In a world where brand reach is being thwarted by changing algorithms, saturated social networks, and ad blockers, email remains a tried-and-true strategy for entrepreneurs and small business owners.
It’s a dependable method for getting into people’s inboxes and talking to customers directly. In fact, most consumers say email is their preferred channel for brand communication – above mobile apps and social media. And this is true across verticals, including retail, travel, entertainment, nonprofits, digital media, and publishing. Millennials are also the group most likely to take action – such as making a purchase – because of a brand email.
With that in mind, we spoke to entrepreneurs and small business owners about how they use email to reach customers and drive conversions.
Here are their four proven tips for email marketing.
1. Guide customers through the buyer journey.
Email can be one of the most effective platforms for nurturing customers and helping them along the path to purchase.
“We nurture customers through disseminating educational materials like blogs or videos on our grooming products through automated flows depending on the behavior of the customer,” says Lauren Winfield, operations manager of The Bearded Bastard, which creates grooming products for men.
For example, their most successful emails flows have been those that welcome subscribers and encourage customers who abandoned their carts to follow through with their purchases.
“Those flows are fundamental to ecommerce email marketing,” Winfield said. “To date, our flows have averaged a 47.5% open rate and a 2.17% average daily placed order rate.”
Copywriter and brand strategist Kayla Hollatz also uses email to drive engagement and educate her audience about her services.
“Building an email list allows me to grow a more intimate, dedicated community, which can really come in handy when you start to launch digital products,” Hollatz says. “I use email to educate my audience on copywriting and stay top of mind when they are looking for a copywriter partner.”
2. Provide special offers for signing up.
When it comes to motivating people to sign up, consider offering them something in exchange for their information.
That’s the strategy used by NailSnaps, a company that lets you turn your photos into custom nail art.
“We capture emails by driving traffic to our website and enticing users to sign up for our newsletter with a 15% coupon on their first order,” says NailSnaps cofounder, Sarah Heering. “We also offer super-sweet sweepstakes with other companies to create opt-ins through these partnerships.”
For instance, they launched a promotion to “Sign Up to Win $2,500 in BEAUTY” and promoted it with eight other beauty companies, who each offered their own products and gift certificates.
“We all promoted the same campaign to our respective lists,” Heering says. “We could then market to those who signed up for our partner brands. This is always a winner for us and doesn’t cost that much to do.”
Hollatz has also put a creative spin on this tactic by creating an interactive personality quiz that gives participants results in exchange for their email address. She gained more than 700 subscribers on the launch day alone, and went on to generate another 2,500 leads throughout the year, with a conversion rate of more than 46%. This has continued to be her most successful email opt-in strategy to date.
“The best part about it is that I haven’t had to touch it in nearly two years because it runs on autopilot [through the Interact tool],” she adds. “I’m hoping to create more quizzes in 2019 to lead to other services!”
3. Capture email addresses through website pop-ups.
There are many places to put an email signup box on your website: at the top, as a footer, in the middle of a blog post, or in the sidebar. But many businesses have found that pop-ups – or light-boxes – are most effective at driving conversions.
The Bearded Bastard did.
“We use a couple different areas on our website as CTAs to sign up,” Winfield said. “But the best way we’ve seen to capture emails is through a pop-up on the website. In exchange for signing up, people receive a code for a free beard oil sample. ”
Yup, there’s that special offer again.
4. Build automated email sequences.
We’ve established that email can be incredibly valuable for your growing business, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you know how to fit it into your busy schedule.
“Most of [my email] is done through automated email sequences on ConvertKit, meaning I grow my email audience without having to manually upkeep my email list,” she says. “It gives me more time to focus on other business projects while still seeing a result from email marketing.”
Still overwhelmed by your inbox? You can always recruit a Fiverr Pro email marketing specialist to help take your email marketing strategies to the next level.
How do you use email marketing to grow your audience? Tell us in the comments below!