When was the last time you opened an email? We're going to take a guess and say it hasn't been that long.
With how fast technology is advancing, you'd think email would be dying out. The world's first email was sent half a century ago, and now social media and instant messaging have made it even easier to interact online. But despite TikTok, WhatsApp, and all the other social monoliths, the humble email still remains one of the most widely-used forms of communication today, especially for businesses.
For years, people have used email marketing to grow their businesses. From thanking people for their purchases to sending them newsletters and personalised discounts, emails help organisations nurture and build relationships with their customers.
As a small business owner or startup, you may be running your email marketing campaigns manually, and it's easy to miss out on leads when your contact details are spread across multiple mailing groups or lists. Not every customer will open your emails, and just sending more won't cut it. Whether it's a campaign for prospects or existing customers, you must be fast, efficient, and targeted. Email marketing software can help you do this.
What is email marketing software?
Email marketing software is a tool designed to help you create, manage, and track all your email campaigns from a single interface. Your campaign's purpose could be anything from growing your customer base, keeping them informed about new products, or boosting your overall sales. Whatever the goal, a good software system will help you achieve it efficiently without complications.
Why small businesses shouldn't ignore email marketing
Now you may be thinking 'hold on. I don't have the budget for this.' You've been down this road before with PPC ads, impressions, billboards—it's not worth the cost. But here's the thing: if you're looking in terms of ROI, email marketing can't be beat.
A study by McKinsey & Company revealed that emails are 40 times more effective in gaining new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. That's hard to overlook, especially if you run a smaller organisation that's looking to expand its customer base.
According to a 2019 report from the Digital Marketing Association (UK), email marketing can generate returns of 4200%. That means every dollar spent will give you $42 back. Not to mention that it tends to attract more genuine interest.
Other mass marketing methods like social media ads, posters and billboards, and even direct mail—they reach a lot of people, but their conversion rates are notoriously low. "Impressions" do nothing if no one actually makes a purchase.
With email marketing, you can reach your target audience and maintain excellent relationships with them. It's a simple way to boost your credibility, especially if you implement a few healthy tips and tricks along the way.
Email marketing software features
So you've decided to try email marketing software, but you aren't sure what to look for. No worries. Here are some of the features that are must-haves for great email campaigns that you can continuously improve and scale over time.
Let's say you run a book store in Glebe. You've divided your audience based on their age group or a particular genre of book they prefer. Your software should allow you to build age and genre categories so you're only sending emails to customers who are likely to be interested. If you're advertising a new batch of children's books, you probably don't want to send emails about it to a university-going non-fiction lover. Proper segmentation means the right people are reading your emails without you having to spam everyone at once.
Your software should make your job easier and save you time, otherwise what's the point? Find an email marketing system that will automate the tasks that you do on a regular basis, like sending monthly newsletters, reminding customers about payments, or wishing them well on their birthdays. Schedule these emails in advance, and the system will send them in bulk without you having to lift a finger. This gives you the flexibility to work on your campaigns at your own pace. The system should also be able to automatically fill in any relevant information specific to each customer, such as their name or suggestions based on their purchase history.
It's essential to choose software that works well with the other applications you use. Let's take the same example of a book store. If your software integrates with your CRM, you can bring in even more detailed customer data to segment your email lists into smaller groups. So when a sale on a football star's autobiography goes live, you should be able to send emails only to those who your CRM has pegged as football fans, not all non-fiction enthusiasts. This way, you can personalise your campaigns even further, drive more conversions, and extend the capabilities of both applications.
Your email marketing software should have a variety of pre-designed templates with colourful illustrations, call-to-action buttons, fonts, and images. In most cases, they are tried and tested designs that are proven to work well with campaigns of all types. You shouldn't have to have an in-depth knowledge of design codes to create beautiful newsletters or mobile-friendly emails. You also shouldn't feel like you have to hire designers in order to effectively market your business.
You've started running regular campaigns, but how will you know how well the emails perform without metrics? Email marketing isn't just about segmenting your audience, hitting send, and hoping for things to work. From tracking how many people were curious enough to open your emails to identifying those who went further to watch a video or use a discount code, critical metrics like open rates and clickthrough rates give you insight on how to improve your future email campaigns. Your email marketing software should provide comprehensive analytics that you can use to consistently improve the success of your marketing strategies.
When you send out a new campaign email, it's important to know what customers like about it and what they don't. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to get that feedback directly, especially if you're asking about granular metrics like how long people spent reading or how many clicked on the email's CTA. A/B testing makes this simple. You can create two versions of the same email and test which version works better. Let's say you send a promotional email with two different subject lines. By comparing the open rates of both the emails, you can follow the subject line format that gives you better results.
Email marketing software isn't a magical tool that will automatically draw in more customers. No software can do that. However, the outcome of your campaigns does depend on how well you use emails in your existing direct marketing strategy. If you choose a system that suits your business and the other apps you use, email marketing software can make your campaigns more efficient and effective. It may be just one piece of the puzzle, but getting it right is a great step in the right direction.
If you are looking for email marketing software, we encourage you to check out Zoho Campaigns. It's easy to use and has integration options for many popular business apps. At Zoho, we prioritise customer satisfaction by tailoring our products to meet your specific needs—all without breaking your bank. Come see why Zoho Campaigns is trusted by thousands worldwide.