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Introduction to email marketing

Updated on October 23,2022

In the golden age of telephony, businesses had to call customers (be they prospective or existing) one on one just to market themselves.

The period after this saw the rise of advertisements via newspapers and TV; this method, however, is much more expensive.

But times have indeed changed. With many people accessing the Internet, businesses can reach many through email marketing for free. Businesses now do marketing campaigns to advertise themselves.

Email marketing helps businesses see instant sales from existing customers, but more importantly, it maintains and builds long-lasting relationships with loyal customers - which are the core of most successful businesses.

To this day, the size of your email list is, to a larger extent, a demonstration of your reach and thought leadership. However, your email marketing campaigns should be part of a holistic approach to educating your contacts about your company. Not to forget, your marketing emails must complement other efforts, such as search engine optimization, content creation, social media engagement and behaviour-based nurturing.

So when reading this article on email marketing, keep the big picture in mind. In this article, I will take you through the steps necessary to start email marketing for your business.

Consolidating your names

You might be surprised at how large you have of your customers’ contacts. The only reason why you are not surprised as of now is that the contacts are scattered.

Consider looking for the names in the different programs you have and the various places – from your email address book, to accounting software, from handheld devices to Excel spreadsheets – not to mention all the paper sticky notes on your desk and monitor or last year’s sales orders in the file cabinet.

Consolidating your names is all about gathering names and getting them into an easily accessible, centralized location. A centralized location is primarily about their strategic storage to retrieve them efficiently when needed.

The first thing you need is an easy-to-use database program. You need a database that you can use by yourself without needing expertise.

One that you can customize to meet your unique needs and that grows with your business. For example, FileMaker Pro trial and the FileMaker Business Productivity Kit are examples of such cool products.

A database containing all your names and email addresses is the key to successful, long-term email marketing and relationship building. 

Creating an email list

Having a collection of contacts does not necessarily mean that you have their corresponding email addresses. Also, you can’t do much email marketing unless you have the email addresses of people who want to hear from you and their permission to contact them via email.

Building your own list of current customers, past customers, and prospects (versus buying names and addresses) is the best way to start an effective e-mail marketing list.

I am assuming that now you have your existing names in the database. But chances are that you have a big blank in the email address field for many of your customers. To fill in those empty fields, you can do the following:

Ask for the emails

Use your website, storefront, front desk, and every phone call as an opportunity to gather permission to email your customer.

You will want to be convincing during the gathering process and provide something to which your current and potential customers will say, “Yes, I give you permission to send me an email.”

Remember to follow the art of business seduction.

A simple clipboard on your front counter or form on your website that says, “Sign up here to receive our free Newsletter via email!” will get you going.

Privacy Statement

Most importantly, privacy. You must develop a privacy statement that communicates to customers how your company uses their personal information.

Why would one offer freely their privacy in this age of email phishing?

At least assure them of your intentions with their privacy before asking for them.

You should post your privacy statement on your website and make it available to your customers.  You can visit privacy.org for additional information and privacy resources.

Decide on Content & Frequency

It is more of a truth in the nude than a claim that customers love it when you blend your email types.

Combining various content at different intervals is acceptable to most customers who have opted-in to your email list.

There’s a delicate balance between too much and not enough email marketing to maintain and build long-lasting relationships.

You don’t want every email that you send to be promotional. You want a blend of editorial and promotional communication to help you build long-lasting relationships with your loyal customers.

To decide on the mix, figure out what you think will help build your relationship with current customers, win back lost customers, and move hot prospects closer to becoming customers.

Writing you mail

The aforementioned FileMaker pro is a great tool even when it comes to writing your emails. You might, however, want to consider these few points while writing your emails.

  • Write short paragraphs and link to your website for longer articles, or have customers call to learn more. If your stories are too long, only a few will read them. If the sole intent was to promote your website, write shorter articles and link them to the longer versions in the specified site.
  • Treat your current customers differently than prospects. Make sure they feel special by sending slightly different emails to current customers than your future or past customers.
  • The Subject line is important. With junk mail filters on almost every inbox, be sure you’re not too aggressive with promotional terms, capitalization, and exclamations. Stuff such as those might lead your promotional email into a junk or spam box. If you have something free to offer, it’s ok to include the word “Free” in your subject line, but make sure it doesn’t end up in your customer's “junk folders”
  • Do a pre-test of a few messages with friends and co-workers first. Be sure to send from a new email address, such as one that hasn’t already been added to their address book.

Email marketing is a tool that needs to be mastered by every business that wants success. It is the only way of communication that any serious business uses. However, it is impossible to fully educate this subject matter in this article. The reader should feel free to ask any question related to this subject.



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