I recently sent out my first email marketing campaign in over a year this week. It was a Cyber Monday promotion. I promoted a free jar with every 4+ jar purchase on my website. And I received 10 online orders in 12 hours.
I made $293 from an email that took ten minutes to write.
And that’s when I realized, I need to be doing this more often. I need to be building an email list. A list of all of my past customers who purchased online, my retailers, distributors, etc. After all, they’re the ones who are most likely to purchase my product.
So, I present a list to you. A list to convince you that you need to start email marketing, too. It’s practically free – and the return on your investment is mind-blowing. Read-on:
Why you need to start email marketing right now:
1. It’s free (up to a certain point)
MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. And it’s going to take you some time to get those emails. This means any email you send out that results in sales of your product is one heck of an ROI (see #3 below). Other than the time to create the email, it’s pretty much free marketing for your food business.
2. It keeps your company top-of-mind
When you get an online order, do you ever follow up to see if they need more of your product? Probably not. Email is the perfect tool to let customers know you’re still here and well, they need to place an order. When I sent the email above, I received the following response from a loyal customer: “Thanks so much for sending this email. I am almost finished my last jar of Garlic & Oregano mustard. My absolute favorite. Time to restock!”
See what I mean? You can trigger people’s minds to buy your product again. Don’t you just love human psychology?
3. You can announce new products (or even test ideas)
Customers want to know what’s going on with your company. Do you have any new flavors? What about a recent press hit? They want to read about your success, so tell them! And if you don’t have anything to gloat about, let customers know what’s coming soon, new stores you’re in — anything, really!
4. Email marketing has a better ROI than social media
Let’s get down to the numbers. Email marketing has the best return of any marketing you can do. The proof is in the pudding:
For every $1 marketers spend on email, the average ROI is $40. (Direct Marketing Association)
What does that tell you? You’ve got to start email marketing!
5. It’s easy
A lot of food producers I’ve talked to find email marketing to be too hard, too time consuming. They simply throw up their hands in defeat. Don’t let this be you.
Email marketing is easy.
Your emails can be as simple as plain-text messages (the email I sent above was just me typing. I didn’t even include a Green Mountain Mustard logo). If you want to make your emails flashy, most email marketing providers give you access to a handful of free templates. Simply click where you want to edit, type your message, and hit save. It really is easy.
Have I convinced you yet? It’s a powerful tool to turn one-purchase customers into customers for life. Plus, if they share your company news, it’s even more exposure. Seriously, you have to try it. Sign up for a free Mailchimp account and get started.
With MailChimp open in a new tab, let’s explore how to get the most out of email marketing for your food business. A couple tips:
1. Send no more than 2 messages a month
Everyone has an over-loaded inbox. Don’t make it any worse for them. Send out an email when you’ve got something to say. Many food companies I talk to send out a monthly newsletter. Others send weekly or bi-weekly. It honestly depends on how much time you have and what your list is looking for. But, don’t be spammy.
2. Answer “what’s in it for me?”
Your customers want to know what they’re getting from you? Is it a new flavor? A special discount? Read your message to see if it’s a lot of “we, we, we”. If it is, edit your sentences to say “you, you, you”. That way, you’re talking to your customer – not about yourself or your company.
3. Put thought into your subject line
Just like a book cover in Barnes & Noble, your subject line is the most important part of email marketing. It gets people to open your email. If they don’t open it, you’re not going to make any sales. Put in a benefit and make it timely. Here’s a couple tips from MailChimp on the best performing subject lines.
4. Include a call to action
What do you want your customers to do after reading your email? Click through to a blog post, browse your products, or reply to your email? Whatever it is, you’ve got to tell your customers what to do. If you don’t, your email goes straight to the deleted folder. And you don’t want that to happen, do you? Use calls to action like “Shop Now”, “Discover the perfect gift” or “Find a store near you” to get customers to click.
5. Be consistent
You didn’t start your own food business just to shut it down. The same goes with email marketing. Don’t send one email and be done with it for another six months. Be consistent and send a monthly message. Your customers will come to expect your message – don’t let them down.
Have you started email marketing to your customers? What are some tips you could share with us? Leave a comment below to get the discussion started.