3 Essential Tips To Get More Out Of Your Email Marketing Efforts is the third in a series of articles that we'll be posting this fall. Small Business Marketing Tips To Build Sales In A Down Economy will teach you how to use do-it-yourself tools like SMS, email and social media to effectively market your business.
Entry By Simit Patel
As the Internet grows, email marketing has become an increasingly powerful marketing tool. Microsoft and Yahoo! both count more than 300 million users of their email services as of September 2011, and a comScore study shows that 20% of all emails are now read on smartphones. The take-home message from these numbers is that email is an essential marketing channel for your small business.
To get the most out of the email marketing opportunity, here are some tips to keep in mind:
1. Always Build Your List.
Email marketing is possible only if you have a collection of email addresses to reach out to. So the first step of getting more out of email marketing is to build your list. The simplest and perhaps most effective way of accomplishing this objective is to make it as easy as possible for individuals to opt-in to your list; putting a simple opt-in form on your website is an effective tactic in this regard. Also, bear in mind that individuals will be more likely to opt-in if they are rewarded for doing so; sending them free reports, free trials of products, or entering them into a raffle are ways of rewarding customers in the name of building your email list. Note that permission marketing runs parallel to email marketing; having your members opt-in to your email list ensures that you have their permission, which in turn increases the likelihood of your email marketing efforts yielding meaningful responses while also keeping you safe from spam filters.
2. Use Email List Management Software.
The rise in email marketing has been met by a number of companies (iContact, Constant Contact, MailChimp) that have created very affordable tools to help businesses manage their email lists. These tools can help marketers get an idea of how many members of their email list open emails, how many click on links, and other such data that can help marketers get data that lets them measure what is working and what is not. Moreover, advanced email management software will have even more functionality that allows emails to be automatically sent on a given schedule, and for emails to be customized based on how users interact with the email (whether they open it, if they click on a link, etc).
3. Use Email to Build Other Channels (Like Text Messaging).
The efforts marketers put toward building their email lists can also help them in other marketing channels -- like Facebook, Twitter or text messaging. For instance, allowing people to provide their mobile phone number to receive text messages when opting in to email lists is a way to "kill two birds with one stone" -- meaning build multiple marketing channels with the same amount of effort. In this way, email marketing can be the foundation of extraordinarily cost-effective marketing campaigns.
Ultimately, creativity is the only boundary that limits the possibilities marketers have with email marketing. As the Internet and smartphone usage grows, email may become the best method of reaching your prospective customers and marketing to your audience. From this perspective, getting the most out of email marketing efforts will become increasingly paramount.