Today’s Biz Ladies post comes from Jordan Moore, an Internet marketing consultant who works with artists and crafters to grow their businesses online. She authored the best-selling ebook The Etsy Kit, a collection of tutorials designed for artists looking to expand their businesses using etsy.com, and maintains a marketing blog.
Jordan offers us some helpful tips on how to execute a successful email marketing blast to readers and customers. Thank you, Jordan, for breaking down the email blasting process for us! — Stephanie
CLICK HERE for the full post after the jump!
If you are like most small business owners, implementing a mailing list on your blog or website is not a top priority. You may be overwhelmed by the technology or just feel you don’t need a mailing list for your type of business. The reality is that all small businesses should gather contact information from their interested audience over time. Even if you don’t think you have a need for this information right now, you may in the future and will be glad you took the time to collect this data. Here are five important reasons to build your mailing list:
1. Use a mailing list to get the most mileage out of your marketing efforts. You are already working hard to encourage people to visit your site each day and give them a pleasant experience. However, they may not come back again unless they have a specific reason. Inviting them to sign up for a mailing list will help to ensure repeat traffic. In addition, if you are paying for traffic through advertising, a mailing list is a great way to recoup some of your ad costs, even if the visitor doesn’t buy something right away.
2. Use your list to inform your audience about new services, products or other newsworthy items. A mailing list allows you to control when your audience gets these important messages, instead of waiting for them to find it the next time they visit your site. Sending out a regular newsletter can help build a sense of community and loyalty among your readers in a way that blog posts and RSS feeds cannot. This is especially true if you’re a sole proprietor and you are your brand. Getting an email from Susie of Susie’s Stationary with her latest announcements is much more personal and powerful than seeing the same information pop up in your RSS feed.
3. Now that just about everyone from age 8 to 80 has an email account, we consider it one of the most accessible and user-friendly ways to communicate with an audience. Not everyone checks the same blogs or RSS feeds everyday, but most people regularly check their email. Giving your site visitors an opportunity to sign up for their preferred method of communication (email) is another way to reach a wider audience.
4. Use your list to get feedback on your site, services or products. While I would recommend using this sparingly, surveying your mailing list is a great and free way to gather valuable market research and insights from your target audience.
Setting Up Your List
Several mailing list service providers make creating a mail campaign super simple and straightforward. Personally, I think Mail Chimp is a great option if you are just starting out — they will let you have up to 1,000 subscribers for free and offer several point-and-click forms that require no HTML knowledge. Mail Chimp has a comprehensive and user-friendly guide to setting up your mailing list and campaign, available for download here:
Two other popular options are Aweber and Constant Contact.
Here are the four most important steps you will need to complete before you’re ready to launch your new mailing list (all of the instructions for this are in the Mail Chimp Getting Started guide):
1. Import existing names from your contact lists (only if you have obtained permission from these people to send them email).
2. Create the mailing list sign-up form that will be shown on your site. Mail Chimp has easily customizable pre-built forms.
3. Personalize the content for the sign-up forms. To comply with anti-spam laws, your mailing list will be “double opt-in.” This means that a subscriber will first enter their name on the form on your website, and then they will need to click a confirmation link in their email inbox. Mail Chimp will provide you with form letters; however, you can and should personalize them to fit your brand identity.
4. Install the form on your blog/website. Mail Chimp makes it really simple to customize your form via a visual editor and then lets you copy and paste it right onto your website.
That’s it! It’s a really simple process that should take just a few hours to complete. Once you start sending out newsletters or other correspondence, pay attention to your site analytics — I’m willing to bet you will see a nice spike in your traffic!