How To Use Email Marketing Properly
THE CUSTOMER VALUE JOURNEY TO YOU
Based on some principles learned from https://www.digitalmarketer.com/, QUORA, and personal experience.
Medium is full of tips on how to start your own business (writing or otherwise) and market it. Starting an email list is often pointed out as a vital aspect of marketing.
Yes, email marketing is still frequently being mentioned, because it is still the NUMBER ONE most effective marketing method, compared even to social media marketing, paid, or video marketing. Businesses that use email to connect with their customers get a 60% higher chance to generate revenue compared to businesses that don’t.
In my “spam” mailbox I get at least 30 unsolicited emails a day, advertising various types of help — from “roofing services” to “male elongation” and “how to satisfy your husband”. LOL.
I usually click and open emails connected with writing tips; if the business seems to offer value to me, I engage. Alternatively, I have subscribed to businesses’ email lists, to easily follow tips and advice, get updates about new products, or follow other ways I can benefit from them. When I have developed closer relationships, I open emails just to see what the people are up to.
Do you identify with this?
The purpose of email marketing
Email marketing is so effective because it is ubiquitous — you can use it to market any aspect of your business:
- generating traffic (to your landing pages, your content, your offers, or occasionally, to other people’s)
- branding your company/business
- referrals of other customers to your business
- acquiring new customers
- engaging existing customers
- retaining existing customers
- reactivating (re-engaging) customers, who have once bought from you, but have perhaps forgotten you, or “gone cold”.
- conducting direct sales
In fact, this is quite a long list — lots of emails to write!
Many startups (especially with inexperienced owners) barely exhaust all these opportunities. The idea is that the more of these aspects you cover with email marketing, the higher the chances of monetization and generating a steady income.
Well, if you have a business, you are probably already doing some of this. Perhaps you already have customers, who have a way of finding you and buying from you.
The question is how much you systematize these activities. Are you aware of the basic system behind marketing?
Yes, there is a system and it involves stages.
Marketing is, after all, a relationship with your customer.
Just like human relationships, you do not (usually) get acquainted with somebody overnight and then marry them on the next day (although we know all is possible in Hollywood movies).
The same with your customers — they do not usually hear about you one minute and buy from you the next. At least not in 100% of the cases.
It is because at this initial stage they do not yet trust you.
Because it is a journey.
The customer value journey
Any journey has different stages.
A customer’s journey is the journey that brings customers to your business — their initial exposition to what you do, their hesitation at the beginning, their developing trust when they see that they get value from you, their tentative first purchase of a low-dollar offer. As their trust grows and they get moved alongside the journey stages, they become loyal and even start advocating your business to others.
This is what marketers see as “real success”.
Email, more effectively than any other type of digital marketing, has the potential to move the customer through the different stages of their journey to you.
The customer first has to become aware that your business exists and find out what it offers.
Next, they need to subscribe to your newsletter or something else you offer to send on a regular basis. Often this is in an exchange for a discount coupon or a free download.
After, it is important that the customer engages with your brand, before even converting.
Conversion is when your customer buys something from you — even if it is a low-dollar offer (the so-called “lead magnet” — examples are an eBook, a PDF with valuable tips, a cheat sheet, or an analysis graph you have created). This is when the customer stops being a prospect and becomes a lead.
The following stage is to get them excited about your product or service so that they are able to “ascend” to the next step.
Ascension is when they move from their initial single purchase to become a multi-buyer.
Next, there needs to be a maintenance of that excitement — the customer must not be allowed to “go cold” about you.
Only then they can become a brand advocate. They leave positive feedback about you and defend you against negative comments on social media.
Finally, they move to the promoter stage, when they become loyal to your brand, recommend your products and services, and tell their friends about you.
How this translates into email marketing
Customers on your list need to get emails (or sequences of emails) in the following succession of 12 stages — often to become a brand advocate the customer needs to make more than one purchase and go through the same processes several times. They also need to “test” you again and again before giving you their full trust.
Stage 2 — this is where you can segment all prospects on your mail list. When somebody opts for a lead-in magnet on a specific topic, you know that they are interested in that type of content. You can segment all your prospects according to their different areas of interest and differentiate your emails, to offer them differentiated products or services.
Stage 3 — it is important that you offer your prospects some free value prior to them offering you their money or time. This is the best way to establish a relationship of trust and you face less resistance from them with future offers. Send them an email with free valuable information/tips/advice.
Stage 4 — remind the customer that there are exciting things to buy and describe the benefits, to prompt an initial purchase.
Stage 5 — the customer may not always need to consume/use your product or service, to ascend further on the customer value journey. Consumption is not always essential for ascension, which most certainly would result from their sense of trust. Still, send them an email to describe/remind them how to use what they have bought, to their optimal benefit.
Stage 7 — many marketers miss this, or do not ascribe sufficient importance to it. Customers need to be prompted to verbally (or through writing) acknowledge that they benefited from what they bought from you. Send them an email, reminding them to leave feedback on your site.
Stage 10 — usually it takes more than one purchase to render a tentative customer a real fan of your brand. Repeat all steps with their second or additional purchase, as you did with their first one.
Stage 11, 12 — you can send your customers emails, to remind them about their great experience with your product or service and invite them to continue their custom with you.
In summary, any marketing is based on 8 basic stages in the customer value journey, though some may be repeated, to prolong this journey.
With the saturation of markets, now it is more important than ever to attract customers to your own business, “court” them through the different stages of their trust, and bring them to the position of loyalty and advocating your brand to others.
You can assist in moving your customers through these steps and stages faster with email marketing than with any other type of digital marketing.
More about what types of emails are needed will follow in the next episode of this lesson series.