One of the most enduring methods utilised in digital marketing today is email marketing. It is one of the most cost effective and valuable with regards to return on investment. The method can be used to promote or sell products over a period of time that can be fine-tuned according to the needs of the product or promotion. The most important aspect of email marketing is closely aligned with content marketing. Engaging a potential customer with the aim of making a conversion or sale is created by preselling a product with valuable information to create a relationship that will hopefully persuade a customer to buy.
To illustrate the procedure utilised within content marketing through emails there are a number of steps that can be taken. A product can be either created by a seller or can be a product that is sold by a person or an agency on behalf of the original creator, referred to as an affiliate. The simplest method is to create an opt-in website or squeeze page which consists of only one page. This website contains information regarding the product with a space for a potential customer to fill in their name and email address. An email address is commonly the only piece of information required whereby the customer receives a free gift such as an ebook or other useful content in exchange for their email address. The customer is given the ebook and their address is sent to an email client such as MailChimp or aWeber and will save this data with other email addresses that have been collected over time. The email client can then be instructed to send follow up emails over a predetermined time span to all the collected email addresses using a process known as an autoresponder to automatically send emails. These emails to the prospective customers will contain links to a product or products prompting the customer to follow the link and hopefully convert into a sale. The emails will also contain valuable and useful information that the customer can use even if they don’t convert. This information that is sent to the customer is designed to build up a relationship of trust over time as the customer may not actually convert into a sale until several weeks of receiving the valuable content has passed.
A website can also be used to collect emails by creating a blog site to promote a product. A blog can describe the product and invite visitors to give opinions positive or negative about the product. On the front page above the fold of the website an opt-in form can be placed inviting visitors to type in their email address in return for valuable content such as newsletters or useful information regarding the product’s niche that can be sent to them daily or weekly. When this information is received by the visitor they are prompted to visit a product page where they will possibly convert into a sale. The one page opt-in website or the multi-page blog website both need to be optimised for search engine visibility. Good keyword research is essential for on-page optimisation together with a well-crafted URL address that matches the keyword in its chosen product niche. Search engine visibility is also enhanced by promoting the website using content marketing methods. Writing informative and useful articles and then submitting them to article marketing sites such as ezinearticles.com as an example which will then disseminate the articles to various publications through the internet. The articles will have a link back to the product website and will raise the search engine ranking for the site. Visitors created by this method of back linking can be converted into new subscribers and will be added to a growing email list of prospective buyers.
Forums are another valuable method for gathering subscribers. Forums contain visitors who will discuss the properties of a chosen niche with other interested parties. Answering the questions of forum visitors while leaving a link to a product’s website can grow an email list as the links redirect them back to the product where once more they can be invited to leave their email address. The most important facet of email marketing is that it is considered to be a permission-based digital marketing system. This means that for a healthy relationship to be built between buyer and seller all email addresses collected must be obtained with the express permission of the prospective customer. The opt-in box merely invites a customer to give their email address in exchange for something of value. A customer’s email address must never be obtained except through this method and not through buying email lists and sending emails to customers who had never previously asked to be sent product information. This method is known universally as ‘spam’ and when received into a customer’s email inbox it will usually be ignored and/or deleted. The ‘click through’ rate for these emails is very low and will only serve to create a bad reputation for the seller.