When you think of marketing campaigns, you generally assume that you’re going to target new business. While that may semantically be true, it doesn’t mean that you have to look for new customers to get new business. As long as you provide quality products and services, your current customers can be your biggest ally (and greatest asset) when looking for new sales.

New Business vs. Repeat Customers

New business is usually synonymous with new customers, but it doesn’t have to be. Chip Bell, author of customer service book Kaleidoscope, says “Loyal customers, they don’t just come back, they don’t simply recommend you, they insist that their friends do business with you.” Fishermen and paddle enthusiasts love to share a great find with their buddies. Simply put, business (coupled with great customer service) begets more business.

Why only target folks who haven’t even heard of you yet, when you could be deploying your “brand evangelists” to spread the word for you? Let your past and current customers go out and create new customers for you!

Why Email Marketing?

So, why is email marketing effective? The short answer is that it’s simple. Email marketing has been around for a couple of decades and isn’t going away anytime soon. Fishermen and paddlesports enthusiasts are all walking around with their emails in their pockets. Furthermore, it’s fairly inexpensive and doesn’t take a whole lot of work to implement.

First, you likely already have the email addresses you need. If you’re doing business in the 21st century, you’re probably collecting email addresses when customers buy your fishing and paddlesports gear – especially online in your e-commerce store. While this doesn’t specifically allow you to send email marketing messages to them, you can certainly follow up with a personalized “thank you” email. In that email, you could provide information about coupon codes they can share, links to your social media accounts where they can follow you and spread the word, opt-in to future deals, and even a blurb simply asking them to share your business with their friends.

Second, email campaigns are far from uncharted territory. Everyone has been sending and receiving emails for decades and all the right tools already exist – most of them pretty inexpensive to get started with. As long as you know some of the basics of sending out mass emails, you can begin. (Although, there is quite a bit more to doing it effectively.)

How an Agency Can Help

So, how do you get started with email marketing to existing customers? Well, that’s where we come in.

We’re not solely (by a long shot) an email marketing company, but it is one of the core services we provide. With years of iteration to find the best strategy and extensive experience with a multitude of email tools, we’re beautifully positioned to help you take your fishing and paddlesports email game to the next level – or the first level, if that’s where we need to start.

Having Goals and a Strategy is Key

The most important aspect of sending out an email campaign — even more so than what the email looks like — is the strategy, or purpose, of the email. Are you asking previous paddle board customers to refer a friend? Are you hoping to up-sell a previous fishing reel customer on a new model or offer a free casting lesson? What you’re hoping to accomplish will set the tone for the look and messaging of your email.

At Thrive, we’ve seen it all. Referrals, up-sells, coupon codes, you name it. Each type of email presents a different set of complexities, but can ultimately be quite effective with the right messaging and design.

Take our client, Beavertail Skiffs, for example: We work with them to send email campaigns reminding current owners to visit them at upcoming boat shows, notify them of regional demo days, and stay top-of-mind with holiday greetings and other timely announcements. Because these emails are already going to folks who have a vested interest in Beavertail, they receive a staggering open rate of around 65% across the board with an average click rate of about 13%. Compare that to industry standards of 22% and 3%, respectively, and you can see what kind of effectiveness you could have with these emails!

Knowledge of Tools

Once the planning is taken care of, its all about execution. Email campaign execution requires a plan, a design, and a way to send email to a mass audience. This is that “if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” moment. Just because an email has been planned, that doesn’t mean it has been read without sending it to anyone.

We’re big fans of MailChimp (and they’re not paying us to say so). For the last several years, we’ve been happy customers of MailChimp for several reasons: it allows us to create templates that our clients can easily manage, and we can create “areas of content” that our clients can edit without touching HTML or getting involved with the design of the template layout around them.

With a combination of planning, strategy, design, and tools like MailChimp to help us realize your goals, Thrive is equipped to handle all your email campaign needs. Whether you want to target a new market of customers or tap into an existing customer base, we’ve got you covered.

If you’re interested in learning more about what we can do to help you send out effective email marketing campaigns, give us a shout. We’d love for you to see how we can work together.

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