With no doubt, email marketing is one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools for businesses to build their brands and convert prospects into loyal customers. However, the process can be quite daunting for those with insufficient information on what to do. We are living in the era of one-click subscribe and one-click unsubscribe where customers are highly conscious of the methods used by marketers to promote their brands. How then can small businesses make the right connections without taking one step forward and two back?
Step 1: Build a database
With the customer awareness we have today, buying a prospect database is a bad idea that can only attract a bad reputation and avalanche of unsubscribes. Successful businesses actively capture the email addresses of both prospects and customers to build their database. Essentially, this includes anyone you come across.
When building a database, consider coming up with a single database that contains both sales and marketing information. This way, you can avoid duplication and errors and get to track interactions pretty much easily. A single database also enables your sales staff to get insights into the progress of all the past communications. For instance, they can see which emails prompted click-throughs and which did not.
Step 2: Create the right content
Remember that you don’t undertake email campaigns for the sake of it. There is a purpose which is to create a long-lasting relationship. Building such relationship is a process that can never be achieved by a one-time event. The process of building such relationship also requires that you don’t bombard people with blatant product sales. You need to create content that is interesting, insightful and demonstrates an unparalleled understanding of the market lest you turn people away.
Step 3: Use an email marketing tool
Running your marketing campaign once a month can be good enough. However, in every mailing, you have no choice but to manage all the inevitable email bounces and unsubscribes manually, something that can prove a nightmare to you. Email marketing tools come in handy to save you from stress and wasting your precious time. There are many low-cost tools available in the market and any of them can do. Some tools such as MailChimp can make much of the process automatic. Tools integrated with your CRM system are the best as they update your database automatically.
Step 4: Measure effectiveness
Measuring effectiveness of your campaigns is something you should take seriously as it is the only way you can know what to improve. Email marketing tools give you insights into how each email marketing campaign is faring, in particular through click-through rates (CTR). Integrating your email marketing tool with your CRM can add value to that information. It correlates the number of leads generated and sales closed, and this helps you to get the figure of the revenues generated through your campaign. This way, you are sure on what to do to improve your email marketing activities.
Step 5: Increase sophistication
As the business world continues growing more competitive, people are also changing their marketing strategies. There is a need to continue changing and improving your email marketing strategies once you have mastered the process of sending regular, relevant and interesting emails. You could consider splitting your campaigns between customers and prospects and making the message more appealing to each group.
If the business has enough insights to distinguish between hot and cold prospects in its database, it could consider sending emails at varying frequencies and looking for ways to create and stronger and frequent relationship with those on the verge of purchasing.
The key to success
You now appreciate why email marketing should be concerned with building long-term relationships and then closing the deals. Here, the key to success is getting the right processes in place from the start and then capitalize on the data to improve your returns on investment.