Why you should be using email marketing for your business – Athlone Chamber Marketing Series

In this instalment of The Marketing Series, we will explain the fundamentals of email marketing, what it is and how to use it. As many of our members and business’ in Athlone and its environs have entered the digital sphere, whether that be by creating social media accounts, creating a website, using local enterprise grants to start trading online or generating brand awareness through online advertising, a common mistake which many of our business’ make is overlooking the power of email marketing to generate sales leads and new and returning customers. Email marketing is a tried and tested means of Marketing your business digitally simply because of its effectiveness in attracting and retaining customers to your business. Email marketing is also a great way to create and maintain customer loyalty and advocacy which is very important when trading in small areas such as Athlone.

Email marketing has many other benefits also such as :

  • Relatively cheap to create and send
  • Highly measurable – You know who’s opening what and when
  • Creates trust and builds relationships which is invaluable to our small business in the town
  • Highly profitable due to its cheap costs
  • Easy to set up and manage – Services such as Mailchimp make it very easy to start.
  • No steep learning curve – Most business owners can create email newsletters by repurposing their social media posts ect.

But how do I get my customers emails?

Capturing emails on your website is one of the easiest methods of generating a user base for email marketing. Set up a newsletter box on your website for people to sign up to, these are easy to find in most content management systems and there are many website plugins which can enable this feature also!. You will be amazed how this simple action can lead to greater profitability when you market to a list that has already show interest in what you have to offer.

There are many free and low-priced email marketing syatems to help you easily generate a weekly newsletter or special offer newsletter such as Mailchimp and Aweber. These systems make setting up an email marketing campaign or weekly newsletter easy . If you are not capturing emails on your website, then you are missing out on a big opportunity to increase sales or leads for your business.

There are many free plug-ins on platforms like WordPress and Squarespace such as Mailmunch that will help you to capture your customers’ emails and then market to them your products or services through email. Most small to medium size companies in Ireland find that the return on investment for email marketing is unrivalled by any other form of inline marketing such as ay per click ads or social media ads especially for business whos customer base are businesses.

When generating your email, always keep in mind that you are trying to get prospective customers to follow the link back to your website, and so you should include a big benefit such as a sale or discount code in  the email to see results. If you are trying to get users to buy a product, make sure you put in the link for that page and not the homepage as people are more likely to get unmotivated to buy the longer they have to click through to your basket.

Your subject line is the most important aspect of your email, it is what will make customer either open your email or not. As customers are likely getting many emails per day, you will have a much better chance of getting them to open your email if you use incentivising phrases such as – Sale now on, hurry ends today, just for you. When getting customers to open your email you must think of their train of thought, some companies use lines such as “do not open this email” to entice customers to open it. You will know what will entice your customer to open something but always remember to keep it incentivised or its most likely to fail.

Emails should be targeted at your customers when they are most likely to open and respond. Timing includes specific hours of the day when your recipients are

available and also days of the weeks that have a higher response rate in your industry. After a few weeks of email marketing, you will be able to check this information. Use this information to guide when you send your emails in future and check this on occasion to see fi there are any updates in your customers preference. Many larger companies in Athlone will be emailing other companies or customers abroad, this means that they will also have to account for time-zone differences and what times work best for the customers culture which you are trying to target.

The design of your email marketing should be consistent with your physical presence such as your shopfront, current physical marketing, social media and branding ect. If you are running a campaign offline, use the same branding and style for your email marketing campaign so both appear connected to the customer.

The content of your email should be of a high standard and appeal to your audience. Put simply, if your marketing Agri-products, no need for Shakespearean quotes. Similarly, if your marketing high end jewellery, best not to engage in slang words. Keep in mind a well written subject line is also best to avoid your email being caught by spam filters, and always always incentivise the customer throughout the email! Copywriting is a skill and if doing so helps your business, you should hire or engage with a professional to produce your text. Websites such as Fiverr and Upwork offer this at very affordable rates.

If you are using your email marketing to create a landing page or microsite that recipients click-through to ensure these are well designed and relate to the content in your email. Include the offers and promotions you outlined in your emails. This will reduce the amount of people who will leave your website as they do not get the content they expect to see. Many websites use landing pages which mirror the layout, colour and image of the website as this increases trust with recipients and increases brand awareness.

For your email marketing to be successful, your products and promotions should meet the needs and desires of your target market. If you have generated a list of emails from your website, it is very important to segment these emails into different user groups. For example, if your product is targeted at teenagers, sending it to all emails will not generate the results you are hoping for. By breaking down email lists into different audience groups (such as students, golfers, coffee drinkers) you will yield better results and more engagement with your customers

Email is much cheaper than other direct marketing tactics like direct mail because there is no cost of postage or costs to create leaflets, letters, brochures and other promotional materials. The only costs you are likely to incur are from email platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact.

Email is primarily a direct response medium and it’s used much less for creating awareness of your brand or business. As a direct response medium, it encourages immediate action like making a purchase from your website. People who sign up to your emails usually have one goal in mind – to receive discounts, for product notifications, get coupons, receive deals – and any other offers that they can purchase, download, acquire, etc. So, all email communications should have a call to action, and this includes links to your website where they can place an order or a telephone number in the email to contact your business and place an order. However, there are a variety of different calls to action such as “visit our website”, “call now” , “get your discount code today”, and it all depends on your business sector and industry.

Email marketing can be implemented very quickly by using the many templates that are ready-made to create effective emails for your business. You can also create custom templates in Mailchimp and use them regularly to promote your offers. You can use these templates while still personalising your emails by adding elements such as

  • the recipient’s name
  • offers they are interested in or likely to be interested in
  • time when they receive emails
  • frequency of communications and much more.

For businesses of all sizes and sectors, a regular newsletter is an effective way to keep in touch with customers, employees, suppliers, investors and other target audiences. You can create a targeted newsletter for each of these stakeholders to keep them engaged and build relationships that will be profitable for your business.

Creating a newsletter is easy, and you can add an opt-in form to your website that has a good incentive and then create newsletter templates in your email program (Constant Contact, Mailchimp, etc.) and send a newsletter once a month, once a week or whenever is best for your target audience. (Don’t send too many as this may irritate your audience and encourage them to unsubscribe!)

With an in-house list, you can quickly promote offers that have a limited time and increase sales for a very low cost. Emails are cheap to send out, and they are able to grab the recipient’s attention and lead to a high conversion rate especially if they offer great value to your target customers.

Some of your loyal customers will from time-to-time lapse, and it’s important that you keep in touch with them and encourage repeat purchases through incentives. You can segment these customers and send automated messages reminding them of the benefits of shopping with your business and incentivize them with a voucher to encourage a purchase.

If you have any queries about setting up email marketing or implementing it as part of your marketing strategy , contact us today and we can help you with this along with any other business advice you may require.

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