Marketing on a Startup Budget: 5 ways email gives you the edge your startup needs
Business-to-business (b2b) marketing doesn’t have to be expensive; in fact, sometimes the inexpensive approach can be best. Marketing Assistant and guest blogger Ellen Brown discusses how personalized emails helped startup Blooie begin to achieve marketing success and set the stage for Blooie to blow up.
It’s a universal truth among startups: money is tight. I work for a startup and anyone who has had any experience with startups knows the burden of that truth. The wonderful thing about the internet though, is that no money doesn’t have to mean no marketing. I myself am a marketing assistant, fresh out of university, and along with another graduate, we make up the marketing team. Our task: drumming up awareness and interest for our company, Blooie.
The aim was fairly simple; we would email prospective users introducing ourselves and pointing out the benefits of our product. Our target audience were blogs; our product, boiled down into very simplified terms, a chat platform for sites, perfect for blogs who want to ramp up readers and engagement. These blogs, we decided, would be easiest to contact by email. The benefits of email are obvious but nevertheless crucial for our campaign.
Free or very low cost
The crux of the matter really – email doesn’t cost you a penny so it’s ideal for campaigns (like ours) that have to reach a lot of people on a very thin budget. If your budget is slightly larger, there is inexpensive email marketing software available to help you design newsletters and other email marketing campaigns. (Read about how to get started in email marketing)
Email is very quick, there’s no waiting to be transferred to the person you want to talk to, no waiting if the phone is engaged and no long trips to visit someone in person.
This works for both the sender and the recipient. We were crazy busy during our campaign. There were so many distractions, we needed something that could be done early in the mornings, stupidly late at night, and rushed between meetings. Not only did this work well for us, it also allowed our audience to find the time to read our mission statement. Is there anything worse than a cold call? We needed people on our side; bombarding them with phone calls and unexpected meetings just don’t work for this first-stage marketing campaign. Email allows the recipient to open and read it at their discretion, meaning they’re more likely to be receptive to what we had to say.
Emails can go around the world in a snap. With two of us working the campaign, we couldn’t go ourselves and we didn’t have time to call every single person we wanted to contact.
Nothing Beats a Personal Touch
Email allowed us to combine the aforementioned perks to create a pretty effective campaign. The more people we contacted, the more our understanding of what worked and what didn’t grew. We closely monitored the click-through rate to help us gauge which of our email copies was most effective. We came to a conclusion that may seem a little obvious – personal works best. There isn’t quite anything as annoying as an inbox full of promotional emails that have no relevance to you or your site. While it was quicker and easier for us to simply send out a mass email, the success was fairly poor. Instead, we did research into each person we contacted. Once we read their blogs and we got to know their content, our emails became much more personal and the feedback was far more positive than the mass generated copies.
While I don’t suggest that this will work for everyone, it was certainly an interesting experience for us. Were we to push it out on a greater scale, the personal touch would likely be lost, but for now it is achievable. The crucial step was being willing to change our email marketing plan. Monitoring success of emails and getting feedback helped us work out what our audience wanted to see. In terms of our success, we’re still working on it, but the future looks bright!