Email has never played a more prevalent role in our day-to-day lives.
With today’s mobile technology, most people are never far from their email inbox, which is exciting news for businesses and organization trying to stay in touch with current and potential customers.
But even in today’s hyper-connected world, there are still some misconceptions about what email marketing is, and how it can fit into your marketing strategy.
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When we talk to small business owners about email marketing, there are some misconceptions that come up on a consistent basis.
These misconceptions can hold you back from investing in your email marketing, and can often lead to mistakes that should be easy to avoid.
One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that all email is spam.
If you’ve received spam emails in the past — which most of us have — it’s important to ask, why did you consider that email spam? Maybe you never asked for it in the first place? Or maybe the content you received was different from what you expected when signing up?
While there are certainly people who try deceptive email marketing tactics, it’s important to know that today, there are rules and laws that are meant to keep spammers away. Legislations like the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation and the CAN-SPAM legislation are meant to deter spammers and protect your email inbox.
It’s also important to remember that today, tools like spam filters are doing much of the work for you — filtering out messages that could be considered spam and sending them directly to your spam folder.
And finally, for any business or organization that’s using an email marketing service like Constant Contact, you need to follow the anti-spam policies that ensure you are only sending emails to customers that have given permission beforehand.
When you ask permission, you’ll have more people looking forward to receiving your emails, and will lower the risk of people opting out or marking your messages as spam.
Another misconception that you may have heard is that no one actually reads email.
Now, if you’re already doing email marketing then you know that this isn’t the case. But there’s also plenty of data available showing that people do appreciate emails from the organizations they know and trust.
Research firm, MarketingSherpa, recently went directly to 2,000 adults in the US and asked them about how they like to hear from their favorite businesses. An overwhelming majority (91 percent) said they do like to receive promotional emails from companies they do business with. 86 percent say they like to receive promotional emails at least monthly and 61 percent at least weekly.
Beyond the data that’s out there, also think about your own experience as a consumer. While there may be some emails you rarely open and read, there’s probably a lot that you do look forward to receiving on a regular basis.
What is it about those emails that get you to open? There’s a good chance you opted-in to receive these emails after having a good experience with the sender. You probably value the content that they send each month because it’s relevant and interesting to you. I’m sure frequency plays a role in how receptive you are to these emails, because they aren’t overwhelming you with unwanted messages.
Think about what you like about the emails you receive, and take some time to better understand if you’re providing a similar experience to your audience.
Another misconception people often have about email is that you’re unable to unsubscribe.
But one of the biggest benefits of using email marketing is that you’re able to give your customers, members, and supporters more control. Just like they have the ability to opt-in to receive your messages, they also have the ability to opt out at any time.
As a consumer, this is obviously a good thing because no one wants to have their inbox filed with unwanted messages. And as a business, unsubscribes help you avoid communicating with people who aren’t interested in receiving your emails.
This doesn’t mean that when someone unsubscribes that they are completely ending their relationship with your business. In many cases, people opt out because their interests or preferences change.
Email marketing works best when you’re focused on communicating with people who actually want to hear from you. That’s why it’s so important to always ask permission before adding a new contact to your email list. And it’s why you should always give people the ability to opt-out.
It’s our policy at Constant Contact that every email contains a mandatory unsubscribe link. This link makes it super simple for contacts to opt-out if they choose to do so. To provide further protection, it’s our policy that those individuals who try to remove this link will be warned that they are doing so.
A final misconception I wanted to talk about is about the time it takes to do email marketing effectively.
One of the things that keeps people from getting started with email marketing is that they just don’t think they have the time to do it.
But while setting up an email marketing strategy will take some work, and communicating with your audience on a regular basis does require some time, email marketing doesn’t need to be something that gets in the way of your busy schedule.
Making email marketing work for your business really starts with setting up a schedule that works for you. You want to think about how often your audience wants to hear from you, but you also need to consider what you’ll be able to keep up with. Maybe you’ll start by just sending once a month, and look to expand your schedule as you get more comfortable with doing email marketing.
If you’re already doing email marketing and feel like you’re spending too much time designing your emails each month, keep in mind that now, more than ever, shorter more focused messages will work best in engaging your audience.
You don’t need to spend hours writing content for a lengthy newsletter, with pages of content. Instead, look to get more focused with the emails you create — use 1-3 images, 20 lines of text or less, and include one primary action for the reader to take.
And a final thing to keep in mind is that, if you don’t want to invest time into doing your email marketing, but still want to try to make email work for your business, there are people who can help run these campaigns for you. Constant Contact partners with experts throughout the US, Canada, and the UK that provide marketing services to small businesses and organizations.
For many people, working with an expert gives them the time they need to focus on their business, while still getting great business results from their marketing efforts. (Find an expert in your area.)
Thanks to everyone who joined us on Periscope this week! If you’re on Periscope, make sure to follow @ConstantContact so you never miss a broadcast.