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Promoting Your Business with Email Marketing

If you are a small business, nothing beats the wide reach of email marketing as an effective marketing tool.

Are you promoting your business with email marketing?

If you are a small business, nothing beats the wide reach of email marketing as an effective marketing tool. Compared to social media kingpins Facebook and Twitter that promote public engagement, only email gives you that one-on-one connection with your customers and prospects.

Attract New Customers

Through email marketing, a business can send announcements on sales or service promotions, blogs and newsletters about your company. Email is a way to be engaged with your customers and attract new ones. According to global business consultant McKinsey & Company, email is about 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined in helping a business acquire new customers. That’s because 91% of all US consumers use email daily.

Digital marketing consultants stress that email must play a major role in a business marketing campaign. Here’s why:

  • Email drives sales – It is estimated that emails prompt sales at a rate three times higher than social media. A study by MarketingSherpa.com shows that 71 percent of consumers prefer receiving promotional emails compared to 17 percent who prefer receiving social media promotions. According to a survey by Blue Kangaroo, 70 percent of respondents said they used discounts and coupons from promotional emails.
  • The personal touch – Email has the power to send one piece of content to thousands of people while having some level of personalization, says Campaign Monitor. For example, flash-sale site Gilt Groupe sends more than 3,000 variations of its daily email, each tailored based on an individual’s browsing and purchasing history and clicks.
  • A different view – Email is perceived differently. Facebook is generally viewed as a place to connect and interact with friends and family while a Tweet on Twitter can only be a sort and sweet message. Email is considered private. And we all have become accustomed to receiving promotional messages in our emails.

Related Article Article: Social Media Can Help Market Your Business

Why Market Your Business With Email

Email isn’t owned and controlled by a single company – it’s an open communication platform. Facebook’s news feeds and advertisements are controlled by algorithms that determine who sees what. Twitter seeks out certain phrases or words that filter messages. Also, tracking email’s marketing success is simple compared to social media.

Email doesn’t die, says Campaign Monitor. An email sits in the inbox waiting for the user to acknowledge it. Messages on Facebook and Twitter, on the other hand, are always on the move and can be overlooked. Keep in mind, there are three times more email accounts than Facebook and Twitter combined. According to Radicati, there were nearly 4 billion email accounts in 2013 and that is projected to increase to nearly 5 billion by 2017.

More and more people are opening their emails on mobile devices. Litmus Software of Cambridge has found that 66 percent of Gmail messages are opened on a cell phone, laptop or tablet. Experian’s 2013 second quarter Email Benchmark Study says that 50 percent of all “Unique Opens” and 40 percent of all “Unique Clicks” occur on mobile devices.

Here are several reasons from Constant Contact why you should use email to market your small business:

  1. Build credibility – People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Email is the way for you to build credibility with your audience by sharing helpful and informative content.
  2. Boost sales – When you have an audience of people who are interested in receiving updates from your business, you’ll be able to think differently about how you boost sales throughout the year.
  3. Strengthen relationships – If you want to build strong customer relationships, it’s important to have an effective tool to communicate with the people who matter most to your business. Email gives you the ability to keep people engaged with your business during your busy season and the slower times of the year.
  4. Attract new clients – In addition to connecting with the people on your email list, you can also share your newsletters and announcements on your own social networks to bring new people to your business.
  5. Promote services – Service businesses face the difficult challenge of keeping clients interested in their business, even when they aren’t looking for services at different times of the year. Email gives you the opportunity to keep your client’s attention without overwhelming them with unwanted information.
  6. Reach people on any device – With nearly two-thirds of all emails being opened on a mobile device, email marketing is one of the best tools that can help a business take advantage of the growing popularity of mobile technology.
  7. Look professional – Emails can be customized with your logo, images and colors to accompany content.
  8. Get immediate results – When running a small business, every sale, order, or appointment can have a significant impact. With email, you’re able to get the results you’re looking for right away and easily track how your different campaigns are performing.
  9. Generate leads – Not everyone who joins your email list will be ready to make a purchase or sign up for a service. Email gives you the opportunity to capture new visitor’s attention and nurture the relationship with helpful and informative content.

What is an Email Marketing Campaign and How Do You Build One?

An email marketing campaign is meant to build brand awareness, loyalty and trust by sending announcements and messages to existing customers and potential customers. It is a tool to help drive people to your website and ultimately purchase your products and services. Businesses can track and use information provided by responses to their emails to understand customer interests. This information can be used across all marketing channels to enhance the marketing campaign. Email marketing has become a major player in the ever increasing digital marketing world.

Yola.com offers these ideas on how to build an email marketing campaign:

  1. Decide on your campaign objectives – A successful campaign should begin by asking yourself why you are sending an email. Is it to promote a service or product? Announce an event? Are you sending the email to all your customers or a select group?
  2. Build your email list – Set up a database with the email addresses of all your existing and potential customers. Create an “email sign up” form on your website that will automatically link to your email database. Consider asking customers for their email address at the time of purchase or signing a contract to further grow your email list. Only add those addresses from those who have opted-in to receive communications from your company.
  3. Create your email – The email should have a strong subject line that is clear and compelling so the receiver would be driven to open it. Keep the message short, to the point and easy to read. The email should contain an image along with the text to make it visually appealing. The message should be benefit driven. As an example: “Buy these waterproof boots that will keep your feet dry” as opposed to a feature type message that would just state “Buy these waterproof boots.”
  4. Your logo – Make sure your logo is added to the email. It will make your email recognizable to the recipient as they will have seen it before when visiting your site and will therefore know the email is legitimate.
  5. Personalization – Try and personalize your email to each recipient. Use their name in the subject line and or email copy. By having recipient’s name in the subject line will increase the chance of the email being opened by about 4.7 percent over the average. Be sure to include your business address at the bottom of all your emails.
  6. Hit the send button – Once the email campaign has been created, send it off. Consider trying some variations to see what works best. Also, mix up the days and times the emails are sent so it doesn’t seem robotic.
  7. Measure the success – Depending on the objectives of your campaign, you may have different metrics for success. These may include the number of responses to the email’s promotion, open rate, click-through and the number of downloads.

Examples Of An Email Marketing Campaign

Hubspot offers these several examples of email marketing campaigns:

  1. PayPal – “Good food. Good friends. Good way to split the bill” headlines a PayPal email promotion that includes a photo of several people dining. Not only is the opening copy clever and concise, but the entire concept also reflects a relatable benefit of using the service. Think about it: How many times have you been in a situation where you went out to dinner with friends and then fussed over the bill when it came time to pay? By tapping into this common pain point, PayPal is able to pique the interest of its audience.
  2. RunKeeper – This company makes an effort to reengage lost users with a friendly email message to highlight changes to its app. The email begins with “Hi friend” and closes with “You rock” to make the content feel less aggressive and more welcoming.
  3. Litmus – An email from Litmus uses animation to create a more interesting email marketing design. “Share emails and inspect code” says the headline of a graphic that employs a cover that slides to the side unveiling code in a box. Unlike static text, the swipe motion used to provide recipients with a look “under the hood” of their email tool is eye-catching and encourages you to take a deeper dive into the rest of the content. Not to mention the header does an excellent job of explicitly stating what this email is about.
  4. Loft – An email from Loft aims to demonstrate their understanding of your crazy, mixed-value inbox. In an effort to provide you with emails that you actually want to open, Loft asks that their recipients update their preferences to help them deliver a more personalized experience. This customer-focused email is super effective in making the recipient feel like their likes, dislikes, and opinions actually matter.
  5. Uncommon Goods – An email promoting a Mother’s Day sale asks “Don’t you think Mom would’ve liked a faster delivery?” Instead of saying, “Order your Mother’s Day gift NOW before Preferred Shipping ends!” creates a sense of urgency and serves as a reminder of mom’s special day is fast approaching.
  6. Harpoon Brewery – A simple, timely email sending birthday wishes to a customer features a picture of about 100 people raising a glass of beer with the words “From your friends at Harpoon, Happpy Birthday Carly.” The email really does feel like it’s coming from a friend, which is why it’s so effective. In an age of email automation, it’s easy for email campaigns to feel a little robotic. And while I’m certain that this email was, in fact, automated, it feels really human.

Related Article: Creating Effective Online Advertising

Why Newsletters Are a Great Marketing Tool

A newsletter is one ways a company can deepen its relationship with their customers. It’s a great way for a business to talk about itself, promote new products or services, and provide interesting industry related information. Marketing-Schools.org calls newsletters a softer form of advertising that respects the customer.

An email newsletter is at the top of the list in an email marketing campaign. Email Critic explains why:

  • Different people, different channels – A portion of your audience will turn to Twitter for your latest messages and some will check in on your Facebook page. Still others will want your info delivered to their inbox because email newsletters remain their first choice for communications from you. Email newsletters keep you communicating with different people via different channels. In fact, your newsletter can be sent out via email, then archived on your website with tweets and Facebook links pointing to it. That approach meets everyone’s needs.
  • Nurturing from prospect to customer – The email newsletter remains an effective way to build a relationship with a prospect, nurturing them along until they become a customer. They obviously like you enough to sign up for your marketing newsletter. Now keep moving things along in the inbox, kindly and noncommittally, in a way only the soft approach of a newsletter can do.
  • Staying top of mind – When someone buys from you or hires your services, that’s only the beginning of the potential business that lies ahead, as long as you keep nurturing the relationship along. Email marketing newsletters can do that, nonchalantly keeping you top of mind until it’s time for another—or different—purchase
  • Social media sharing -What do people share? Content! Whether they tweet it, link to it, blog on it or share it, people spread the word about content they like, whether it’s your writing, pictures or video. And your newsletter can be a mix of all three. As long as it’s great content people will want to share it. The format matters less than the share-ability.
  • Serving SEO purpose – Even in an age dominated by Facebook, the search engines are still major players in any online marketing efforts. Getting found by people who don’t yet know about you is key, and, in many cases, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is how that happens. You give your SEO a boost every time you add content to your website – which archiving your newsletter automatically does. Easy to do, easy to benefit from.
  • Content marketing – Content marketing is still a hot topic, and an easy one for you to address if an email newsletter is already part of your marketing arsenal. After all, what is a newsletter but content?
  • Repurposing content – Content has value. And the more use you can get out of it, the more value it has. A newsletter can be repurposed content from your blog, whitepaper or Facebook commentary. Or it can be the fodder for any of those. Think “write once, use repeatedly,” and you’ll find your newsletter content is both fed by and feeds several other sources.

Related Article: Using blogs to market your business

Measuring The Success Of An Email Marketing Campaign

Email’s metrics involve open rate, click rate, complaints and growth and have been a standard for several years compared to social media. A business can also track sales and revenue through email’s metrics. Tracking traffic on social media can be complicated and is measured in different ways. A simple formula is used to determine email’s success rate.

Hubspot says that to assess your email marketing performance, you must conduct ongoing trend analysis of several key metrics. That way, you can compare each campaign’s performance against your own averages to know whether a specific campaign outperformed or underperformed your internal email benchmarks.

Here are the most important metrics to measure your email campaign, according to Hubspot:

  • Click Through Rate (CRT) – The proportion of the audience who clicked on one or more links contained in an email message. This can be calculated by dividing unique clicks by the number of emails delivered, or by dividing total clicks – including multiple clicks by the same recipient – by the number of emails delivered.
  • Monitoring Email CTR – This is the cornerstone of email marketing analytics because the rate indicates whether the message was relevant and the offer compelling enough to encourage recipients to action. But CTR can vary widely by the type of message sent. For example, email newsletters often have higher CTRs than promotional messages, and transactional messages – such as emailed purchase receipts – often have the highest CTR of all the messages your business sends. For that reason, it’s best to benchmark your CTRs according to the different types of emails you send.
  • Bounce Rate – These are emails that were sent but could not delivery to a recipient’s inbox. This can uncover problems with the email list such as the email going to an invalid or closed account.
  • Delivery Rate – This measures the percentage of emails going into inboxes by subtracting bouces from the gross numbers of sent emails them dividing that sum by the total number of sent emails. You should have a 95 percent or higher delivery rate.
  • List Growth Rate – This is a measurement of how fast your email list is growing. Email list growth rate is important because a healthy email marketing program needs to be continually refreshed with new names. Many of the addresses on your email list will naturally “go bad” over time, as people change jobs, switch ISPs or email programs, or just forget their passwords and create new accounts.
  • Email Sharing/Forwarding Rate – This is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a “share this” button to post email content to a social network and/or who clicked on the “forward to a friend” button. Sharing rates are another indicator of the value and relevance of your email messages. For example, if your subscribers find your email newsletter articles compelling enough to share with their peers, you’ve likely hit on a hot topic for your audience.
  • Conversion Rate – This rate is the ultimate measure of an email campaign’s effectiveness. The higher your conversion rate, the more relevant and compelling the offer was for your audience. However, conversion rates are dependent on factors beyond the original email message, such as the quality of your landing page. This metric is the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action, such as filling out a lead generation form or purchasing a product or service. It requires integration between your ESP and your ecommerce or web analytics platform.
  •  Revenue Per Email Sent – A measure of the Return On Investment (ROI) of a particular email campaign, calculated by dividing the total revenue generated from the campaign by the number of emails sent. This metric is ideal for e-commerce marketers who generate a lot of direct sales from email campaigns.

Segmenting Your Email Lists

Emails are not always one size fits all, suggests Constant Contact. While one email might appeal to some people on your list, others need something completely different. The people who aren’t interested in emails might delete them, or worse, unsubscribe if they find that your messages aren’t of interest to them. More than half of those who unsubscribe to an email do so because the content wasn’t relevant to their interests or needs.

Constant Contact recommends segmenting your lists to target the right group with the proper and relevant messages to avoid them hitting the delete button.

Here are few ideas to consider of segmenting your email list:

  1. Ask for their preference. One way to segment or group your contacts is by using email lists and asking your subscribers to choose the lists they’re interested in such as new products, services, promotions or sales. This avoids unnecessary emails going to your contacts’ inbox and targets information they would find relevant.
  2. Know their location. You can learn a lot about what your subscribers are interested in based on their location. For instance, a real estate firm in Massachusetts asks subscribers about the locations they’re interested in right in their email sign-up form. The realtor can easily target emails about new listings in certain towns and areas of the state to the subscribers who have expressed interest in those locations.
  3. Pay attention to purchasing behavior. Find out what your audience is interested in by using your email reports to see what they’re opening and clicking on. You can save those people to an existing list or create a new one. You can also create lists for customers who purchased a particular product or service and send them emails about those items.

Email Is Today’s Ultimate Marketing Tool

VentureBeat reports that no marketing category has the longevity of email. While some marketing trends come and go, email remains the most powerful channel available to the modern marketer. Email marketing can play a key role in both the promotion and growth of your business, says Mailchimp.

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Mathew Phillips
Digital Marketing Specialist

Mathew Phillips is an expert in digital marketing and lead generation services. Mathew has a passion for all things digital marketing from website design and search engine optimization to digital advertising, email marketing and social media.

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