You may think that email marketing is an old school technique to use for reaching out to your clients. The truth is email marketing is not dead. It’s only a matter of how you use it. But can email marketing be a good fit for growth hacking?
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of communication between companies and customers. Companies send direct emails to customers, and the message they send can be targeted for different things they want to achieve. For example, a company might want to enhance their relationship with their customers, it may want to advertise a new product, or to acquire new customers. Basically, any form of communication between the company and the customer that aims towards building trust and loyalty is email marketing.
Email marketing is not only a direct means of communication, it also saves you a lot of money. Let’s see what are some effective ways of growth hacking through email marketing, and how you can add value to it.
1. Make a database of email addresses
Before sending out any emails, you need to have a list of people you want to start sending emails to. Since growth hacking is about reaching out to as many people as possible, you need so many as you can get. You don’t have to start from scratch. You can always get a list of emails addresses from someone you know that has contacts with people you’re interested in reaching out.
Jimmy Daly, content editor at Vero, inspired me to write this article. He recently wrote a blog post for the Vero blog, in which he listed 15 email marketing growth hacks. His first tip is to collect email addressed from everywhere, not just your website. He also gives an example on how you can do this on Twitter, by creating a Lead Generation Card.
2. Pre-target before sending out any emails
Once you get your hands on a list of email addresses, it doesn’t mean you can jump right into it and start sending emails. Growth hacking is a matter of strategy, and of carefully planning. Lincoln Murphy wrote a great article for Sixteen Ventures, in which he said that pre-targeting will ” increase the likelihood of engagement (that they’ll open, read your email, and click a link) before you ever send them a message”. You can use Facebook to run ads, Twitter to run ads and to follow people for a more direct connection, LinkedIn to connect to people and see in what groups they hang out.
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3. Send awesome content
Email marketing is not just about promoting your business. It’s a way of building a relationship with your customers or potential customers, and showing them you want to help them solve their problems. It’s always a good idea to share someone else’s great content, because not only will your target audience appreciate it, but it will also help you connect with other websites.
4. Keep the emails personal
Even though your email list might have thousands of contacts, you still want to make them feel close to you. Talk to them as you would with a friend. People won’t even bother reading your email, if they feel like it’s written by a robot. They want to feel special that you decided to email them. Also, suggest to people that they should reply to you, and of course, you should always make sure you check your email, and reply back to them. So many companies send out emails in which they clearly state not to reply to them, and I must say it’s really annoying and it makes me not be interested in that company.
5. Ask people to share your email
Even if you don’t say it explicitly (though it’s best you do that), it’s a good practice to encourage people to share your email with their friends. Here is how Jeff Raider gathered 100 000 email addresses in just one week, for the launch of Harry, a shaving brand.
6. People care about social proof
Social proof is when people choose to do something, because they think it’s the right think to do. For example, when asked to subscribe to Squirrly’s email list, we will tell you how many people are already getting our emails. By doing that, we encourage you to do the same. This also makes us trustworthy, since so many people (over 39 000) are already receiving our emails.
7. “Email receipts are an opportunity for growth hacking“
If you have an online business that offers customers receipts, you should take advantage of their potential. Jimmy Daly wrote a very detailed article, giving examples on how you can use email receipts for growth hacking. This is what you need to keep in mind. Definitely include a call to action in the email, include referral codes, show related products/services, show images of your product (especially if it’s food).
8. Use data to retarget people
Instead of using your crystal globe to guess what people are really interested about, track what your email subscribers are clicking on, and send them ads that are related to what they’re already reading. As Jimmy says, “ behavioral email can be the silver bullet that separates you from your competitors“.
9. Unsubscribe inactive people from your email list
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “Wait what?! You’re telling me to gather as many contacts as I can, and now you’re telling me to go and unsubscribe them?!”. Well, basically yes. For growth hacking it’s important to have in the beginning a little database of the people who you can email, but in the long run, you only want to stick to people that are actually opening your email, and clicking on the links you provide. According to Jimmy Daly, this strategy will bring much more value to your customers.
This is a trick that Vero uses. Before sending a new customer a welcome email, Vero first tracks their customers’ behavior, and then they write an email for them. This is a good technique to use, so that you make the emails feel more personal.
11. Make the footer of your email a call to action king
The footer is the perfect place to place a call to action, but you also need to make it stand out. Highlight it, bold it, include a “PS”. You can transform the call to action into a signature, so make it funny, interesting, appealing, depending on what your company does.
12. Include visual content in your email
People don’t always have time to read what you wrote in the email, and you know what they say: a picture says a thousand words. It’s essential to include an image or a sneak preview of your website into the email you’re sending, so that people get a taste of what the email is about.
13. Last but not least: don’t be a quitter
These are some tips that will help you achieve your goals faster with email marketing. Success won’t happen overnight, so you still have to work hard for it. Research your audience, test your messages, and always be on the look for changes.
What are your tips on growth hacking through email marketing? Let me know in the comments whether you think email marketing has potential in driving customer acquisition.