Text message marketing may be all the latest rage, but there are more than 4 billion email users worldwide, and most of them still check their emails every day.
In terms of ROI—return on investment—email marketing owns the neighbourhood. In fact, for every dollar spent, you get $36 in return.
And that’s a pretty fantastic number.
So, if you are taken in by all the new forms of marketing and are wondering if you should still be bothered with all your email lists, the answer is: absolutely.
- New customer acquisition: 81% of SMBs rely on email marketing to attract and acquire new customers.
- Getting abandoned carts back: Sending three abandoned cart emails results in 69% more orders than a single email.
- Increasing brand awareness: 68.6% of consumers open the Welcome emails they get from brands.
- Content distribution: 69% of brand marketers use emails to distribute their content to their consumers.
- Brand engagement: 49% of consumers like to receive promotional emails from their favourite brands.
With email marketing being such a bankable channel and a fan favourite for most marketers, there is stiff competition for all the click-through rates.
To make your mark, you have to start strong.
Begin with the basics: Are they in order?
HubSpot, one of the most authoritative and efficient email marketing services out there, has a 5-step strategy to get your email marketing basics right. Here’s how it goes—the simplified version.
- Define and understand your audience: Who they are, what they want, and how can you help them? Create multiple buyer personas targeting specific buyer profiles.
- Establish and measure your goals with context: What are your larger business goals and the goals for each specific campaign, and how do these two overlaps? The more clarity you have about your goals, the more insightful you can be with the results.
- Start building your email list: These are the people who opt-in to receive your emails. Build your lists through forms and treat each subscriber as gold.
- Choose the campaign type you want to run: The content of each campaign, the customers you send it to, and how you infer the results all depend on the type of campaign you run. For example, promotional vs. informational. Keep your campaign goals clear so you can understand your results better.
- Test your emails and measure results: A/B testing is the best thing you can do for your email marketing. Keep trying till you find what works.
Granted, this is a brief list, but that’s by design. It’s intended as a quick refresher on the basics so we can jump to the matter at the heart of this article: Amplifying your email marketing.
Creative ways to amplify your email marketing
Below is a list of 10 creative and innovative steps that can take your email marketing from standard to spectacular.
Segment your email lists to perfection
Divide your email lists into super-targeted smaller groups of users that are segregated based on their interests, preferences, needs, and behaviours.
Some of your customers buy products every month, and they’ll benefit from monthly reminders. Others may look at regular reminders as spam and feel like unsubscribing altogether. Some customers would always buy from the oil-free range, so sending them emails promoting a new product specified for dry skin won’t do you much good.
As a brand, it’s your responsibility to look at your audience and identify subgroups. This process is called segmentation. Segmentation allows you to send your consumers hyper-targeted content, improving your chances of open rates, further engagement, and higher click-through ratios.
Segmented email lists also decrease your bounce rate as well as unsubscribe rates.
Check if your email is coming from a real person or a no-reply bot
Are you sending your marketing emails with a no-reply address?
If so, that’s a quick way of ensuring people never open your emails.
The first rule of email marketing is personalization: call people by their names and send them an email address that they can reply to and get their queries heard.
Make sure your marketing emails come from a marketing or CS person. Give your consumers a focus person they can talk to if they have any questions or concerns regarding any email campaigns you run.
Personalized reply-back addresses not only improve the functional relationship between a consumer and a brand but also build a certain kind of engagement and connection on a deeper level.
Try different designs
Different email campaigns would benefit from different visual flavours to attract different consumer groups.
Spend some time finalizing your email marketing templates to ensure the design matches the content and spirit of your email. Holiday email marketing, for example, uses the traditional colours of green and red. A bit of that mixed in with your own logo design colours will be a great way to attract eyeballs to your content and influence emotions.
You also have to choose a design that’s mobile responsive to cater to the people who access their emails on their phone. Failure to do so can render your design garbled or broken when viewed on smaller screens and thus hinders your email marketing efforts.
Send weekly recaps about your industry, business, and products
You have to add variety to the content you send via emails. After all, it cannot always be promotional.
Depending on the industry you belong to, the kind of product inventory you have, and your target market, you can curate a weekly newsletter recapping the latest events that happened in your industry the last week.
You can also send weekly recaps about your bestsellers of the week, the most shared article on your blog, or the news that made the most noise.
Varied content will ensure that everybody on your mailing list receives something they can use or enjoy. It will also encourage users to explore your brand in more detail and to rely on you to keep them informed and updated.
Send personalized reminders about offers and sales
Reminder emails are the glue that sometimes keeps everything together.
On a busy day of emails and meetings, a reminder in your inbox alerting you to an ongoing sale is often the best thing that can happen to you.
It’s the same for your customers. They will love receiving email promotions and offers that are designed for them and tailored to what they need. While a new product launch email is something that can be sent to the entirety of your mailing list, almost all other kinds of emails—especially reminders—need to be well thought out.
Your customer data will make all the difference. Dig into that and find out what your customers are looking for. Then send them tailored messages of coupons, announcements, and news, and watch your CTRs soar!
Learn the best times to send your emails
As important as it is to know what to send, “when” you send it is equally important. Most studies agree that Thursday is the best day for sending marketing emails.
The worst day? Sunday. Closely followed by Saturday.
Evidently, people don’t like receiving or responding to brand emails on the weekend. So stick to a weekday schedule but explore the time zones.
Not everyone lives in the same one, and people have different online habits. Most check their emails first thing in the morning, while others every couple of days. If you have been sending emails to your customers for a while now, your recipient data will be able to tell you the best times when your customers are most receptive.
While they may be inclined to act on a “Buy Now—Sale ends today!” message the same day, you can’t phrase all your subject lines that way and hope to capitalize on users’ FOMO. The best thing to learn is to understand your data and users’ behaviours.
Generally, however, people are more responsive to marketing emails at the start of the day and slightly less in the afternoon, but evening emails will go amiss. For time-sensitive email campaigns, go for an early morning time slot, like 8-10 am, when most people start their work day and check emails.
Image-based versus text-only emails
This is another design decision you have to make. Text-only emails or image-rich messages?
At first glance, image-based emails make the most sense as they emphasize the visual appeal of your brand. But functionality-wise, images do not work all the time.
If a user is perusing the email on a low-bandwidth phone or network, your images may not open properly. This is very unwise if the bulk of your message was contained in the images.
Text-only emails work for everyone. They open quickly, are no-hassle to create, and work with email platforms, like Outlook, that most businesses use.
Instead of wasting time creating fancy images to reach your audience, stick with short and punchy paragraphs to woo your customers.
Remember the preview pane
Design and craft your emails with the preview pane in mind.
Since most people view emails in the preview pane, all the content below the fold will be invisible to the eye. On a mobile device, this will be called the pre-header.
Ensure nothing of note skips notice by keeping vital details above the fold. Write a killer and to-the-point subject line. In the email body, keep one CTA above the fold to allow people to act quickly on the call without missing a beat.
The rest of the content, such as additional details and learn more links, can be included further down in the email.
Pro tip: keep the email content really short so the entire thing can be fully viewed on the preview pane without double-clicking anything.
Play nice: give them the option to opt-out
Make it easy for consumers to unsubscribe from your list.
Sure, you don’t want to let people go, but inactive users or those who don’t engage with you just bloat your mailing list without actually doing anything for you.
Instead, strengthen your subscriber list with people who actively want to be a part of your community. Study their behaviours and habits and send them emails that are designed to give them the best you have to offer.
For those who would rather not engage with you at the moment, make the opt-out option easy to find and click on. The more respectful and accommodating you are of their choices and in their journey, the more positive relationship you can build with them—even if it has to go through a temporary break.
Even the best-designed emails with the most targeted lists can sometimes miss their mark.
What to do when that happens?
First, know that it’s part of the job. Sometimes, a message just won’t click.
Second, test, test, and test.
Try different designs, subject lines, and days of the week. If a particular campaign isn’t working on Thursdays, perhaps Friday will be the magic day. If “A Discount Coupon Inside” isn’t bringing in the numbers, try “You’ve received a 30% discount” and see what happens.
Make A/B testing your bread and butter. If one thing doesn’t work, try another. It may not come easy in the beginning, but once you get the hang of it, your email marketing will become the gift that won’t stop giving.
Email marketing will continue to be relevant for as long as people use emails. Since email usage projections continue to rise YOY, marketers can bank on emails carrying the bulk of the marketing goals for a very long time.
While most people know the basics of email marketing, we hope this advanced guide helps you introduce you to some innovative concepts. Strategic design, targeted email lists, and choosing functionality over form are some of the things that can help you successfully achieve your email marketing objectives.
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