There is no end to business seniors and entrepreneurs looking to put strong marketing channels in place for their company. But most of their efforts remain half baked, because No Time. Better known as No BANDWIDTH in startup circles. I have helped lots of startups with their digital marketing activities, I keep in mind that most activities need to be very effective with least effort. So typically my first suggestion to most businesses is : Build an Email marketing channel!

Not only does email marketing have some of the highest conversion rates in the industry but it is also one of the most neglected.

Depending on the bandwidth available, the frequency of email can be adjusted and then if done right, it can become one of the most efficient and effective marketing channel for the business.

How Does An Email Marketing Channel Help?

It has lot of applications depending on your business type. Here are a few ideas,

For Startups

  • Do Your Own PR: Compile a list of journalists and other media influencers like bloggers. Keep them informed of relevant events within your company and also in the industry
  • Friends Of The Company: For a budding business there are always a bunch of industry and personal contacts who help you on your way. Either by way of recommendations or by angel investing and so on. Keep them in the loop of new developments. This is a good way of remaining in sight and hence in mind for synergies.
  • Customer Connect: Share or generate customer case-studies, notify about feature updates, ask for feedback or just strike a different rapport. The goal could be repeat sale or generating a testimonial or something else.

For Corporates

  • Non-Digital Target Group: I ran a campaign for a leading HR company in the employee engagement space. The target group was HR directors or seniors in mid sized companies. We created a lead generation campaign around a couple of downloadable reports with high relevance to the target group. We promoted this over social media channels with increased focus on Linkedin and also created a series of relevant emailers. The best performing channel of conversion (conversion to download the report and also to a hot sales lead) was Email. For this specific target group – Twitter & Facebook were pretty much useless as this TG was not particularly online savvy. Linkedin showed some promise and did bring some results. However, in such cases Email is the key element of the campaign
  • High Net-worth Income Group: Even for the HNI group Email can be one of the key elements of your campaign. These people would be difficult to identify over Twitter or Facebook. Linkedin again can be used. A well thought out inmail campaign could be a good option.

Hope these examples help you get an idea about how pretty much a company of any size can use emails effectively in their marketing and sales efforts. For a startup and small business which is strapped for time – Email can easily become your one focused marketing channel.

Now, when you think about starting an email activity. First thing is to have a clear Target Group and clear Goal in mind.

Create your Email Marketing Funnel

This is really important. And while it sounds obvious businesses sometimes don’t do this and then they are not sure whether the effort has benefited. And if it has benefited then is it improving over time?

The marketing funnel is basically a process through which you can track how the target audience is responding to your marketing activities. To judge the success you need to have an end goal like a Sale or Sign Up or Revenue Generation. Depending on the stage of your business you can have different goals – but usually you should look at setting up Revenue Generation tracking as the end goal for most of your marketing funnels because this is the core goal of every business.

The best part about digital marketing is that the funnel can be fairly well tracked with actual numbers via reliable tools and methods. Unlike offline activities where tracking some numbers becomes very difficult or at best you can have estimates.

For an email marketing channel these are typically the parameters to track,

  1. Number of subscribers
  2. Emails sent
  3. Open rate of the email – how many people opened their emails. Most email tools provide this data
  4. Link clicks – track clicks on all links (this can be done via email tool or using trackable links like bit.ly)
  5. Track behaviour of the people who visited your site via this link – this is the only step where you may need professional tech help depending on your business, but all of the rest can be done via basic digital technology
  6. Responses to the email

How To Build Your Email Subscriber List

This is usually the first stumbling block for businesses. But there are some good resources online and I am just going to point to those. One was a quick 10 minute Neil Patel & Eric Siu marketing podcast,

How to Get Your First 1000 Email Subscribers (Podcast No. 199)

An interesting idea that was suggested,

  • Identify top influential bloggers in the same circuit who have an engaging readership. Pay them to review your recent blog / content piece or activity and then instead of a generic link back to your site or blog post, put a call to action asking their readers to Subscribe to your email list. Maybe even use an offer like Free eBook or some such to get email subscribers.

Other ideas on the podcast which are pretty common,

  • Host a lead magnet / offer activity. ‘Sign up and get a free eBook’ or ‘Get this eBook for free. Sign up’. Slightly different but both work. The offer can be of different types – exclusive content or first access or for additional freebies. For eg: ‘First 10 signup for this eBook get an additional products’ . The exact offer can be in line with your marketing goals and requirements.
  • Another offer type is contests or quizzes. These would be useful if you also want to leverage social media channels like Facebook
  • Direct advertising is another way to get subscribers

If you have a website then there is a LOT that can be done to increase email signups. Here is a comprehensive list,

How To Build Your Email List: The (Better Than) Ultimate Guide 

Email Marketing Content Writing Tips

Tips To Create Better Emails:

  1. Be clear about who you are addressing.
  2. If there are two / three different types of groups then send separate emails to each group.
  3. Once you are clear about which group you are addressing then make the content extremely relevant to them. Imagine that instead of email you are making a personal call to them – will your content be relevant? Or will they feel imposed upon? Imagining a conversation with the recipient is a common method to bring a communicative flair to your writing and also make sure your content is right for the audience.
  4. If possible identify some of the recipients in a VIP group. Send them exclusive emails where you are connecting 1 to 1. This helps you create a deeper bond with the few people and there is a much higher chance of them engaging with you.

There is a lot more optimisation, trial and error to be done to create a strong revenue generation channel for your business. But this helps you with setting up at least a basic email system in place.

Do you have any questions or queries about setting up an email marketing channel? Ask me in the comments or shoot me a mail at priyanka (@) digiwhirl.com