July 13, 2021 | Written by Sarah Kordyban

Ultimate Guide to Email Marketing for Businesses

Email marketing is far from a new concept, so is it worth joining the game now? We still think so, in fact we use it ourselves. Here’s why. 

Email marketing is far from a new concept, so is it worth joining the game now? We still think so, in fact we use it ourselves. Here’s why. 

This form of marketing is still going strong and is still known as one of the best strategies for small business owners. Even compared to social media and search engine optimization. One of the main reasons is that people still use email more than any other platform, so you can reach your audience where they are. 

If you are new to email marketing, the concept may be overwhelming. For our first-time business owners here is a step-by-step to get you started. And if any difficulties arise, the Roadmap team is only a form away if you need additional assistance.  

1. Select a Platform

As your business grows, sending emails one by one to your customers can become an exhaustive task. The solution? An email marketing software such as HubSpot or MailChimp. To pick the right platform for your business goals, we recommend you consider the following factors:  

  • Budget – some platforms offer freemium versions up to a certain list size, which can be a great way to test the waters before committing to a platform.  
  • Growth potential – as your sales team grows, you might require an all-in-one platform that also manages your leads. Some platforms like HubSpot have many dashboards including, sales, marketing and social media. Holistic customer management solutions can become beneficial as your customer’s journey becomes more complex and involves many touchpoints that require monitoring.  
  • Automation – Automated features are helpful to follow up with customers that have recently purchased from your site, such as a “thank you for visiting” email. Depending on your offering, this feature might be a make-or-break feature in your decision.  

2. Consider Privacy Laws In Your Area

After selecting your platform, you will need to consider the privacy laws in your area. Nobody likes getting emails they never signed up for, so including opt-in features for your customers can ensure your abiding by legislation and not angering any prospects.  

Depending on your area, these regulations may include:  

CAN-SPAM: An American law monitoring unsolicited marketing efforts.  

GDPR: A legal framework in the European Union (EU) that sets guidelines for collecting personal information from individuals (such as you would with an email list).  

When it comes time to craft your email, ensure an unsubscribe button is visible. Although you might consider hiding the unsubscribe button clever, it may put you in direct conflict with certain laws in your area.  

3. Create Your Email List

Now comes the (more) fun part, building out your list of contacts. As a starting step, many businesses will add a pop-up banner or a form to the bottom of their home page asking people to subscribe for product or company updates.   

This is seemingly the easy part. The harder part is convincing people to hand over their emails to you. Some businesses will offer an incentive such as a download that is valuable to their target audience. For example, if you are marketing to social media managers, you might have a free download for a social media plan that can be received in exchange for a prospect's email. Alternatively, you may showcase the kind of content a user may expect from downloading, such as relevant industry information or coupons to try your offering.  

In combination with this, you will want to provide copy that convinces your customer to subscribe. If you aren’t a writer by nature, a freelance writer or agency may be able to support your “copy needs,” or you can test different versions of your text until you find one that works. 

4. Write Good Emails

As you start building your list, it is important to continue to provide value to your target audience until they are ready to make a purchase. Doing some customer research can help you provide information pertinent to your audience while showcasing your business as a trusted source. Each email should be more than a sales pitch, although a sales-y element should be included periodically.  

Additionally, if you have already set the expectation of what kind of information a subscriber will receive, it is important to deliver. For example, if you promised exclusive product updates or coupons, your subscribers may unsubscribe if you don’t include these features in your emails. 

5. Track Emails and Optimize  

Most platforms today will also provide information about your campaign, including the open rate (number of emails that were opened of the ones sent), unsubscribe rate (the number of people who unsubscribed from your emails) and the number of clicks (if links were included). After sending a few emails from your list, it is important to look for patterns in these numbers and the content. You may notice a headline with a secret tip gets more clicks than one with product updates. In this case, you may choose to tailor each headline accordingly. Alternatively, you may find listing product features results in the most unsubscribes from your list so you may consider tweaking the content or setting the expectation for this type of content before the user signs up. 

Email marketing has no right or wrong answers so what may work for one business may not work for you. That is to be expected! Keep trying and know that your efforts will certainly pay off. 

Have questions about email marketing or how this strategy may work with the rest of your marketing efforts?  




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