There are over 270 billion emails sent each day, and 90% of adults still use email regularly, so email marketing can be effective – as long as you plan properly!
1. Set your goals – be clear on what you want to achieve. This could be increasing sales or engagement, re-engaging with former clients, building awareness or a number of other goals. Either way, if you don’t know what your goal is you won’t achieve it!
2. Understand which type of email you are sending. There are 3 main types: promotional emails to generate sales, relational emails such as regular newsletters and information and transactional emails, which are normally sent following a transaction to confirm information or actions taken.
3. Know your audience. Make sure you have completed your customer personas and clearly defined your target market. You need to be clear on what your product and/or service will do for them – what problems does it solve? How do you help them?
4. Look for the right technology to use. There are 100’s of software tools available to help with email campaigns. Look for ones that are easy to use, possibly that include templates and workflows and automate as much as possible to reduce the amount of time you spend preparing campaigns. If you have existing software for your website, first check out what plug-ins are available through that as they will be much easier to install and run. One important feature is segmentation – the ability to send different messages to different audiences. This will be key as you increase the number of people in your database. You also need the software to include analytics so you can understand what is (and isn’t!) working.
5. Make it easy for someone to opt in to receiving your emails. Think about where and when you want to offer an opt in. Immediately someone hits your website isn’t a good option, but just before they leave works well. Make sure the opt in option appears on each page and consider using pop ups to promote it (but not for every page!). Don’t ask for too much information and explain the benefits of opting in.
6. Plan your campaign. The key elements are frequency, recipient journey, content and outcome (what action you want the recipient to take).
This is key – too often and you turn people away, too infrequent and they forget about you, so you need to strike the right balance. If you’re just sending a regular newsletter, sending them monthly is about right – certainly never more than twice a month. If you have a chain of emails to send (where each email is different and follows on from the other), then they can be more frequent (see recipient journey).
Think about the series of events that could happen when someone responds to your initial email and plan accordingly. For example, you could plan an initial email to get someone to buy your product or service, then a welcome email when they buy, then a confirmation of benefits, then one asking for feedback and then one asking for a testimonial.
Start with the subject line – this is key in getting someone to open your email. It has to grab attention and you should use no more than 40 characters. Use it to show what people will get when they open the email and personalise it if possible.
When you write the copy, start with the recipients name to personalise it. Create a compelling first (short) paragraph that tells them everything they need to know (many will only read this) and include a hook so they want to read more.
Keep the content short and easily readable (try using www.hemingwayapp.com to help with this – it’s free to use).
Segment your audience and create different messages for each segment. Make sure you include something helpful and educational – this will increase your click through rate by up to 50%.
Put something of yourself into the content as well – it helps people make an emotional connection.
You can also look to include a survey or video – both help with engagement.
Make sure to include your call to action – normally near the beginning, in the middle and at the end!
Focus on the words rather than the images as many people have images disabled so won’t see them.
And finally – track the results of everything you send, try different test versions to make sure you have enough data to continually improve your results!