Email Marketing Tips for the Progressive Entrepreneur
If you own a business or individual trying to promote your professional services, there are lots of marketing methods you can try – social media campaigns, print advertising, word of mouth, a website, and radio and television commercial slots. Unfortunately, these marketing techniques are costly, and few show a high return on investment for small, local businesses.
If you just entered your industry – whether it be law, real estate, contracting, retail, or another industry – there ARE effective ways to break into the market without breaking the bank.
In recent years, email marketing has taken an unexpected and effective turn. More progressive marketing techniques are providing as a great, affordable option for local businesses and professionals looking to tackle advertising in their specific industries. Rather than SPAM email marketing which took off in earlier years, this strategy involves personalized, prospect-nurturing – which makes your contacts feel welcomed, updated, and valued.
Creating a Prospect List
Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur, running a hobby-like business, or an experienced industry professional, the first step to progressive email marketing is the same. Creating your prospect list can be an overwhelming task. However, you can gather more emails than you may think.
Who Are You Targeting?
Are you a local business? If your average consumer is in your local area or in surrounding cities, it’s probably best to invest most into these customers. Not only will these customers be most likely to turn into sales, but these prospects have a chance to connect with you on a more personal level – whether face-to-face or by identifying you as a local native of the area.
If you’re targeting more than one area, it might be valuable to keep two or more separate lists – so you can tailor your message to consumers in each geographical target area.
In addition to locational marketing, gender may play a substantial role in “who” your target consumer is. You may not want to target only a specific demographic, but keeping this in mind will help you determine your best prospect.
For example, if your main line of business at your hair salon is female between the age of 18 and 45, your marketing techniques may not be the same as Sports Clips, who handles mostly a male clientele.
Without a doubt, younger and older generations think differently, and thus respond differently to different marketing materials. CEO & Founder of Comm100, Kevin Gao, explains that “younger demographics respond to pop-culture references and more salacious verbiage and imagery [while] older demographics prefer classic references and milder marketing materials” (“List Segmentation by Demographics”). Taking a different perspective on product sales and service marketing will help boost your sales conversions for both of these groups.
Spam email marketing has given email marketing a bad reputation. When done right, an email marketing campaign can improve business sales and consumer satisfaction. To do so, it’s important to know the basics behind the CAN-SPAM Act and how to safely comply with these restrictions.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has provided seven great tips to businesses for complying with Can-Spam laws. Follow these, and you’re in the clear.
- Don’t use false or misleading header information
- Don’t use deceptive subject lines
- Identify the message as an ad
- Tell recipients where you’re located
- Tell recipients how to opt out of receiving future email from you
- Honor opt-out requests promptly
- Monitor what others are doing on your behalf
If your name is Joe and you are the owner of Joe’s Computers, don’t send an email with “From: Nancy”. Keeping your sender information clear and unambiguous will prevent legal issues, and it will create trust between you and your clients.
If you’re advertising your computer repair services and your email subject line is “FREE Laptop Computer”, you’re likely to get complaints from your email clients.
If you’re a local business, or even a national corporation, sharing your business address is required by Can-Spam law. Luckily, most email marketing providers, such as Mailchimp, enforce this rule. Usually, this involves putting your business address in the footer of your email.
Unsubscribes from email recipients are unavoidable. However, sending the right content and nurturing your prospects will help prevent high unsubscribe rates.
Most email marketing providers automatically include an unsubscribe button for your email campaigns. If you’re sending from a personal email, be sure to include an obvious unsubscribe option for your recipients.
According to the FTC, the rule states that you “must honor a recipient’s opt-out request within 10 business days”. Be polite, non-intrusive, and timely with individuals that wish to unsubscribe from your emails to avoid any unnecessary trouble.
Depending on your industry, verbiage and product descriptions may play a legal role. If you’re outsourcing your email marketing service to an outside company or individual, it’s important to keep track of what’s being sent out to avoid any legal mishaps.
Keeping Your Prospects Healthy
When email marketing is done incorrectly, your email provider can spam you, ban you from their service, or even completely remove your ability to add new subscribers. To avoid this outcome, it’s important to keep your prosect lists in check. Along with regular monitoring of subscriber engagement, double opt-ins, unsubscribe and bounce management are essential for prospect list health.
An opt-in is where an individual voluntarily joins an email list. This is the safest way of adding new prospects to your database. Although they are similar, a double opt-in is much different than an opt-in or confirmed opt-in.
Mailchimp, a major email marketing provider used by a variety of users, defines a double opt-in as sending “a confirmation email with a link that they must click before they’re added to your list” (“Opt-in vs. Confirmed Opt-in vs. Double Opt-in”). Not only do double opt-ins have great non-spam benefits for consumers and competitor schemes, but the prospects that result from double opt-ins are up to 20% more likely to turn into sales. That’s right – twenty percent.
If you choose to use an email marketing program, such as Mailchimp, Constant Contact, or Comm100, it’s likely that your unsubscribed contacts will be taken care of for you.
To prevent high unsubscribe rates, it may be valuable to try the following:
- Provide options for a different email frequency, such as every two weeks
- Try a different method of prospect communication, such as social media interaction
- Ask for feedback from your unsubscribers
- Clean your email prospect lists via software or by checking email addresses manually.
- Test emails in your prospect list via a third-party bounce email checker, such as NeverBounce.
- Give your recipients the option to change their email address if needed via account management. This feature is available through most email marketing systems.
Some companies deal with higher hard email bounce rates than others. A “hard bounce is when the email was not sent because the email doesn’t exist, either because the user typed it incorrectly or used a fake address” (“5 Quick and Simple Tips to Reduce Email Bounce Rates”). To prevent email bounce rates, remember to:
The Progressive KEY: Integrating Social Media
Contrary to prior belief, social media is not phasing out of culture anytime soon. The most successful businesses have implemented social media into their marketing, creating conscious and subliminal marketing to their consumers. In the same way, nurturing leads with an email marketing program is most effective when it involves social media engagement.
To integrate social media, individual email prospects must be targeted and nurtured in respect to their emails opened, links clicked, social media shares, and social following. Most email marketing systems include tracking software which will allow you to see the activity of each email recipient.
Connecting with Analytics
If your company has a website or personal page, you can set up your marketing program to integrate with your Google or Bing Analytics account. With this, you can track the traffic that goes to your website from your email marketing campaigns, which has proven an effective tool for business’s in many industries.
Following your email campaign prospects on popular social media platforms will increase the likelihood of prospect sales conversions. Depending on your demographic targets, you may consider following or connecting with individuals in your database via LinkedIn, Facebook Page, Google Plus, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or Instagram. Following strategies increase the sales-quality of your social media advertising campaigns.
Other Email Marketing Tips
A/B Testing, or split testing, is a commonly used web page technique that tests two similar pages for conversion quality. Mailchimp shares some insight on the subject: “A/B Testing Campaigns allow you to test different versions of a single campaign to see how small changes can have a big impact on your results. Choose what you want to test, like the subject line or content, and compare results to find out what works and what doesn’t.” (“About A/B Testing Campaigns“)
Wondering which specific email factors may affect your campaign results? Test a different subject line, article title, verbiage, design, or picture to see what can be improved.
Best Send Times
Mailchimp, Constant Contact, and other email marketing statistics widely show that in the middle of the workweek are the best email sending days for most industries, with late Thursday morning being the peak open time. However, depending on your industry, other days and times of the week may be more effective for lead conversions. It’s best to do your research for open rates of your industry, demographic, and local area.
Drip emails in marketing campaigns can be extremely effective. “Drip campaigns are automated processes that send a set of messages or content to sales leads at the right moment to move them through the sales cycle” (“The Basics of Drip Campaigns“), according to Salesforce. Rather than individually following up with prospective leads, drips automate follow ups and ensure your leads are nurtured – in the right way, and at the right time. This algorithm-like process triggers events (emails) based on the activity of your email recipients, keeping your consumers engaged and your best prospects targeted.
Comparing Top Providers
There are many free email marketing systems available on the web. If you’re looking for a cheap option to get started, MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Active Campaign offer some great benefits.
The MailChimp email marketing site offers a free option for all of its members, which includes extensive email campaign tools for up to 12,000 contacts. This system also provides a wide range of integration options and has one of the highest CRM integration abilities. Other benefits it provides is A/B Testing, thorough recipient engagement reports, and user-friendly templates.
Constant Contact provides a free 60-day trial up to 100 contacts. While the price level for this system is dramatically higher, the Constant Contact email marketing platform beats Mailchimp in aspects of deliverability, customization with HTML and templates, and event management. Depending on your company needs, Constant Contact may be a better long-term investment for your email marketing strategy.
Another rising star in email marketing platforms is ActiveCampaign, which provides free options up to 500 contacts. It provides a full range of integrations, templates, and campaign testing. Like Mailchimp and ConstantContact, this system provides A/B Testing and Drip Automation abilities, but many have reported the limited use of surveys and advanced campaigning.
Owner – Outflow Marketing
Phone: (602) 448-8639