Email marketing has been around for a long time – over forty years, in fact. Yet its cost-effectiveness, time-effectiveness and ease of use means that it remains one of the best ways to successfully reach a large number of people.
With around 4 billion email accounts worldwide and 91% of consumers using their email accounts at least once a day, email marketing is still alive and kicking!
This blog post is not intended as a definitive guide, but rather a summary of the main areas you should focus on to ensure that your emails work effectively to increase brand awareness, encourage engagement and increase click-through rate and sales.
Make it relevant
First and foremost, it’s vital that your email campaign is relevant to the people in your target audience. If you have compiled your mailing list well and your messages are sent to the right groups of people within this list, you stand a much better chance of your audience opening emails from you and actively engaging with what you have to say.
The value of a mailing list lies in quality rather than quantity; it’s better to have 1000 people who are genuinely interested in your brand, your products and services than 10,000 people who don’t really know who you are and have never bought anything from you.
Make it compelling
Your readers’ inboxes are full of messages every day, often from companies like yours. So making your messages stand out from the crowd in some way is very important, and the best way to do this is to make sure that your email content (both words and images) is consistently compelling and of high quality.
Make sure that you plan what subjects, offers and news you will be covering well in advance so that your emails are never repetitive or boring, and make sure that they’re of the right length. You will need to carefully choose and experiment with the wording of your subject titles in particular, and monitor closely the effects this has upon your open rate.
Once a recipient has opened a marketing message from you, your next aim is often to get them to click through to your website or to a specific landing page, so your email content needs to serve as bait, enticing your readers further in – make it so interesting that they can’t help themselves!
Make it practical
If you are at the start of your email marketing efforts, you may be still looking to find a provider such as iContact, Constant Contact or Mad Mimi to help you organise your contacts, send out your posts, trigger automatic emails, analyse levels of interaction and so on.
There are many companies out there providing a range of services to ensure that your email marketing campaigns run smoothly and require a minimum of time and effort from you. Choosing which one works best is a matter of personal choice, but it’s worth comparing several providers in terms of price, features (both those you need now and those you may need in the future), functionality, ease of use and level of support. Above all, consider your main aims and objectives – what are you looking to achieve through your email campaign?
It’s important that your chosen provider can deliver exactly what you want in a way that works practically for you.
Make it shareable
As well as open rate and click-through rate (CTR), an important consideration is how shareable your messages are.
To increase your mailing list and build brand awareness, it’s important to give your readers the opportunity to share your email and website content with their friends and colleagues. So don’t forget to add social media buttons and forwarding prompts to your email templates to encourage the chances of this happening.
Spread the love!
Make it legal
Email marketing can be one of those areas where people are unsure of the legal side of things and are understandably wary of doing anything that constitutes breaking the law.
There are legalities around identifying yourself clearly, making it easy to unsubscribe from your mailing list and not disclosing recipients’ details, and information on what you need to do is contained within the Data Protection Act.
As well as checking out the details of the Data Protection Act regularly (they do change from time to time), there are many best-practice tips that you should also keep in mind, from using double opt-ins to including a simple sentence at the end of your messages to explain why you are emailing.
Using a reputable marketing company and using some common sense will ensure that you tick most of the boxes, but it’s also a good idea to build in some kind of compliance review to be carried out perhaps annually.
Make it measurable
Measuring the success of your email marketing campaigns is central to improving your response rates and developing your overall strategy.
Depending on which service provider you use for managing your email marketing, you will have certain tools at your disposal which will allow you to look at data. Typically, this data will include open rate, click-through rate, social media sharing, which messages or campaigns have been the most successful and so on.
Don’t forget about this information – analysing what works and what doesn’t can make a huge difference in the success of your marketing, and carrying out AB testing can identify new insights into your recipients’ behaviours and reactions.
The above points have only scratched the surface of email marketing, and we would certainly advise you to look in more detail at all the areas we’ve mentioned. But to summarise the key points of this post, your email marketing campaigns should be:
If you’ve considered all these elements, you should find that planning and executing an effective email marketing campaign is well within your grasp.
Of course, there are other things to consider – you’ll need to think about responsive emails and mobile usage, use of video, interactivity, gamification and so on – but you will have a strong foundation on which to build your email campaigns and grow your marketing success.