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Suppose you’ve been doing business online for some years. In that case, you’ll no doubt agree with the words of Colin Nederkoom that ” email is still the most effective way to universally reach people who have expressed interest in your product or site.”
But you no doubt would have come across sensational headlines saying email marketing is dead! It is far from dying and brings with it advantages and potential for companies.
It helps you interact with your audience, promotes your brand and increases sales. Here are some important do’s and don’ts that will help you make your marketing emails more effective and connect better with your customers.
According to this article, email marketing sometimes gets a bad reputation. But it’s not as embarrassing as direct mail (which is a $12 billion per year industry), but it’s pretty close.
Are you worried email marketing is past its prime? Are you wondering if it is still effective? Think again!
It says here that many companies shy away from email marketing because they think it’s an outdated approach, but 59% of B2B marketers said email is the most effective channel for revenue generation. And in 2014, they listed it as the most powerful tool for customer retention.
This article says that email marketing is up to 40 times more effective than social media, according to a study by McKinsey & Company. The same research also shows that the buying process happens three times faster than on social media.
I will teach you practical strategies for your company to consider.
The list below is in no particular order.
1. Know Your Strategy
If you’re a newbie in email marketing and have a robust marketing budget, there’s the tendency to want to splurge to set up an automated program with all the bells and whistles.
But I urge you to pull back on the brakes and avoid overspending on a system that may end up overwhelming you.
Your best bet is to tread with caution and take it step-by-step. Plan well to avoid burning your fingers. Set your email marketing goals and the metrics you will use in measuring your performance.
Create an Email Marketing Plan.
Consider your overall business goals for the year and improvements to your email strategy that could help you reach them. Define your context, objectives, and goals for your email campaigns and strategies to meet them.
Examples of smart goals include increasing the number of subscribers on your mailing list, increasing your campaigns’ open rate, etc.
You also need to create and use your customer persona to guide all your email marketing efforts. To achieve even better consistency and set up a plan, you will stick to; use a content calendar or an email marketing calendar.
Build a Strong Subscriber List.
‘The money is in the list,’ is a common saying among online business owners, email and affiliate marketers. It goes to show the crucial role of having a genuine subscriber list built from scratch.
When starting with email marketing, it tempts some companies to cut corners because they want fast results. Therefore, some make the sad mistake of buying email list over the counter from shoddy vendors. It is a terrible mistake that can lead you into serious legal trouble with the authorities. Especially now with the European GDPR law in place.
So I always advise clients going into email marketing to build their list from scratch. It is the proper way of building your subscriber list. But for some companies, it can be a tedious process. However, the rewards are worth the efforts.
Segment Your List for Increased Relevance and Impact.
Your contacts and subscribers to your email list are at different points in the sales cycle, and they require different information and communication depending on which point they are.
Sending wrong information at the wrong time to the wrong person is a waste of everyone’s time. Email list segmentation divides email subscribers into smaller lists (aka segments) based on set criteria. It allows you to send more relevant content. Segmentation is the difference between blasting mass messages to a whole subscribers list versus mailing targeted emails to smaller groups. The benefits of segmentation are that messages that are custom-tailored to a customer’s preferences, past activities, location and other variables are much more likely to be attractive to a consumer over a mass mail that makes customers feel like a number on a company’s mailing list.
With segmentation, better customer engagement means improved deliverability, better email open rates, click-through rates, conversion rates, and increased revenues.
It also helps to lower unsubscribe rates. According to this source, if you have too many unsubscribes or a dismal open rate, email marketing software providers may freeze your entire account. By looking at users who haven’t opened an email in months compared to users who open every email, you’ll be able to create unique campaigns to help inactive users re-engage.According to HubSpot, with up to 77% of email opens taking place on mobile, it's best to keep your email subject lines short and sweet. Click To Tweet
Segment your subscribers based on age group, income group, family, education, geographical location and interests.
Segment your list according to the new subscriber and leads. Engage with them and share all information regarding your products or services.
Give Something Valuable Away.
These days people don’t give their emails to anyone. They don’t subscribe to your emails because they like your website. They only subscribe if you give them a sound reason to do so. Give away valuable freebies for people to subscribe to your mailing list. Make sure it is relevant, valuable, appropriate and in demand in your niche so that your email subscribers find it appealing.
Make It Easy to Unsubscribe.
With policies like GDPR in place, it is unlawful to make it difficult for people to unsubscribe. Make it easy for your subscribers to unsubscribe from your mailing list. Don’t burry the unsubscribe link or button. If you don’t make it easy to find the unsubscribe link, people will mark your future messages as spam. It won’t be good for your brand.
Nurture Your Subscribers Actively.
Keep in mind that a person who subscribes to your mailing list is ready to buy your product or service. That person will appreciate getting newsletters that give them direct information about your product or service.
According to this statistic, not only do nurtured leads more frequently turn into sales, but they also make 47% larger purchases than non-nurtured leads.
A lead nurturing email is an email that a business sends to a person guiding them from the consideration stage to the lead funnel’s decision stage. These types of emails often appeal to the person’s emotions by using social proof and user-generated content.
When someone subscribes to your emails, send them a welcome email introducing yourself and your blog. Give your new subscriber the same attention and care you’d give a person the first date to make a positive first impression.
Through your lead nurturing emails, your subscriber gets content they’re excited to read, and you deepen the relationship and increase the chances of converting that person into a customer.
Most companies use an automated email system to send out their email campaigns and their lead nurturing emails. So choose an email system with options to tag people and create different segments in your list.
Focus on creating value-driven and unique content. It will help to turn your subscribers to an engaged audience. Leverage and repurpose your current content on your blog as a foundation, but also include unique value-adds to nurture email subscribers.
Re-engage Inactive Subscribers.
An inactive subscriber is any person on your email marketing list that has not opened or engaged with your email in the past six months!
As a business investing in email marketing, you have three options with your inactive subscribers. You can choose to:
- ignore their inactivity and keep sending them emails.
- Cull your list and remove all inactive subscribers.
- Re-engage your inactive customers and get them back in your customer list.
Experienced marketers will attempt to re-engage inactive subscribers to win them back as customers.
The first step to winning these persons back as customers is to identify who they are. To do so, you need to segment your email marketing list to identify any subscriber who has not opened or engaged with your email in the past six months, for instance.
Try to find out why they’re inactive. For example, you can create a special campaign for these. Send them an email with an emotional or sensational subject line. Use emojis, humour, mystery, provide an irresistible offer or use FOMO (fear of missing out). Be sure to use the right content in your re-engagement email. Give them exclusive offers and discounts.
Remind them of the reason they subscribed to your mailing list and what they could miss. Don’t skimp on your email design. Make it look as appealing as possible. Since this is a re-engagement campaign, you need to get more personal and appeal to their emotions. But remember to give them more control and the final say to decide whether or not they wish to remain on your list.
From all we discussed above, you undoubtedly realise that doing all these manually is not efficient. That is why a lot of smart marketers and organisations rely on automation. Email marketing service providers such as MailChimp offer automated email marketing solutions that you can use to your advantage.
Integrate Email and Social Media.
Have you ever heard of the marketing rule of seven? The rule of seven states that it takes an average of seven interactions with your brand before a purchase will take place. A marketer or business that integrates email with social media marketing can achieve that milestone sooner.
Using both tools in tandem can help you grow your audience faster. You do so by encouraging your followers on social networks to subscribe to your list and vice versa.
Some benefits of integrating both are:
- Through their profiles on social networks, you can put faces to your email subscribers and re-target them.
- Your social media fans and followers become members of your tightly knit email community.
- You can create exclusive social communities, groups, or lists for your select customers.
- Increase sharing on your emails and content on social media and generate more traffic on your website.
Continue Getting New Emails.
Coming up with fresh topic ideas for your email campaigns is challenging. To ensure your emails don’t end up in spam, keep providing valuable contents through your email.
Some ideas for your emails include breaking news, digest, newsletter, reminders, sneak previews, follow-ups, Thank You messages, holiday greetings, free shipping info, limited edition, updates, coupon codes, raffle draws, requests for feedback, featured (staff, product/service or customer) Welcome, Welcome Back, etc.
2. Your Content
Keep Your Subject Lines Short and Captivating.
According to HubSpot, with up to 77% of email opens taking place on mobile, it’s best to keep your email subject lines short and sweet. Use less than 50 characters to ensure the people scanning your emails on their mobile devices read your entire subject line with no part being cut off.
Your best bet for creating a good email subject line is to know your audience intimately and cater to their pain points. Here are some strategies for writing captivating subject lines is to leverage:
- Humour: One right way of creating a captivating email subject line is to add some humour. People are more willing to buy when they are in a good mood.
- Curiosity: Using a curiosity based subject line makes your reader want to click to read your email. But be sure to deliver on what your subject line says, otherwise readers will see your message as clickbait and end up in spam.
- Numbers: Using numbers in your subject line is intriguing. Using numbers and curiosity in tandem is a sure way to get your readers to stop scrolling through their inbox and click your message.
- Negativity: I know I said it before that your message should be positive. But if you use negativity sparingly and strategically, it can also help improve your subject line.
- Shock: Shocking headlines prompt people to open your messages. This strategy is very popular with tabloids because it works. But use it sparingly and strategically for best results.
Create Strong Content
Microsoft founder Bill Gates wrote an essay in 1996 in which he said that “content is king”. Sadly, most companies doing business online don’t have the luxury of running content behemoth sites like the Huffington Post or BuzzFeed that churn out loads of content daily. To give your content a chance in the increasingly crowded online space, you need to ensure that you create strong content. Only strong content can deliver positive results. Creating strong content requires using the right tools.
When you create great content using tools like this, you position yourself as an expert and increase your readership because Google and other search engines rank strong content high in their search result pages. People will want to read your content and share it with their friends and colleagues. Creating strong content also gives you the opportunity of repurposing and reusing the same content on multiple platforms.
Design Your Emails
To maximise the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, you need more than great content. You also need a great email design. Be sure to design your emails to be responsive. Responsive emails are emails, optimised and mobile-ready. They look fantastic regardless of the device or screen resolution that the recipient is using. Be concise and reduce your email’s length as much as you can while retaining your message’s essence.
Lots of email service providers have well-optimised email templates you can use to craft meaningful and exciting messages. Using these templates ensures that you have a consistent design and frees you to focus on creative content rather than design. These are some things that help keep your emails out of spam folders.
Personalisation involves targeting your email campaign to a specific subscriber by leveraging the data and information you have about the person. According to this article, 50% of marketing influencers have reported that message personalisation is the most effective email marketing.Email list segmentation divides email subscribers into smaller lists based on set criteria. Click To Tweet
While this is a powerful tool in your email marketing arsenal, you need to exercise caution. Get personal, but you have to set boundaries. Remember that these emails are corporate messages that represent your brand. So do nothing stupid or creepy. You don’t want someone to report you to the authorities for the content of your email.
When personalising your emails, be sure you use your recipients’ names and purchase history and encourage them to reply to your messages whenever appropriate. Sprinkle words like ‘you’ throughout your email. Show appreciation for their purchase of their subscribing to and reading your emails. Things like these help to make your emails sound more personal rather than some vague mass mailing campaign. Personalisation makes your recipients feel as if the message was tailormade for them.
Avoid ‘over-sending’ your marketing messages too frequently. Otherwise, your recipients will get overwhelmed and move your message into their spam box. An excellent way to find the right frequency to send your email campaigns is to use a content calendar with marketing automation. It will help you determine optimal email frequency, so you send emails at the right time.
5. Calls-to-Action (CTA)
An email marketing call-to-action (CTA) is a button or hyperlinked line of text that directs your recipients to your desired URL. The point of a CTA is to drive consumers to take the desired action, e.g. to read your article or watch your product video, listen to your podcast, download your PDF, sign up for your newsletter or buy your product/service. Test different CTA’s to see the one which resonates with your target audience. Include a CTA button or link in each marketing campaign. Make sure that your CTA provides a sense of urgency to your emails.
The call to action (CTA) is the climax of your email message. Your vehicle for momentum transfer is driving your subscriber to take the next step you desire for them. No message is complete without a CTA. Therefore, you need to spend time to craft the perfect CTA that attracts your subscriber to click!
After hitting the send button on your email campaign, the next thing is to test, test, test! And more testing! Your email service provider will give you access to the tools you will use to monitor your subscribers’ activity when they receive your message. Measure and optimise the performance of your campaign.
Track your data and test your campaign’s performance. You need to perform A/B test or split testing of your email’s various elements and features such as button shape, size or colour, the design and format of your message, the font size and colour, the text alignment, the use of images or emojis.
Run these tests and measure the results. Then use it to optimise your future tactics.
Email marketing helps you interact with your audience, promote your brand and increase sales. As we’ve seen from the above, it is still one of the most effective ways for your business to reach a global audience of people who have asked about your brand. It is far from dying but has lots of untapped potentials. Start using the strategies mentioned above today to make your marketing emails more effective.
Do you need help in making your marketing emails more effective? Let’s talk! Contact us today. I’ll be glad to help.
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