Even though email isn’t as flashy as social media channels that doesn’t mean that email marketing is an ineffective old fashioned way of advertising in the digital age. In fact, it still remains as one of the only handful of ways to build an authentic relationship with people and grow businesses. When used properly, email marketing can deepen an existing professional relationship with your subscribers. By offering useful and interesting information that will help your subscribers in their business endeavours, they will look forward to hearing from you. So forget about common misconceptions about email marketing that it is spam.
Let’s take a quick look at the numbers about email marketing. There are 3.8 billion email users worldwide, making it the ideal advertising channel. It is estimated that for every $1 invested in an email marketing campaign, the return is $45. Also, 66% of customers have bought a product or service because of an email marketing campaign. Another added advantage of using email as a part of your marketing strategy is that there is no outside body that can affect the way you communicate with your subscribers. However, the most astounding fact is that when it comes to converting prospects into customers, email is 40 times more effective than Twitter and Facebook COMBINED! Many marketers assumed that millennials would never rely on email as the previous generations had for years. According to a study from Adobe, millennials spend over 6 hours daily checking their emails; they look at their emails while at work, lunch or even in bed all thanks to smartphones.
However, it’s not only millennials who spend a good amount of their time checking emails. Just under 80% of users of all ages and demographics choose email for permission-based advertising over any other channel or platform, and that includes Twitter and Facebook. This actually makes a good amount of sense since email gives users choice. If they want to ignore a certain promotion, then they can easily do so by unsubscribing.
Finally, there are countless ways to use email as part of your inbound marketing strategy. You should use email to build professional relationships through engagement that is personalized. Email marketing plays an instrumental role in building awareness of your brand by placing your business in the forefront when prospects want to engage. Email is a great way of sharing your content, which can convince subscribers to give personal information in exchange for more valuable content. In fact, email marketing is a phenomenal way of nurturing your leads precisely by offering content to your clients that will be of use to them in their business activities. And last but not least email is amazing at promoting products and services offered by your business.
I want to offer some best practices when it comes to email marketing, which will undoubtedly contribute greatly to the growth of your business.
Don’t Buy Email Lists
I’ll start off with a warning. Do not buy lists of email addresses. In order for an email campaign to be successful, it needs a strong open rate. So, if you’re only sending messages to people whose contact information you bought instead of having earned from previous engagement with prospects, then your rate will drop quickly. This point is even more important today because of the implementation of the General Protection Regulation (GDPR). This regulation stipulates that each recipient in Europe must give you consent before you can get in touch with them. Of course, a purchased list of email addresses cannot count as consent. Therefore, steer clear of any purchased lists!
Keep It Personal
While we are on the topic of digital regulation, there is yet another previous marketing practice that you should avoid. Namely, do not use the “no-reply” phrase in your email address. CAN-SPAM is a piece of regulation that protects the recipient’s right to opt-out of receiving any further emails from the marketer. The phrase “no-reply” in an email address is problematic (firstname.lastname@example.org) because the recipient cannot respond to it. And if they cannot respond to the email, then they don’t have the option to refuse to receive further emails. Instead of using “no-reply” in your email address, just use your first name like “Peter” (email@example.com). In this case, not only are you complying with CAN-SPAM, but you also increase the odds of having your email opened because the recipient will actually see a name and assume that an actual person sent the message.
You should go one step further by personalizing the emails that are sent on behalf of a business. People are more willing to open and read an email if a human being is behind the message, instead of a group of people who came up with the text. With that goal in mind, you should include your email signature which will definitely draw the recipient’s attention.
When adding a personal touch to your email, don’t use an impersonal greeting, “Dear Subscriber” or anything else along those lines. Instead, personalize the greeting of your message by including the subscriber’s first name. Your subscriber’s attention will immediately be drawn to your email. Don’t fret if you’re not particularly tech-savvy; no technical background required for this process. There are many powerful email marketing tools that will personalize the greeting of your email campaign so that each subscriber is greeted appropriately. The software automatically sends the message with the subscriber’s name which it gets from your up-to-date contact list.
The Outline Of The Email Is Important
The first thing you should do is ensure that the logo is placed in the centre or upper-left-hand side of the email message. Multiple studies have concluded that we have been conditioned to seek out logos in the upper-left-hand part of the email. This is probably due to the fact that a majority of websites place their logos in this place. If you are feeling a little creative and adventurous, then you can centre your logo on top of the email content.
Your emails should be easy to read with a simplistic and straightforward outline. With that aim in mind, be sure to use only two fonts, maybe three if you feel that you absolutely must. Anything more than that will clutter your message and lower your rate of conversion. Another instance where some marketers make a mistake is when they place their main call-to-action (CTA) beneath the fold where the majority of subscribers will not notice it. You should repeat your CTA at least three times in your email; the CTA should be sprinkled all across your message.
Pay Attention to Your Own Email List
No matter how good your email marketing campaign is, you will undoubtedly have some subscribers who won’t open and read your emails. Don’t keep inactive subscribers on your email list regardless of how tempting it is to try to get engagement from them. At the end of the day, if you leave the least active subscribers on your list, it will definitely harm your open rate. Recipients who don’t engage with your emails will hurt your email campaign because you won’t be able to assess the campaign’s effectiveness on your more active recipients. Simply delete contacts from your list who are not opening your emails regularly. By doing so, not only is your email campaign empty of people who simply don’t want to be in touch with you, but you also have a more accurate email open rate.
Understanding Email Analytics
Analytics are an integral component of a successful email marketing campaign. Luckily, today many service providers offer complimentary analytics to their users. In the sea of analytics, there are three vital analytics that indicate how well the campaign is doing: open rate, click-through rate (CTR) and unsubscribes.
The first analytic is the open rate, which indicates how many people are opening your emails. The way it works is that there is a single tracking pixel that loads when a user clicks on the email. This metric tells you how much people look forward to receiving your emails. Low open rates indicate that you have many inactive subscribers. Pretty straightforward.
The CTR is a more nuanced metric because it shows you how many users actually clicked on a link inside your message. The CTR metric is extremely useful because it lets you know if your emails are specific or targeted enough to be effective. If this metric is low, then you need to improve your copy.
And finally, of course, your unsubscribe rate shows you how many users have simply clicked the “unsubscribe” link or button. This is the most important metric of all because if your unsubscribe rate is high; at least higher than your “subscribe” rate, then it’s a cause for concern. You need to sit down with your team and try to create good copy again.
Offer something useful to your prospects when building an organic email list. There are many different ways of doing this effectively; some business offer to give something for free while others offer fun free daily updates. There isn’t just one right or wrong thing to offer. Whatever you do, you should without a doubt avoid simply posting “click here to receive updates”, because people need to be interested and excited receiving content from you. Spell out to your subscribers what types of benefits they will receive if they give you their email address. Marketers commonly get people to sign up by offering free eBooks, download or email series.
Make Good Use of The Subject Line To Improve Open Rates
You’ve certainly come across those emails which include an incentive clearly written in the subject line to get you to perform some sort of action. Some popular examples of incentives include taglines, “Free shipping for orders over $30” or “Get a free iPhone with a demo”. The open rate of your emails will skyrocket 50% if you include an incentive in the subject line of your email. Of course, you shouldn’t go overboard with the incentives! Initially, build your client’s loyalty by offering interesting content; you should start offering business promotions only after this stage.
Your content should always be compelling and concise. And this holds true for what you write in the subject line. A great subject line should generally consist of 30 to 50 characters, and this includes blanks as well. Since a lot of people check their emails on their smartphones or tablets, these devices will cut off the text if it goes over 50 characters. Make the subject of your email convey a certain sense of excitement, while at the same time giving the recipient an impression of what they will receive once they start reading the message.
Don’t be surprised if people who have opted-in forget that they have done so. You should use an auto-responder service that allows you to keep in touch with your list on regular basis. Also, each email that is sent via auto-responder should have content and even bonus material as a sign of gratitude to the reader for agreeing to get content from you. If you don’t send any interesting content, then the user might forget why they opted in.
Your landing page must be consistent with the remainder of your email. The landing page should go well with your headline, your content and the overall feel of the email. Consistency is a very effective, and yet subtle way of building trust and legitimacy with your prospects. Don’t be afraid to use powerful tracking tools that will let you know which landing pages are your best performers, so that you can continue sending what works.
To Sum Up
Before you start your email marketing campaign, you should do a quick test run first. Just send a copy of the email to your family member, friend or business associate and see what their reaction to it is. Ask them if they can easily identify what your call-to-action is? If they’re unable to do so quickly, then you still need to work on your email. Despite an enormous amount of tools that are available for today’s marketers, email has still stood the test of time. A properly executed email marketing campaign will ensure that your advertising endeavours are successful.