Email marketing presents an attractive option for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries; not only providing an incredible ROI of 3800% (representing a £38 return for every £1 spent according to Campaign Monitor, but also providing a tool that naturally lends itself to the building of firm fans and the creation of brand affinity, whilst offering solid powers of analysis for always improving campaigns. However, this medium is not one without its issues – the main one of which is that a successful Email marketing campaign commands a carefully constructed strategy – which is exactly what we look at here.
Building your email list
Building an email recipient list isn’t easy – and many businesses take the ineffective sort cut of scraping and spamming their target market. This tactic, whereby emails are effectively researched online, and copied and pasted into an email list, is not only a fast track route to becoming considered a Spammer (and potentially becoming blacklisted by your email platform), but moreover is guaranteed to result in nothing other than frustrated recipients and a tarnished brand name.
Sending your emails to those who have actively signed up to them is the only way forward; and ideas for gaining self-submitted names and email addresses include:
– Providing some form of useful free content in return;
– Creating a blog that offers amazing content – if you impress here, your readers will be only too happy to sign up for direct to their inbox updates;
– Running an online contest where entrants need to leave an email address to enter;
– Hosting an online webinar for which viewers must leave their email in order to register;
– Creating a paid search advert that leads to a squeeze page where the goal is to gather emails.
Know your target market (and their issues)
First things first: in order to create a successful email marketing campaign you need to fully understand your target market, and their problems. Most specifically you need to break down the reason why they would use a service or product such as yours – which ultimately can help lead you to crafting a succession of emails that are both of interest to your target market, whilst naturally linking back to your product or service.
Step-by-step: Trust, persuasion and your sales funnel
Email marketing aims to build trust, persuade and, ultimately, nurture a sale. A sales funnel is the buying journey that your target market undergoes from the moment a potential customer discovers your product, to the moment they purchase.
The most successful of email marketing campaigns will include a series of emails that correspond to each step – educating, informing and persuading the reader over the course of the campaign.
This runs contrary to purely promotional emails that may inform readers of an immediate sale – and should potentially be integrated with other channels (such as social media) which can present opportunities for contact and interaction for questions and queries that may arise before a customer is ready to commit.
Tips for an email shot that converts
- Understand the craft of the email headline
There are tried and tested tactics for email headlines that foster solid open rates, namely:
– Opting for a clear subject line that informs, rather than a clever line that confuses;
– Keeping to 50 characters or fewer (anymore and the full line won’t be displayed);
– Personalising the subject line by including the person’s name;
– Avoiding words that email clients pick up upon that will immediately land your email in the SPAM folder, such as:
Percent off, Reminder, Help, Buy, Clearance, Earn £, Make £, Earn, From home, Biz, Cash, Claim, Collect, Income, Get out of, Increase your, Prescriptions, Free, Millions, Urgent, Dear.
- Don’t underestimate the power of media
Enrich your email through using images and videos; linking this to the pointer above – including the word VIDEO in your email’s subject line has been shown to increase conversions by between 7% and 13%.
- Appreciate the power of impactful copy
The copy within your email should be short, concise and engaging, as well as tailored to reflect both your brand voice, and the language and tone that literally ‘speaks’ your target consumer’s language. All too many businesses underestimate this task, and even fewer don’t appreciate the value of a copywriter’s service in this respect. If you do choose to go it alone and write emails yourself, then research how to write compelling copy before you start.
- Include strong calls to action throughout
With every email sent you want to focus on your user taking some form of action, whether this be reading a blog, viewing a video, or buying your service or product.
Your calls to action should reflect this – and they should be short, sharp and highlighted by banners or buttons.
- Make it personal
Beyond personalising your subject line, you should also personalise your emails. Write in ‘second person’, and address the recipient as ‘you’ and your business as ‘us’.
Before you press ahead and hit send: Consider the power of A/B testing
A/B testing is where an email recipient list is split into two in order to trial various variables that may impact upon your conversion rates.
This is useful as it can lead to insightful choices and, ultimately, more conversions.
Some key variables to consider testing include:
– The email subject line
– The calls to action (such as ‘Buy now’ versus ‘View our pricing’)
– Which customer testimonials to include
– How the email closes
– Which images you include
– How you personalise the email
– The headlines used throughout your email
Email marketing is a medium that certainly pays dividends when you get it right – however, as with many business building tactics, the importance of testing, tweaking and always improving is essential if it’s to deliver upon all that it promises (particularly that alluring 3800% ROI!).
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