Email marketing still has enormous potential - also as a channel for freelancers and agencies. In this article, we'll show you the strengths of email and how versatile you can use it. This is the start of a series of articles on the topic. We will link to the new parts of this series on an ongoing basis.
What makes email marketing interesting
Admittedly: It's fun to deal with speculative future topics like the metaverse or Web3. But if you want to reach new and old customers here and now, you don't urgently need it (yet). Because the music continues to play on the social web, in search engines and, above all, in the e-mail inbox.
Because as outdated as e-mail may seem as a marketing tool and communication medium, its potential is still enormous. And that's no wonder, considering that you can reach almost the entire Internet population via e-mail. A staggering four billion people send e-mails every day.
Certainly: For some target groups, it will work less reliably. That's especially true for young people. But in most cases, e-mail is unbeaten in its versatility:
- You can reach people both privately and professionally.
- It works (properly designed) on virtually all devices - from desktop PC to smartphone or even smartwatch.
- In addition, e-mails are read at all times of the day and also at weekends or on the side.
But that's not all. Another plus point is that you don't have an algorithm standing in your way like Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok and others do - or at least less prominently. How you ensure that your emails actually reach your readers is the subject of an upcoming article.
Moreover, it is already a sign of trust when a person gives you their e-mail address, because the e-mail inbox is often a very personal thing. The fear of spam is justified. So you have taken the first step towards a good relationship. Therefore, your message in the inbox is considered important. At the same time, you have a responsibility that you must fulfill with appropriate and interesting content.
Last but not least, your email list belongs to you and no one else. You can even move it to a new provider or use a new tool for your email marketing at any time. Admittedly: It's not always easy. But it is possible. Compare that to the social web: You can't take your Facebook page with all its fans and followers to LinkedIn, for example.
It is clear that you have to handle your e-mail distribution list with care. Last but not least, you have to observe various legal regulations, which I will discuss in more detail in another article.
Interim conclusion on e-mail marketing
No online communication channel is as universally applicable and can achieve such reach as e-mails can. You can reach people privately or professionally, on all devices and at different times of the day. However, in order for e-mail to develop its full potential, you need to use it correctly.
Formats for email marketing
When you hear "email marketing," the first thing you might think of is promotional messages cluttering up your inbox and, in the worst case, not interesting you at all. Believe me: it doesn't have to be that way. There are significantly more (and better) options. Some key examples:
A newsletter is a regularly sent message with a specific content concept and a recognizable layout.
You can find an example here on Raidboxes. The monthly WordPress newsletter keeps you informed once a month about new posts on the website and other relevant news. Of course it indirectly promotes Raidboxes. But in the foreground is the idea to keep people interested in WordPress well informed.
In the spirit of content marketing, self-promotion plays a secondary role here and happens rather indirectly. First and foremost, it's about having a useful, relevant and well-made information offering that attracts the right target group.
Such newsletters can have the most diverse content concepts. Sometimes they are strongly promotional, sometimes not at all. I personally unsubscribe quite quickly from purely advertising newsletters. In hardly any area do I need constant information about what new offers are available - apart from the supermarket's weekly brochure. But just because I've just bought a drill, I don't want to be informed about other equipment every week - or even about other drills. Tips for do-it-yourselfers, on the other hand, would be very welcome.
This already gives you an idea of what constitutes successful email marketing. More about this below.
Email series (manual or automated)
E-mail series, on the other hand, send pre-prepared messages in a fixed rhythm. They are suitable for introducing a person to a topic step by step. That's why they are used in email marketing, among other things, to acquire new leads and customers. At that moment, they are part of a sales funnel.
One approach would be to offer a free guide or training. For example, a series of "10 steps to improve your WordPress website" that delivers exactly one tip to the reader's inbox every day. As discussed above with the newsletter, the focus here is ideally on utility. At the appropriate place you can of course refer to your own services or additional information.
Another option is a "welcome series". It can help new customers to properly understand and use a product or offer. The series then may contribute to customer satisfaction.
In the simplest case, such an e-mail series runs bluntly as preset: The interested parties register and receive the next part every day, every two days, every week or in another frequency.
In addition, you can also create much more complex email automations. Then there is no longer necessarily only one fixed path through the series. Instead, the system decides which message variant to send next based on certain conditions. A simple example: In an email, you offer a call-to-action at the end. Whether a person clicks on it or not determines the next message.
With such e-mail automations, highly sophisticated processes can be mapped, all the way to fully automated sales.
Announcements (new products, offers, special promotions)
This is the classic promotional email in email marketing: It tells you when there is something hopefully interesting to discover. And here I like to repeat myself: Relevance is what counts! If a message fits perfectly to my situation and me, I am happy. Otherwise, I'm either bored or even annoyed.
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Transactional messages are often overlooked in email marketing. In fact, from a purely legal point of view, you cannot misuse them as advertising emails. They inform the recipient about a successful purchase and provide all mandatory and important information.
Within the scope of this, you still have design leeway that you should use. This includes not only the design, which of course plays an important role. It also includes the tonality: Does it fit in with how the company otherwise appears?
It is not uncommon for the standard e-mails in the system to be sent unchanged. But these are often very dry, factual and interchangeable. This is a missed opportunity to positively differentiate yourself from others.
Exemplary fields of application
The formats have certainly already made it clear how differently e-mail can be used as a channel. Accordingly, the list of potential areas of application is also long:
Increase brand awareness
You offer content via email that is relevant and useful to your intended audience. This can be a well-crafted newsletter, as shown above, or perhaps an email series. The hope is that these offers, as part of your content marketing, will ensure that your name gets out to the right people. Maybe your offer will even be recommended by previous subscribers!
Winning leads and new customers
Such an e-mail offer will hopefully not only attract more attention, but also ensure that the recipients trust you or your company. They get to know you little by little. They understand better how your products and offers fit to them and what makes them special. And don't forget: In B2B, too, people ultimately make the decisions. In addition to purely factual figures and facts, "soft", indirect and unconscious factors also play a role. If people have already gotten to know and appreciate you or your company, that's definitely a bonus in your email marketing.
Improve customer experience
Well-crafted emails can also improve the customer experience. For example, transactional emails can be thoughtfully designed and have a recognizable personality. Always remember that every single interaction with prospects and customers affects how they perceive you, your company, your offers and products.
Increase customer lifetime value
And it's not just about new customers: you should also keep an eye on your existing clientele. You might be able to encourage them to take advantage of another offer from you or to extend an existing maintenance contract.
Re-engagement" can also be an important adjustment screw: Then you address those existing customers who have not bought anything for a long time. A special offer such as a small reward in the form of a coupon can be an effective support at this point.
... and more
Even for more specialized tasks, email can be used in a meaningful way. Perhaps it is just important to present yourself as an attractive employer (employer branding) or to make the company's management better known as professionals (thought leadership). Here, too, formats such as special newsletters can be a good tool.
Conclusion: What makes good email marketing?
As you've hopefully seen, email continues to be an interesting and useful channel for businesses. The application possibilities are manifold.
It is important that you think from the perspective of your customers and do not just want to advertise and think of your own advantage.
Another point: tailor the messages as well as possible to the situation and interests of the recipients. There are considerable differences between existing and prospective customers that you should take into account.
In another post soon, I'll go into more detail about how you actually reach your readers. Segmenting your email list for different groups of people is one way to do this.
Your questions about email marketing basics
What questions do you have about email marketing? We are looking forward to your comment. Are you interested in current topics around WordPress and email marketing? Then follow Raidboxes on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or via our newsletter.