Those infamous studies show…. email marketing works.
The optimum combination for generating business online is…..
- Attract visitors through Inbound Marketing.
- Obtain their email address in exchange for something.
- Stay in touch via email.
Not that social media marketing doesn’t serve a purpose, but these studies show the money is in Inbound Marketing and email. Social media helps mostly with branding. Email helps generates sales.
There are however three distinct forms of email marketing, all with various prices, levels of sophistication, and effectiveness.
The weekly or biweekly newsletter is where one email goes out to your entire list at the same time. These emails are of course generic, and serve a branding purpose. They keep your name in the minds of your prospects.
These are often free for small numbers of providers. At MailChimp, you can send newsletters for free when you have 500 or fewer contacts.
Autoresponders and DRIP campaigns
After the weekly or biweekly newsletter, small businesses graduate to the use of autoresponders and DRIP campaigns.
An autoresponder if where someone receives an email immediately after taking some action on a web page. Perhaps someone provided you their email address to have access to a video, or to download an eBook, or something else.
Autoresponders allow you to respond immediately and automatically. You write the email in advance and it’s sending is triggered by them being added to your email list.
The DRIP campaign is an extension of the autoresponder. It is a series of emails sent at regular intervals. With DRIP campaigns everyone receives the same set of emails, but on their own schedules.
These are not free, but for small amounts of email subscribers they’re cheap.
Using MailChipm as the example again:
- 500 subscribers or fewer is $10 a month
- 100 or less is $15
- 2,500 or less is $30
- 10,000 or less is $75
- 25,000 or less is $150
Marketing automation is the most effective form of email marketing, the most sophisticated, requires the most setup, and costs the most. However I wish to re-emphasize it is the most effective.
Marketing automation is similar to DRIP campaigns in that it includes a series of emails that get set.
However the significant departure is that the activities people take (or do not take) from your emails is tracked and their email activity and their activity on your website are both logged.
This allows the creation of flows, such that the next email someone gets depends on whether they did or did not take the suggested action.
To illustrage this point, image a website devoted to an Inbound Marketing community.
The Buyers Journey people go through in the course of joining an Inbound Marketing community might be:
- An understanding that Inbound Marketing works, along with a realization that Inbound Marketing agencies are too expensive.
- The realization that they can do Inbound Marketing themselves when they identify someone in the business to devote the hour or two every day.
- The realization we can help them (which typically involves them asking and answering questions).
To talk something through this Buyers Journey I would create content (articles and videos) that address each of the points listed above.
I then join them together into a flow.
Email 1 suggests the person to watch video 1.
Which email they get for email 2 depends on if they did or didn’t.
I might define 6 reminder email’s to encourage people to watch video 1, all of which are worded differently and go out every 2 days.
After someone does watch video 1, the next email (or set of emails) suggest they read an article that talks about small businesses who have successfully done it themselves. In that email (or the webpage that email directs them to) I may ask them to submit questions and provided them a link to a page on my website created for that purpose.
The main points here are:
- The purpose of marketing automation is walk something through their Buyers Journey one step at a time.
- The next email they receive depends on whether they did nor did not take the suggestion action in the prior email.
Marketing Automation is the most expensive form of email marketing, but it doesn’t have to break the bank. While some vendors are way too costly for small business (Marketo, Act-On) others are more reasonable.