With the rise of social media, Email marketing can easily be forgotten when starting a business. However it is still widely considered to be the cheapest, most 'trackable' and lucrative form of contact to your customer base. Take a look at our top tips for email marketing and you'll be on your way in no time.
1. Pick your weapon
It is important that if you perform email marketing, it is professional and reflects the image of your company, so we suggest getting your hands on an Email Service Provider or ESP! There are lots of ESP’s out there each with a different position in market.
Email marketing can be lucrative, we have established this, but this doesn’t mean you have make a huge upfront investment. If you have a modest list of email addresses no matter what any pushy sales person says, a cheap ESP is probably the best way forward. Do your research, know what is best for you, watch videos and read reviews. A great (initially free) ESP is MailChimp, it may take a little time to find your way around but this is a great starting point.
2. Make it easy to sign up
Have a sign up form in the top right hand corner of your web page and add it to any further content you publish, i.e your blog, Facebook page or wherever your customers might see it. Make it worth their while by having a caption offering more important, interesting or informative news.
If your ESP can support it, look into having a preference centre (see below) nothing too heavy but 5-6 questions about the person that will aid in segmenting and targeting your customer base in the future.
3. Have a clear call to action – make it worth reading
Don’t email for the sake of it, it is probably the easiest way to annoy and disengage your customer base. Try to segment your customers and send them a clear and relevant message. Think quality not quantity. Match with the call to action (CTA) on your homepage. So if you have launched a new range of summer cycling kit, run a campaign with an offer leading into summer and display the same offer and message on your home page to make it easier for the customer to engage and further purchase.
4. Market don’t Spam!
I’m not going to tell you who you can and can’t contact, BUT what I will say is know the rules. If you buy list of a million email addresses from a guy at the pub it’s probably not worth contacting them. There are a host of issues that can come with old, stale or dead data. You will damage your email reputation so much that companies will not work with you and your organic customer base will not be contactable. Play by the rules!
5. Be creative
This relates to number 3. Be creative, use imagery to make a message more engaging. Remember that it’s only the top half of the screen on desktop (the upper fold) that your customers see before they decide to “read or delete”. Include a branded, engaging image with matching text. Make your message or offer clear, and follow that thread through to your home page. If you have a sale on, add a timescale to your offer to increase urgency.
6. Manage and create engaging subject lines
This can make or break an email before it has been opened. A subject line has to be engaging and offer an element of intrigue. Consider the length of a subject line, most email inboxes will crop a subject line at 52 characters. If you can’t say what you need to say in this allocation re-think your message. One common mistake is adding the company name. This not necessary as this will show in the “from” tab published by the ESP.
Think about when you open your inbox… how do you do you prioritise? It comes down to a few simple factors… The 5 I’s, below, is taken from a great email blog from Chrisg.com
Importance – If it is work-related, or a PayPal payment, you are going to open the email and are likely to save or bookmark it
Intrigue – Curiosity, like a good joke or riddle, causes you to open the email to see what the punch line is.
Interest – We all have subjects that we love to read about, so sometimes all you have to do is communicate the topic
Involvement – Pull on the heart strings, appeal to passion, greed, narcissism or any other emotional feeling
Investment – Recipients will be personally or financially invested in something. Craft your subject line around it and it will get opened.
So how do you put that into practice?
News – Tell your recipients what’s new, something that is happening or just happened that they will want to know about
Tips – “How to” is a great way to get your email opened, providing you connect your solution to the recipients needs
Offer – Make a compelling offer that the recipient will want to take up
Question – Ask a question that the reader will answer “yes” to, or maybe put the subject in the form of a mystery or puzzle where they will feel compelled to find out the answer.
7. Monitor the stats
If you want to lose weight, the first thing you will do is weigh yourself. You need to know where you are before you can make improvements. This rule applies with email marketing. If you send six emails as part of an acquisition campaign to sell your services, then monitor each campaign's success. As part of your analytics you can gauge the amount of opens and clicks, showing the level of engagement, but also where your customer base are opening your email and at what times. Monitor this closely and apply your findings in your future campaigns.
8. Look at the bigger picture
Email marketing is a great tool to get into the minds and wallets of your customer base, however the work doesn’t stop there.
Use email marketing as part of your overall marketing strategy, make sure that you do the background work and maintain your messages across social media, and have the relevant CTA’s on your home page. Even if you have little knowledge of marketing strategy do your research, speak to an expert and set a timeline. Email marketing should be stepping stone to further engagement so be proactive, and build it into a complete strategy.
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