If you’ve read our online marketing guide, The Download, then you know that email marketing is still the easiest and most effective type of digital marketing there is.

It’s an integral part of online marketing. And It’s a low budget, high return, marketing solution that requires a minimal investment of time.

With all of that said, I sometimes worry that I talk about email marketing too much. Then I remember that it has an ROI (Return Of Investment) of approximately 38:1 and I can’t stop talking about it.

Seriously, there is no other type of online digital marketing that has that kind of average ROI. And since email marketing is the easiest type of digital marketing to do, and I can’t stop talking about it, I’m going to cover a couple of the basics in this article. 

Why email marketing is greatA few simple steps to make it work for you — I promise, you can do this.

I’ll even share a few resources to help you figure out what to write. So don’t worry. When it comes to email marketing, you’ve got this! After all, you’ve got us.

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Why email marketing is great

It’s an asset that you own. 

Just like your website, you own your contacts list. These are people who want to get mail from you. Talk about rare!

By sending out regular emails to your contacts, you stay top of mind. And you can leverage that direct contact into stronger relationships and more sales or donations.

It can save you time.

All of your email marketing can be created and scheduled in advance. And much of it can be automated (depending on your goals), allowing you to reach the right people at the right time.

It’s a major player in online marketing

For a good online (or digital) marketing strategy, you need five key elements:

A mobile-friendly websiteAn email marketing toolA primary social media channelUp-to-date business listingsA way to easily create content

If you’d like to know more about online marketing, and how each of the five key elements plays a part, check out our online marketing guide, The Download.

When it comes to online marketing, email marketing is the one tool that allows you to target those who are already engaged with your business or nonprofit. 

The goal is to have everyone who follows you on social media, visits your website, makes a purchase from your store, or volunteers or donates to your cause to end up on your email list. These contacts are your target market, and while they’ll also be the most likely to do repeat business with you, they’re also the most likely to give you honest feedback when you need it and to recommend your business or nonprofit to others.

Make email marketing work for you

Getting started with email marketing doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it basic:

Set up a simple, automated welcome series.Plan to send an email at least once a month.Think about other emails you may want to automate.

1. Set up a simple, automated welcome series.

This is the most important step you can take in email marketing because you want to connect with your customers when they’re most excited to engage with you.

We recommend that you set up a two-part welcome series.

The first welcome email should go out immediately after someone signs up and should do exactly what it says — welcome your new contact. Follow through with the promise you made (if you promised something in exchange for their signing up, e.g. a discount). Maybe include a blip of text about your business (think elevator speech). And be sure to reiterate what they signed up for — news, sales, discounts, insider information, etc. 

email marketing welcome series - 1st email welcomes Just like this example, your welcome emails should be upbeat and happy. 

Your second email in the series should invite your new contacts to connect with you in other ways. Let them know what social media platforms you’re using and invite them to follow you.

When your new contacts begin to engage with you on your social channels, you not only stay top-of-mind, but your business will also be exposed to their connections — who will likely make great prospects for your business. 

email marketing - welcome series - second email invites to connect on social media Use a welcome series to invite your new contacts to connect with you on social media.

TIP: When engaging with customers be sure that what you offer on your social channels differs from what you offer in your email campaigns — so they have a reason to connect with you in more than one place.

2. Plan to send an email at least once a month

Okay, I’ll be honest here, there is no set rule as to how often you should send emails to your contacts. We suggest that you send an email campaign once a month, like a newsletter, but It really depends on your business.

If you’ve promised to send your contacts a joke a day, then send one out each day.

When it comes to email marketing, consistency is key. (Tweet this)

Don’t be wishy-washy on when you send out your email campaigns. 

If you decide to send one out every week, do it on the same day at the same time. If it’s daily, make sure your email goes out at the same time each day. And if it’s monthly, make sure to send your emails out the same day (and time) of the month, no matter if it’s the first Monday of the month or the 15th of the month. Just be sure to be consistent with your time and timing.

What if I don’t have enough content to send out a monthly email campaign?

You might be surprised at how much content you really do have. But if you think that you have nothing to say in an email this month, don’t worry, here are some ideas to help you out:

Celebrate a holiday. Did you know there’s a National Eyewear Day? There are a lot of crazy holidays out there, so use them to your advantage. And if you can’t find one that works, make one up and tell your customers that you declare that day to be “national upside-down day” or “national brown-eyed girl day.” Who knows, those might be national holidays already!

email marketing - use unusual holiday's for campaign content With a plethora of national holidays, you’re sure to find one that you can use for email marketing content each month.

If you’re not ready to make up your own holiday, download our Online Marketing Calendar to check out some existing holidays and to help you plan content for the whole year.

Use Constant Contact's 2020 Online Marketing Calendar to help plan your marketing for the year Using an online marketing calendar can help to plan all of your digital marketing for the year, including your email marketing.

Recycle content. If you’re keeping a blog (all websites really should have one) then highlight one of your blog articles in your email campaign. Or maybe share a video you created, or even one that you saw that you think your contacts would be interested in (just make sure it also relates to your business or brand).

If not having content seems to be a regular occurrence, you can always change your frequency. However, keep in mind that although this may work for quarterly business reviews or nonprofits that focus primarily on events, it’s not a good idea for retailers.

3. Think about other emails you may want to automate.

After you’ve set up your welcome series, think about what other kinds of emails you can automate

Perhaps you have a series of informative emails on a specific topic or you want to build excitement for an event. Or better yet, maybe you want to be able to send out birthday or anniversary cards without having to keep track of who was born when.

TIP: If you’re thinking about automating emails for birthdays and/or anniversaries, make sure to add these as required fields on your sign-up form so you gather this information at the start.

How to write effective marketing emails

Now you know why email marketing is so great and how to make it work for you. You even have a few suggestions on how to come up with content. And if you’re still not sure what to write, here are a few resources to help you out:

20 Writing Prompts for Quick and Creative Emails3 Steps to Writing Nonprofit Email CampaignsHow to Write Better HeadlinesHow to Write an Email in 15 Minutes or Less

Yes — Email marketing matters

Email marketing can have a huge impact on your business. While your website lets people know who you are, what you have to offer and how to find you, and social media connects with your followers and extends to a broader audience, email marketing allows you to reach out to your customers in a more personal, and personalized way. 

It’s these personal connections that build your relationships with your customers — and relationships are what small businesses are all about.

So now that you know what email marketing is all about, and how to get started, use these ideas to get started today — you’ve got this!

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