]

Organic search strategies have been shown to be the top generators of website traffic, but traffic alone does not drive revenues. Search may drive traffic, but email drives consumer conversions that will give you your returns. Used by 81% of marketers, email is the most common lead generation tactic. While 43% of marketers say that organic search drives the greatest volume of traffic to their websites, only 29% cite search as the top source of conversion traffic. On the other hand, though just 22% cite email as their largest web traffic generator, 25% of the marketers surveyed point to email as the top source of conversion traffic. (Source: MarketingSherpa)

Why email marketing?

Email marketing can be extremely useful for a variety of reasons, and has been shown to provide more bang for your (marketing) buck (4,300%, according to the Direct Marketing Association) than any other form of online marketing.

1. Adding a personal touch
Email allows you to connect with your consumers on a more personal level since it can be addressed directly to recipients and email messages are customizable to a certain extent.

2. Cost effective and targeted reach
It is highly cost effective as compared to traditional forms of direct marketing – sending emails is free, while sending physical newsletters will cost you thousands of dollars in printing and delivery fees. In addition, rather than wasting your budget spamming a mass audience in the hopes of reaching your target segments, email marketing allows communications to be targeted at the customers that will likely be interested in your products and services.

3. Optimizing your marketing efforts based on traceable behavior
An important benefit of email marketing is that it offers you precious knowledge on your consumers’ behavior. You can track how many of your recipients opened your email, where they opened it, and on which device they opened it. You can also track the number of people who follow through on the action stipulated in your email (i.e., clicking on a link or registering for an event). Such information can help you better understand what works and what doesn’t in your strategies so as to improve them for future implementation.

However, a point to look out for is that email marketing has a bad reputation of being associated with spam. Care must be taken to avoid this association being transferred to your company. The objective is to get your subscribers to trust you and know that you’re not a self-promoting spam-bot.

How can you do it?

Using the digital blueprint (from Section 2) as a guide, build on your email marketing strategies by creating an email content calendar for your customer personas. An email content calendar is a useful tool to plan out and track your email communication with your consumers over the course of a certain time period (usually a year). Depending on your consumer base and resources available, you can choose to either implement a general email strategy or more targeted strategies for each of your customer personas. Types of content can include seasonal promotions, white papers, information on new products/services, and relevant lifestyle content.

To avoid being associated with email spam, always keep in mind how your email can add value to your customers. Think of what may interest your audiences, and what would keep them looking forward to receiving your emails. Subject lines should be crafted interestingly, and messages should be written in your brand’s distinctive voice. Your email should deliver rich content that benefits readers and motivates them to share it with others.

The following are some email marketing services that you can use to kick-start your email marketing campaigns.

1. MailChimp

MailChimp adds a bit of fun and humour to otherwise mundane tools, and encourages integration with third-party applications. Like many of the website builder tools, it works on a free-mium model and offers a free version, monthly plans, a pay- as-you option and nonprofit pricing. Some key features include:

  • “MessageBuilder” toolbar for easy email campaign creation
  • “MessageCoder” for custom HTML email creation
  • Social sharing buttons in email
  • Publishing to Twitter and Facebook

2. Constant Contact

Constant Contact is suitable for beginners and experts alike, with free product demos and a 60-day trial available. Some key features include:

  • “One-click” editing
  • Over 400 customizable email templates
  • Free personal coaching, along with phone, email and live chat support
  • Connectivity with your social media outposts

Email Marketing Optimized for Mobile Devices

mobile_marketing

Given that mobile is an increasingly popular digital channel for consumers and marketers alike, it may be worth the extra effort to optimize your email marketing for mobile devices. After all, the main strategy used has already been established; a few extra steps may get you that bored customer waiting for their bus to arrive.

Best Viewed in Chrome, IE8/9 and Firefox.