Last updateTue, 20 Mar 2018 10pm

5 Tips to Optimizing Your Email Marketing Efforts

Crystal headshotEmail marketing is a great way to bring customers into the store or get t hem to buy online. We’re finding higher conversion rates of people who were referred to a retailer by an email versus social media, showing the importance of using this digital marketing tool.

Collecting email addresses is also important because it builds a dependable platform, one that you own versus a non-dependable platform like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. At any time these non-dependable platforms can shut down, change so you have to pay for exposure or they could get hacked. If one day Facebook shut down completely, do you have your own database to market to, or would you have to completely start over?

To first leverage email marketing, you must have an email list. As they say, “The money is in the list.” So we need to focus on finding quality leads and ways to continually build your database. The more quality the list is, the higher the number of conversions you’ll have, and the more sales you’ll see.

One of the best ways to build your list is to use social media. It’s important to know that email and social media go hand-in-hand when it comes to marketing your store. To help build a quality list using social media, here are five tips:

1. Make it easy to join. First, we need to make sure you have a way to collect the leads sent from social media. There are a few places you should have an opt-in box, one being your website.

If you use a third-party email service provider like Constant Contact, MailChimp, iContact, etc., to host your email marketing, they’ll have opt-in forms you can access and add to your website. You can either use their designs or create a custom design to match your brand (which I suggest doing). The advantage of using your email service provider’s opt-in form is that the email address and any other information you collect, like first, last name or birth date, will automatically be added to your list. This means that you won’t need to manually add them, or do any exporting/importing. This saves you time.

Using an opt-in form also makes it easy on the consumer. Make sure you don’t ask for too much information and be clear on the form what the consumer is opting in to (ex: to receive exclusive deals). I suggest asking for the email address and first name at the very least. You could also ask for their birthday if you do any special promotions during a birthday month, or a phone number if you call or text leads. Keep in mind that typically the more information you ask for, the fewer opt-ins you’ll receive.

The majority of these third-party email marketing sites also have forms you can add to your Facebook page. The good thing about having the form on your page is that if the consumer is new to you and your brand, they might not trust going to your website. Or, your website might be dated and hard to use. If either is the case, opting in from your Facebook page can help because they know and trust Facebook and use it daily.

To do this you’ll use a free custom app provided by your email service provider, which can be found in your email platform or by searching for the application in the Facebook search bar, such as in this example with MailChimp:

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Here’s an example of a simple custom form from Mail Chimp on the Crystal Media page allowing us to collect email address of retailers:

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After someone subscribes to the list, their email address will automatically be added to the MailChimp account, making it easy to market to them in the future.

2. Give an opt-in offer. Having exclusive offers, like a % of $ off for email subscribers only or inviting them to private events, will increase your opt-in metrics. Clearly communicate your offer on your opt-in form, website and social media outlets.

The offer doesn’t always have to be money off; it could also be a free consultation, or a service like free jewelry cleaning, repair or a consultation. Another option is teaming up with another local business like a restaurant, coffee shop, gym, spa, etc., and offer a gift certificate. Make sure you’re providing an offer your customers would find value in. For example if you’re targeting moms, offer a chance to win a massage or entry/tickets to a children’s movie or trampoline park.

Here’s a great example from Stambaugh Jewelers who titled the Facebook App with an exciting headline, “Sign Up & Get 10% off!”.

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Bonus tip - I strongly suggest having signage within the store about your offer and email opt-in. Anyone in your store would make for a perfect candidate to be on your email list and stay in touch with you. Make sure your sales staff feels comfortable asking for an email address by showing your staff the value of being on the list. For example, being the first to know about new products, receiving exclusive deals only offered via online, or invitations to private events. If people like your products, they’re going to want to receive your emails.

3. Host a contest. To see a higher conversion rate of people joining your email list, host a contest or sweepstakes where the consumer needs to give you their email address to enter to win something, whether it be product, a gift certificate, local sporting tickets, concert tickets, a trip, etc.

When running a contest on social media, you’ll want to use an application so that you can collect the email addresses. One app suggestion is http://woobox.com, which is featured here in an example from the Facebook page for Angie’s Boomchickapop, where you can enter to win daily:

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Here’s another example from Litehouse Foods which gives one lucky fan per month the chance to win product. By doing a monthly drawing, you train your online audience to come back each month to enter to win, which keeps you top of mind and is a great way for people to constantly engage with you online.

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4. Promote. Just because you have the opt-in form and email list doesn’t mean that anyone knows about it. You need to get the word out by inviting people to subscribe, telling them why they should join. Common reasons are to get exclusive deals, private event invitations or to be the first to know about new product arrivals.

Schedule posts to go out on all the social media outlets you use, like Facebook or Twitter, or pin images of a past email you sent and link to your opt-in box. I suggest promoting your email list at least monthly on all of the platforms you use to market.

Another way to promote your list using social media, specifically Facebook, is by asking people to join in your Cover Image. You can include text on your cover image that says something like, “Click to be the first to know about upcoming events and product specials,” and then in the description of the Cover Image include a link where people can opt-in, whether it be on your website or the custom app on your Facebook page.

5. Run a Facebook ad. Finally, you can run an ad that links to your opt-in form on your website or Facebook page (or both). Facebook only shows your posts organically to about 3-5% of your likes, so if you want to reach the other 90+%, you’ll want to do so using ads.

One ad should focus on building your list and encouraging consumers to opt-in. Make sure you clearly communicate why someone should join. What’s in it for them? You can also advertise a contest post to gain additional exposure and entries.

Crystal Vilkaitis is the resident social media expert at RDI Diamonds and owner of Crystal Media; a company dedicated to helping retailers integrate proven social media, mobile and email marketing strategies into their businesses. To learn how to leverage social media and see results, consider joining Social Edge and go through the ‘Rocking a Social Media Plan Without Giving Up Your Social Life’ training course first, then the ‘Click Your Way to Customers’ Facebook Ads training course. Learn more and join at crystalmedia.co/rdidiamonds