Marketing has changed a lot over the last few years. There are many differing opinions about which strategies work best in today’s market. One thing that most marketers can agree on, though, is that email marketing is a useful and effective tool.
Knowing that a tool is effective and using it properly, however, are two very different things. In this article, we’ll go through how you can heat things up and create an email marketing strategy that sizzles (and definitely read through for the amazing infographic at the end).
Choose the Right Tools
Choosing a good service provider is the first step in creating a killer campaign. MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Campaign Monitor are good tools to help you manage it. These tools can help you segment your list easily, send out your campaigns, and provide useful analytics like open rates, bounce rates, and so on.
You can also choose a suite of tools that help you automate some of your marketing. Tools like Autopilot, Hubspot, and Userfox can boost sales efforts by automatically sending out emails when a specific triggering event occurs.
These tools are so powerful that they can track your subscribers and narrow down where they are in their customer journey. Say, for example, that someone has signed up for your newsletter. The system will then track the activity that they conduct on your site.
At different points in the journey, a system-generated email can be sent out. For example, when someone signs up for your newsletter, you wouldn’t want to give them the full sales pitch right off the bat. You want to give them a little more general information to pique their interest.
When they’ve read through that information, the system can schedule follow-up emails. That way, you can nurture the relationship easily and effectively without raising a finger.
Identify Who Your Primary Target Audience Is
You’d think that this would be a no-brainer, but many companies adopt more of a spray and pray policy here. By that, we mean that they send out the email to all their clients, mistakenly thinking that the more emails you send out, the better your chances are.
We want to amend that thinking a little: the more properly targeted emails you send out, the better your chances are. If you choose your target audience carefully, you can create copy that will appeal to them specifically. They’ll be more likely to respond, and you’ll get a better conversion rate.
That’s not the only reason to be more selective about who your audience is, though. If you marshal your list more carefully, your subscribers will only receive information that is relevant to them. They will, therefore, pay better attention when they do get an email from you and will be less likely to see your company as a spammer.
Here are some questions that you can use to narrow the list down:
Who are our top customers at the moment?
What qualities do they share?
What pain points do they have in common?
Why did they decide to support us in the first place?
What unique selling point appealed to them the most?
From there, you can create a list of the traits to look for in prospective clients and how to create emails that will appeal to them.
Make Prospects Want to Become Subscribers
On the internet, email addresses are close to gold. Everyone wants to build their subscriber list. It’s standard operating practice to offer potential subscribers something for free in exchange for their email.
It sounds easy, right? All you have to do is quickly put together some sort of report or checklist, right? It is simple, so simple that everyone is doing it. In order to stand out from the crowd, you need to offer something that is actually valuable.
Here’s the kicker, though—it has to be valuable to your audience. It has to be something that, when they get it, they think, “Wow, I can’t believe that they just gave that away.” Use this as a brand-building opportunity and put out content or offers that enhance your brand.
If you’re sending out an ebook, make sure that it’s written flawlessly. Spend time creating something of real value, and you’ll earn some serious brownie points. Send out some useless rubbish that looks like it was cobbled together in two seconds, and you’re likely to lose that subscriber.
Alternatively, ask people to subscribe. Make it clear why it will be worth their while to do so. It needs to be a compelling argument, but if you do this well, you can get the email address without having to trade it for something tangible.
Make It Easy to Subscribe in Different Ways
By this, we mean putting an opt-in button on your website and also placing it in future emails. What if your subscriber forwards your email to someone else? If they find it valuable, make it as simple as possible for them to subscribe.
Choose What Sort of Email You’ll Send Out
Email marketing can be approached in a number of different ways. You don’t have to stick to a pure sales format or a newsletter—you can change things up. For every campaign, decide what your goal is and then choose a format that will match.
Newsletters can provide useful updates to subscribers without being overly sales-focused. Here, the focus is on providing value to the reader. Keep it around 90% informational and helpful so that subscribers will look forward to your emails. Use this as a brand-building tool.
Choose a theme for each newsletter and stick to it. That way, you can build cohesive, well-organized content. Go one step further, and create different newsletters for different segments of subscribers.
Drip emails are created with the intention of getting users to the point that they are willing to convert. This is what we were talking about earlier—where clients receive different emails at different stages of the consumer journey. Warm them up to the prospect with the early emails, and then drive the message home when they’re perfectly primed to buy.
Promotional, seasonal emails help you to capitalize on specific holidays or events. It makes sense to send out emails highlighting your Christmas specials when people are most likely to be doing their Christmas shopping.
Set up a Schedule
Sending out an email when you have the time is a losing strategy. You need to identify when your audience is most likely to be able to view them. This may take some experimentation at first. Change up the day of the week and the time of day to see when you get the best responses.
Once you’ve established this, set up an email schedule and stick to it. Be consistent about it. It’s better to send a bimonthly email regularly than a weekly email once in a while. Establishing a set schedule allows subscribers to know what to expect.
Set Measurable Goals for Each Campaign
You need to decide upfront what results you would like to see and create measurable, realistic targets for each campaign. Do you want the campaign to increase conversions or to inform subscribers? How many conversions do you want to see?
When setting your goals, remember that without a time limit, a goal is nothing more than a wish. You should be specific here. Perhaps you can set a target of a 20% conversion within five days of the campaign being launched.
Alternatively, set a goal related to how many people open the email. Choose something that you can measure so that you have something to measure the success of the campaign against.
What Is Your Content Creation Strategy?
Here are some things to consider:
The format and writing style. Is the email going to be conversational or more formal?
What is the email going to contain? Will it contain product shots, links, and so on?
How will the information be laid out?
Make It Play Well on Mobile
You’ll need to ensure that the content looks good on any device. That means optimizing it for the smallest screen. Here are some tips that will help your email display well on mobile:
Keep the subject lines short and sweet.
Stick to single columns rather than multiple ones—people don’t like to have to scroll sideways on mobile.
Make it 600px wide at the very most.
Make the fonts at least 13 pixels.
Watch the size of the images you use.
Make sure that the call to action is clear. If you’re using an image here, make sure that there is also an ALT text that will display if the image won’t load.
Steer clear of menu bars and stacking links.
Check how well the email displays on a few different devices before you send it out.
Personalize Your Emails
Personalization should start with the subject line. Use the person’s name here, and address the email to them personally. Continue the process of personalization by referring to items that they have bought in the past or things that they have been looking at.
Don’t Neglect Split Testing
If there’s one rule that marketers need to live by, it is that you should split test everything. If you want maximum value from your campaigns, you’ll need to experiment by changing things out to see what works best for your target audience.
Test different subject lines, calls to action, images, and so on. But only change one aspect at a time so that you know exactly what made the difference in each campaign. It’s tedious, but this one step can ensure that your campaigns hit the mark every time. Once you know what works, repeat.
Monitor and Adjust as Necessary
Email clients these days give you a ton of analytics to help you measure the success of each campaign. Knowing how each campaign performed will help you to replicate those results going forward.
Wrapping It Up
Overall, for your email marketing campaigns to be successful, you’ll need to put in a fair amount of effort upfront. Is the extra effort worth it? Most definitely. You might be putting more work in at the beginning, but you’ll reap the rewards in the end.