We already wrote about the importance of Email Marketing for your business in the past and have given you “6 Reasons Why Email Marketing Is Important For Your Internet Marketing”. Emails can help and build relationships with your leads, it can help you gather important data and help boost your marketing Return On Investment (ROI). While these reasons should already convince you enough about the importance of running email campaigns, many marketers end up falling short and missing their goals on the campaign’s returns in the end.
As a marketer, you need to pay close attention to your audience and your message to be able to build, execute and maintain a continuous effective email marketing campaign. You need to avoid the most common mistake of all: just simply blast your self-promotional message out there in the world. Continuing blasting that self-promotional message to your audience will only end up with your recipients hitting that delete button more than opening your message, or even worse unsubscribing from your mailing list.
To help get you on the right path for campaigns that boost lead nurturing and returns, here are 13 tips for successful email marketing campaigns:
#1 Make it easy to subscribe.
If no-one is subscribed to your marketing database, there is no-one to email to. Pretty simple right? So make sure that it is really easy to subscribe. Post a signup form on your homepage, your blog, your Facebook Page, use Twitter Lead Generation Cards, and wherever else your customers and fans are already active.
You might want to collect names or even birthdays (for a special birthday offer or gift), but don’t go completely crazy with the amount of required fields. If you ask too much on your subscribe form it might scare new subscribers off. Remember the most basic thing you need to be able to contact someone is their email address, the rest is a bonus.
#2 Make it easy to unsubscribe
Just like you want it to be easy to subscribe, you need to make it easy to unsubscribe as well. This one might seem a bit counter-intuitive. Why would you make it easy for a user to leave your mailing list? The other option though is much less appealing. When users get frustrated while trying to figure out how to remove their email from your list, they eventually end up with flagging your email as spam. An easy solution for them, because they end up not seeing your emails anymore.
However, every user who flags your emails being spams counts against your sender’s reputation with email providers. This eventually makes it harder (and sometimes even almost impossible) to get your email into the inbox instead of the newsletter flag or even worse the junk folder.
#3 Tell subscribers what to expect.
Tell your subscribers up front what they can expect. If you are planning on sending weekly company updates, e-commerce sales, daily deals, weekly tips, it’s important to tell your readers up front what to expect and how often to expect it. Give them as much information as possible on your sign up form, this will prevent disappointment and unhappy subscribers later down the line.
#4 Send a welcome email.
The moment someone subscribes, they are engaging with you, they took the first step to build a relationship with you or your brand. Now is the time to send them a small welcome, remind them of what they’ve just subscribed and that you received all the information correctly. You might even send new subscribers a special offer or some exclusive content, as your way of thanking them for starting the relationship with you.
#5 Design your newsletter to fit your brand.
There are simply put two ways to design your email. When you want it to be really personal and engaging, send an email in plain text without any fancy stuff. People will perceive these emails as less corporate and more personal. The other option is to make it match your brand’s look and feel. Most email providers let you easily create a template from scratch or lets you re-use one of the pre-build templates. If you’re using a template, be sure to customise it to include your company’s colours, logo and other branding elements. If your emails are consistent with the rest of your company’s content, the reader will feel more familiar straight from the start.
#6 Make it scannable.
Your subscribers are busy people who get a lot of emails every day, it’s safe to assume you will not have their undivided attention when they open your email. Because of this most users aren’t going to read the full text of your email. They’re going to scan it for key points that they may be interested in.
Instead of using one long block, break up your content into small paragraphs, use bullets, font bolding and additional colours to highlight words or phrases that you know will be more important to your users and clients. Your subject line should be to-the-point and easy to digest, too. If your email providers support it, try split testing your subject lines to see which ones perform best.
#7 Send people content they want.
Most big email campaign software allows you to do segmentation. Segmentation allows you to target certain subscribers on your list based on special interests. If your store is having a sale for example and you know the zip code of your subscribers, you can send an email to only those people living close by your store.
Other items you can use for segmentation are things like did they open our last email? There are lots of different ways to start segmenting, the most important thing here is that your users subscribed with a certain idea of what they were expecting (see point 3). Be sure to keep their trust by keeping it relevant. Sending relevant content will keep your readers engaged, and engaged readers look forward to your email and share it with their friends.
#7 Create a publishing calendar.
On your blog, you’ve created a content calendar because you know you need to keep your audience engaged with fresh content to keep on top of mind. The same thing goes for your email newsletter. Starting a newsletter is a commitment. If you don’t send an email to your subscribers for months, then your subscribers will forget about you. When they forget about you, they’ll be more likely to delete the next email you send them, or worse, mark it as spam.
Make time to plan, write, design and send your emails regularly. Even better, make it part of your content calendar!
#8 Mobile first.
We already mentioned earlier in our blogpost “6 Reasons Why Email Marketing Is Important For Your Internet Marketing”, that 91% of the people use their smartphone to check their email. If your email isn’t optimised for mobile devices, it’s not going to perform well. Today’s savvy email marketers are thinking mobile first. Software can help you control the layout of your email, making sure your text and images fit within the space of the user’s screen.
Before sending your email out into the world, conduct careful testing to make sure it will work on a variety of devices. Litmus allows you to preview your email across more than 30 email clients to make sure it will work with every popular device on the market today. MailChimp’s Delivery Doctor tests your emails to ensure they’ll make it through popular spam filters to increase the odds they’ll land in users’ inboxes. As you sent out campaigns, measure results and tweak future emails based on what you learn.
#10 Always use social shares.
Send content that people want to share, and make it easy for them to do so. By including social share buttons on your emails, you are encouraging your readers to continue the conversation with their friends and peers. Whether it is a content piece or an event invite, you will have more opportunities to spread your word if you include an easy way for your readers to spread your message.
#11 Analyse your results.
Most email campaign software offers free reports that contain helpful information. Learn how to leverage your reports. The most basic reports you need to look into are open and click rates. try identifying any patterns that make those numbers go up or down. And if a campaign receives a higher number of unsubscribes, try to figure out what you did differently this time. Use these details to understand the interaction with your email campaigns and improve future versions of your campaigns with this knowledge.
#12 Be friendly
According to a study done by the small business CRM product listing site Software Advice, 65% of customers preferred a casual tone of voice. Jay Ivey suggests in the article to use friendly, personable language in neutral situations. Taking a casual tone may help customers see your business as more personable, which can improve the relationship you have with your audience. Since most emails come directly from one person, even if you’re sending out an email newsletter en masse, people expect human voices in their inboxes. One easy way to set the tone from the beginning if your emails is the dynamically insert first names in your email greetings!
#13 Only send an email if you have something to say.
This last tips might seem a bit too obvious, but too many companies start email newsletter with no plan and nothing to say. Before you start with your newsletter, make sure this is a commitment you and the rest of your company can keep up with and that it will help you achieve your business goals. If you don’t think you can regularly send out an email newsletter don’t start, you’ll be wasting your own time and most important your subscribers’ time. Ask yourself, just like with any form of marketing: What’s the goal for this kind of communication. What do we have to say? How can we measure our goals and see if we are on the right track?
In the end, email marketing and other forms of content marketing are there to help solve the same problems your company is trying to solve only through media you create and promote instead of your product. As long as you do that, you help out your (potential) customers then
Bonus Tip! Always ask subscribers to add you to their contact list!
At every opportunity, remind subscribers that they can be assured that they won’t miss out on the valuable information that they love receiving from you if they add your send address to their email contacts list. The more people you get doing that, the better your deliverability will be!
These email marketing tips won’t make you a perfect email marketer, but they will certainly make you better than most! Just use these tips as a checklist when putting your email campaign together and you’ll be fine!