Email is an awesome way to communicate with prospects. It’s a way to continue conversations and share information with people after your initial interactions with them. By keeping communication channels open and providing valuable content and resources, you can turn curious prospects into your next great contract. Best of all, it’s both affordable and effective. One study showed that email campaigns have an average return of $38 for every $1 spent on them. Another report says 80 percent of professionals agree that email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention. What’s not to love?
As with most marketing activities, developing a strategy and getting started is the biggest roadblock. We’ll provide some basics that will help you get started so you can cash in on benefits like more inquiries, more trust, new deals, or what-have-you. This series will break the process into two parts. The first focuses on setting goals and building lists. The second focuses on finding email campaign tools and developing content to support campaigns.
Learning the Basics
Sending the occasional email won’t lead to many results. Emails work best as part of a larger strategy that involves consistent messaging to prospects. When it comes to messaging, you can’t send sales-heavy messages and expect to be successful—you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, and likewise, you probably shouldn’t ask someone to buy something in your first email to them. Email campaigning involves sending useful content like tips, advice, news, and offers. Typically, this content will link to your website where users can find more content, fill out a contact form, or follow other clear calls to action. Not everybody is ready to buy immediately, so your goal is to keep prospects engaged and build trust and authority so that when they’re ready for products or services, they go to you.
Thinking About Metrics
How will you measure success? With email marketing, there are a few common metrics you can track, but how you measure might depend on why you’re sending emails. You could be interested in brand awareness as much as you are new deals. Maybe you want existing customers to have useful information so you develop stronger bonds and longer-lasting relationships. In any case, here are few ways to measure the effectiveness of email efforts:
Click-through rates – This is the most basic email metric. It refers to the percentage of people who clicked on a link in an email you sent. This is a great way to see if people are just opening emails, or if they’re moving to your website where there’s potential for them to contact you or download various assets.
List Growth – This refers to how quickly your email marketing list is growing. Your list will grow as long as you continually take steps to build it, but note that you’ll always have natural fluctuation in your list since people unsubscribe, and since marketing lists decay around 22.5 percent each year. This means you always need to be adding to your list.
Conversion rates – This is the percentage of people who open your email, click a link in it, and complete an action on the page they arrive at. Actions could include downloading an asset, filling out a contact form, or signing up for a demo.
For a more thorough look at metrics, Hubspot offers a great piece on various email marketing metrics that you may also find useful.
Building a List
We covered the nuances of how to generate leads and build a list previously, but to summarize, you can get legitimate email addresses a few different ways.
- Lead-sharing – Many of your vendors have lead sharing programs, and might be able to provide you with leads you can use.
- Content marketing – By providing ebooks, guides, videos, and other content, you can draw people to your website and encourage them to sign up for email newsletters or regular updates, which grows your list and gives you more prospects to target.
- Events – IT events, local chamber of commerce events, and various trade groups give you the opportunity to meet people in person, collect business cards, and add new prospects to your list.
This is just the beginning. Part 2 (coming next week) will discuss how to take your goals and email lists, and put them to work as part of a full email campaign strategy. We’ll cover how to find a great email campaign tool, how to use content marketing effectively, and how to refine your processes so you can see all the benefits of email campaign marketing.