Determining what strategies to employ to grow your business is no easy feat. There are countless variables to take into consideration. Regardless of business size, industry, or even audience, if your marketing strategy doesn’t include email marketing already, it may be time to reassess.
Email marketing has become a dominant force in everyday life, so it’s no surprise that many businesses have integrated it into their ongoing strategies. Back in 2010, a leading social media executive made the assertion that email was dead. Today, in 2016, it is definitively not.
Very Much Alive
To say email isn’t dead would be a complete understatement. According to data collected by Custora E-Commerce Pulse, a free dashboard for US eCommerce statistics, email marketing became the primary channel on Black Friday 2015 and dominated online sales that day, driving more than 25% of all orders. The decline of email marketing experienced in conjunction with the rise of social media is a distant memory.
Why wouldn’t email marketing become a driving force? When asked to provide a phone number or an email address, many people choose to share their email address. The introduction of smartphones not only led to the demise of the now-archaic flip phone, but also gave consumers the ability to carry their email in their pockets, purses or briefcases. Email is everywhere and clearly consumers can’t seem to live without it.
Considering it’s possible to leverage a skill that has become second nature for many people, implementing email marketing is an easy decision. While some businesses are limited to specific methods, email marketing is not discriminatory. In fact, email marketing paves the way for businesses’ communication with existing and potential customers, lead generation, customer acquisition and customer retention for businesses of all sizes, from small mom-and-pop shops to large international retailers.
Although both business-to-business retailers and business-to-consumer retailers have the same end goal (to make money), they typically have different ways of using email marketing. In the B2B arena, email communications generally focus on promotion and sales. Conversely, operators in the B2C space employ email to build and engage community in addition to occasional sales-oriented promotions.
With alternative strategies, it’s important to identify and find your audience, and then spend time and money capturing that audience. As an eCommerce retailer, you’ve likely developed a database of potential customers who have subscribed to your newsletter by providing their email addresses. In this case, you’ve already bypassed the finding-your-customer phase. The longer you operate your business, the more likely you are to continue growing this database. And the larger your database, the wider a net you can cast.
Why Email Marketing is Great
Email marketing is one of the few marketing strategies that almost anyone can do without extensive knowledge or training. There are a variety of email marketing platforms out there that make it extremely easy to develop and automate innovative email campaigns. With platforms such as Constant Contact and MailChimp, you can select a pre-designed template, drop in your text, upload your database of email addresses, and schedule the distribution. In these four simple steps, you can increase the exposure of your brand and begin growing your business – without breaking the bank!
Take a step further with your email marketing by using it to complement alternative strategies such as social media activities. Integrating these two strategies enables businesses to simultaneously grow their community of followers; identify methods to categorize or segment their community; more effectively communicate with their audience; increase their brand presence; and build brand loyalty.
Put Email to Work for You
When it comes to eCommerce businesses, the answer is yes: email is right. The potential of email marketing is huge because the audience is there.
But before you start downloading your list of contacts and crafting your first email, consider these 5 points:
- Include opt-in language where email addresses are collected and opt-out language in all email deliveries.
- Avoid making a bad name for your business by sending spam. Before creating the content for your emails, consider the emails you receive, open, and actually read yourself versus the emails you immediately delete.
- Remember to add value—don’t send an email for the sake of sending an email. Provide something that motivates the recipient to complete an action.
- Segment your email lists to ensure that recipients receive relevant communication. For example, don’t send an email highlighting the current sale on spring dresses to a group of men.
- Respect your recipients’ time.
Email Marketing and Volusion
If you have a Volusion store, you’ve got some options once you’re ready to launch your first email marketing campaign. Before you start exploring various email marketing software, check out the newsletter subscription and delivery functionality that is already built into your Volusion platform. Depending on your goals, what’s already included might be exactly what you need.
Alternatively, Constant Contact and MailChimp are Volusion Email Marketing partners and are both great options to take your email campaign to the next level. While very similar, each solution has its own pricing model and benefits. One offers a free plan and the other offers a free trial period. Use these to your advantage and take a test drive to see which one you like better.
Will you take on email marketing to grow your business in 2016? The Volusion Knowledge Base is a great resource to help you get started. It includes several articles on topics like Newsletter Best Practices, Retention Email Strategies, and Newsletter ROI to set you up for success!