By Sean and Martin Simons
Just about any member who’s been with the Chamber for an appreciable amount of time knows that we will send e-mail announcements, promotions, and newsletters on a fairly regular basis. E-mail marketing has become a wildly popular business practice, and only continues to grow in popularity. It’s an endlessly customizable combination of communication, advertising, information distribution and of course technology, able to be tailored to suit any business’ needs.
Why Should I Use It?
- We could devote an entire article (maybe even a series of articles) itemizing the benefits of e-mail marketing, and in fact if you search enough, you may be able to find such articles out there on the web. The following are some of the most universally applicable reasons use e-mail marketing (and probably my favourites as well):
- It’s far less expensive than most traditional marketing methods. You could launch a dozen e-mail campaigns for a fraction of the cost of a single print mailing.
- It allows for a quick turnaround. You can assemble and launch a quality e-mail campaign in a matter of hours, ensuring the content remains timely and allows you to be ready well ahead of deadlines (or squeak in just under it if you’re the procrastinating type).
- It taps into all the things that make the online world great. It drives traffic back to your website, and drives buzz about your business out into the social world. It makes your message imminently shareable. And portable; a good e-mail campaign service will help ensure that your mailings are mobile-friendly.
- You can tailor and target messages and campaigns. Once you’ve built a distribution list, you can break it down into groups to which you want to deliver customized messaging. You can take this personalization even further by populating messages with specific data, like customer names.
- It’s effective. Well-formed E-mail campaigns will be read far more often and lead to far more conversions than traditional mail campaigns. Coupled with the low cost, it’s exponentially more bang for your buck.
What Should I Use It For?
As mentioned before, E-mail marketing has a vast number of applications. As you may know, The Stoney Creek Chamber of Commerce sends E-mail campaigns announcing Chamber events; gives members a chance to promote their business; and provides a periodical newsletter. A business could also use E-mail campaigns to:
- Generate interest for a sale or community event.
- Make company announcements.
- Direct attention to website updates.
- Highlight a new product or service, or provide a timely update to an existing product or service.
A good practice may be to take stock of the various ways you currently try to communicate information or promote your business to a large audience. You’ll discover that you can replace a lot of them with E-mail campaigns.
How Do I Use It?
One benefit I should have highlighted above is the fact that it’s easy to get up and running and mass e-mailing in a short amount of time. The first thing you’ll need is to choose the right e-mail marketing service. Among the most widely used are MailChimp , Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor , but there are many, all with their own specific benefits. You will need to do some research into which one has the best feature set and pricing model to suit your needs.
Next you’ll probably need a list of contacts to whom you’ll be sending all these messages. Your chosen service will have good guidelines on collecting contacts, including putting an opt-in form on your website. They’ll also help you make sure to adhere to anti-spam regulations when amassing your list.
When you’re ready to build your first campaign, take the time to make it right. The mailing is going to be representative of your business, and as with anything else, you want to make a good impression. Don’t be afraid to test over and over, double checking how it looks in mobile devices and e-mail clients, with fully styled and text-only versions.
Once the campaign is launched, take advantage of your chosen service’s powerful analytics features to gauge how well you’re doing. Link clicking can usually be tracked, so you can see what kind of content generates interest. The analytics will also help you cull out incorrect or inactive e-mail accounts.
Finally, be sure to keep it active! Campaign recipients will see value in remaining subscribed to your mailing list, and perhaps even encourage others to subscribe. Even if a subscriber isn’t visiting your website that much, you’re remaining part of their consciousness every time you hit their inbox.
Because of the level of popularity that E-mail marketing currently enjoys, it does give the impression of being a paradox, or too good to be true. It’s such a powerful tool, effective in delivering your message, extremely versatile, effective in reaching a wide audience, all while being much more cost effective than just about any other marketing method. Well, all of this is true. With a diligent effort, your e-mail marketing campaign can effectively boost your business.