Email marketing is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, using email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current customer could be considered email marketing. It usually involves using email to send advertisements, request business, or solicit sales or donations, and is meant to build loyalty, trust, or brand awareness. Marketing emails can be sent to a purchased lead list or a current customer database. The term usually refers to sending email messages with the purpose of enhancing a merchant's relationship with current or previous customers, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business, acquiring new customers or convincing current customers to purchase something immediately, and sharing third-party ads.
A good-performing website converts between 7-14% of visitors and is optimized toward this goal. A lot of people think that beautiful websites are better, but studies show that even ugly, but functional websites can be just as successful, if not more successful at converting leads. My basic strategy for optimizing website conversions for lead generation in the B2B space is to:
Survey findings from The Alternative Board (TAB) on B2B sales revealed that 64% of business owners prefer personal trial and error when making a purchase. B2B companies can increase the leads coming from their website by offering a demo or trial version of their service. The best way to set this up is with several calls to action (CTAs) throughout the site that lead to a landing page offering the free demo/trial.
Lead generation is the process of transforming a new visitor into someone who actively shows interest in your product or service. It’s like hitting “go” on the conversion process. When it comes to effective lead generation, brands need to consider not only how they’re going to capture attention, but how they’re going to captivate their audience in such a way that it inspires further engagement.
According to research from Clutch, newsletters are the most popular type of email, with 83 percent of companies sending them. These emails are typically sent on a consistent schedule (weekday mornings tend to be the most popular with brands) and will often contain either content from the company blog or website, links curated from other sources, or both. A newsletter might also contain upcoming events or webinars, news from your company, or other updates. Whether you create or curate your newsletter content, it should first and foremost be relevant and valuable to your audience.
Email marketing messages can also help you increase traffic to your website. You can link to relevant website content within your email message or craft a compelling CTA that asks readers to head back to your website to take a specific action. If you really want to make your CTA stand out, you may want to use a colorful button, which makes it easy as possible for readers to take notice of your CTA and make their way back to your website.
Don’t have anything like Shark Tank to associate with your name? Any reputable source can help. It can be as a simple stating a fact along with “According to the Wall Street Journal, …” Or “Recently published in the Harvard Business Review, …” Which name you drop depends on your audience. WSJ and Harvard will mean something to some. Others might find these sources pretentious. Above all, know your audience.
Email marketing is relatively inexpensive when compared to other traditional marketing tactics such as direct mail and print media. While these traditional print marketing tactics require you to spend money on printing and advertising space, email marketing requires only a small investment of time and resources in developing effective content. In addition to relatively low operational costs, email marketing also provides an attractive return on investment (ROI). According to one report from DBS Data, businesses can expect an average return of $38 for every $1 they spend on email marketing.
Mark Sallows is a writer for Fit Small Business specializing in sales and marketing topics. Before helping other small business owners, Mark was co-founder and CEO of a successful digital publishing start-up called Turtl. Mark has also served as a non-executive director in several early stage media, marketing, and tech businesses. Before this he was an early stage venture capital investor for a global investment business. Mark lives in New Forest, a scenic area in Southern England.
At Optimizely, we’ve seen our partner co-marketing channel bring a tremendous amount of value for effectively driving net new qualified leads from our website and in other venues. These in-person and online events have driven us thousands of leads at a low cost and also have added benefits of expanding our brand to new markets and strengthening our overall partnership strategy.
The first benefit of email marketing is that email integrates easily with other marketing channels. For example, you can repurpose content from your email marketing campaigns into quick and effective social media posts to multiply your reach, without having to reinvent the wheel again and again. Data collection, sharing, and other features are also typically maintained with email, which makes for accurate and uninterrupted tracking and measuring.
Also, another reason why this kind of marketing is important for any business and should not be ignored and forgotten is that it is very inexpensive. You can incorporate it into any kind of marketing plan that your business might have, without having any additional costs. This way, if you get anything from email marketing, you will, basically, get something for nothing. Creating profit, without spending any money, is something that every serious business will take into consideration.
Look for a point of diminishing returns. Where are your campaign investments providing value? At Marketo, inbound strategies like content marketing are the strongest channels, and should be maximized to a point; but beyond that, inbound tactics need to be supplemented with outbound, paid channels in order to create sustainable demand and generate new leads from your website.
Companies also need to map out the customer’s journey across their marketing funnel. It’s almost like leaving breadcrumbs for your customer—after they look at your services, where do you want them to go? Leave “breadcrumbs” like a downloadable piece of collateral or invite them to sign up for a newsletter. Once you figure out the ideal new customer journey, you can measure where users drop off and improve your site accordingly.
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Campaign Monitor customer Rip Curl utilized segmentation and dynamic content to deliver the right message to the right person. For example, they know the gender of their subscribers and where they are located geographically, so they can ensure that females in the United States receive a promotion about bathing suits during the summer months and males in Australia receive an email about wetsuits during the winter months.
As advertisers have shifted more and more of their efforts online, they have tried to find ways to use the strategies developed in print advertising in new online environments. Most of the traffic once handled by the postal service now happens over email, creating a new method of direct marketing. Today, the average marketer sends 64 emails to their customers every year.
One of the greatest advantages of email marketing is that it allows marketers to send targeted messages. Print, radio and television ads are broadcast indiscriminately and frequently reach consumers who have no interest in the product offered. But email marketing allows companies to tailor certain ads to certain customers. If a customer has shopped for a brand of shoes in the past, companies can email them coupons for that same brand knowing that they have already expressed an interest.
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Once you've tested the entire roster of emails listed above, you'll see that subscribers respond to some emails more than others. Don't be surprised if they're not just looking out for discounts. After all, email marketing is really about building a long term relationship with your subscribers. That kind of relationship-building requires more planning and variety. In return, you'll get better brand recall and customer loyalty.