We’re pretty sure that by now everyone knows that email marketing is the cheapest, farthest reaching and often the most successful way of advertising. It’s not difficult to see why, either. With nearly 100% of the adult population using email services, the term “audience” gets a whole new meaning.

Skeptics would argue whether email marketing is the ultimate advertising strategy. Indeed, with so many ways to increase your brand’s visibility, we can hardly blame them. But we beg to differ! We don’t see a single reason why combining marketing strategies shouldn’t be the best concoction.

Given that email services are free to use (most of them, anyway), email marketing campaigns can be a good starting point for more complex advertising methods. The one known combination that does marvels in terms of ROI is email marketing aided by social media exposure.

Tip #1: Take Your Time Building an Email List

A solid starting point is all it takes for a rapid expansion. When it comes to email marketing, the starting point is building an email list.

There are various ways to attain customers’ email addresses, with the most popular methods being:

  • From subscription forms
  • From giveaways
  • From social media channels

To get a customer to subscribe, you need to actually tell them what they can expect. Nowadays, everyone is suspicious of spam, and we can’t really blame them, can we? Therefore, explain what type of content they can expect (promotions, newsletters, discounts, special offers and giveaways, etc.).

Running a giveaway is another great idea. The reward doesn’t have to be an expensive product or service. Most often, it is in written format, usually an ebook, a code or similar, depending on your business’ scope of expertise.

Finally, sometimes it is safe to assume that your social media followers are there because they are interested in your offer. Collecting their emails is, therefore, sometimes acceptable.

Don’t by any means whatsoever buy email lists. The practice is both ineffective and unethical, and certain to get your business labeled as a spam sender.

Tip #2: Personalize and Automate

Expanding overmuch on why personalization is a good idea would equal explaining why a polite seller is better loved than an impolite one.

People like to feel special – anywhere, anytime, and there’s no reason why that tendency would change when it comes to email marketing. For starters, send a welcome message to every subscriber and a thank you email for every purchase.

Use segmentation to target your campaigns. Put it in plain English, address people by their name and send them only relevant offers. Always deliver on your promise (include a call to action to your emails) and allow people to opt out (include an unsubscribe button in all your emails).

Next, you’ll wish to make use of automation. Voluminous email lists portend numerous emails and it would be unreasonable to expect any marketer to compose and send a separate email for every recipient.

Automation tools are as many as there are preferences, so we won’t include any recommendations. Do your research and come up with the best solution for your business, depending on your strategy.

Tip#3: Know Your Customers

Always keep in mind that email marketing is just another way of advertising. Although messages are delivered electronically, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t build a relationship with your customers.

On the contrary! Listening to customers’ feedback is the single most important helper in boosting your marketing campaigns.

There are a couple of ways to ask customers for their opinion. You can do it via social media channels, contact forms or by offering surveys with some incentive. You should also encourage people to leave feedback on your website or social media page.

Tip#4: Send Special Offers

Special offers may be used in different ways. Some businesses send regular special offers to loyal customers, while others send special promotions to new subscribers, and some send special discounts to everyone.

What your strategy will be should be based upon your business alone. And while there are some universal words of wisdom, the truth is that every business needs to come up with their email strategy on its own.

Research will help in that you can (and should) keep informed about competitors’ offers. The easiest way to do that is by subscribing for their newsletters.

Further out, seasonal sales and discounts are always a good idea. Coupling different offers has also proven to be beneficial (i.e., autumn sale and back to school sale).

Tip#5: Content Is King

Without any exceptions, the content you market is the best selling point of your business. This holds true for newsletters, no less than for your webpage.

If you are just getting started with email marketing campaigns, you are bound to perfect the art of writing concise messages and (more importantly) eye-catching subject lines.

The subject line is the first thing that the recipient sees and, based on its quality, what determines whether your message will be read, deleted or flagged as spam.

The body of the text should expand on the subject line, not be too long, and include a proper closure: a call to action, an unsubscribe button, contact info and a signature.

On top of emails, you will also wish to share content via social media. Normally, every new piece of content that gets uploaded to the webpage gets marketed on social media. However, there are other types of content you may wish to share as well.

Remember that a successful business is active on social media on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean that small companies publish a new post every day. Sometimes it is sufficient to share a useful article and encourage communication. This brings us to the final step:

Tip#6: Communicate

Always encourage communication, be it via email or via social media channels. The more you communicate with the customers, the better they will understand that you care about them.

And we don’t mean it in a superficial way. Both recommendations and complaints should have their place. What is important is to address each concern in a timely manner.

Thank your customers for positive feedback, but also address their issues and apologize for the inconvenience.

Is that all there is to email marketing? Not really, but these tips are just about sufficient to get you started off on the right foot and allow you to build a deep and meaningful relationship with your customers. If it sounds like a love affair, you’ve got it right. Your business is special, and so are your customers. Show them some love!

Emily Woodman is a long time digital marketer, creative author and blogger on all things business, marketing and technology. She is currently working with Mailbird, an innovative Windows email client.

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