Email. It has become a staple of the office environment. Every morning when you turn of your computer, you’re hoping there aren’t a bazillion emails awaiting your reply. When you login, not only are there multiple emails, but a quick glace over indicates many of them are ads and spam, asking you to buy this or subscribe to that.
Your anticipation of what awaits on the computer screen quickly dissipates in disappointment as you promptly begin the arduous task of deleting those annoying emails.
How and why did emails turn from a moment of excitement when we heard the magical “you got mail” in the 1990s to emails cluttered with bold, capitalized print, shouting at us to get our attention and our money?
Email marketing has become an essential component of any marketer’s marketing plan.
Marketers know that multiple times a day we check our email in hopes of finding those few that are truly interesting, amusing or informative. Because of this, email marketing has proven to be highly efficient and effective.
With smartphones, we are able to check our email more often. As often we’re disappointed at the salesy emails that clutter our inboxes, we still can’t help but check when we see the new email symbol appear.
Whether you’re a seasoned email marketer who is looking for a way to add some boost to your email marketing efforts or you’re brand new to email marketing and are looking for a way to harness the full potential of email marketing to bring business success, here are some ways to get started on a strong, effective email marketing campaign:
Gather Your Contacts (and Acquaintances)
To give your email marketing campaign any chance of success, you’ll need to start off with a good-sized contact list.
If your company doesn’t yet have a large email list, there are ways to create one. Regardless of the tactic you use, the goal is to get email addresses, and quite a few of them.
Different companies will employ different strategies and tactics to get customers and potential customers’ emails.
The most common tactics marketers use to attain emails include a newsletter sign-up, offering updates and news about the company and its products and giving something away for free.
Now, one needs to be careful on how he or she asks for these emails. Remember all those spammy, salesy emails that cluttered your work inbox? All those marketers somehow got your email.
People are reluctant to give out their email addresses because they will promptly be bombarded with sales emails.
You’ll need a clear call to action that compels the reader to want to submit their email address.
To get them interested and to get them to follow through with the desired action, it is a good idea to get inside their head and guess how they will read your email.
To do this, answer the following questions your readers may have:
- What will I get in return for my email address?
- How often will I get emails?
- Will I get continued discounts and exclusive offers?
- Will I get more junk email?
- Will I get spammed?
As readers will be hesitant and reluctant to supply you with their address, you’ll need to offer a compelling, hard-to-resist incentives in exchange for their email address. To get an idea of what a good incentive may be, go through your own inbox and browse your emails. Which ones caught your attention and made you click? Using similar verbiage, images and layout can be a good format to emulate for your emails.
As hinted at previously, you’ll need to be careful how to word your emails. Telling people what to do and when to urgently do it, will result in pushback.
Your email needs to be worded gently and yet stand out from the myriad of the hundreds of other emails asking for money.
People won’t give you money if they don’t read your email. Your email must first catch people’s attention. A catchy, personalized subject line, and bright, colorful images and graphics are great places to start. However, don’t be obnoxious and overly salesy and impersonal.
In your emails, be professional and considerate. It is also important to know your audience and gauge the proper frequency at which emails are sent.
Utilize a Professional, Reputable Email Service
You can compose the perfect email and have a large email list, but if you play cheap and use an unfamiliar email service, your emails will likely fall on deaf ears.
People are already suspicious of sales emails asking for personal information and email, but when they come across an email from an unknown email service, their red flags will immediately pop-up and they won’t think twice about tossing your email into either the spam filter or the trash.
When you utilize a recognizable, well-known, reputable email service, people are more likely to at least stop and possibly open and read the email. Using a reputable email service will make your emails look professional, trustworthy and interesting, all ingredients that increase the chances of people doing business with you.
Some reputable email services to investigate include: Mailchimp, Constant Contact and AWeber.
The Company Newsletter: An Email Magnet
A newsletter is one of the most basic, popular and effective components of an email marketing campaign.
People are more willing to share their email in exchange for a newsletter. Newsletters are interesting (or should be) to read and informative, letting people behind-the-scenes look at your business. People who know more about a company will more likely trust that company enough to do business with it.
A newsletter, therefore, fulfills many purposes other than just getting emails to bolster your email list. Newsletters shows people what your company is all about.
When designing your newsletter, keep your readers in mind. Make it look interesting and professional, easy to read, can be easily opened, contains a mix of images and text and can be correctly rendered on a range of devices including smartphones.
Good newsletters will contain an ever-changing mix of company updates, fresh content, new insights and personal messages. These newsletters are targeted and sent out only to customers who have expressed interest in receiving them and they are not used as a sales pitch tool.
Learn From Your Mistakes (And Your Analytics)
Not every email marketing campaign will result in astounding success. Some will just fail miserably. Those that didn’t perform as well as expected, can, however, be valuable learning experiences. It can be tempting to dump a campaign that isn’t performing well. If you can such a campaign, it will be hard to pinpoint the weak part that made it fail in the first place. You’ll have a higher chance of repeating the same mistake again.
Many reputable email services have some level of built-in analytics that can help you see live-time analytic data and statistics on the performant of your email campaign.
These analytics can help you identify and fix problem areas that are hurting your email marketing campaign.
What metrics and numbers should you be looking at? The most telling analytics you should pay close attention to include the number of unsubscribers, the email open rate and the click through rate.
A high unsubscriber number indicates that you’re not giving people the information or deals they are interested in, you’re spamming them with junk emails and offers, or that the wording of your email isn’t clear or compelling.
A high unsubscriber rate may indicate that your company may need a rebranding and rebuild its reputation to earn back people’s trust.
A low open rate indicates that people are not even opening your emails once they see them in their inbox. This statistic may indicate that you send out emails too frequently or you send emails that are too spammy, suspicious or salesy.
A low click through rate (CTR) reveals the possibility that you didn’t do enough research of your targeted audience and as a result, email recipients are clicking on your email, but then, immediately leave the linked destination page.
The use of the available analytics can help you see how people respond to your emails and helps you see areas of strength and weaknesses that you can build upon and restore.
Personalize Emails Through Segmentation
Chances are that you have great diversity of recipients on your email list. In fact, it is a given that there will be multiple sub-groups and populations within your email list. For instance, you’ll likely have a mix of loyal, long-time customers, those who have never heard of your brand and those somewhere in the middle.
It is important to create what are called “buyer personas” for each of these subgroups. A “persona” is a fictional character that embodies the overriding, general characteristics of a group of people it represents.
Segmenting these “buyer personas” may seem like a pain, especially if you have many of these subgroups, but this process will help you produce more captivating, trustworthy, effective emails.
Why are these “personas” important? Well, consider the impersonal, canned, mass sent emails you get. Are your remotely interested in even looking at them? Of course not.
Writing multiple versions of an email that is more personalized and speaks to the members of the different buyer personas, will better catch the reader’s attention and make them want to read more because they are interested, can relate to the content and are compelled to convert on the desired action.
Each group entails a different email marketing tactic, and messaging. After all each “buyer persona” will have unique interests, wants and needs. You’ll also need to consider the different phases of the buying process the recipients are at and construct emails for each group accordingly. Specialized emails that capture these differing needs and interests will increase open rate and click through rates and of, course, improve your chances of getting precious emails.
Segmenting can take many forms. Just choose the way that works best for your business objectives.
A common way of segmenting “personas” may include the following lists:
- Newsletter list
- Company or product update list
- Customer List
- Lead List
Embrace Follow-Up, But Cautiously
With all the emails people receive daily, it can be easy for your email to get lost in the shuffle or for recipients to get distracted and forget to come back to your email.
For these reasons, it’s important to follow-up.
Some marketers are gun-ho about following up to the point where they follow-up too often and quickly become annoying. Others can be too cautious and don’t follow-up often enough.
Proper follow-up at the right time and frequency, however, can be very effective. Follow-up is key to keeping your brand at the top of the recipient’s mind. You want them to call or think of your brand and company first to fulfill a need.
People should be clear on when to expect your emails and you’ll have to uphold your side of the bargain and fulfill that promise. If you promise daily product updates, but send out emails once a week or you promise weekly promotions, but send emails every day, your email marketing campaign will likely fail.
With the research from your analytics and the study of each of your “buyer personas” you should have an idea as to how often and when your emails are sent out and how much time to allow before following up.
Many email marketing platforms feature auto-responder emails that can function as follow-up tools. These can be programmed to send out follow-up emails at a certain frequency.
An email marketing campaign is a great way to let people know about your company, brand and products/services as well as enable you to establish valuable relationships with customers and potential customers. get in touch with current and potential clients and build crucial relationships with them.
There is likely not a company that hasn’t tried at least one marketing campaign. These campaigns are harder than they look, taking much skill, time and effort.
However, if they are done correctly, they can bring in many sales for your company.
Email marketing and social media marketing may have more in common than you think. How’s your social media performing? Download this free checklist to find out.