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Even in A “Pre-Revenue” Status, as a Founder, You Can Do Email Marketing

Even in A “Pre-Revenue” Status, as a Founder, You Can Do Email Marketing

Nov 29 2019

Even in A “Pre-Revenue” Status, as a Founder, You Can Do Email Marketing

By Dawn Marie Yankeelov

Many startups face the brunt of lack of funds as the year comes to a close, but short of giving up, you must do something to continue your outreach to prospective angels, prospective clients, possible partners, and others interested in advancing your mission.

Basic marketing calls for time and talent, but not necessarily great dollars, even if you contract this type of work out.  Try email marketing for 60 days as you bridge the gap on the next round of funding.  There are tools like Mailchimp and Constant Contact -- allowing for short-term free trials--that can assist you with low-cost or no-cost options to begin using all those business cards you’ve collected on your counter from interested parties. Ask for permission to add them to your newsletter list, and get a result by doing eblasts ( aka email campaigns) in these types of systems.  With the use of generic templates and clip art available, you do not have to be a graphic artist or even a writer. 

Be pro-active.  You may find that buying a mailing list from a trade association in your industry can be effective.  If you have been a speaker, been in tradeshow booth, or assisted in co-operative marketing in a recent industry event, you may be entitled to the attendee list. It never hurts to check. This could be useful for lead generation in several ways.

Email continues to be one of the dominant channels in marketing, found in many 2019 studies.  According to a recent report from Marketing Profs, email remains the most effective in driving ROI, delivering $42 for every $1 spent on it—up from the previous year.  According to Campaign Monitor, your average email open rate in 2019 should be between 15-25%. Your average click-through rate should be about 2.5%. Your average click-to-open rate should be between 20-30%.  If not, add to your lists through purchasing lists or acquiring names through your team’s existing outreach channels.  Get the business cards from your leads at networking functions, and ask them to allow you to add them to your newsletter—in person, on your website, and via social media.  This is considered a “call to action.”

The best send outs are varied in their content—especially if you plan on doing more than one sendout a month.  If you are tying your content into your website, and you should be in most cases, then the use of dynamic content is possible there.  It refers to web content that changes based on the behavior, preferences, and interests of the user.  Dynamic content can refer to websites as well as e-mail content and is generated at the moment a user requests a page.

Today’s times suggest you should do an AB test.  Quickly defined, AB testing (also known as split testing) is a method of comparing two versions of a webpage or app against each other to determine which one performs better. Check to see if the tools you are using on your website allow for easy setup.  In many cases, make different variations of a webpage in minutes using drag-and-drop visual editors found in quick-build website tools. Run AB tests on your landing pages and learn which ones give you the most conversions.  

Understanding analytics and feedback is important.  Most emarketing or contact management systems (aka as CRM---a customer relationship management system), allow some built-in analytics to review.  Often you can see when people opened your email, what they clicked on—the digital engagement factor, how many looked, and who unsubscribed.

Consider the following:

1.  If you have many bounces, you need newer contact lists. That list in your folder from a previous organization affiliation from 2014 is probably not that useful.

2.  Don’t use all capital letters or exclamation points in every sentence.  This is one of the top things to do if you want deletion.

3.  Use personalization features, if available, in your email marketing systems.

4.  If you have many deletions, the messaging is not resonating with your audience or it is not targeted enough to the right sub-set groups.  Example:  If you wish to target those in Evansville, IN for an event, but your email campaign is delivered only to those in Louisville, KY, then you can expect a much lower response.  An eblast sent to 30 narrow-focused targets can lead to 3 sales.  It is not always about the volume of email sends or the right artwork.  Recipients are 75% more likely to click on emails from segmented campaigns than non-segmented campaigns, according to MailChimp.

5.  Make sure you use your logo.  Brand your identity consistently in your email campaigns.  You need to be seen at a party, in order to be approached.  Is not the same true in campaign send outs?

The HubSpot team analyzed open rate data from 25,000,000+ emails across 28 industries this year. Arts & entertainment, construction, human resources, legal & government, and real estate have the highest open rates. 

Remember that, almost every report on email open rates concludes that mobile is responsible for at least 50% of all opens, according to Campaign Monitor.