Starting a successful online business is certainly not an easy task. The entrepreneur goes through an arduous task of not only managing his core business, but also managing his web presence – which includes his business website, its promotion using a variety of digital marketing channels like – email marketing, content marketing and social media marketing.
Your product or service can be outstanding, but if no-one knows about it, you may as well pull it off the shelf.
So, although you might not be a marketing guru, you have to learn how to promote what you’re doing – effectively. Or fail. Because there is no-one else who is going to do it for you.
I started my first online business about 5 years ago, and it was really hard. I had no resources and a very tiny budget to work with. Which meant that I needed to figure out everything myself instead of paying others to do it for me.
Perhaps you faced (or may still be facing) a similar challenge?
In this post, you’ll benefit from what I’ve learned, and how to overcome the biggest email marketing challenges you may be facing as a solepreneur.
The Aim of Email Marketing
People don’t generally buy the first time they come across a product or service. The aim of email marketing is to build relationships with your target audience so that they get to think of you as an authority in your niche, and when they are ready to buy, they buy from you instead of your competitors.
4 Essential Elements of a Successful Email Marketing Campaign:
Before we venture into the challenges that small businesses face when recognizing the need for email marketing, you need to understand the basic elements of a successful email marketing campaign:
You need something you can offer your target audience, in exchange for an email address. This can be an eBook, a contest/giveaway or even free product samples or discount coupons.
2. Landing page design and copy-writing:
Send targeted traffic to a landing page where they can sign up for your freebie.
3. Integration with a good email marketing software:
Your landing page needs to be integrated and automated with an email marketing software so that when your prospect enters their email address, it’s collected into a list from where you’ll automate the emails to be sent.
Once you have the email addresses, you need to send good quality and valuable content to your list to build credibility and authority.
The Top 3 Roadblocks To Email Marketing & Ways To Overcoming Them:
#1 Roadblock: Designing, integrating and automating landing pages –
A big pain in the butt for small business owners is the design and integration of landing pages with an email marketing vendor. This post by Copyblogger explains what landing pages are, and how to develop them.
Landing pages are complex because of all the elements involved, and the available choices are downright daunting when you have to make it all work together.
There are 3 parts to landing pages:
3. Integration and automation
Your options are:
- Using landing page software like GetResponse landing page creator – This is the best, easiest and most effective option because the pages are designed according to best practices and are already optimized. If you don’t know much about landing pages, this is the way to go. What I like about using their tool is that they are already designed for optimization – you don’t have to design the landing page or spend hours testing the design elements, because it’s already been done for you. All you have to do is tweak the original template.
- Purchasing landing page templates – You will find a plethora of eye-candy landing page templates on marketplaces like Themeforest. But… It’s not always guaranteed that you’ll get exactly what you see. There will always be some or the other compatibility issues. Goes without saying, customizing those templates to suit your needs will require you to have the requisite technical skills.
- Paying a developer to create a landing page – This option can be expensive. Also, be aware that if you don’t choose the right developer, you’ll waste your money and time.
#2 Roadblock: Choosing the right email marketing software –
Just do a Google search for the term, “email marketing”, and you’ll find reams of software companies, with unique features and benefits. The problem is this: if you don’t have much email marketing knowledge, it’s easy to end up choosing a wrong provider.
Your decision needs to be based on what you need, but you also need to know all the elements involved in email marketing and how yours is going to work. For instance, you may already have set up landing pages, in which case you only need to integrate the pages with an email marketing software vendor, but if you have not yet set up landing pages, you may want to check out the aforementioned GR tool.
My suggestion is that before you spend money and time on any software, take some time to map out your email marketing process or simply draw your process on a piece of paper,
This post on business process re-engineering may be of help in this step.
Here’s what you would want to do: Map out your desired process before selecting your email marketing software vendor. But make sure that you also use a good bug tracking software to remove any software-specific roadblocks you may run into. Image Credits: AutomationBridge.
# 3 Roadblock: Producing regular, fresh value-add content
Finally, once you’re all set up, a huge challenge is developing regular target audience, fresh and value-add driven content for your email list. Here’s a 3 step guide on how to overcome that –
Step 1. Know your audience
You can’t develop content that is helpful for your target audience if you don’t know them. Ask yourself:
A tool like UpCloseAndPersona will lead you in getting to know your target audience.
Step 2. Strategize
To get the best out of your email marketing efforts, plan the content you’re going to send. For instance, this week you could write a blog post and link to it from the email. Next week you could offer a discount voucher. The following week you could send a sales email promoting your goods.
According to a recent survey conducted by Content Marketing Institute, the majority of online marketers do not strategize their content. Have a look at the survey results:
Step 3. Write the content
If you’re not a great writer, hire one. You can hire writers on platforms like PeoplePerHour and Guru, but make sure you find someone who can write engaging content geared for your target audience, and if you plan to add it to your blog, kill two birds with one stone and make sure you use SEO techniques to optimize it.
How does email marketing trouble you?
I have presented a detailed list of challenges to any successful email marketing campaign. Now it’s your turn. What challenges do you often come across while executing an email marketing campaign? And how do you deal with those challenges? Please drop your comments below.