You’re on Facebook and you tweet about sales. You’ve got reviews on Yelp, you advertise in the local paper and you’re all over Foursquare. But… your email marketing strategy is pretty non-existent. Why?
Having an email marketing strategy makes your marketing even better, as you’re covering all of the relevant bases. Tweets and Facebook posts can get buried before your followers see them.
Why Does Your Freelance Business Need An Email Campaign?
There are many good reasons to use email marketing along with any other marketing you may be doing:
It doesn’t take a lot of time. In a recent survey of small business owners’ marketing habits, 70% reported spending just 3 hours or less on an email newsletter every week. Email marketing can fit right into your busy schedule.
Email campaigns are profitable. In the same survey, 77% of small businesses reported more sales as a direct result of the emails they sent.
It saves your business money. With email, you can reach a wide audience at a lower cost. You can reach up to 500 people for as low as $19.99 USD a month with an email marketing service, and you can email them as many times as you want with that investment. And – as a freelancer – saving money is never a bad thing!
Email marketing is easy and effective – let us show you how to do it:
Getting Started With An Email Marketing Strategy
Everyone’s gotta start somewhere. Find a reliable email marketing service before launching your first campaign. Using a service’s software makes it easier for you – they handle the technical side of things that help to make sure your email actually gets delivered.
Once you’re signed up with a service, think about what you want your campaign to do.
Set A Goal For Your Emails
You didn’t start your freelance business without a plan. You had an idea of what your business should be and you plotted a path to get there.
Email marketing isn’t much different. Before you start, know what you want to get out of your campaign:
- More sales?
- A bigger customer base?
- A way to keep your customers updated?
Email can do that and more. Ask yourself what your main goal is to build a successful campaign.
How To Start Collecting Readers
Before you can send emails, you need a list of people to send them to. But you can’t just open your address book and start sending those people marketing emails. Most people consider that spam and it gets them irritated. And that’s not what you want your emails to do.
You need to get permission from people before adding them to your mailing list. Sign-up forms are a quick and easy way to invite people to your list.
Creating A Sign Up Form
Creating an email sign-up form for your site can be as simple as clicking a few buttons. If you don’t know how to code, don’t worry. Email marketing services usually offer a simple tool to help you build a signup form without having to code it yourself.
Decide what you want to ask for – name and email, obviously, but you can ask your visitors for more information if you’d like – and click on the fields to add them. Save your form and you’re almost done!
To get it onto your website, you’ll need to copy the code generated for your form and paste it into your site’s HTML. This is an easy step if you know a little bit about HTML. If you’re not sure where it’s supposed to go, get in touch with the person who designed your site and asks them to do it for you.
If you don’t want to go through all that, don’t worry, there are other options. You can use a drag-and-drop landing page builder to create a custom page designed to get email sign-ups.
Sending Emails To Your Customers
Many people associate email marketing with weekly or monthly newsletters. But an email campaign can be a lot more versatile than that. We’ll look at four different kinds of emails you can send, and when you’d want to use each one.
The moment a customer signs up for your mailing list, they have the highest level of interest in your business. It’s smart to take advantage of this by emailing them something special right away.
But you don’t have time to track down every new reader and write them a special email. That’s what an automatic welcome email is for. Your email marketing service should offer some kind of welcome email, autoresponder, or follow-up that you can write once and will send automatically as soon as someone joins your list.
You can also set up a short series of welcome emails. Space them out over a few weeks and you’ll save yourself time before getting your first newsletter out.
Email newsletters sent on a regular schedule – like once a week or once a month – are an easy way to keep in touch with your customers and remind them about your business.
Newsletters are a great way to share educational content you may write for a blog. Or it can showcase new services or projects, announce your calendar of events for the week or month, and keep your customers up-to-date.
Having a 24-hour sale? Did a sudden event change come up? Have something new and exciting to share that you just can’t save for your next newsletter?
Send a one-off email as a special announcement. Don’t abuse this too much: People who sign up for a weekly newsletter won’t be expecting an email from you every day. But once in a while, it’s okay to announce something really special or really important in its own, dedicated email.
Want to send a weekly newsletter but don’t have time to write one? Use a blog newsletter instead.
If you write a blog for your business, your email marketing service can pull articles directly from your blog’s RSS feed and place them into emails for you. You can edit them if you’d like, or schedule them to send automatically however often you choose.
Set A Regular Schedule For Your Emails
The best time of day to send your emails is up for debate, but what really matters is sticking your email marketing strategy to a regular schedule.
Your customers will look for you in their inbox after they sign up, and if they don’t hear from you for a long time, they might forget they even joined your list. Emailing irregularly can set you up for spam complaints as people forget who you are or that they opted into your emails.
Decide how often you can email – daily? weekly? monthly? – and stay consistent with the schedule you set. If you promise weekly emails, email once a week. Your customers may get annoyed if you email more often than you promised and could forget you if you email less often.
Make Your Emails Easy To Share
Your emails can get you exposed to a bigger customer base – but only if you make them easy to share. Encourage your customers to forward your emails to their friends. Embed sharing buttons in your newsletter articles to spread them across Facebook and Twitter.
Let People Off Your List Easily
Unsubscribing happens, even to the best email marketing strategy. Some people get bored while others have too much junk in their inboxes. Unsubscribing is a natural part of email marketing.
And you should make it easy for people to leave your list. By law, all marketing emails need a link your readers can click to unsubscribe from future mailings. But if your link is buried and hard to find, your readers won’t spend much time searching for it. There’s another button that gets them off your list – that’s the spam button in their email program, and they’ll click that instead if they can’t find your link. It’s right at the top of the email and it’s really easy to find.
You don’t want to collect a lot of bogus spam complaints. Instead, make your unsubscribe link easy to find by placing it at the top of your email above the header. You’ll save yourself some spam complaints and leave a good impression on your customers who decide to unsubscribe.
Apps Make Email Marketing Easier
The big benefit to using an email marketing service is that most of them connect with services you’re already using to make your marketing job easier. Facebook, PayPal, and WordPress are just a few of the services you can hook up with your email marketing service to streamline your marketing.
Maybe you’ve got 1,000 Facebook fans. Or maybe you just broke 100. No matter how many followers you have, it’d be nice to get them on your emails list, too.
With just a few clicks, you can install an email form on your business’s Facebook page and encourage your followers to sign up for your newsletter.
Do you use WordPress to manage your site or blog? It’s super simple to add an email sign-up to your sidebar.
We talked about the benefits of a blog newsletter earlier on this page – new posts automatically pull from your blog saving you time compiling your emails. Using the email for WordPress plug-in makes it super simple to install an email sign-up on your site, so your blog readers can register for your updates.
And as an added bonus, the plug-in even lets people sign up for your emails by checking a box when they register to leave a comment on a blog post.
Create Your Own
Do you use an online service for your business that you’d really like to hook up to your email marketing strategy?
Maybe you provide online support through a service like ZenDesk and would like to add those people to a special list in your email marketing service. You can make your own app to connect the two services if your email marketing provider doesn’t have one set up already.
What’s that? You don’t know how to program something like that? Don’t worry. Zapier can do it for you for free – all the background work done for you to connect the services you need connecting, all in one site. Now you can add the people who contact you through ZenDesk to your email list, or add new email subscribers to your text messaging list in a service like Twilio.
How To Tell If Your Emails Are Working
You put time into starting your first email campaign. You send newsletters every week. How do you know if it’s really working?
You can track your sales numbers – are you making more sales now than before you started emailing? But if you want some clearer signs, take a look at your campaign’s analytics.
That’s a big word that means reports of how many people open, click, or unsubscribe from your emails.
The email marketing service you use should break down these stats for you so you can see who’s opening and interacting with your messages.
Test To Improve Your Campaign
Once you’ve been emailing for a while, you’re going to want to make some improvements to your email marketing strategy. What do your customers respond to most? What kind of subject lines get the most opens? What kind of information do they value?
You can find this out and make your emails better by split testing. To split test, you create two different versions of your email and only change one thing – your subject line, how long your text is, the wording on your links. Then send your two versions to two separate halves of your list.
Compare the results after: use the subject line that gets more opens, use the article length that gets more clicks back to your site. An email marketing service should have tools to help you split test your emails easily.
When you’re starting out, it helps to get a bird’s eye view of your campaign. If you’re sending weekly emails, what day of the week do you plan to write and send your newsletter? Are there holidays coming up to theme your message around? Or other important dates for your business?
Map out your campaign on Google Calendar – you can even color code different kinds of content. The more you plan out in advance, the more time you’ll save yourself later on.
Where Can You Start
Look for an email service provider that has all the tools you need to be successful in your email marketing strategy, such as AWeber. With AWeber, you can grow your list, create amazing experiences for your audience, and make more money all from a single platform.
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