Email 101: What is email marketing?

Did you know that over 4 billion email addresses are used in the world each day? Due to the popularity of email for both business and personal use, it has become a favorite digital marketing strategy for independent retailers.

Did you know that over 4 billion email addresses are used in the world each day? Due to the popularity of email for both business and personal use, it has become a favorite digital marketing strategy for independent retailers. 

With people spending more time on their computers each year, it only makes sense that retailers adjust their marketing strategies for the digital realm. At RareCircles, we’ve found that email marketing is a convenient and non-invasive means for retailers to connect with their customers. 

While email marketing is effective, it requires both practice and skill to be done correctly. Not only must you be familiar with certain digital marketing technologies, but you also need to understand email marketing best practices.

What is Email Marketing? 

Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that involves sending promotional messages, newsletters, or updates to a targeted audience via email. As such, emails are a means of direct communication between retailers and customers used to build relationships, drive sales, and create brand awareness. 

There are a few different categories of email marketing. Direct email marketing involves delivering an offer directly to chosen customers, while mass promotional emails are distributed to the entire contact list. Regardless of the approach, email marketing commonly employs personalized content and automation technology to customize messages for specific target audiences.

Why is Email Marketing Important for Independent Retailers? 

While independent retailers tend to focus on interactions that happen when customers are present at physical stores, there is much more to customer engagement in today’s world. Email marketing allows independent retailers to establish a consistent communication channel with both new and established customers. 

With emails, you can engage customers by announcing sales promotions, product launches, new services, and seasonal releases. Emails are also an excellent way to get feedback on important things like product quality and customer service. You can think of email marketing as a way to stay connected with your customers when they are not physically at your retail store.

What are the Benefits of Email Marketing? 

Not only do emails offer an exceptional return on investment (ROI), but you can easily measure the effectiveness of email campaigns with metrics such as open rates, click-throughs, and total conversions. Like other popular types of digital marketing, emails offer rich metrics to follow that can give you exact ROI figures for specific campaigns. 

Constant Contact reports that “the average ROI through email marketing is $36 for every $1 spent.” Moreover, email marketing provides a ton of important data related to customer engagement - allowing for targeted and personalized follow-up campaigns.

What are the Potential Pitfalls of Email Marketing? 

While emails offer many obvious benefits, there are also some potential pitfalls with this type of digital marketing. To utilize emails to their fullest potential, you need to be familiar with several types of marketing technologies. Not only must you understand mass email platforms like MailChimp, but you also need to manage large amounts of data via customer relationship management (CRM) software. 

If your emails are handled incorrectly, you can also get a bad reputation for spamming. Not only will spam hurt your brand image, but you can get kicked off popular platforms like Constant Contact. To avoid issues with spam emails, never purchase contact lists online or send mass promotional emails to random inboxes.

How Do I Build an Email Marketing Strategy? 

While email marketing can be extremely effective, the process of managing contact lists, segmenting unique demographics, and creating effective campaigns can be quite complex. As such, starting organized with a clear strategy will help you save time and money. 

It's important to remember that successful email marketing is representative of a dynamic ecosystem that must be continuously revised and refined as you go. With a proper contact list, sales funnel, and brand message in place, email marketing is a cost-effective method for nurturing leads and retaining customers.

Set Goals for Email Marketing Campaigns 

Before developing a campaign, you must consider what you're trying to achieve with email marketing in the first place. Is your goal to keep established customers engaged? Or, is your aim to attract new customers by offering online promotions? In any case, setting a goal for your campaign will help you decide which type of marketing email you are going to use:

  • Promotional emails

  • Product update emails

  • Review requests 

  • Customer surveys

  • Digital newsletters

  • Transactional emails 

  • Post-purchase emails 

As can be guessed, each of these marketing emails is designed to interact with customers during different phases of the sales funnel. Some might be designed to stimulate sales, while others are used to retain customers.

Understand Your Target Audience 

Figuring out your target audience is a critical part of developing a successful email marketing strategy. While your email subscriber list is the obvious starting point, it is important to segment your list based on demographics, behavior, and preferences to personalize content.

You can use the sales history of prior customers to create segmented contact lists and personalized email messaging. In instances such as this, CRM software is invaluable for informing marketing activities based on past interactions with customers. Once your campaign is running, test different elements like timing, frequency, and content to optimize performance.

Capture Leads Both In-Store and Online  

Independent retailers must have processes for capturing email leads at both physical store locations and websites. Even if someone has already purchased from your store, getting their email address is a great way to keep them engaged and interested in your brand. 

For brick-and-mortar stores, we recommend incentivizing email signups at the time of checkout. To illustrate, many retailers offer a small discount when customers sign up for company newsletters. When it comes to websites, you should tastefully integrate email capture opportunities throughout the customer journey.

Create a Marketing Calendar and Cadence   

The process of creating successful marketing emails requires more than simply sitting down at the computer and writing. Creating a content calendar will ensure your marketing emails are professional, polished, and relevant. Moreover, you can mirror your email messaging around important seasons, holidays, and company events. 

With a calendar in hand, you can then hone in on the specific details of each email message. It’s important to craft compelling subject lines and CTAs to both convert prospects and engage established customers. It’s also advisable to utilize eye-catching visuals and responsive design for mobile optimization. 

Finally, establishing a regular cadence with your email marketing will create consistency in the eyes of consumers. In turn, they will come to rely on your emails for updates on sales, promotions, and company news.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.

© 2024 RareCircles Inc. All rights reserved.