Getting Started with Email Marketing for Small Business

Confession time. I’m a bad marketer. I’ve been helping other businesses with their growth and marketing strategies for over a decade now, but ever since I went all in on my own business and went full time self-employed, I haven’t been following my own rules is very well and there is one major mega Mondo Cardinal marketing strategy that everybody should follow that I have failed to implement. I am shamefaced, but I’m turning a new leaf. I’m getting my act together.

Today we’re going to get you and me started with email marketing. Today is the beginning of a new day and you are going to help hold me accountable. Before I hit publish on this video.

I’m going to get everything set up so you can actually go sign up for my brand new Spanking email newsletter. Some of you heard email and thought, Isn’t it some crusty old people stuff? Do you need, like an eight track player to read those things? Why are you coming at us with email when there’s social media and Tik Tok and clubhouse and all these new platforms to you, I say, hang on for a second. Email has a lot more kick to it than you might realize.

Here’s a few stats to wet you whistle. In 2020, an average of 293.6 billion emails were sent every day. Now a lot of that was spam and some of those things were never read. But it just goes to show just how big and ubiquitous email is. It’s so ingrained in our daily routine.

We often check it without even realizing it. What was he saying? Another awesome stat for every $1 spent on email marketing, businesses can expect a $42 return on their investment. Now you got to put some work behind that $1. But email marketing is relatively inexpensive and it can yield huge returns.

49% of consumers have indicated they like receiving promotional emails from their favorite brands. Sending three abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than one single email. The average open rate for a welcome email is 82%. Emails with personalized subject lines generate 50% higher open rates. I’m going to share a few more of these stats in the link below.

It just goes to show that people use email and there are tactics and tricks that you can utilize that will get a lot more engagement and drive more sales for your business. Another huge thing to consider is renting versus owning your audience. Social media is great. Those platforms are incredibly helpful with getting you in front of people and engaging your audience. But you know as well as I do.

They’re changing all the time. They’re rolling out new features and shutting down other ones. Some entire platforms have disappeared overnight. Now what happens when the rules change and you can’t have access to your audience anymore? On those platforms, you have no say over what Facebook does.

And if Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter, gets in a horrible umbrella accident one day and you’re an umbrella salesman, wants to keep him from classifying umbrella sales pitches as hate speech, and now your account gets suspended. Now that’s an extreme and silly example. But the point stands, you’re just borrowing these platforms and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to reach your audience on them. Three months from now, you need something to fall back on. You need an email list.

Now, if you have an email list, you can take that to any number of services and start sending people messages directly to their inbox. Now, whether or not they’ll actually open and read and engage with your emails is another matter, but we can talk about that in a little bit. Okay, you convinced me email is valuable. I should do it. But how where do I get started?

First, let’s talk about different types of emails. You want to make sure that you’re using the right email for the right job, just like you wouldn’t want to use a screwdriver to hammer in a nail. There are three main types of emails. The first is transactional emails. These are pretty boring emails.

They are your order confirmation, your shipping notifications, your password resets, but don’t discount them. There are ways you could spruce them up to really improve your customer experience and give them more opportunities to do business with you. The second major type of email is the promotional email. This is your standard sales email, 20% off on pants this weekend. Act fast.

Don’t miss out. There are Flyers that hit your inbox and usually they fall under the promotions tab. If you’re using Gmail, these are your status quo emails for most businesses and marketers, and they’re effective at pushing people. I don’t mind learning about a major discount, say 40% on premium before this deal flies away. But don’t go too heavy on this because it can start to get a little spammy.

We should spend a little bit more time developing the third major email type content emails. This is where you can build a relationship with your customers by offering value to them, and you’re not necessarily asking for anything in return, at least not directly. You can highlight how your product or service is a solution to their problem, but do it in a way where you’re not necessarily saying, but learn more about all of these things that you can do to improve your situation. Here’s one I just received from Autonomous.

They make standing desks.

There’s an article about aesthetic desk setup for minimal workspace design, and it links to a blog article. They also have other blog posts here. Hybrid remote working model what every HR professionals should know. So that’s not even necessarily about desks, but it speaks to the audience that they serve. People who are working from home, and a standing desk can certainly benefit them.

Another example is so far they have a daily news email that drops with market recaps top stories about what’s happening around the world. Business Issues Here is a helpful article about understanding credit card interest. They are providing free resources to you to kind of establish themselves as somebody who actually cares about the wellbeing of their customers. Now, contact emails take a lot of work to produce, but they can do a great job at building rapport with their customers. This is why 49% of people don’t mind getting emails from brands that they like, keyword brands they like in order to be liked.

You need to be likable if you’re just walking around and every time you’re hanging out with your friend, you’re asking them for $5. They’re not going to want to hang out with you very often, but instead, every time you catch up with your friends at the bar and you’re like, hey, I know you’re going through this problem. I just learned about this thing that could be really helpful, and you have a conversation about something that actually matters to them and is useful to them. You’re a good friend.

Maybe they’ll buy you a drink.

Now, another major thing to keep in mind when you’re sending emails to people is permission. They have to want to hear from you, and they have to have indicated that somehow whether they directly subscribed for your e newsletter or they made a purchase from you and they checked a box and said, Please send me more emails and updates from this company. But if you just grab some names and you start talking at them, you’re basically walking in in the middle of conversations uninvited, and you’re going to get unsubscribed or worse, spammed real fast.

There’s actually laws in place that prohibit you or severely limit how you can reach out to people that haven’t given you permission to reach out to them. If you break these policies, it can really hurt your reputation score, which is something that email services track, and it can affect your ability to deliver emails in the future to anybody, even if you do get their permission.

So you want to make sure you’re following the guidelines. The good thing is most reputable email services that you’ll use to send emails will help walk you through all of this, and they’ll make sure that you don’t break the rules. They’ll automatically add an unsubscribe button and all the information you need to be in compliance with Camp spam laws. They’ll keep track of unsubscribes and not let you send to people who said, don’t send to me because that’s a big one. Again, think of this in terms of talking to real human beings.

If you walk up to somebody at a party and you’re like, hey, how are you doing they’re like, don’t talk to me, please. And you say, hey, how are you doing again? You want to buy an umbrella, they’re going to throw their drink in your face and everybody around them isn’t going to want to talk to you either. So all of this is well and good and good to know. But how do you get started?

Sorry, I’ve been burying the lead on this one. I’ll try to keep this as simple as possible. I’m going to tell you what I’m going to do to get myself started. How about that? And then we can dig into how to actually build out some nurturing campaigns and sales campaigns in another video, the very first thing you have to do is sign up for an email service.

Now there’s a ton of email services and all of them have slightly different feature sets that cater to specific use cases. Let’s not complicate things. There are two services you should take a look at and pick between if you’re just getting started. The first one is MailChimp. Hey, say Hello to Freddie.

They’ve been around for a while and they offer a free plan to help you get started. I will say they’ve kind of grown and complicated their platform in the past and you don’t get as much out of their free plan nowadays. And personally, I like the second option. You should check out Mailer Light. They also have a free plan.

It’s just easy to use if you’re just getting started. It’s hard to mess up using Mailer Light, so check them out. I’ll put a link below, and if you use my link, you can get a free trial of their premium features to check out just how powerful it is. You open up an account with an email marketing service like Mailer Light, like MailChimp like Active Campaign, like any of the millions of months out there. Now what now you start building your list, or maybe you’ve just been writing them down in an Excel spreadsheet.

But if you already have contacts, you can import them into your email service. If you don’t already have contacts, then most of these services will have a widget that you can embed on your website where people can plug in their email address, first name, last name, and sign up for your newsletter. Now we’ll talk about incentivizing subscriptions and building lead generators in another video. But a couple of quick and easy ways to get people to sign up for your newsletter is to offer a discount or a quick little freebie, a free quote.

If they plug in their email, you don’t want to just say sign up for my newsletter so you can learn more about me.

I don’t care. It really hardly ever works. You need to offer something in return for them to be willing to park with their precious contact information and to give you permission to start taking up space in their email inbox discount code, a free trial, free consultation or quote are just a couple of places where you can start now. Once they subscribe, what do you do? You send them a welcome email.

Thank them for joining and let them know what they can expect from you in the future. Be sure to include social media links so they can find you everywhere and you can keep popping up on their radar wherever they go and tell them what you want them to do. If there’s a next step you want them to take, make that clear to them. Also, on a technical note, they might need to double opt in before they can receive any more emails from you. Some email services are going to require them to click on a button or a link in that first email to confirm that they did.

In fact, sign up for that newsletter that protects the customers and all of us from somebody taking our contact information and subscribing us to a newsletter that we don’t want to be on. So Congratulations. You just started email marketing. Now, what happens after that? You need to continue to be in touch with them.

You need to plan in advance what you are going to be sending them on at least semi regular basis. Remember, you’re building a relationship with a human being, and hopefully it’s a long term relationship. Before I asked my wife to marry me, I had to get to know her. We spent a lot of time together just having friendly chats and learning about each other. I didn’t just talk about myself.

I talked about things that mattered to her and I got to know her deeper. Email marketing isn’t the same as Courting Your bride, but it is not very different. Don’t lose sight that you’re talking to actual people with actual problems that you want to actually help. Hopefully, if you don’t actually want to help them, then don’t bother with any of this. So I would say for your second email for your follow up, give them something that’s valuable and establish yourself as someone they can trust and who cares about you.

And then you can build on your email marketing strategy from there. There’s a ton of other stuff that I could have covered, other best practices and tips to make sure that your emails are punchy and effective and engaging, that you’re not breaking any laws. But I’m just going to stop here for now because the main thing you have to do that I need to do is get started.

So… go! Get started!

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