Marketing emails, promotional emails, newsletters - whatever you want to call them, we’ve all gotten them. While sometimes marketing emails can come off as spammy from the customers perspective, a well-crafted email marketing strategy can connect you with your customers and transform a one-time customer into a loyal, recurring one.
In this article we take a look at the world of email marketing and the benefits it can bring to a rental business.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a digital marketing strategy that revolves around, of course, sending emails. The goal is to be in better and direct communication with your already existing and potential customers. While it’s one of the oldest digital marketing tricks in the book, don’t downplay the importance of email marketing: it can be so much more than just sending out a 10% discount code every once in a while. It can be used for multiple purposes: anything from increasing brand awareness, story-telling, increasing sales, and lead-nurturing.
What’s inbound email marketing? Technically, email marketing should never even be considered as outbound, as it’s based on the fact that a person willingly subscribes to be a part of your marketing lists. Their contact information is coming into your company, so the key here is permission. Companies oftentimes have pop-up windows on their website that suggest subscribing to their newsletter, or upon registration consumers get to tick a box where they allow companies to use their personal information for marketing purposes.
Is email marketing effective?
The most important question is, is email marketing worth it? Despite the common belief that email marketing is dead, it couldn’t be further from the truth. According to Statista, there are currently 3.7 billion email users worldwide, with the number expected to grow up to 4.1 billion during 2021. Majority of adults check their email at least once a day, and on average we spend 51 seconds reading each email, while only less than 10 seconds per Instagram post.
Research has shown that people spend almost half of their time working from home on checking through their email, making email marketing one of the easiest ways of reaching relevant audiences. In addition to this, there are many other benefits, which are listed below.
Benefits of email marketing
Email marketing is cost-efficient & grows sales
According to Hubspot, 59% of marketers say email is their biggest source of ROI, while segmented campaigns note as much as a 760% increase in revenue. If this isn’t convincing enough, a study shows that 60% of email recipients made at least one purchase based on a marketing email.
For small businesses (especially the seasonal ones) it’s important to thoroughly plan out where to locate their marketing efforts and budget. Fortunately, email marketing isn’t only a great way to communicate with target audiences, it’s also extremely efficient and cost-effective. According to McKinsey & Company e-mail marketing drives $44 for every $1 spent. It’s also 40 times more effective than social media, with the buying process happening 3 times faster than in social media.
We’ll cover email marketing strategies that will increase your sales in a separate post - look forward to that.
You can create targeted & personalized content
The flexibility that emails offer when it comes to content and personalization is unmatched: you can create multiple campaigns with different copies and a variation of subject lines, including the recipient’s first name in the beginning of the email. This doesn’t only get the customer’s attention and create a better connection, it’s proven to increase both engagement and click-through rates.
Nowadays, social media offers great tools and platforms for even the smallest businesses to grow. However it’s becoming harder for brands to keep up with the ever-changing algorithms and create relevant and compelling content that will reach current, and potential customers. Emails on the other hand offer a more versatile platform to create more detailed and informative content. Because the audiences receiving your emails are already interested in receiving and hearing about, they’ll spend more time exploring and reading your content.
Email marketing improves customer relationships & brand-awareness
Everyone wants to feel included and be part of the club, right? Apart from personalizing your emails, creating a newsletter ‘’club’’ or ‘’membership’’ creates a sense of exclusivity which you can support by creating relevant content.
As a small business you can’t necessarily give out free products or services. Instead, reward your subscribers by creating excitement and giving sneak-peaks: whether you’re preparing for the season, getting ready to release new products, or tease them with upcoming discounted prices. Letting your audience know what’s going on makes them feel like they’re part of the team, creating a community-like feeling which will lead to better brand awareness and increased sales.
Email marketing increases credibility
As we mentioned before, the people receiving your emails most likely also want to hear from you. Especially in the rental industry, showcasing your expertise in your field is extremely important, as it decreases the chances of customers second guessing - if they like and trust your brand, they’re less likely to hesitate when making a purchase decision.
Becoming a well-known expert in your industry means creating relevant and informative content for your subscribers to engage with. Don’t be afraid to give your best kept secrets away: for example, share your teams’ favorite routes, trails, gear, and other tips. Transparency and personal input from your team increases credibility, a sense of community and most importantly, customer retention.
You receive direct feedback
By direct feedback we’re talking about concrete, highly trackable metrics. While emails are a great way to improve communication with your customers, the ultimate goal is to increase website traffic and sales. Fortunately, the majority of marketing tools offer simple and understandable metrics that you can track, most important ones being: ROI, conversions, list growth, and click-through rate (which is 7% across all industries).
These metrics help give a better understanding of what content works best for different audiences, as it directly shows how many people opened your emails and which were the most clicked-on links. For example, a good open rate means your audience is highly engaged and wants to hear from you no matter the time of day. Here’s an example of what it looks like on Hubspot:
What you can track with email marketing tools:
How to build engaging email marketing lists?
Now that you know why you should start email marketing, let’s get you started by creating email marketing lists. Before that, you’ll need to get an email marketing tool. Platforms like Hubspot or Mailchimp offer great tools that include metrics, an understandable CRM system, ready-made email templates and great guides that make running email marketing campaigns smoother and more effective. Once you have your account up and running, time to build your email marketing lists! Here’s how you can do it.
Website sign-up forms
Once people start visiting your website, you want to encourage them to sign-up immediately. Depending on the landing page or blog post they’re on, you want to have opt-in pop-ups promoting your newsletter with custom CTAs. According to Hubspot’s findings, personalized call-to-actions have a 42% higher view-to-submission rate than standard CTAs that are all the same on each page - so the more landing pages you have with custom CTAs, the better.
Promoting your newsletter can come in different forms and sizes: small pop-up windows in the corner of a page, larger banners, a pop-up / slide-in window that takes up the whole page, or scroll-box that appears after a certain point of scrolling. Just like the custom CTAs, it’s advised to use different types of sign-up forms on different pages. Whatever you decide to do, always have a simple email sign-up form on the bottom of your page. Here’s and example of how Äkäslompolo Sportshop has it:
Promote on social media
Even if your email list isn’t long, you still have a following on different social media channels, so why not utilise that? The people who follow you on different social channels already know and like you, but they’re not necessarily the same people who you already have on your email lists. Encouraging them to also subscribe to the content you send out via emails will strengthen your relationship with your already existing customers, all while giving them another option where to follow and receive news from you.
Offer exclusive deals & content
People need a reason to want to subscribe to a newsletter and give out their information. We already mentioned creating compelling content and rewarding your customers for subscribing to your newsletter: giving small discounts to subscribers is a solid way to attract new customers and grow your marketing list.
Keeping your subscribers engaged and interested is another thing - offer exclusive sneak peaks to upcoming campaigns in advance so your subscribers can be the first ones to get the best deals. For example, if your rental store is making way for new equipment and selling the old one, inform your newsletter subscribers about it. You never if your one of your subscribers might be an interested buyer - in any case, you’re keeping your audience in the loop and offering exclusive offers which they’ll keep looking forward to later.
Ask for marketing consent from every customer
It’s already been said and we’ll say it again: email marketing is based on your customer willingly subscribing to receive marketing content from you, so always ask for permission to use their contact information in your marketing lists. When you do ask for permission, don’t neglect the customers going straight to your online rental shop or who do the booking in-store. Whether it’s In-store or online - add the option in the ending of the check-out where the customer can choose if they want to receive special offers and other exciting content in their email. Here’s a great example of the message Laajis Urban Outdoors has at their Rentle shop’s check-out:
Summary & Getting started with email marketing
When it comes to online marketing, the majority of the time tends to be spent on PPC and social media. While it is effective, overlooking the effects of email marketing can be a significant loss for a business. Especially for smaller rental businesses, keeping in touch with your potential customers and keeping your retention high is essential. Email marketing does not only help build a loyal customer base, it opens doors for new potential customers that can’t wait to learn more and experience what your equipment rental business has to offer.
Check-list to get started with email marketing
- Find a suitable email marketing service provider.
- Ask for marketing consent.
- Add newsletter sign-up forms to your website.
- Create a marketing list.
- Define your email marketing goals.
- Choose and edit your on-brand newsletter template.