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Do you use email marketing to connect with customers? While digital marketing trends seem to change as often as the weather, email marketing is far from over – in fact, it’s probably more important than ever as a form of communicating with your customers.

As we prepare to start a new year, this is the perfect time to evaluate your approach to digital marketing and connect, or reconnect, with your customers.

While the practice of bombarding hundreds of people with masses of unsolicited emails is definitely a thing of the past, there is still a huge value in using email marketing to build genuine connections with customers.

In fact, we expect to see something of a resurgence in email marketing in 2020 – but it’s all about the approach.

Email marketing and GDPR

Tougher rules around data protection (GDPR) mean that you can’t just randomly send emails to people who haven’t asked to receive them. So, while you do have to work a bit harder to encourage people to subscribe to your content, the result is a much more genuine and hopefully productive relationship.

As well as working harder to win subscribers, you also have to work hard to keep them, as your followers have the right to be able to unsubscribe from your content at the click of a button. This means you absolutely must provide them with useful, relevant and more personalised content, at just the right frequency.

As a marketing tool, this can be much more effective than social media. You’re not relying on someone else’s unfathomable algorithms in order to get your content seen, and you’re not jostling for position, desperately trying to stop scrolling thumbs, in a massive long newsfeed. If you can get it right, email marketing will not only help your customers along the buying process, they will also start looking forward to receiving your emails.

So, just where do you start?

It can be time consuming to get going with your email marketing, but once you have the processes in place it should get easier, and more importantly, it should translate into profits. With that in mind, here are some basic tips to get you started on email marketing for your business.

Get the software

A good starting point is to find a reputable email marketing software provider. There’s a variety of platforms out there that will simplify the process for you and help you every step of the way, often with the audience segmentation tools (more on that later), automation and templates built in. Good software will save you time in the long run.

Create your email marketing strategy

It’s no good sending emails randomly whenever you have time or remember. Will you send newsletters, blogs, offers, or a mixture? You need to establish long-term goals and every email should play a part in working towards those goals. For example, you might have a 12-month goal to increase sales in a particular area of your business. You could then plan a series of emails that focus on different and increasingly in-depth areas of that business.

Research your industry

Research your industry to get some email statistics, including open rates and click-through rates, to try and find out what works and what doesn’t. It’s also a good idea to ask your customers what they would be interested to read about.

Build your audience

The next thing you need is people to email – and remember you need to source email addresses legitimately with signed permission from your subscribers detailing what you will use their address for and how you will store it. Please seek legal advice on GDPR on this first.

There are various ways you can build your database.

  • Lead magnets. This means offering something that people need to sign up to receive. You can promote this on your website, social media channels, or other marketing methods you use. It has to be good value and relevant. Examples include free offers, such as a free consultation, a user guide, an infographic, an e-book, a webinar or training guide, or a really decent promotional offer.
  • Ask your customers. This could be face-to-face, over the phone, or maybe you have their email details as part of your transaction with them and just need to ask permission to continue to email them.
  • Opt-in form. Make sure you have a standard opt-in form on your website that encourages people to join your mailing list. Tempt them with what they will receive if they are a member. It could be that your subscribers get first chance on ticket sales, offers and promotions or free user guides and tools.

Segmenting your audience

Depending on your industry, your audience could be quite wide and it’s likely that they won’t all be interested in the same products and services. For example, if you’re a financial advisor, then your age 20-something customers probably won’t be interested in your pension products. Or you might want to send different emails to new customers compared those who have been with you for years. Lots of these processes can be automated for ease.

There are various tools that can help you segment your audience effectively. You can do this by factors such as age, location, spending power, buying habits, interests and so on.

Get personal

Once you have the separate lists, you can send more personalised emails with information that is genuinely of interest to the recipients. The more you do this, the more likely they will be to open your emails and build that relationship.

Even if you’re still sending the same email to hundreds of people, you can consider adding their names through your software, for the ultimate personal touch.

The content

Okay so now we’re on to the hardest part – the content. It has to be relevant, well written and well presented. It can’t be ‘sell, sell, sell’ and it needs to avoid spam filters. As deciding what type of content to send is such a big area, this deserves a blog all on its own, so please check back for a whole article on tips for writing email marketing content coming soon.

If you need help with any aspects of your business in 2020, contact Juliette Ryley, your local ActionCOACH to get booked in for a consultation.