Email marketing involves creating and maintaining an email list of subscribers and sending emails (or email newsletters) to them. These subscribers are people who have chosen to join your email list. They usually sign up by entering their name and email, and in many cases, they receive a gift or freebie for doing so, such as a digital download.
Email marketing is effective because it’s personal. When people receive messages from brands or marketers directly into their email inboxes, it helps build a relationship with them.
Email messages are generally informational but sometimes promotional. You share helpful, value-laden content with your subscribers and then make offers periodically. Through emailing your subscribers, you also have a chance to learn more about them so that you can decide which offers would be most useful.
Automation is absolutely essential for your business to have successful email marketing.
In fact, email marketing cannot be done without automation. It’s impossible to manage a massive subscriber list or send out broadcast messages through your regular email. Email marketing automation programs also offer you analytics and other features to help you streamline your email marketing.
How Email Marketing Is Automated
If you want to start marketing to an email list, you need to first invest in an autoresponder program.
The autoresponder is an automated service online that manages your email list, your messages, and every other aspect of your email marketing campaign. This is the most basic program used for email marketing automation but there are advanced options as well.
As its foundation, email marketing uses a sales funnel.
The sales funnel usually starts with a “lead magnet” or “opt-in gift”. This is a free gift that you offer in exchange for a person’s email address.
The autoresponder sets up and handles all the tasks for you. It first gives you code that you put onto a website or integrate with other services. At its most basic level, this code displays an ‘opt-in form’ that gathers contact information, shows a ‘thank-you’ message, and then allows people to download your product.
Once people are signed up to your list, the autoresponder lets you manage your list. You can view all of your sign-ups and use the program to categorize or weed out bad addresses, old addresses, or duplicates. This is something that would be impossible to handle without automation help.
Most importantly, an autoresponder allows you to write, schedule and send messages. These are emails to your subscribers. There are a number of options for doing this.
You can send out each message to every subscriber.
You can segment your list and only send certain messages to certain subscribers.
And for the ultimate automation, you can create a series of messages that start once a person subscribes, no matter when they subscribe.
Finally, autoresponders give you data on the behaviour of your subscribers.
The service will tell you how many people opened your messages, how many clicked on the links when subscribers opened messages and various kinds of demographic information.
Popular autoresponder programs that marketers commonly use include:
Each of the autoresponder services listed has a different range of features and different pricing levels.
You’ll need to decide how many of the features you really need at this point in your business. If you’re relatively small, you can probably start with a basic service like Mailchimp, though bear in mind that starting on a ‘cheaper’ system may cost you a lot on a migration later down the track.
My advice, get the best you can afford at the point in time you are making a decision.
It is not a high price to start in a robust platform that will grow with your business over time and more likely you’ll never have to migrate to another platform!