Startups are very important to a country’s economy. They generate jobs, create services and products and open up new channels of economic activity. But they have their own set of problems. They are cash-strapped, face a stiff competition from bigger peers, badly need publicity, and have a pressing need to locate relevant customers. All these factors combine to make marketing for startups extremely challenging.
Marketing a new brand or company used to be really expensive with dollar-guzzling print, radio and television campaigns. The only way you could directly speak to your customers was by pitching tents at trade fairs, adopting direct sales campaigns, conducting road shows or sponsoring local events. These tactics still work, but with a little help from Google and social media your marketing drive can really perform miracles. These platforms cost you next to nothing, and have a huge and lasting impact. All that is required of you is time, energy and commitment. Big businesses outsource this activity, while small businesses spend approximately 20% more on staff salaries to optimize SEO and inbound marketing. So if you are a young and growing business you know where your dollars need to go.
Social media may be the new marketing mantra and quite a celebrity in its own right, but statistics show that e-mail marketing is still the most powerful tool for online marketing. Let’s see how startups can leverage online marketing to their advantage.
E-Mail Marketing Is Cost-Efficient
The low costs involved in e-mail marketing makes it suitable for startups. Advertising in mainstream media is expensive and does not guarantee results. E-mail marketing is free of media, print and postage costs. Thousands of mails can be sent at a fraction of the cost incurred when involving traditional marketing channels. There are specialist software packages available to automate and evaluate the success rate of your e-mails. The expenses involved in getting your system up and ready should be considered an investment, and are negligible compared to the enormous reach of your marketing drive.
E-Mail Marketing Is Easy
E-mail has been around for quite a long time and you are never short of ideas, samples and free guides to introduce you to the perfect e-mail marketing campaign. There are umpteen ready-made templates available which you can fill in with desired content and adapt to your needs, and they are ready to dispatch in a couple of clicks. Pre-made templates are tempting, but it is advisable you get one custom-made to suit the image of your business and reflect well on your brand’s personality. Videos, images and logos help increase attractiveness of your e-mail but the most successful campaigns have effective, timely and useful information which goes to show that content is definitely king as far as successful e-mail marketing is concerned.
E-Mail Marketing Aids Social Media Marketing
Startups need to optimize all marketing channels for garnering much-needed publicity and exposure. Social media is where most of your customers live online and you need to tap into your e-mail campaign to gain access to social networks. Let’s see how this can be done.
- Have prominent social icons on e-mails coaxing your customers to like, join, follow, or add your network.
- You can encourage your mail recipients to share the e-mail via Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.
- You can provide incentives to customers who share your e-mail or tweet about it the most. Customers can also invite their friends to like your page and the more likes they gather the higher the rewards. You can give away free coupons or samples and cash discounts. Novel gifting ideas can also be explored keeping in mind the age and preferences of your customer.
- Try to include relevant, interesting and fresh content in your e-mails and newsletters. This encourages readers to share or like, and builds social chatter surrounding your brand.
E-Mail Marketing Helps in Market Segmentation
Marketers always desire to reach out to potential customers or people who are interested in the advertised products or services. Spam filters prevent mass mailing by companies. Prior ‘permission’ is mandatory for marketers to engage customers with intention to sell. Though this may have made life difficult for some sellers, it ensures your e-mail reaches recipients who have asked for it. The established interest on the part of the prospects makes it easier for businesses to speak about their products and engage customers effectively. Marketing to target segments gives you better results and returns on your invested dollar.
A well-planned and researched e-mailing list is critical for the success of your marketing campaign. Try to glean as much information as possible about your customers, and personalize and customize your e-mails to recipients’ needs and history. You need to categorize high-value customers in your list and tailor your e-mails and promotions accordingly. Always keep an eye on your e-mail list, and its performance and growth. If there are non-responsive recipients in your list, find out effective ways to re-engage them. Ask them about the changes they would like to see in your mails or send them a round-up of the best mails or content published recently. Also keep opt-out options in the mail giving them the freedom to unsubscribe.
E-Mail Marketing Builds Brand Awareness
A brand should be positioned with all the possible focus and limelight on the wonderful and unique benefits it offers its customers. E-mail marketing is very effective for startups that are keen to build a brand image, gather leads and drive word-of-mouth publicity. Regular and consistent contact with your customers helps you with high recall value. It deepens your relationship with current and potential customers.
Another important factor working for startups is that e-mail marketing is essentially a one-on-one relationship where you can get your target market to learn from you, like you, and trust you. Keep in mind this is possible only when you engage your recipients with relevant, informative and well-written e-mails and newsletters. Once you have earned the trust of your customers it becomes easy to promote and recommend your products.
E-mail marketing is an extremely powerful tool for marketers to directly reach out to their customers. It’s highly cost-efficient and has a global reach. Startups can use it to their benefit and build lasting customer relationships, and win brand loyalty. It has several competitors to contend with, but the highly personal character of e-mails still gives it the winning edge.