Email marketing is a powerful tool. A potential client is giving you a direct inroad into his/her email box – that’s a very awesome place to be. As a business this opportunity gives you an inroad towards gaining a new customer.
1. Sign up with Email Marketing Service
You can’t simply send emails directly from your normal email client. Instead, you need to use a service specifically designed for email marketing. While you could host a service directly from your own server, the most simple solution is to sign up online with an out of the box solution. These companies offer a subscription service and charge either by the number of subscribers you have and/or the number of emails you send. There are literally hundreds of options available to you and you should evaluate which service is best for you. Personally, I’m big fan of MailChimp for several reasons:
- 12,000 Free Emails Per Month. Where you send you 1 email per month to 12,000 subscribers or 6 emails to 2,000 subscribers, it’s completely free.
- Simple WYSWYG Design. Really simple, really beautiful emails.
- Image and File Hosting. MailChimp makes it super simple to add images, PDFs, and other files directly to your campaigns.
2. Collect Email Addresses
You can’t simply begin blasting out messages to anyone. CAN-SPAM laws were created to protect consumers and as a result each instance of spam can cost you up $16,000. Therefore, you need to get permission from your subscribers before you add them to your list. Don’t go out and purchase email lists. They’re usually outdated and you don’t want to be spammy; don’t waste your money.
There are many ways to collect email addresses. Use a fishbowl at conferences and events to collect business cards. Use your iPad and the MailChimp app to collect address directly from your customers. And, most importantly, use your website and social channels to grow your email list. Most email marketing services will provide you code that you embed on your website and Facebook page to get you started; you don’t need to worry about doing any heavy programming.
3. Create Content and Send
Once you have your system setup, you’ve collected email addresses, it’s time to send out content. It’s important to provide valuable content to readers. Don’t make your emails simply all about you, your products, and how awesome you are. Here are 3 types of content you can send:
- How-To Guides – Your customers have a need for your expertise. Create a simple PDF “How-To” guide for customers benefit. They get something for free and you look like expert in their eyes.
- Coupons – Provide exclusive coupons to your email subscribers as a way of thanking them.
- Events/Webinars – Tell your customers about your great events and webinars. As a bonus, add an early signup discount or giveaway to email your subscribers.
The content is the most important step in this process. Use your existing content and re-purpose it for email. For example, use popular blog posts or answer questions you read online. Ultimately, you’ve got to give value in order to have it returned.
These simple steps will get your email marketing up and running in very little time. Email marketing is a powerful tool. Have you added it to your marketing toolbox?