Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools at your disposal, provided you are using the right tools for the job.
Recently, one of our clients called us in a panic. Their network had slowed down to a crawl. Our IT support team investigated further, and the issue surprised us.
A mass marketing email had been sent to hundreds of customers via Outlook. While the concept was right, the execution was a lesson for this client.
Over the past few years, I have been helped build and grow small businesses using email marketing. I thought I’d share some really simple tips on CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platforms, and a slideshow to show you what MailChimp can look like.
In a recent study, 40% of B2B Marketers found that leads generated by email marketing were high quality– exceeding all other channels (Source: Software Advice Survey)
Now we use MailChimp ourselves, and it’s very powerful. Even better, if your database is quite small, it’s actually free. I’ve put together a 3 minute slide show at the bottom of this post on how even a non-marketer/tech can set up and design their first email marketing campaign with MailChimp.
Just some of the uses for email marketing:
- Delivering value, showing off your content (to customers and leads alike)
- Promotions, affiliate marketing, or special offers, both to your lists and to partners list (joint ventures)
We could look at the advantages of using a CRM over Outlook for email marketing, but that would be like comparing a wood axe to a potato peeler. They are both cutting tools, but designed for very different purposes.
Here are some great reasons to use a CRM:
CRM’s are designed to handle sending anything from a few hundred emails, to 100,000+ emails. If you did this in Outlook, your network (and probably our IT Support team) would have a mini heart attack. It would bring your email host down to a standstill, or use up all your bandwidth. Instead, CRM’s are solidly built to maximise the likelihood of your emails being delivered on time, and that they reach their destination
This feature allows you to get really creative. Let me explain with an example. If you run a website that sells cat and dog accessories and someone opts in to download an Ebook on ‘Treating dogs for worms’, they can be added to a ‘dog owner’ email segment so that they receive only relevant emails on that topic. Not only are recipients going to be more likely to open, read, and click through your emails– you’ll also save a lot of time and money by targeting the right messages to the right people.
Email addresses on your list that bounce are cleaned up automatically. The powers that be mark domains with consistently high bounce rates as ‘spammers’ , which can mean your genuine marketing campaigns never hit their targets.
The three most important metrics for email marketing are:
Open rates – what % of recipients opened their email. For example, if you sent an email to a list of 300 email addresses and 30 opened your email, that would give you an open rate of 10%. This is only tracked if recipients are viewing an HTML email (not text-only) as the way this is tracked is using a special invisble pixel that relays the data back to the CRM platform.
CTR (Click Through Rates) – of those recipients who opened your email, how many clicked a link within your email?
Conversions – while this isn’t tracked within your CRM, data can be passed onto Google Analytics which allows you to then track conversions generated by email marketing campaigns. Conversions could mean purchases, downloads— really anything you want to track on your website.
Testing variations of subject lines or ‘from’ senders. While it might sound trivial, changing these up can have huge impacts on open rates (and as we now know, your conversions and bottom line). In fact, a study by Chadwick Martin Bailey found that 47% of respondents admitted to opening an email based on the subject line.
An auto-responder lets you create a series of emails that can be triggered by certain events, normally with a specific timeline in mind to take a certain action (purchase, request a call, etc). Let’s say that you have a free Ebook available for download on your website. All you ask in exchange is their email address.
Research company Epsilon found that triggered emails have nearly double the click through rate as mass emails.
Rather than spamming your entire list with a promotion that may not be relevant to them, you have offered something of value and then provided a targeted promotional message that they would genuinely consider.
Email scheduling allows you to ‘set and forget’ emails to be sent at specific times and dates. This becomes important when you learn that open rates can vary dramatically depending on when they email is sent. Check out this article to find out the best and worst times to send emails (as well as do social media updates).
If the above sounds good, we strongly recommend checking out a CRM. Some of the best that I’ve used (in order of cost) are MailChimp, Sendpepper, Office Autopilot and SalesForce. If you decide on MailChimp, scroll down a little further and check out a 3 minute slide show that shows you just how easy it is to set up your first email campaign the proper way.