Many marketers have given up on email marketing. Why? Because they are convinced it is such a crowded space, their efforts are not worth it. Consumers’ inboxes are so full of marketing messages, they reason, that most simply get trashed, or worse, flagged as spam.
And it’s true. People are busy. They scan through their emails, looking for those of interest and delete the others.
But email marketing is far from dead. And given that 2.5 billion people check their email every day, it should be a key venue for marketing.
In fact, email can be one of the most powerful marketing tools a business can have. And, it is one of the most inexpensive marketing tools in anyone’s kit.
The key, of course, is to get it right – crafting those amazing emails and developing a campaign strategy that gets results.
If you want to resurrect your email marketing, then this cheat sheet is for you.
Cheat sheet guide
It’s easy to write an email newsletter or send out notices of new products, offers and discounts, etc. What is not so easy is to make every email sent out be a part of an overall strategy that you have developed in advance.
Strategy means you set end goals and you also develop a map for how you plan to get to those goals. A good strategy should include these steps:
- Set Your Goals. What do you want to achieve through your campaigns? Do you only want sales, or are there other conversions you want? What are you looking at in terms of open rates?
- Determine the specific types of emails you will want to generate based upon those goals. Will you have a newsletter for your subscribers or just offers and updates?
- Identify the analytics and tools you will use to measure the responses to your emails. This should include A/B testing of subject lines, timing, frequency, etc.
- Identify the resources you will need – writing manpower, automation tools, etc.
Once you have your overall strategy, you can ensure that every email you craft and send out relates directly to your goals and the activities you have established.
With all today’s great technology, there is no reason not to personalize emails for everyone on your mailing list. You have people on that list who are all in different places in their buying journey.
- Those who have purchased from you before.
- Those who have visited your site, your blog and even your social media pages, showing some interest in your products/services, but have not made purchases.
- Those who may have just recently subscribed to your email list and with whom you have no relationship at all.
Each of these segments should receive unique messages, personalized for where they are in their relationship with you.
If you have a newsletter, you should have some general content that will go to all your subscribers – items that are engaging, entertaining, or educational. Newsletters should also be segmented for your different recipient groups. Change out parts of the newsletter to appeal to each of your segments.
- Your current and loyal customers deserve recognition and reward. Providing special sales events or discounts just for them are certainly warranted.
- For those who have shown interest but not converted, you may also want to offer discounted pricing, a free trial, etc,
- And for the new subscribers, you want to begin a relationship, with a welcoming email and some free offer.
But personalization goes far beyond just developing three segments and using consumers’ individual names. Here are some other effective tactics.
1. Consider triggered emails. Emails can be automated for a variety of reasons – to upsell existing customers, to remind customers of abandoned carts, for re-engagement, and as welcomes, etc. There are great tools around which can do this in a fully automated way, such as GetVero or SparkPage.
2. Get personal about your business. Conversions are the result of relationship-building. Consumers want to know the people behind a brand, and it is up to you to tell your story and establish human connections with all segments of your audience.
Remember, email campaigns are not just about marketing products or services. They should also educate, entertain, and inspire. The more time you spend on these activities, the more your audiences will come to know and like you.
There are a couple of considerations here:
1. Be mindful of the time of day. There’s a reason businesses often ask for time zones in their email/newsletter signup forms. Honoring those time zones, especially with international consumers, is important. In any case, experiment with times of day and open rates, using analytics and A/B testing. You may want to segment audiences by time zones, based upon what the data tells you.
2. Frequency. The more frequently you send emails, the greater the chance of non-opens. You don’t want to be a harasser. If you have a newsletter, tell your subscribers in advance when and how often they will be sent. You should give people the chance to opt into marketing emails and offers on your signup form and send them only to those who have indicated they want them. Under the new GDPR regulations, this is now a requirement.
You should be tracking your open rates by recipients, and if not, then start now! Google has a free open rate tracking system and most email automation companies offer this too.
If you see that a subscriber has not opened your emails for several months, it’s time to re-engage that person. If you don't know exactly how to craft re-engagement emails so that they actually get opened by the subscriber, your best tactic here is to take a look at successful re-engagement examples and try to emulate them.
5. Responsive design
This goes without saying. You should adopt a mobile-first strategy in your email design, as many emails are opened on mobile devices by busy consumers on the go. Mobile device use ranges from 49.7% up to 78% depending upon global regions. There are many email marketing apps around which can automate for multiple devices and platforms.
Nothing is more important than the content you create for your emails. From catchy, engaging subject lines, to valuable body content, your readers will continue to open your emails if they like what they read. And that is your first goal – get those opens.
Do’s and Don’ts
The six guidelines above should already have given you a pretty good idea of the Do’s. The Don’ts can be summarized as follows:
- Never send a single generic email to your entire list. Even if it's a newsletter, change the content for your audience segments and according to where they are in the buying journey.
- Never buy email marketing lists. The return on investment is negligible, you irritate people, and your reputation suffers.
- Don’t focus on selling; focus on building relationships and value.
- Don’t ignore the data that analytics can provide.
- Don’t harass subscribers with too many emails.
Email marketing is direct, it is inexpensive, much of it can be automated, and it can be powerful. Set up your strategy, plan your content carefully, and you'll reap the rewards for your efforts.