If you are an online business owner and you are wondering how to generate more leads for your business, there just might be something important you’re not doing and that is Email Marketing.

In getting leads for your business, especially an online business, you need to work on earning considerable mindshare.

People will not buy from you if they don’t know you, like you and trust you. People will not patronise you if you are not on their minds. Click To Tweet

Big companies know this, and so, they advertise constantly on social media, digital media and traditional media. However, for a small business with an almost non-existent advertising budget if any at all, email marketing is the cheapest and most effective way to get people to know you, trust you and eventually buy from you.

What makes email so valuable

Nowadays, just about everybody has an email address and rely on their emails for prompt messages and updates. A New York-based Catholic bishop was once quoted saying, “If Jesus were walking the earth today, I’m convinced he would have an email address.”

Humorous, but it has some truth in it. Almost everyone using the internet has an email address. As a matter of fact, one cannot access most social media platforms without providing an email address.

The prevalence of email address ownership is not so linked to users’ preference for it as by the fact that users can control the messages they get in their email inbox to a great extent. Email affords its users a lot of privacy. This is even far greater than social media.

Since the owner decides who gets their email address, they are far more likely to trust the messages they receive through their email inbox than through other means on the internet. Click To Tweet

What is email marketing?

Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses emails to promote a business’s product or service, boost sales, engage customers and build a relationship with them.

Now, if you think, because of the above definition, email marketing is as simple as writing a bunch of emails and sending them off, you just might be wrong. Email marketing is way more than that.

The first step in email marketing

First of all, you have to create a mailing list. A mailing list is a list of subscribers that have willingly signed up to get regular emails from you by sharing their email address with you. Never buy a mailing list; subscribers to your emails must be acquired organically or your trust as a business/service provider will be jeopardised.

In acquiring a mailing list, there are a number of things you have to do. The first and most important is to have something valuable to give out for free. This is also called an opt-in offer or lead magnet.

When you have created a landing page where users can find you, offer them something in return―an incentive for signing up to your mailing list. This may be an ebook containing useful content related to your business, or a demo of your product, or an email series.

How to get email subscribers

You must have something valuable to give out for free to get subscribers/potential customers. You can also grow your email list by promoting it or driving traffic to your landing page. Click To Tweet

For example, the CEO of The Morning Brew, a daily email business newsletter, promoted the online newsletter by putting up posters of the signup link on student noticeboards, handing out fliers to students, and appearing at student meetings to talk about business.

Those tactics may be too guerrilla for you, but you have to let people know that you have something to say and they should sign up to hear from you. A practical step leading from that is that you have to make it easy for people to subscribe to your list.

If you already have a website, don’t wait till visitors scroll to the bottom of your page before they can find the signup prompter. Make sure you place the prompter at different places throughout the page.

Connecting with your subscribers

When people sign up to your list, make sure you initiate a relationship with them immediately. Do this by automating your emails so that you don’t have to manually respond to every first-time subscriber. Click To Tweet

A perfect example of initiating contact immediately is an automated ‘thank you for signing up’ message to be sent to your subscribers.

Concerning the content of the emails you send to your subscribers, there are basically three types of emails: pure content mails, relationship-building mails and promotional emails.

The pure content emails contain content that is useful and helpful to your subscribers. A pure content mail has no promotions in it. With this type of email, you slowly and surely establish yourself as an authority in your field, thereby building trust with your subscribers.

The relationship-building mails help your subscribers connect with you personally. You might share personal information, achievements or even your thoughts. This will let your subscribers connect with you on an emotional level, ultimately resulting in a community of subscribers.

Promotional mails inform your subscribers of your products and services and basically urges them to buy what you are selling. Here’s the catch: promotional mails should be sent minimally. Click To Tweet

Generally, we advise that promotional mails should take 20% of your totals mails sent while the remaining 80% should be divided between pure content mails and relationship-building mails.

One more thing

Let us leave you with a few more useful tips:

  • Ask your subscribers to whitelist your emails so they can always see them.
  • Be consistent with sending your mails. Pick a day of the week for sending your emails and stick with it.
  • You can also schedule your emails in advance if you know you won’t have time.

We hope you have learned a thing or two about email marketing. If you find this post helpful, do well to share with others.


Damilola Fasina is a final year students of Communication and Language Arts (CLA) at the University of Ibadan, Ibadan. She currently interns with The Plenipotent Company Limited.