It's hard to imagine any kind of small business that can't benefit from email marketing. People still read emails that are basically marketing pieces, and they do so at least as much as they watch video ads or click the online ads. Of course, email marketing also comes with its share of pitfalls, and that could leave you confused about how to start.
Here are the three essential ingredients for a business to get started with email promotions:
A mailing service. As much as we love do-it-yourself types, the sad truth is that bulk email is something you should never do on your own. Too many things can go wrong with the delivery, and it's too easy to be branded as a spammer or worse. So do your homework and sign up with a company that handles the distribution for you: it's well worth the cost. Some of the better-known examples of these services are Aweber, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp.
Most of these services will also offer some code that you can insert into your website that allows new visitors to join your mailing list. Take advantage of that.
An incentive for people to join your list. This is an element that a great many businesses ignore. That's unfortunate, because it's almost the only way to ensure that your list of email subscribers reaches the level you want it to.
The incentive itself can be a free PDF-book, an exclusive coupon or discount on your product, a free trial or free sample, or anything else that your customers are likely to want. You've probably seen other sites making such offers yourself. Inspiration is everywhere. All you have to do is make sure that the only way to receive the reward is for people to hand you their email addresses.
An autoresponder. In its simplest form, an autoresponder is nothing more than a sequence of 'canned' emails, designed to be sent in specific intervals, when people join your mailing list. Most of the mailing services mentioned earlier let you set up an autoresponder series very easily.
Probably the most common use of the autoresponder is as a sales funnel. You use it to build loyalty and trust before you come out with the offer. In addition, there are many other kinds of strategies for an autoresponder. Overall, it's probably the best tool in email marketing for retaining and building your audience's interest.
Parting words. As you probably guessed, this essay just scratches the surface of what you can do with email marketing. Granted, there are all kinds of segmentation and analytics methods that a small business probably doesn't need, but I hope to add some more content that goes deeper into the important areas.
We hope to see you soon!