Questions: When does a business develop into something more than just a means of making money? When does it become a brand with an identity that consumers can form a relationship with?
Answer: We don’t exactly know, but it’s not something that happens overnight. Instead, if you ask us how a business can develop a brand identity… Well, we’ve helped enough of our clients reach that point for us to confidently share a few insights with you.
One of the quickest ways to evolve your business into a brand is by gaining consistent recognition from your target market. This recognition can be achieved via advertising, marketing or public relations efforts. The issue that smaller businesses face with implementing any of the above is that these tactics usually cost money. However, there are some free options available. One we can focus on now—email marketing
Even if you’re not familiar with it, don’t let the term “marketing” discourage you. At its most basic level, email marketing is any form of email communication from a business to any individual or other business. Before we go any further, we strongly suggest reviewing the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which dictates standards for the sending of commercial emails (click here to read more). Yes, we are aware of just how dry of a read this will be. We are also aware that your chances of actually violating any of these regulations are minimal. Regardless, taking the 10 minutes to read over the link provided will help guide you towards best practices.
With that aside, email marketing is one of the best ways to build brand recognition and drive sales for any up-and-coming business. What more is that depending on the size of your email list and the marketing provider you use, this can even be done for free.
Before we dig into just how to implement email marketing for your business, let’s start with a point of reference. The image below can serve as a template for what email marketing messages generally look like. You’ve undoubtedly seen at least a few emails with a similar layout delivered to your inbox.
Now that you have something to reference, we can discuss the benefits of implementing email marketing as a routine function of your business.
If you read over the CAN-SPAM link, you would know that you are only legally allowed to solicit to individuals or businesses who actively and willingly subscribed to your email list. This gives you a leg up on marketing efforts. Why? Because the audience you are reaching already expressed interest in your product or business. Therefore, any information within your actual email message has a potentially high conversion rate.
Before we dive in any further, allow us to be completely honest- we love MailChimp. Of all the email marketing providers available, MailChimp is undoubtedly the most popular, and for good reason. We love the clean interface, template builder and list management capabilities. So keep that in mind as we reference, well, just about everything going forward.
To get things started, you first need a way for someone to become a subscriber. The easiest way to do this is by creating a signup field (or page) through your email marketing provider that can then be linked to your website. Most prebuilt website platforms, such as WordPress, Shopify or BigCommerce will work seamlessly with your email marketing provider instantly implement this signup form on your site. This form will be automatically synced to any managed subscriber list. If you happen to have a custom built website, then most email marketing providers (MailChimp certainly does) will generate the code necessary to be plugged into your HTML.
What this means is that anyone who uses this form to subscribe can be added to any list you create. You can edit and curate lists however you see fit- perhaps you would like to create separate lists of past customers, potential customers or business entities. You can then create and deliver emails which target these specific lists. Congratulations, you now know the basics of email marketing.
Our next installment on this topic will cover ways to organically build your email list and best practices for your email marketing efforts. To subscribe to Datapak’s email list, well, simply sign up in the form below.