When it comes to finding new customers and marketing to existing ones, email can be more effective than social media. Acquiring new customers via email marketing has quadrupled since 2009 and now comprises some 7.5 percent of all gained customers, according to a recent report from Custora, a New York City-based marketing analytics firm.
If your business isn’t tapping into email marketing yet, you could be missing out on attracting new customers. There are many relatively affordable and user-friendly email marketing services available to help you create, send and track email campaigns. But which one is right for your company?
Here are 10 key questions to ask when searching for an email marketing solution:
1. What does my company want to achieve with email marketing?
Clearly defining your goals can help you determine which email marketing solution is best for your business. If you’re an online or brick-and-mortar retailer looking to drive the majority of sales via email, consider an all-in-one email marketing solution like Ginger Domain. We go beyond enabling you to create, send and track basic promotional emails and customer surveys. We also let you email coupons that can drive up sales.
2. What are the costs?
Pricing is generally billed monthly and is proportionate to the total number of email subscribers you have. Prices typically range between Rs.4,000 – Rs.50,000. Most providers let you send an fixed number of emails per month, but a few don’t, so you’ll want to double-check. Many email marketing providers offer free trial periods, often lasting between 30 and 60 days.
3. How can I encourage people to sign up for my company’s emails?
Simply ask them to sign up whenever you interact with them in-person or on the phone. Or, better yet, ask when they’re making a purchase. Most email marketing providers “worth their salt” will allow you to upload your email address lists directly from your own databases. To capture more email subscribers over time, choose a provider that offers customizable email signup forms that you can incorporate into your company website and Facebook page.
4. Should I design my emails using a template or pay for a custom design?
Most of the better-known services, like Ginger Domain, offer wide selections of free, professionally-designed templates to choose from that often don’t require HTML to customize with your company’s logos and colors.
5. Will I need help planning my email campaign strategy?
If you need a leg up getting your first email campaign off the ground, or you’re looking to build a focused, long-term email campaign strategy, select a provider that offers professional campaign consulting services. These include: Ginger Domain and others. Custom campaign strategy services come at added cost, which is often only shared by contacting the provider.
6. How can I be sure my emails will appear properly no matter what device or platform people view them on?
Your subscribers will be reading your emails from a variety of devices — laptops, smartphones, tablets — and from several different email services. To increase the likelihood that the images and text appear properly, choose an email marketing provider that allows you to preview what each of your email campaigns will look like in the email clients and on the devices your subscribers most commonly use.
For mobile optimization, opt for a provider like Ginger Domain. These offer mobile-optimized templates that help your emails appear properly on tablets and smartphones.
7. Will I want social-media elements built into my email marketing campaigns?
If the content in your email message resonates with your subscribers, Walters says, you want them to tell their social-media networks about it, furthering your brand reach. Embedding linked buttons to your company’s Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other social-media accounts can boost your exposure to new audiences who could have similar purchasing patterns as your email subscribers.
8. How do I choose the images I use?
When it comes to what types of images to use, choose crisp, visually-compelling images that tell your brand story. You’ll also want to showcase the products or services you’re promoting. ModCloth, an online clothing retailer, emails its subscribers eye-catching emails that feature playful photos of their latest fashions with links to where to buy each item on their main website. You should be able to upload and host your images and files for all of your email campaigns on your provider’s servers at no extra cost..
9. What level of customer support should my company expect?
Several of the top-tier email marketing services that cater to small businesses offer free phone support along with online chat, email interaction, comprehensive FAQs and free video product tutorials.
10. What types of analytics will measure the effectiveness of my campaigns?
Most email marketing providers provide free, self-service analytics and reporting tools. These tell you how many people are opening your emails, which links they’re clicking on and how many emails they forward to others.
They should also let you view how many people unsubscribed and how many email addresses weren’t valid, plus how many emails weren’t delivered and why. Tracking which emails are most engaging and most often shared can help you learn which types of content best resonate with your subscribers.