As a small business owner, you already have too much on your plate.
When it comes to digital marketing for your business, you’ll probably end up with the paradox of choice.
Should you focus your efforts on SEO? Should you invest in Paid advertising? On social media? Or on Content marketing? What exactly should you put your limited resources on so that you get the maximum gains from what you’ll put in?
That’s a tough question to answer. But if there’s anything that really makes you money (say $32 from every $1 you invest), it’s email marketing.
Why Email Marketing?
Email marketing is an easy, effective, high-impact, and dependable way to do marketing for your business.
As Peter Roesler of Inc writes, Email marketing makes it easy to reach out to your potential (and existing customers) while they are not ready to buy yet.
For businesses, it’s also easy to drive sales using coupons or offers within the email. Further, email marketing also happens to be the least expensive (while being the most effective) digital marketing channel available for businesses, according to a study by Forrester and Shop.org.
According to Nielsen, 28 percent of online shoppers subscribe to store or product emails simply to stay informed. Another 27% of online shoppers stay subscribed to emails to save money (thanks to exclusive email-only offers that brands make).
Then, let’s take a practical outcome of your available marketing avenues:Ultimate Resource Kit
If you published blog posts continuously, you’ll start getting a steady stream of visitors to your blog (and also to your website). As they read and then leave, you have nothing to keep them engaged with your business after they leave.
Let’s say that you also share your content on social media (and even manage to generate buzz for your products and services). The average shelf life of a social media update is about one hour, more or less. This means that most social media users will forget about your brand (and your products and services) sooner than you think.
Further, as a business, you want to generate leads so that you can make sales.
Email marketing is a way for you to capture the names and addresses of your potential customers in a bid to send them more information, insights, tips, and occasional offers to them later, on an ongoing basis (for as long as they remain subscribed to your email list).
When potential visitors to your website sign up (exchanging their email address), you are essentially building a captive audience — an audience that’s interested in what you have to offer, what you are giving away, and the tips or insights you share. This is, in essence, a much more receptive audience to sell to.
This audience that not only visits your website but also signs up to your email list is indicating that they like your brand and that they want to know more about you. Your audience wants you to educate, teach, and inspire.
Eventually, if they like you enough or when they need your products or services, they’ll turn into customers.
What is email marketing? How does it Work?
Email marketing is a digital marketing channel that works in the line of “permission marketing” popularized by Seth Godin — author of popular books such as Purple Cow, The Tribe, and more.
Permission marketing involves getting the attention of your prospective visitors, entice them to sign up for something free (such as a free trial of your product, a free lead magnet such as an eBook or a whitepaper, or free access to an online course).
When people sign up for what you have to offer, they are an audience that has given you permission to send them more information (including information, tips, insights, videos, blurbs, snippets, and more).
Since you managed to get their attention already (and because you have their email address), you can continue to stay in touch with them through email and drive them to take action (such as to make a purchase, sign up for your SaaS product, download your app, and more) later, whenever they are ready to do so.
How does a typical Email Marketing Workflow look like?
When you get traffic (people) to your website through organic means (blogging, content marketing, SEO, and social media) or If you launch paid advertising campaigns (Google Ads, Facebook Ads, etc.), your window of opportunity is short.
You’ll need to make your efforts count. But given that the average web user’s ever-decreasing attention spans, you’ll need to capture their email address first so that you can continue to keep nurturing your potential customers until they make their purchases.
As such, you’d still grow your subscriber list by giving away a coupon for 15% off on your products (if you are an eCommerce store as shown below).
In the example below, you can see how your potential customer can potentially click on a Google Ad for “Dog Apparel” who’ll land on a “landing page” (which is a focused page with a single call to action).
If and when people sign up for the 15% coupon code, an automatic email is triggered which welcomes the new potential customers, delivers the coupon code (15% OFF), includes a Call to action (button) for them to click through and go to the eCommerce store. This email also primes up the new lead (person) for them to receive more emails (sent automatically after this email).
A sequence of emails will then follow this first email (also called as a welcome email or the first email of an onboarding email sequence or a lead nurturing sequence).
Each of these emails that subscribers receive is designed, written, and published in a way that helps you generate sales through emails.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing?
If you had to make email marketing work, however, you’d need a way to get relevant, engaged, and interested people to visit your website first.
Before you do anything else…
Step 1: You need traffic (visitors) to your website
Start with organic marketing (blogging, content marketing, and social media) to start generating traffic to your website. If you have means to spend on paid advertising, you may launch paid campaigns on Facebook and Google as well.
Or wait till your organic marketing gets you results before launching campaigns. The point is that you need some traffic (people visiting your website) so that you can grow your email list first.
Without traffic, anything else you’ll do to make your email marketing work is going to be abortive.
Step 2: Sign Up With an Email Service Provider (connected to the lead magnet)
With any of the above email service providers, you’ll get access to everything you need for email marketing.
Once you get access to a robust, easy-to-use, and capable email marketing service provider, you are all set to start building your email list (a list of visitors to your website who actually sign up for something that you are giving away for free. This, for them and you, is the start of a relationship).
You can send one-time campaigns, full-fledged autoresponder sequences, dynamic emails, scheduled emails, eCommerce emails, and so much more.
Step 3: Set up Lead Generation Forms
As people visit your website, you’ll need a way to capture their email address (nothing is possible further without actually getting their email address). This is the start of your relationship.
Just like a first date, you’d have to make a teeny-weeny pitch about why they should sign up and give their email address to you.
The usual way this is done is to give away a lead magnet (a simple downloadable or something that you can deliver by email as soon as they sign up).
Step 4: Create Pop-ups For Building Your List
Most email service providers provide you with tools using which you can easily create stunning looking Pop-ups that are designed to capture leads (and hence help you grow your email list).
Think of an appropriate and relevant offer you can make to your website visitors. Will you package information and give it away as a lead magnet? Planning to deliver a free online course? Would you like to extend special discounts to your website (or eCommerce store visitors)?
Once you decide the offer, head to your Pop-up editor within Elementor Pro account, use the easy to use editor, drag and drop elements of the pop-up (such as images, email fields, and the text), and your pop-up is ready.
Here are several other lovely tools you can use for creating pop-ups:
Step 5: Create a Lead Magnet To Entice Your Visitors
Lead magnets are just what you think they are: Content packed as a PDF document, a set of videos, access to a free membership, or access to a free trial of your product.
As soon as your visitors arrive on your website, you can display pop-ups on your site that’ll allow your visitors to sign up. Or you could use slide-ins. Perhaps you’ll have opt-in forms under every blog post.
Your visitors, if they are interested, will sign up for something that you are giving away. The actual lead magnet(s) you’ll create really depends on your business.
Some businesses operating on the SaaS freemium model of business (such as software that you can try for free and purchase if needed) can just send in login instructions for logging in and instructions for use).
If you are sending out an eBook, a set of free videos, or an online course, provide instructions on how to get access to such information.
You don’t have to spend days to create lead magnets — a simple PDF checklist, a set of already created videos, or a simple online course can work as great lead magnets for your business.
Step 6: Compile your first autoresponder (automatic email)
Thanks to email service providers like Drip, MailChimp, Convertkit, and others, you’ll have ways to build your list. Your new subscribers are automatically populated(and even segmented appropriately, depending on how you set it up).
For every person who signs up to your list, an automatic email (also called an autoresponder) is sent out immediately.
Automatic email responders will automatically be triggered to deliver exactly what you promised your visitors.
Depending on your business, you could possibly send out:
- The coupon code you promised
- Access to a free trial of your product
- Instructions on how to get started with your services
- Access to a lead magnet (free eBook, free videos, free online courses)
Following the first email, you can (and should) send out further emails in a sequence. Which leads us to…
Step 7: Add more emails to your autoresponder sequence (5:1 ratio)
After the first email in your autoresponder series goes out (above), you’ll need a string of emails designed to keep your leads engaged. The usual way to do that is to provide subscriber-exclusive information (such as tips and insights) in sequence.
The 5:1 ratio means that for every five emails you’ll send that are full of tips and information, you can send out at least one email that’s designed to get you direct sales.
In a way, your sequence could look like this:
Email 1: Welcome email (with a lead magnet/coupon delivery, if any)
Email 2: Information-based email
Email 3: More information
Email 4: Tips & Insights
Email 5: Sales-driven email (with an offer or a direct call to action for a sale).
Understanding how Email Marketing Makes Money (With a hypothetical example)
Let’s say that you grow your email list to around 1000 active and engaged subscribers. Each of these subscribers gets those five emails (above) in a sequence. Assume that only 1% of your entire list will actually click on the fifth email and will proceed to make a purchase. Say that you sell a product (or service) for $49.
1% of 1000 = 10 subscribers x $49 (one-time) = $490.
Your fifth email in the sequence has the potential to make you $490 instantly assuming only 1% of your subscribers proceed to click and make a purchase.
Now, imagine if your email list had 10,000 subscribers or 100,000 subscribers (or if a higher percentage of subscribers click through and make a purchase).
How would those numbers look like for your own email marketing?Ultimate Resource Kit
Hey! Just want to get this out of the way. Some of the links in the blog post (and/or videos) are affiliate links. This means that I’d earn beer money if you ever decide to purchase any of the tools, products, services, plugins, or anything else I could be linking to. For more details, please do read my affiliate disclosure policy.