When you first start your online business you'll hear and see a lot of terms used within a business context that will mean absolutely nothing to you. Email marketing is probably one of those terms that you've had to 'Google' to find out more about what it is and how it's used.
You've probably guessed it's something to do with selling stuff through emails... and you'd be mostly correct, but there's more to it.
A lot more!
What is Email Marketing?
Let's get to the fundamentals so you have a basic understanding of what email marketing is and what it can do for your business.
First off, it's more than using your Gmail account to send out emails to potential new customers or even to friends email addresses you've collected over the years... that's a no-no!
That kind of email marketing is deemed as spam and could get your email account shut down, not to mention have a lot of angry people emailing you back to complain about unsolicited emails.
Email Marketing involves using email marketing software (EMS) which is dedicated to the capturing of email addresses, management and delivery of your emails.
Step One - Capturing Email Addresses
The first step is how to capture email addresses, afterall you need someone, or lots of someones, to market to.
You have probably been on a website where they asked you to join their newsletter, or offered you a free gift in return for your name and email address. Perhaps you wanted to join a webinar and to get access you needed to give your details. These are all different ways of capturing email addresses through an opt-in form and later in this blog post series we'll go over how you can do this.
Although you may be forgiven for thinking the more people on your list the better (a.k.a. Mailing List), this isn't necessarily true.
You want qualified email addresses (leads).
This means that you want the person who signed up to your mailing list to be interested in what you've got to offer. They should be either actively looking for what you're selling, or will want to buy sometime in the future.
It's better to have a list of 100 people who are interested in your offers, than 10,000 people who couldn't care less and have no intention of buying from you.
You can ensure qualified leads by offering a free digital product, or discount code, related to your offerings (a.k.a a lead magnet) which cuts back on getting uninterested people signing up.
Just to be clear - THEY have to sign up to your mailing list. You can't manually add them. Whether you met them at a networking event, they're a connection on LinkedIn or any other way of getting someone's email address. They have to give you permission to send them emails. You might hear this being called 'Permission Marketing'.
The more people you have on your list, the more expensive the monthly cost will be so you want to make sure that those on your list are interested and want to be there (and there are ways to ensure this.)
Now that we've got people to market to..
Step Two - Automating Your Marketing
As you already know, time is one of your most valuable assets and we've only so many hours in the day to get everything we need to do done. This is where you can see the huge value of using an email marketing service (EMS).
Imagine having to email your free gift individually to each person that requests it. It wouldn't be too bad when you were first starting out, but further down the line - nightmare!
Or what about checking to see if someone wanted to stay on your list and wasn't just taking up room?
Or finding out what brought the person to you and how you can best serve them?
Or telling them about your special offer, or newest product, service or release?
You get the point.
Your email marketing service can do all of that... and more!
It does take time to set things up, however there are shortcuts you can take, and once you've got it set up then it frees up A LOT of your time to focus on other, less menial tasks!
Another advantage is by keeping regular contact with your leads, either through an automated email sequence, or a daily, weekly or monthly update email (which can be written and scheduled ahead of time), you start to build up the connection between you and your leads. They get to know more about you and move from being a cold lead (someone who doesn't really know you and is wary of buying from you) into a warm lead (someone who you've built a certain level of trust with and would be willing to buy from you).
It's not always about 'the sale.'
Your warm lead could recommend you to their friends and colleagues.
They could share your content on social media or to their mailing list,
They could become a great joint venture partner.
They could be the first to tell you that the link in the email you just sent out was wrong so you can quickly correct it (it happens to the best of us!)
Be open to building a warm relationship with your mailing list that could offer you more than a sale.
That's the beauty of email marketing.
Now you have an understanding of how it all works, it's time to choose an email marketing service...