What is email Marketing and Why does it matter?
We see email marketing as planned, regular email correspondence with a list of subscribers that supports defined business objectives. This can be anything from a weekly newsletter, to email campaigns announcing sales, and product launches.
Some Marketers avoid email marketing worried that they will get lost in the sea of emails or worse, be considered a nuisance to their subscribers. But when you think of the stats:
91% of people check their email daily
66% of consumers have made a purchase online as a result of an email marketing message
Email marketing (When done right) has an ROI of 4,300% (Source)
Don’t let fear stop you from tapping into a lucrative opportunity, let it inspire you to create real value in every message that you send. Done well, email campaigns are a great way to maintain regular contact with your customers, keeping your brand top of mind and nurturing your relationship.
Here Are Three More Big Ways That Email Marketing Can Improve Your Marketing;
- Drive sales: This is the most attractive benefit for many would-be email marketers. As we mentioned earlier, well-crafted email campaigns can have a direct impact on driving sales. In fact, according to past research, “70% of people make use of coupons or discounts they learn about from email” and “60% of people say that receiving special offers is the top reason they subscribe to an email list from a business.” B2B companies can effortlessly nurture a potential client for as long as it takes to convert them into a sale.
- Establish and strengthen brand voice: Think of each email campaign as a conversation that you are having with individual members of your community. It is your opportunity to remind them of what you offer them, what you stand for, and your place in their world. In our age of distraction, cutting through the advertising noise and going right to the source is a powerful way to develop your brand.
- Build community: The consistency of email marketing is what makes it a great community-building tool. It provides your list with a regular touch point and a regular invitation to engage with you — from social share buttons, to invitations to comment on articles, or requesting their input and ideas in a survey.
Hopefully you’re starting to see the importance and value of Email Marketing. But there’s one major obstacle to over come before you start down the road of gathering leads and setting up campaigns…. Figuring out what to write.
But What If I Have Nothing To Say?
Sending and email to your subscribers for the sake of sending something is a sure way to loose those potential clients. Each email you draft, from subject line to the call to action, should have a purpose.
Simon Sinek has words to live by:
“Good marketing starts with a cause.
Bad marketing starts with a goal.
Good marketing drives loyalty.
Bad marketing drives transactions.
Good marketing promotes values.
Bad marketing values promotions.
Good marketing tells us exactly what a company really thinks.
Bad marketing tells us what the company thinks they want us to think they think.”
Email Marketing should open the door to community engagement that goes deeper than coupons. But builds long term loyalty.
Great example comes from Contently. In their own words, “Contently was founded by journalists and technophiles with a vision of creating a better media world.”
With that greater purpose in mind, Contently has created The Freelancer, a weekly digest loaded with advice, news, and tips to empower independent creatives to succeed.
So, if you’re stuck when it comes creating to your email marketing messages, consider these two simple questions:
- Why do we do what we do?
- How can our emails act as a rallying point to unite our community around our shared vision?
Building Your List
Now that you are determined to send your first email and have decided on what it will say, you’ll need someone to send it to right?. That’s your subscriber list, AKA one of your most important business assets. Each person on your list is a potential customer, a potential brand advocate, a potential candidate waiting to be hired.
In a perfect world, from day one of you website being live you should be collecting email addresses and building your lists. But that’s not always the case. Never worry it’s never too late to start building your lists. Even if all you have is a simple landing page, there is no good reason to let qualified leads to slip through your fingers.
Start with choosing your email provider (think Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Wishpond, Sendgrid) which all have plugins for WordPress that allow even the least-technically inclined person to embed a contact form into your website to gather leads. Remember to keep it simple. A first name and Email is all you need really. And give your call to action a quirky twist that is true to your brand.
A great way to incentive’s your readers to subscribe to your list is to give them a free bonus for opting in, like a guide or coupon.
Starting your First Campaign
- You have the determination to start your email marketing. Check
- You have an idea what you are going to tell your readers. Check
- You’ve chosen a platform to use. Check
- You have built up a list. Check
Great! It’s time to really get down to business to start thinking of the more nitty gritty but important factors of email marketing.
The Subject Line aka The Hook
The subject line of an email is the very first thing you see, but all too often it is left as the last minor detail that’s hastily filled in right before sending out a campaign. Considering 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone, I think it’s safe to say that that is a mistake.
Your subject line and your preview text (the snippet that appears beside the title of the email in your inbox) signal to your subscribers whether or not your correspondence is relevant, interesting, and worth their time. But it also tells email browsers where this email should be sent. Not only do you want to hook your readers but you want to make sure that your emails are not instantly sent into the spam box.
You can use suspense or intrigue, urgency and even sometimes shock to make your emails stand out in the readers inboxes.
InspiringWomen saw their opens almost double by simply including the readers first name into the subject line. And saw an increase again when asking the reader a question.
Our Biggest Tip for creating Email Subject Lines that Convert…. Steal!
Yes you hear me! Steal them. Or at least learn from them, and adapt them to suit your needs. There’s no reason to invent the wheel and there’s a reason that marketers are using similar subject lines again and again. Because they work.
Consider your Styling and Design
Despite the fact that many service providers like MailChimp offer specific mobile-friendly templates, one of the biggest mistakes that marketers make is failing to optimize their email campaigns for mobile. According to ReturnPath, 88% of people check their email via a mobile phone daily, and they expect a good experience. In fact, a study found that “61% of users are unlikely to return to a mobile site they had trouble accessing from their phone, and 40% will go to a competitor’s.”
It might sound a bit dramatic, but think about the frustration you experience when you are trying to carefully pinch, swipe, and slide the screen to read an email or a website that isn’t optimized for mobile… it’s enough to make you want to give up entirely!
Incorporating your branding: Your email marketing is just that: marketing. That means that your branding, from colors to font to your logo, should be incorporated into each email campaign.
Images: Beautiful visuals not only capture the attention of your readers, but also set the tone for the message the
y are about to read. While it would be a no-brainer to include images when announcing a new product line or featuring items on sale, we often overlook images when sending out text-heavy campaigns, newsletter updates or blog posts. But Don’t forget to optimize your images or risk an email not loading fast enough and the reader simply deleting the email without reading it.
Social share buttons: Your readers are busy, so if you want them to share your content with their networks, you better make it as easy as possible for them to do so! Social share buttons are one of the easiest and most effective ways to do that.
Links back to your site: Again, this one is obvious if you’re selling a product, but if you are sending out content like a weekly blog post, be sure to add links back to the original article on your website, as well as other relevant reads on your own site to boost your click through rate.
Call To Actions:
Like your subject line, your call to action (CTA) is a small handful of words that can make or break your email marketing efforts. Your CTA is the way to motivate your readers to perform the action.
Calls to action will look different for different types of campaigns. Here are a few examples:
- When sending out a blog post, you might invite users to visit your website and comment on that post.
- When sending out a product announcement, you might be inviting people to sign up for a wait list.
- When sending news of a sale, your CTA will encourage potential buyers to visit your site and make a purchase.
You can’t force your readers to do anything they don’t want to do, but you can inspire them to take the desired action with a compelling and eye-catching CTA.
Timing, Frequency and Scheduling:
Scheduling is another tremendously important consideration when planning your campaigns. This Infographic By Kissmetric is full of data to consider when setting up the scheduling of your campaign, it does a great job of highlighting how our email behavior corresponds to our mental state, schedule, and fluctuating needs. For example, between 3PM and 5PM, “job related apathy sets in and consumers start thinking about their personal situation. As a result, more emails relating to property and financial services are opened between 3PM and 5PM than any other type of promotion.
Simply put, list segmentation allows you to target your messaging based on your readers’ interest and needs. For example, you could segment a list by location, ensuring that readers only get invitations to events in their region. You could also segment your list based on frequency of communication (i.e. weekly emails vs. a monthly digest). Or, you could do what clothing line Billy Reid does and offer exclusive sales to your most engaged customers.
Regardless of how you choose to divide your audience, list segmentation has been found to increase engagement and overall performance of email campaigns. Data analysis by MailChimp found that segmented campaigns had:
- Opens 14.444% better than the list average
- Clicks 14.994% better than the list average
- Bounces 0.803% better than the list average
When segmenting your list, the simplest approach to take is to ask yourself the question “how can I make my campaigns more relevant?”
And now you are ready to send your first campaign.