How to get started with email marketing
Article by Mimi McIntyre, Myfoodlink Marketing Officer
Email marketing is a powerful tool in online retail, allowing you access to shoppers mailboxes where they can hear your message in a direct environment.
At Myfoodlink we highly recommend that our customers include email marketing as a key element in their digital strategy. It allows you to keep your brand top of mind for potential and existing customers, be explicit about the advantages of your business, drive repeat sales through reminder advertising, and increase basket size with special offers.
Our guide to getting started looks basic, but 90% of the overall process is actually as straightforward as it looks - it just takes time and patience! We recommend our customers use Mailchimp. Mailchimp is an online email marketing provider that is very intuitive to use, free for the for 2,000 email addresses you send to, and offers very reasonable monthly plans for bigger users.
So how do you get started?
- To begin with go to www.mailchimp.com and sign your business up. Take advantage of their tutorials and help pages to get started, or get in touch with us here at Myfoodlink and we can talk you through the steps.
- Once your account is setup, you’re going to need to design a branded email template for your business to use. Here you should include colours associated with your business, add in your business logo in the header image and contact information for customers to use if they want to get in touch at the end of the email template.
- You also need to decide what your emails are going to be about! Our recommendation for grocery retailers getting started is a design for a weekly communication and later on down the track consider creating one for online only or super specials. Design your emails accordingly, but remember you can always make changes as you go and update designs in the future so don’t panic too much. Here it is more about creating an online personality or feel for your brand, the content can be determined later.
- You are going to need some email addresses to send your emails to! This is the most time consuming element of it all, and should be something that you are always focussed on. Each email address you add is a customer you can market to on a direct basis, so make getting them a priority. Add a signup form to your website and social media accounts, trial social media advertising for email signups, have a paper form or ipad available in your bricks and mortar store for customers to use when waiting at the checkout. Email marketing has the effect of increasing sales for businesses in store as well as online, so it’s worth spending time on.
- Before you start emailing customers, create a contact list of yourself and a few key staff members, and practise. We recommend you start with a weekly specials email and trial just sending it to this internal list for a month or so before starting to send it to customers. This will allow you to become familiar with the process and the time involved each week (seriously, it will take 30 minutes or less once you’re up to speed!), get feedback on the design and content, and put together a starting list of customer email addresses to start sending to.
- Once you're comfortable with the process, start emailing your weekly specials to customers. It will take time to see results from email marketing so allow 12 months to grow your contact list and test what works best, before deciding whether or not you want to continue.
- With email marketing it is easy to start small, and keep working at it and growing your list, and within a year it is a valuable sales tool that is extremely cost-effective. You may start with a list of 30 customer emails but if you can drive repeat business from them and build the list to, say, 300 within a year, you are well on your way!
- Advice and training on email marketing and the Mailchimp platform is part of the services we offer at Myfoodlink. If you would like to know more, get in touch with our team and we can assist with everything from setup to design and even targeted campaigns.