Email marketing is one of the most powerful tools in a business’s arsenal for generating leads, increasing sales, and building customer loyalty.
But it’s important to know what you’re getting into before diving right in because without the right strategy, not only can you risk losing revenue but also harm your brand image by bombarding people with irrelevant or even spammy emails.
In this blog post I will share an email marketing strategy that is proven to work, how to build a successful campaign, and avoid common mistakes that can damage your reputation. I’ll also explain why email marketing is so effective, and provide an overview of some great resources that can help make your campaign successful.
The Importance of Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to grow your business and reach new prospects. It’s the number one way to generate leads that convert and is also one of the most cost-effective methods for acquiring customers, with a potential ROI of 4400%.
Building a successful email campaign starts with understanding the why. The key to good marketing is knowing your audience and providing content that they care about, which means you need to know what motivates them or their problems first.
Define Your Marketing Goals
To create a successful email marketing campaign, you need to know where you want to go. Knowing your goals and objectives will help keep the focus of your emails on what’s important.
Here are a few common goals:
- Generate new leads
- Target the right customers
- Create brand awareness
- Increase customer loyalty and retention
- Save time with automation
The success of your email marketing campaign hinges on how well you can accomplish these goals, so make sure to identify them before embarking on your journey.
Email is one of the most powerful marketing methods at our disposal. Not only does it provide a direct, personalized connection to your desired audience, but it also reaches them immediately.
Plus – unlike many other traditional marketing methods – you can track how well an email campaign performs by monitoring the open rates, clicks through rate and conversion rate, which makes this form of advertising infinitely more efficient than traditional forms like radio ads or billboards.
How To Build An Email List
If you want people to subscribe and open your emails, it’s important that they’re interested in what you have to say.
To build an email list, consider the following:
- Who are my audience members?
- What is my message?
- Where does my audience congregate?
- What will compel them to give me their email address?
If you’re successful, people should see your emails as something valuable that they want. The more of these subscribers you have, the stronger and louder your voice becomes.
A proven way to build your email list quickly, is to use a lead magnet. A lead magnet is something of value that you offer to an audience in exchange for their contact information.
Lead magnets need to be compelling enough to compel visitors to give you their email address.
An example could be: “Free E-book Download” or a series of blog posts, videos or podcasts. The lead magnet exists to help your subscribers solve part of their problem, and pulls them onto your list so they can receive more value from you.
You quickly and easily make a lead magnet by using tools like Google Docs to create a downloadable PDF.
Segmenting Your Email Lists
Segmenting your email lists allows you to send different messages to different sections of your list.
- Keep your messaging relevant and effective
- Send more personalized emails
- Increase the chance of open rates, click-throughs
- Targeted emails means higher conversion rates
There are a few ways to segment your list. Typically, you would segment leads from customers, and communicate with each differently.
Another way could be to segment by specific interest. For example, a clothing retailer may have three segments: High-end fashion, mid-range fashion and outlet store customers.
Each customer will receive regular updates about the latest fashions from their own personal style range – without being bothered with promotions for products they don’t need or want.
This is an effective way of tailoring content so that it’s not wasted on people who are unlikely to be interested in what you’re promoting.
The better you know your customer, the more likely they’ll be to buy.
You might also segment by geographical region – ensuring that messages are sent when it’s relevant for recipients in a specific area. This may seem like a lot of work but it will reap dividends with increased conversions and higher profits. And in fact, most of this can be automated and set to run on autopilot.
Craft Compelling Subject Lines
Subject lines are the preview or headline of your email, and they’re what entices people to open up your message.
- They capture the attention of your subscribers
- A good subject line should motivate them to click
- Tracking your results will tell you what’s working
Subject lines have a big effect on how successful emails will be – so it’s important you get them right. One easy way is by using curiosity as an incentive for opening an email, such as asking a question.
These types of subject lines can pique someone’s interest enough that they click. You might also use humour or emotion to catch their attention, one example that’s consistently worked in my business is the subject line: “It happened again!”
Another way is by telling them what you have for them: “Just added 25% extra!” If there are new offers or deals available, this type of subject line can get people excited about opening an email.
You might also use these types of subject lines when you want your recipients to do something specific like refer a friend or buy something before an offer ends. Urgency is a powerful motivator because it taps into the Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO).
It’s also an idea to keep track of your email open rates, click-through rates, and unsubscribes. The more you know about what works for you on the back end of your email marketing efforts, the less likely it is that you’ll have to guess when sending out an email in future.
Personalize Your Emails
Personalizing your emails so they are tailored to the individual is a smart thing to do for:
- Higher open rates
- More trust and increased engagement
- Boost customer loyalty
Dale Carnegie once said the sweetest sound a person can hear is their own name.
So include your recipient’s name, or other personal information when you can. This will make the email feel less like a generic email that was sent to hundreds of people and more like it was written just for them.
Personalizing your message to the recipient will make it more valuable.
Keep in mind that you want to avoid sounding like an advertiser, and instead write like you’re talking to a friend. Avoid corporate talk. This will help build stronger relationships with the people your list.
Practically every Email Service Provider (ESP) includes templates that make adding personalized messages easy.
Send Mobile Friendly Emails
Mobile devices have changed the way we communicate – and our marketing.
- Improve conversion rates
- Keep your subscribers engaged
- Higher clickthrough rates
55% of smartphone users have made at least one purchase after receiving a mobile promotional email.
Ultimate mobile email usage stat: Mobile email will account for 26 to 78% of email opens, depending on your target audience, product and email type.Via EmailMonday
In fact, mobile email opens have increased by 70% in recent years, so it’s important to make sure your emails are mobile-friendly.
The first step is to make sure the body of your emails are formatted well for mobile devices. It’s a good idea to send plain text emails so they can be read on every device, or a HTML-based template that’s been designed to work seamlessly with most mobiles.
Automated Autoresponder Sequences
Autoresponder sequences are a series of emails that you send automatically after someone subscribes to your list.
- Automatically send a series of follow up emails
- Send messages at specific times in the customer lifecycle
- Get insight into what’s working with which each message
A basic campaign might include an introductory sequence, designed to welcome new subscribers and provide them with relevant information about your email marketing campaign. This might include the benefits of being on your list, how they should expect future messages from you or what they can do if they would like to unsubscribe.
An autoresponder sequence will keep people engaged in your marketing even when you’re not sending out any other messages.
There are many great tools available which make this process much easier: Mailchimp has pioneered the use of these automated lists and provides excellent examples right on their site. You’ll also find AWeber has the capability to automate email campaigns, and Constant Contact is another popular option.
My favourite autoresponders are ActiveCampaign and MailerLite, but at the moment I’m also using Kartra on some of my websites.
A/B Testing Campaigns
A/B testing is a marketing term that refers to the process of splitting traffic for two different versions of an email and comparing which one performs better.
- Helps you better understand your target audience
- Cuts down on time spent writing emails
- Helps make email marketing more cost-effective
The idea behind A/B Testing is that you have two versions of the same email, and you send one version to 50% of your list. You measure how effective each email is in terms of open rate and click-through rates (CTR).
After a couple weeks, if one version performs better than the other, then that’s the winning campaign.
If you don’t want to go through all those steps manually, there are services like Aweber, MailerLite or ActiveCampaign which will do it for you.
Clean Your Email List
Because email addresses should be considered a form of currency, occasionally people are reluctant to provide their real one. You need weed these subscribers out to maintain deliverability.
- Keep your emails deliverable
- Increase conversions and ROI
- Don’t waste money by emailing inactive subscribers
Clean your list by removing unsubscribes, spam addresses and duplicate contacts.
This is the most important step in maintaining deliverability rates.
Follow Email Marketing Laws and Regulations
Regulations vary from country to country, so it’s best to do your research before building your email list.
- Ensures that your marketing remains compliant
- Helps protect the privacy of your subscribers
Generally speaking, email marketing is permission-based so we only contact people who have opted in to our email lists.
While your subscribers have opted-in to receive emails from you, if they want to unsubscribe then every email should allow them to do that via an ‘unsubscribe’ link. This is the quickest and easiest way to remove someone from your list and is a legal requirement.
I also recommend building an email list of double opt-in subscribers.
Double opt-in means that the person has to confirm their email address before they are added to your list. This is how you can make sure that every subscriber on your list wants to be there.
What are the 4 Types of Marketing Emails?
There are four types of marketing emails you should be sending.
- Lead nurturing emails
- Re-engagement emails
- Pre-launch emails
- Sales emails
Lead nurturing is the process of helping people move through your sales funnel by educating them on what you offer and why they need it or want it.
Re-Engagement emails go out automatically when a subscriber doesn’t take action within a certain time frame, such as open an email or click a link. These emails let those customers know that they are missing out on something.
Pre-launch emails are important to get people excited about your product launch and remind them to sign up or purchase in the first few days.
Sales emails are promotional in nature. They can offer great discounts on your product or service, and combined with a sense of urgency, it’s possible to generate sales very quickly.
How Often Should You Send Emails?
It’s important to determine your sending frequency.
- Test different sending frequencies
- Test different sending times
However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
Because each audience responds differently, the best approach is to test different frequencies until you find the right balance between a high open rate and a low unsubscribe rate.
If you don’t send emails often enough your subscribers will have trouble remembering who you are, and not engage with your messages. On the other hand, if you send too many emails, your subscribers will start to get annoyed and unsubscribe.
Depending on the size of your list, it’s a good idea to try sending one email every three days or so. For me, I email my list around three times a week.
I’ve found that for my audience, sending an email every couple of days is the sweet spot. This frequency means I’m not clogging up their inbox or annoying them too much, and they still have fresh content to look forward to in each email.
You send emails at different times of the day to test which time performs best for your audience.
Sending time and frequency will largely depend on your industry. If your audience is used to receiving emails at a certain time of day, and you’re receiving a high open rate then it’s best not to vary from this too much.
With that said, once you know what works continue to test every few weeks by sending an email at an unexpected time and compare the data.
Email marketing is a slow but rewarding process, and it will take time to see results.
It’s a highly effective way to keep your audience engaged, and remain on their radar as you publish new blog posts or content.