The truth about email marketing

By: Matt Bird

Date: 19 October 2011

The last thing busy start-up owners want is extra tasks and for some the very idea of setting up an email marketing system can seem daunting. However, it’s one of the best marketing channels available in terms of return on investment. Here I will cover three common email marketing misconceptions and explain why they’re no longer a barrier to your first email campaign.

1 “Setting up email marketing is tricky” - Email marketing is such a lucrative and competitive market that it’s driven advancements in ease of use and account availability. It often only takes a few minutes to get a basic account set up.

Additionally, actually setting up a mailing list of contacts takes so long that every day you leave it is a day wasted for accruing subscribers. With the rise of permission-based marketing, essentially it’s illegal to email people who haven’t opted-in to your list. This issue is compounded when you consider email providers who require double opt-in, so now the customer has to signup and confirm a subscription to your list. This means that any start-up joining the email marketing world needs to populate a list before doing anything else.

This ultimately nullifies any set-up times, meaning you can happily create an account with your chosen supplier, get a sign-up form on your website and leave email marketing for a month or two while your list (hopefully) gets populated with interested customers.

2 “The cost of email marketing is high” - You’ll never criticise competitive markets again once you see the impact they have had on email providers.

Free accounts are available from numerous providers, some of which actually provide an astoundingly good service considering you don’t pay a penny. They’re only free up to a set number of subscribers, with a small monthly free once you pass that threshold. This isn’t worth worrying about though, once you hit that threshold your bank should be laughing anyway with the additional return you can enjoy from a loyal email base.

3 “Sending an email-shot is complicated” - Google something like “email marketing advice” and you’ll be met with a deluge of Top-10 and how-to guides. It’s a little intimidating, but don’t be put off.

Email marketers have realised the value in smaller businesses and have invested a huge amount of time and resources to provide the information you need to start emailing hassle-free.

Most email marketing providers now have step-by-step guides and templates for you to follow for your first few campaigns, and everything really is at your fingertips. To demonstrate the advances in usability, a complete novice could select a template, put their message in and have an email sent in about 20 minutes – a tiny investment potentially for such large gains.

Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you’ll find you actually enjoy finding new features and customising templates to be more in line with what you need. With basic reporting available in most email clients, you don’t even need proper analytics set up on your website to dive into the email performances.

I hope these tips help and you feel confident enough to dip your toes in the vast ocean that is email marketing. If you’ve got any other fears about emails or indeed have helped others start up new accounts, comment below and let us know.

Matt Bird of printer cartridge supplier, StinkyInk

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