on your mobile, a pop up asks you to sign up. This is called an exitIntent “lead generator”. It’s done by another system that you install onto your site and it allows you to customize a simple way of encouraging the user not to leave your site without leaving their contact info. This increases the chance to remarket to those who may not convert the first time. You can find out more about systems like these here.

Here are some free ones you can use on your website now, I recommend Hustle Popups, which what I use on this site.

Case study, A small campaign with 100% results.

My son broke his arm a few weeks prior to writing this and people offered to help the medical costs by sending me money. Don’t worry, he’s fine. But I had amassed a bunch of emails from the campaign that I decided to run a small campaign and show how it works and the results you can see below.

mailchimp email marketing case study screenshot

I sent out a total of 24 emails and using a very simple template and to the point, I also addressed the person directly. I received many responses, but in total there were 87% opens. This means even if less people actually responded they did open the email. Using a simple “Thank You” message to your first time customer (even if they didn’t buy anything) means a lot and builds a relationship for future growth.

A note on abandoned cart emails and other automated plans

I’ve been helping out another client of mine whose business cannot be advertised using normal channels. I’ll write more about what happens when you can’t advertise on Google or Facebook, but suffice to say, blog writing and emailers are a perfect alternative to the “traditional” way of advertising. Her store is strictly online and is a good case study on how well a simple automated response can do for your own store.

Whenever a user, who has signed up, adds things to the cart and then, inevitably, closes the window, leaves the tab open for days, or just doesn’t follow through with the purchase, we call this “Cart Abandonment.” On average, cart abandonment rates for 2016 was 77.24%. This number rose slightly in 2017 to 78.65%. This means over 75% of your visitors don’t buy right away. In July of this year I was able to help reduce cart abandonment on my client’s website to less than 60%. This is how we used email marketing to help.

Using the Mailchimp integration, we crafted a number of automated emails. Doing this needs a little bit of technical knowhow and some capital to invest. Mailchimp, out of the box, does not have a very good plugin to integrate with a Woocommerce storefront (the system that 90% of WordPress websites use to sell online). So we needed to invest in a 3rd party plugin called “MailChimp4WP” and so far that’s been a good investment. Six hours after “cart abandonment” an email is automatically pushed to a user that signed up. This email is simply telling the user “Hey you forgot your shopping cart!” The results were fantastic for the first month. Out of the 36 emails sent so far abandoned a cart users, 50% opened them and 25% of those clicked back to the site. This is a very good start.

email marketing using an automated abandon cart message. Some stats. open rate was 47%.

Using this as well as other automated email templates, such as birthday greetings, special event emails, coupons, segmenting the list to only speak to women or men can provide a more personalised experience for a user. All you need is the ability to write better emails and keep your emailers consistent with your brand and above all be less “hard sell” and more “Hi John, we would love to recommend this, but if you have a better suggestion, or question, please let us know!”

In conclusion

Email marketing is here to stay. Don’t believe the hype, Facebook posts and Instagram boosts are good for some things, but you can’t beat the power of email. As I’ve shown you, people read emails, but the emails have to be written in a certain way. You can’t just send emails without preamble. Email marketing has gotten a bad rap because of spam. We aren’t making spam, we’re making meaningful content that speaks directly to those already interested in what you have to offer, in a direct laser focused way. Remember the three most important things about a successful emailer: 1. be personal. 2. be informative and most of all 3. be valuable.

Drawing on over 20 years in the marketing industry, Ian is adept at building solid marketing strategies for your business. How to build your Digital Real estate is an ongoing theme for him. He has successfully raised the market share of many clients over the years. Get in contact and let’s see how you can build your own business online.

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