I have to be honest, when I was new to digital marketing my initial attitude towards email marketing wasn’t positive. Email Marketing to me was spam. Unsolicited emails which just cluttered up my inbox however email marketing is one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing arsenal both from a cost perspective and for providing reach & exposure for your brand/product. The key to your success however lies in your email marketing strategy.
What are the benefits of having an email marketing strategy?
- Communicating via email has many of the advantages of traditional direct mail but with much lower costs.
- Small and Medium sized businesses can potentially get email marketing solutions for free with MailChimp offering free users the ability to send up to 12,000 emails a month to 2,o00 subscribers.
- Speed & Accessibility
- It is fast to send and also receive
- The growth of smartphones has enabled easy access to email and those who predicted the demise of email several years ago are surely hanging their heads in shame at this point. Email is not going anywhere!
- Easy to use
- Plenty of choices in terms of software to use. The keyword email marketing services is one of the most expensive to bid on using Google AdWords I ever seen with a recommended bid of €19. This reflects the degree of competitiveness that exists within the email marketing solutions market place
- Thankfully for users, all of the packages offer very easy to use set ups and standard templates and layouts for all different types of emails, such as newsletters, invitations, special offers and many more.
Core Elements of your email marketing strategy
- The cornerstone of your email marketing strategy is your mailing list and building a valuable list of potential leads and contacts is where it all begins. You can’t send emails unless you have people to send them too.
- So how do we build a mailing list? Well the answer is content marketing
- I’ll be writing a post on content marketing in the coming weeks but the short version is that we can provide free and relevant content online which will act as bait to lure in people who are interested in that content.
- When they visit your site to read or consume the content you try and encourage them to sign up to your email mailing list through a web sign up form
- Companies like HubSpot do this very well by creating high quality reports and research summaries, then using sites like SlideShare and LinkedIn to drive traffic back to their site.
- Users must provide their emails addresses in order to download the report.
- This means that the company has not just got a random web user in their mailing list but a relevant lead who is interested in the content that we provide or sell etc but how much information should we look for from users?
Sign Up Forms
- As I mentioned already, the success of email marketing lies in having not just a list of email addresses but a list of relevant email addresses of users who are (1) interested in your content and (2) have given permission or opted in to your mailing list
- Current customers can be added to your mailing list for up to 1 year after their purchase but they can only receive emails which are consistent with their purchase and they should be given the means (like all users) to unsubscribe from your mailing list.
- It should be pointed out, that you must have gained the users permission to add them to a mailing list and if you send unsolicited emails then you can call yourself a spammer!
- Sign Up Forms come as standard with programs like Mail Chimp or alternatively you can create your own.
- You have to be careful when creating sign up forms as typically the longer the form is the less sign ups you will receive with many people clearly deterred by long forms.
- GroupOn for instance only look for email addresses when getting customers to sign up to their mega database of users but this means that everyone receives messages on promotions and deals that aren’t interesting to them.
- One way around this is to segment the mailing list by including options on my sign up form which will ask users what kind of information they want to receive
- Segmenting works really well as it means that you are sending relevant messages to users which minimizes unsubscriptions and also helps conserve some of your 12,000 emails a month (if you are using the free option with mail chimp)
- Click Through Rates and Conversions tend to be higher too
- Right, we are only getting to the actual email now!
- The next question is what do I send?
- This is huge and will influence the success or the lack of success of your campaign. In short you need an angle or hook to get users to open your mail so you should always send users some form of special promotion or deal to act as that hook.
- You should always have a couple of images and several large links included in your email to enable the user to click through to your website
- Most important of all you should have a dedicated landing page to receive this traffic, I remember one time I clicked on a special offer link in an email to be brought through to the homepage of the website which made no mention of the promotion. I didn’t hang around to try and find it and neither will your customers. You’ve lost the few seconds of interest they afforded your brand or proposition.
- So the moral of this story is to always make sure you have a good, easy to use and clear landing page which gives the user everything they need to know to help them make a purchase or to complete your desired action etc.
- Below is a list of rules for sending emails. I will actually create a dedicated post to this in a few weeks as there is enough content on this topic alone to warrant a dedicated thread
Rules when sending Emails
1. Target your message to the right audience
2. Get to the point
3. Keep it simple
4. Give the recipient more than one hyperlink option
5. Provide relevant information
6. Sign your work
7. Make your email copy is easy to scan through (people don’t read emails)
8. 3 second comprehension
9. Make sure your call-to-action is obvious
10. Use a short and clear subject line
- After you send your emails you can monitor the results
- Packages like MailChimp allow you to view stats on your campaigns performance
- Campaign summaries and reports provide information such as the number of messages sent, how many emails were opened, how many bounced, how many people clicked on the links in your email and at what time, and also where these people were located.
- Bounced emails could mean mailbox full, mail server issues or simply that the account either doesn’t exist or no longer exists.
- As mentioned above all clicks should bring you through to a landing page, we can integrate our mail campaigns with Google Analytics to gain even more data in terms of the number of users who converted after visiting our website etc.
So that is it, a brief overview of a email marketing strategy. Come back soon to see a review of the 2013 MII/Newsweaver 2013 Report