Getting Started with Email Marketing
Have you ever wondered about the people who visit your website?
All those mysterious “internet people” clicking on things, visiting pages and reading your blog posts?
Ever wondered what they think of what they see?
If they’re likely to become a fan or customer?
Well, one way to get an indication is with email marketing.
This might not seem the most obvious way.
You were probably thinking I was going to mention analytics or cookies (the website kind, not the biscuit kind), and while both of these are incredibly useful, so is email.
The Card & Gift Network Guide to Email Marketing
In this guide I’ll cover:
- What email marketing is
- Why email is important to your business
- Types of emails
- What email marketing needs
- Email marketing and the card & gift industry
- A quick confession
- Who email marketing is for
- How email marketing works
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is pretty much any email of a commercial nature that is sent to an existing or potential customer.
In terms of learning about email marketing, this covers a wide range of elements, from the process of collecting email addresses of your potential customers or “leads” to the emails that get sent; even beyond to the analysis of how well those emails work.
So how does that help you get to know your website visitors?
Let’s think about this in terms of a gift shop.
Imagine you run a gift shop website that sells all of the latest licensed toys. You have a huge selection of toys, including the latest designs from The Avengers, Harry Potter and My Little Pony in your collection.
Now if someone is spending time on the toys section of your website we can assume they’re interested in toys.
If that person then signs up for a freebie called “The Ultimate Harry Potter Gift Guide” we instantly know more; we now know they’re interested specifically in Harry Potter gifts.
From there we can email them with details of our gift shop’s Harry Potter toy collection.
& the likely hood that we’ll be giving them what they want (and what they might buy) is much higher than if we’d sent them information about The Avengers or My Little Pony collections.
With email marketing that mysterious internet figure has been transformed into someone with a specific need that you know and can help. You have the ability to stay in contact with them and the chance to turn them into a customer, maybe even a frequent buyer.
Why is email marketing important?
So email can turn visitors into buyers, which is pretty integral to every business right?
The one thing you hear time and time again if you fall into the rabbit hole of reading marketing articles is that email lists are vital.
Like a lot of website owners I took a long while to get on board the email bandwagon but when I did it came down to these 2 things:
An email address gives you a way to contact your website visitors directly.
Opting into an email list means people are showing an interest in what you do, and that’s something you can build on.
That second point I think is especially important. These people aren’t just random visitors anymore these are people who are asking for more. If you think about this in terms of the bricks and mortar shop equivalent, this is the shopper who asks a question about a product over someone who comes in, browses around and then leaves.
By now you can hopefully see some value in email marketing but just to labour the point and show you it’s not just me, it’s worth noting that professional marketers LOVE email marketing.
“Out of all of the channels I tested as a marketer, email continually outperforms most of them” – Neil Patel, QuickSprout.
“Appsumo is a 7 figure business and 90%+ of our revenue comes from emails” – Noah Kagan, AppSumo.
“Even if all of my search rankings disappeared tomorrow I’d still be able to promote my blog to tens of thousands of people via email” – Ramsay Taplin, Blog Tyrant.
I hope so. Ok, let’s take a closer look at all this email stuff.
Types of Emails
In marketing emails tend to fall into 2 broad categories:
Broadcasts are general emails like newsletters that go out to everyone. They could be sent once a week or once a month.
Segmented / Automated Mail Sequences
Segmented mail sequences are sent out to specific individuals when they perform a certain action. They are usually set up to happen automatically and are tailored to a particular segment of your visitors, such as people who left the shopping cart before buying or people who showed interest in a particular product.
What Does Email Marketing Need?
To use email marketing in your card and gift business you only really need a few things:
An Email Marketing Service
This is usually an online software solution like Mailchimp or Aweber that you use to manage your email list and send emails.
Opt In Forms/Sign Up Boxes
These are connected to your email service, these are where people “opt in” and give you their email address.
That’s the very basics, but to boost the success of your email marketing campaigns you can also add:
Lead magnets, sometimes known as “ethical bribes” are a free gift that you give in exchange for an email address; this could be a coupon code, a physical item or even a digital product such as an eBook or printable.
In today’s eCommerce climate people get a lot of emails everyday so you have to give them a reason to sign up to your list. The “latest news and offers” from your company isn’t that appealing any more.
By offering a lead magnet they find valuable you increase your chances of people opting into your email list.
Thank You Pages
The thank you page comes after someone signs up to your email list. While not essential, they do provide an easy way to track the success of your sign up sequence.
Automated mail sequences are set up to send an email or series of emails when certain events or actions take place on your website. Like downloading the Gift Guide freebie in our example above.
More examples of online events or actions include: signing up to a mailing list, downloading a freebie, purchasing a product or even abandoning a shopping cart mid-purchase.
Email and the Card and Gift Industry
In my recent industry research I found that only 35% of 642 card & gift websites reviewed were collecting emails on their websites.
That’s just collecting emails, I’m not even going into how many actually send emails once they’ve got a list of subscribers.
Now we could see this as a little worrying, but I’m going to flip that around and see it as a positive.
I’m going to see this as hundreds of companies that still have email marketing as a potential channel for marketing their business.
You see it comes down to this. I want to see our network of card and gift companies to succeed online, and email is a big part of that. So in the coming weeks, months and years I will be adding resources to the school that will help you set up and optimise your email marketing strategy.
Email Marketing: My Confession
I feel like I need to come clean before we finish up this article.
My own history with email marketing has been patchy at best. For years I didn’t really go to any effort to build an email list.
When I finally had that bit of the puzzle sorted I was then really crap at keeping in touch with my email list.
For this I can only apologise, I know it was bad but I got so caught up with other jobs and not really knowing what to say that I neglected it. & if you’re having the same issue, I understand completely.
My resolution for 2017 however is to get email marketing sorted once and for all. And as I do this for the Card & Gift Network website, I’m going to help you do the same for yours too.
So who should be email marketing?
Who is Email Marketing For?
I would say that email marketing is essential for any card and gift business.
Online or offline, new or old, one man band or team or 300 it doesn’t matter. Whatever you’re selling you should start building an email list right away.
Email Marketing: How it Works
Honestly, I’m not going to get into how email marketing works in this first introduction and here’s why…
Email marketing can be incredibly complicated and my goal is to break it down into small steps. Starting simple and adding intricacies piece by piece.
I think that is the best way not to freak anyone out. But if you want to skip ahead or have a go yourself the rough (very rough) steps that we’ll cover in future articles and training are these:
- Choose an email service provider
- Create your email lists
- Create a welcome sequence for your list
- Build opt in forms and install them on your website
- Get people to sign up for your list
- Send emails
- Review email statistics
- Test and refine your emails