20 Jun What is Email Marketing? (Part 2)
Learning about email marketing is such a big topic – we have broken it up into two segments. The first segment is available to start with here. While it is not necessary to read our first article on Email Marketing – we recommend it for those that are new to these ideas and concept to help get a better understanding of the basics.
Email Marketing – Getting More In-depth
As you continue developing your email marketing strategy, you will discover one of the most valuable features of email marketing is the ability to “segment” subscribers into different groups. Segmenting allows your business to send out specific messaged emails to specific groups within your email audience. For instance you might have 10,000 email addresses on your newsletter list, but only 2,000 of those emails belong to past customers. By segmenting out those emails that have purchased from those that have not you can tailor a targeted message to each group – one message asking people to come back and make another purchase, and the other asking them to make their first purchase! This in depth management means businesses can send more relevant and interesting content to their customers, that in turn will lead to a higher customer interaction rate through sales, conversions, reviews, leads etc.
In general when you receive a message that is personally tailored to you – you are generally going to be more willing to read through it. This same simple concept applies to email marketing. Nowadays with most Email Service Providers there is at least a basic ability to personalize the emails you are sending out. When these tools are utilized with audience segmentation you can really start to get personal with your audience – even if it is an audience of 100’s of thousands! In terms of Email Marketing personalization usually refers to any aspect of the email that utilizes someone’s personal data. At the very basic level – their email, but taking it further – addressing the customer by their first and possibly last name is a little more personal, integrating their shopping behavior into the email to show them products they might like based on past purchases (more personal) etc. In general, just talking to each person in a little more specific way so they feel like they are in a conversation with your business and you are not just talking AT them.
Successful Email Marketing Tenets:
Email marketing is the BEST way to reach your customers where they are without spending a lot of money. Because of how important this channel is – do NOT risk it. To help you establish and grow a successful email marketing list and strategy we suggest the following key strategies.
Make Subscribing EASY!
As a user I should not have to FIND your newsletter sign up. Make it easy for me by including it in the same area on every page (footer is always good). Also supplement the standard newsletter sign up placement with pop up windows and or messaging throughout the site asking people to sign up with a link to the sign up form. These are just a few ideas out of hundreds of ways to bring people into your email conversation.
Be Up Front With Your Content
Whether you plan to send company updates, letters from the president, e-commerce sales, daily deals, or weekly tips, it’s important to tell your readers what to expect and how often to expect it. Providing your fans with a clear understanding of what is in your emails will help you gain loyal long lasting email subscribers.
Welcome Them To Your List!
I know this sounds dumb but it really does help. First by welcoming them to your list – you are already starting the conversation with them. This is an introduction a way to say hey – glad you’re on board – let’s talk some more. That welcome email also signifies that you have a legitimate email newsletter, an insurance policy for the user to feel comfortable that they are not going to get spammed. Last and probably most important – just having an interesting welcome email can potentially bring that person back to your site to make that first purchase. It doesn’t seem quite so dumb now, does it? J
Branding + Legibility = Interaction
If you aren’t your own brand advocate, no one else will be. For marketing emails this means your brand and style should be reflected in those email templates you are sending. When a subscriber opens your emails they should immediately associate it with your brand / store / product etc.
Keep It On The Regular
A regular newsletter is a commitment. If you pass several months without sending anything, then your subscribers could forget about you, and they’ll be more likely to delete the next email, or worse, consider it as spam. Develop your newsletter strategy around a calendar – this includes not only the dates of when you are sending regular newsletters, but also special one off newsletters at specific times of the year (think holidays). The schedule is as important as what is inside the newsletter.
Keep It Scannable
Your subscribers are busy people who receive a lot of email, so it’s safe to assume you don’t have their undivided attention. Instead of one long block of text and no images, break up your content into short sections. Include subheadings and images to guide readers through your email and make it smoother to scan, and add a teaser to the top of your newsletter to tell subscribers what’s in store. Furthermore when you are designing the blocks of content – keep the blocks short and offer in some or all cases a button or link to read the complete story. Not only does it keep your newsletter digestible but it gives you feedback in regards to what your customers are interested in and clicking on.
Maintain The Conversation Thread
Email newsletter services present features like groups and segmentation to help you make your content relevant to the people following it. If you’re sending different emails for different groups, then you can request people to check a box to join a particular group on your signup form. Segmentation permits you to target certain subscribers on your list without assigning them to group. If your store is having a sale, then you could send a campaign only to people near a particular zip code, since subscribers who live in other parts of the world don’t need to know about it. Moreover, you can segment by activity, email clients, e-commerce data, and more. Sending relevant content will keep your readers engaged, and engaged readers look forward to your newsletter and share it with friends.
edit EDIT Edit
Even editors need editors. When you’re working on your publishing calendar, keep plenty of time for the editing and revision process. Once you send a campaign, it goes straight to the inbox, and you can’t go back and revise it. Newsletters contain meaningful content, and poor ones reflect poorly on the companies who send them. Good grammar and writing style are just as vital for email as they are for your website and blog posts.
Test And Retest!
Why do we test? Well there are several reasons and ways to do so. When you are developing your email templates you need to test across email clients and platforms. Different email clients and mobile devices display emails differently. Create email addresses in popular email providers (ie gmail) to send test emails, or use a testing program to make sure your emails are going to look good on screens in different scenarios. Another testing methodology is applied once you have your templates designed. To help improve your email open rates, click rates and conversion rates it becomes necessary to develop different tests and split the send to your list to see which one performs better. Whichever email performs better is the winner and you then test against that one the following week.
(NOTE: we will go into testing in more depth in a future article).
Mobile is Fast Becoming King
If a campaign doesn’t display properly on mobile devices, you are essentially losing about 50% or more of your email audience. These days people are reading a majority of their emails initially on their phone and making a decision right then on whether to open it, read it and click through or just simply delete it. You get the point, but just to make it clearer, a study released showed that 63% of Americans and 41% of Europeans would either close or delete an email that does not display correctly on mobile.
SAY NO to SPAM!
Spam is serious business. Even though we never thought we would say that growing up, the reality is you need to understand what is and is not SPAM in terms of email. Put simply, you’re allowed to send bulk email only to people who particularly asked to be on your mailing list. If you assembled email addresses for an occasion invitation, then you don’t have authorisation to send marketing emails unless you made that clear at signup. Finally make sure your marketing emails always include an unsubscribe link and it is always helpful remind subscribers how they signed up for your emails in the first place.
Sharing is Caring… and Promotion!
Again in dealing with content keep in mind that interesting and unique content is more shareable. Keeping the sharing aspect in mind, make it easy for them to do it. Sure, subscribers can forward your campaigns, but that’s a lot to ask. Keep it simply by adding Twitter, Instagram and Facebook links to your newsletter, so readers can share your content with a single click. And finally, its usually smart to include a public link to the web version of your campaign so people can view it outside of their email programs in a browser and even bookmark the email for future reference.
Your Friends, So Be Friendly!
Feel free to use a informal tone in your email newsletters. Since most emails come directly from one person, subscribers expect human voices in their inboxes. There’s a good chance your subscribers are already in a informal frame of mind when they’re checking their email, so an overly official or stodgy voice might seem out of place.
Last but Most Important, Only Send Emails When You Have Something To Say
This one seems obvious, but too many companies initiate email newsletters with no plan and nothing to say. Email is simply a way to publish content—the content itself has to come first. Before starting a newsletter, make sure it’s a sustainable commitment that will help you achieve your business targets. Otherwise, you’ll be killing your subscribers’ time and your own time.
Email marketing has become an essential tool for business ever since the introduction of the Internet to the world. These days there is no real boundary as to what actions can trigger an email; Marketing, holidays, birthdays, rewards programs to name a few. By utilizing our guideline you can develop a successful email marketing plan that will not only engage your audience but grow your business!