So, you’ve got a website, and now you want to start generating traffic to it. You have a few options to help bring potential customers to your site; email marketing, social media, SEO (search engine optimization) and PPC (pay-per-click) are the main 4 traffic drivers that we assist our clients with.
Our next 4 weekly emails will focus on each one of these services and how you can start building an audience with the right promotional mix. First, let’s look at email marketing.
Email marketing is a powerful marketing tool that is often overlooked or used as a “buy now” promotional effort only. However, email marketing is something that every company should be doing to stay in regular communication with existing customers and educate potential customers.
Getting started: A few best practices.
- Use an email marketing system – Services like mailchimp.com or constantcontact.com make it easy to upload your client list and start sending messages. These services also ensure you are CAN-SPAM compliant, that all un-subscribes are dealt with immediately and you get to see reports on how well your campaigns are performing. Do not BCC all your customers on a mass email.
- Scrub your data – Before you import your list into your email marketing system, make sure the data is correct. I like to personalize emails if I can, so I go through and make sure the list includes the proper first and last name so I can use that data in the email message. The more personalization you can do in the email message, the more effective it will be.
- Set a schedule – Your audience, business type and relationship to the recipients will dictate your content schedule. If you have an e-commerce site that regularly has new products or offers, you may elect to send your messages more frequently. If you’re sending longer, educational updates, you may decide to send less frequently. The key to a successful email marketing campaign is consistency.
- Relevant topics – We hear from our clients all the time that they don’t know what to write about. A great exercise to come up with topics is to write out a list of FAQ that you hear from customers or potential customers. After you have that done, create a list of any events that you are attending, or news stories related to your industry that could have an impact on your customers. Short answers to FAQ or industry news write ups make for great email marketing content. If you’re still at a loss for topics, head on over to our blog and read some tips we’ve published there.
- Create an archive – By now, I’m sure you’ve heard the adage “content is king” when it comes to SEO. You can use your email marketing pieces as new blog content on your site as well. A week after we email out our tips, we archive them on our blog. This gives us a steady stream of new content on the site and gives us a way to reference our tips to future clients.
- Share, Share, Share! Your initial list of contacts may be small. If you want to encourage users to sign up for your email marketing list, you’ll need to share what you are currently doing so they know there is value in the messages. Share you email marketing messages on social media (more on that next week) and talk about how to sign up for these messages in your face-to-face networking.
- List Sign Up – This might be the most technical part of email marketing… you need to create a way for people to sign up for your messages. The major service providers (MailChimp and Constant Contact, among others) provide code that you embed on your website to create a sign up form. When someone fills out this form, the data is sent directly to your email marketing list and the user will become a subscriber.
- Avoid the buy-now – Marketing has changed drastically in the last 20 years. Your competition could now be next door or across the world. If your recipient isn’t ready to buy now, you’ll need to use your email messages to continually position yourself as the expert in your field and educate them on how they can work with you. Your email messages should not be digitized buy-now flyers. Though you should include an offer in each message, the rest of the content should be educational in nature.
- Aesthetics and design –We assume you know most of these, but as a gentle reminder:
- Don’t go crazy on the font choices. Use 1 or 2 readable fonts in the message.
- Include your contact information in each message.
- Include your company logo in the message.
- Proofread! We love the saying “done is better than perfect”, however, you should proofread your message (I always read mine out loud) to make sure there aren’t any embarrassing typos. Leaving out the R in shirt can make for a very different message.
- Include personality. Your business has a culture and a style; let people see it in your messaging. Don’t be afraid to insert some humor or emotion if the message calls for it.
I realize that this list is long and can seem impossible if you’re just starting out. We’re here to help. Whether you just need assistance in setting up your Mail Chimp account or you need us to do the copy-writing and list management, we’ve got you covered.