Each of the components of inbound marketing stands in its individual position but is dependent on the collaboration of the whole. Entrepreneurs nowadays have many factors that need to be leveraged in order to achieve growth and profitability. However, once all channels are structured properly they become a beneficial element that reflects not only in conversion rates but also in monitoring, maintaining and enhancing achieved state.

Diverse channels cross-promote each other according to their structural properties: social media gives brief references on processes of the company and navigates visitors to more comprehensive channels such as blogs and websites. However, it is also necessary to target specific segments of customers in order to optimize engagement. Email is an excellent platform for such procedures as well as for monitoring proficiency of the marketing apparatus as a whole.

How to Grow Your Business with Email List

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This article addresses the question whether and in which ways email lists are a productive and profitable marketing strategy, examines metrics and statistics as well as provides a guide for email marketing strategy optimization through sections 1) How Email Lists Help Growth of Your Business; 2) Optimization of Email Lists; 3) Measuring Efficiency of Your Email Marketing and 4) Statistics on Email Marketing.

HOW EMAIL LISTS HELP GROWTH OF YOUR BUSINESS

Email List as Part of Inbound Marketing Strategies

Delivery of Targeted Content to Opted-in Audience

Inbound marketing strategies have become the fundamental law of e-commerce. They simulate positive involvement and engagement of consumers with providers of products or services. While almost all of the traditional, invasive marketing approaches are looked upon as unproductive (at least when done exclusively), email has successfully acclimatized to the new environment and became one of the most profitable strategies of content marketing (especially in regard to Return on Investment figures).

In order to bring these results, email has switched to an opt-in audience rather than on (purchased) lists of people who have no interest in what a company has to offer. What this means is that your mailing list comprises out of individuals who actually signed up for continuing interaction with your channels and are as such more prospective as leads.

Once you have acquired a substantial (and growing) mailing list, it is important to manage it optimally. To do so, segmentation of the audience must be undertaken. With numerous analytical tools available, you can categorize your subscribers and target approaches and content according to their more specific needs. This refers not only to stages of customer journey your subscribers are in but also concerning their needs.

For example, if you are providing services of catering, you should provide different constructive content with reference to whether your subscriber is a company or an individual. Moreover, you should segment the approach according to any further information on your subscribers. If you are interacting with a company, you might want to structure your email content so as to address formal gatherings and how you can contribute in the matter. On the other hand, when communicating with individuals, you should present content related to events such as anniversaries, birthdays, weddings, etc.

The perpetual interest comes from useful interaction. Hence, targeting your opted-in audience with valuable information that has something to do with their needs will increase their engagement and potential of future conversion.

Types of Inbound Email Content

Email content should be brief and to-the-point. Essentially, it should serve as a transmission station where you inform subscribers of content related to their preferences (and your products/services) as well as pivot them to its sources – website, blog posts, e-books, webinars and other.

  • Educational Email Content is comprised out of one concisely presented topic and references to comprehensive sources of your other channels (or available for download).
  • Newsletter Email Content covers a few topics and provides references for further informing on each of the subjects.
  • Lead-nurturing Email Content is follow-up communication with your leads. For example, someone subscribed to your mailing list so as to download an e-book that you offered in exchange. Lead-nurturing emails should come at intervals of some kind and provide additional content information with regard to the existing sphere of interest constructed by the download.

Inbound vs. Outbound Email Marketing

Some argue that email marketing is a thing of the past. However, by observing statistics (which will be presented in the final section of the article), it seems that this can be true only with reference to outbound email marketing.

Outbound marketing, meaning aggressive agitation with excessive advertising and with no personalization in approach, decreased in productivity precisely because there was too much of it. Companies that employ purchased lists of subscribers and interact with them through the constant flux of unwanted advertising are regarded and marked as ‘spam’.

Bearing in mind that email serves as a promotion post, it is obvious that the goal should be to reach the subscriber. It seems there cannot be a more counterproductive strategy than ‘spamming’ – in addition to the fact that content does not reach the subscriber, it creates a negative attitude towards the provider.

As a theory of evolution states: adapt or cease to exist. Outbound email marketing is likely to do the latter. As inbound email marketing employs polar opposite attitudes and approaches towards subscribers, adapts to the new environment of online marketing and creates new objectives, it is showing a survival tendency.

Using Email List for Growth of Business

Now that we have positioned email marketing strategy with reference to the e-commerce market and in opposition to traditional strategies, we will take a look at how do mailing lists actually help growth of business through essential stages of customer development.

Acquisition of New Leads through Email Lists

New leads can be acquired through existing subscribers by word of mouth where your subscribers agitate for your business within their circle of people. This can be further simulated by implementing call-to-action techniques, such as ‘Recommend to a friend’ or ‘Share’ buttons, in email content.

Activation of Conversion of your Subscribers from your Email Lists

Email content should reference your subscribers to your other channels. Choose most popular and positively received content and promote it to your subscribers. Every navigation to your channels enhances the chances of conversion (because they signify engagement with your company).

Retention of your Mailing List

Use the information you have acquired through interaction with your subscribers and address them accordingly. For example, if someone on your mailing list purchased your product or services make sure you send follow-ups with complementary content related to the purchase and inform them on upgrades. Moreover, send special offers and loyalty packages for your repetitive customers.

OPTIMIZATION OF EMAIL LISTS

In order to maximize opportunities for business growth, your email lists must be optimized. In the following text, we are presenting techniques that will bring in a multitude of leads that can be nurtured into customers.

Content Comes First

Inbound marketing depends on the content. Even if someone gives you their information (email) and become a lead, the interaction will continue only if you succeed to engage them. Your primary efforts should thus be focused on creating qualitative, useful and desired content in matters of the niche you are a part of. Such content is built by examination of your targeted audience and their preferences. Once created it should be placed on your channels and cross-promoted.

Make it Simple to Do

Construct simple, concise and fast forms for a subscription. Although every additional information can be used in targeting content, you should minimize questions, so your prospects do not back out. For example, your subscription form should require name, email address and possibly a multiple choice question on the reason for a subscription.

Request Sharing

Request sharing from your visitors and existing subscribers.

Segment Audience and Approach Accordingly

Use analytics tools to collect data and information on your subscribers and segment them in order to provide more personalized content.

Cross-promotion

Content marketing depends on cross-referencing your channels in order to maximize productivity. Provide ebooks, hold webinars, and free courses, write interesting blog posts and promote them on Twitter, Facebook, your website and in your emails.

Call-out For Action

One of the techniques which makes a great difference in the quantity of you mailing list is the presentation of subscription opportunities. Make sure all of your channels regularly offer a subscription to your visitors and followers. Include subscription forms on your website and cover key sections such as website’s homepage, blog’s main age, ‘About Us’ and ‘Contact Us’ pages. Use pop-outs to call for action – people tend to get less agitated by pop-outs when they offer something constructive.

Another key segment of your subscription call for action is to clearly and visibly state that it is free because, obviously, people are more likely to opt-in.

Special Offers in Exchange for Email Information

Simulate more subscriptions by providing access to content your audience is interested in but only after subscription. Offer whitepapers, e-books, webinars and courses in exchange for email information. If your content has value, most people will gladly give their information. After they have subscribed, make sure to use knowledge of their interest spheres to target them with similar or related content through email.

Co-market

In order to widen and refresh your mailing list, partner up with another business owner and agree upon mutual promotion. Bear in mind that you should not partner up with equivalent businesses (you are diminishing each other’s competitiveness) nor with a completely unrelated niche to your own. Partner up within your niche but with the difference in offered products and/or services.

Traditional approach

Use your daily endeavors, meetings, and events to promote your business. Give your email address as a means of communication continuation.

Include Customized as well as Unsubscription Opportunities

Monitor, the subscribers’ satisfaction, levels in regard to the frequency of email interaction. Offer opportunities for reduced or increased amount of emails you send to them according to their preferences. Include options for unsubscriptions as it will be useful in measuring efficiency. Also, it does not do much for your business to have a passive mailing list.

Adjust Frequency to Customer Sales Cycles

Determining the duration of sales cycles for your segmented audience will influence the amount of email content sent. The sales cycle is the whole process from the first interaction, i.e. micro conversion from prospect to lead, to the first purchase.

MEASURING EFFICIENCY IF YOUR EMAIL MARKETING

Marketing is a science because it uses analytical data to construct productive strategies. Email is one of the most gratifying channels for collecting campaign efficiency statistics. These are the metrics you can employ so as to acquire comprehensive overview of your endeavors:

  • Opened Emails: The amount of opened emails provides insights into how active your subscribers are in interaction with your company. Studies show that up to 64% of people open emails based on the subject line. In order to optimize your subject lines use ten characters or less and personalize them. With B2B marketing, terms such as ‘money’, ‘profit’ and ‘revenue’ have shown to be most effective for email opening.
  • Links Clicked: Amount of links followed from the email show success of call-to-action elements: choice of words, amount of information given, position in text, etc.
  • Email Instigated Conversions: Use a tracking code on your website to acquire information on the amount of conversions made via email links. It is one of the most useful metrics for email analysis because it provides understanding of online purchase behavioral patterns of your customer.
  • Subscription Rate: Monitoring the subscription rate allows you to keep track of the efficiency of your other channels and can bring attention to issues in management.
  • Un-subscription Rate: As mentioned above, the number of un-subscriptions can point to the necessity of strategy re-evaluation. Request feedback from your un-subscribed members, so as to determine reasons behind their decision.
  • Bounced Emails: The percentage of emails that did not reach their destination can point out inactive accounts and thus prevent clutter of unproductive addresses in your mailing list. Bounced emails can show problems with your email service such as the difficulty of finding the unsubscribe button (which might lead subscribers to mark your mail as ‘spam’).
  • Temporal Statistics: By monitoring the temporal trends in opening emails, you can target your subscribers on an hourly basis. Moreover, you can compare the productivity of your campaigns and specific content over more or less extensive periods of time.

STATISTICS ON EMAIL MARKETING

In this section, we are presenting some up to date statistics regarding email marketing, its productivity, and profitability.

  • The amount of 3.6 billion email accounts and more than 247 billion emails sent daily make email marketing an indispensable strategy for reaching massive amounts of the audience. The number of email accounts is expected to rise to 4.3 billion by 2017 which shows a positive trend in email marketing.
  • Rates of opened mail revolve around 30%.
  • 91% of email owners check their account at least once a day. 48% of login happens through mobile devices (optimize your emails for different mediums: mobile phones, tablets, desktop).
  • 90% of customers state preference for communication with a brand through email (10% opted for Facebook) and 44% of customers make at least one purchase based on email newsletter.
  • 72% of customers opt for email communication because of special offers and discounts.
  • Studies show that email based customer acquisition influences the amount of money willing to be paid in reference to social media (up to 135%).
  • Email revenue reached 156 million dollars in 2012.
  • Return of Investment (ROI) is extremely high: revenue rises to 44.25$ for 1$ invested in email marketing. In other words, it is extremely profitable to invest in this form of marketing.
  • 56% of businesses state that they will be optimizing their email strategies in the following year.

Managing your email strategy can result in the massive increase of leads and provide means to nurture these leads into customers. Through proper subscription campaigns based on content distribution, prospects will increase their engagement in your business and become both potential customers as well as an advertising apparatus. Email communication will become a powerful tool in customer journey management because you will be able to personalize and specify your approach and offers according to segmented audiences. Moreover, usage of email efficiency metrics will enable insights into your customer’s behavioral patterns thus enabling you to address them optimally. Lastly, this metrics will serve as alert signals that will point out issues and malfunctions in your services that need to be managed.

When all things add up, it becomes clear that email marketing is one of the basic constituents of functional marketing nowadays – if done properly. As we have stated numerous times, constructing something valuable always takes time and significant effort, but when the other side of the scale is filled with self-accomplishment, profit, longevity, and endurance, it seems like a bargain, doesn’t it?

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