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Email marketing is all about sending messages, tracking responses, and keeping up with unsubscribers. If your marketing strategy relies on email, you’ll be glad to know that email marketing remains alive and well. According to the research firm Econsultancy, “Email continues to be a vital component of the marketing mix and the vast majority of companies (72 percent) rate email as ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ in terms of ROI.”*
To use email effectively, you’ll need a sound knowledge of email design best practices, an eye for email deliverability, and a flair for developing engaging content that targets specific audiences.
First, determine how you’ll send your email messages, track responses, and keep up with unsubscribers. You may need to choose an email service provider (ESP) or a marketing automation vendor. Your choice will depend on your budget, feature requirements, sales process, and the number of contacts in your database. Don’t forget to allow for database growth.
Once you’ve chosen a solution for sending messages and managing responses, you’ll want to focus on building your email list. To be clear, email marketing is not spamming. In fact, it usually begins when website visitors voluntarily “opt in” to be added to a database of marketable names. So your audience has asked for your emails and should be expecting to get them.
Once you have your database and a growing list of opt-in subscribers, you’ll need to monitor your communication volume and ensure that the messages you send are targeted and relevant. This is how you’ll increase your conversion rates and decrease opt-outs.
With email marketing, it’s not just what you send, or who you send it to—it’s how you design your email. Today’s B2B and B2C prospects spend a lot of time on their mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. To reach them, you’ll need to incorporate best practices for email design using basic HTML elements that will adapt easily to a widely diverse range of email clients.
Don’t let your emails get stuck in the spam folder. The best way to avoid that is to use email best practices when designing your email messages. Taking the time to implement best practices will boost the overall results of your email campaigns. The deliverability ratings of your ESP, email marketing software, or marketing automation vendor should also be carefully examined.
Almost all of us use email, whether it’s for our personal or professional lives. It’s easy to reach us on email because we are constantly checking it on our phones, mobile devices, and computers. Email, therefore, is an easy and cost-effective way to connect and engage with people. Moreover, email can be used in a multitude of ways, depending on your creative strategy, including: to tell a story, sharing news, deliver product and service information, and drive sales with coupons and other offers. The list is endless.
Long ago, most digital marketers recognized that email has an important role to play as part of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Emails have been proven to be very effective at nurturing prospects and converting them into customers. Emails are a good channel to keep in touch with your existing customer base, in case they want to purchase add-ons or other products and services. Keeping established customers in the loop strengthens the bond between them and your brand, which might help turn them into advocates who refer your business to others.
What advantage do emails have over other communication channels?
Email is an ever-present part of people’s lives and an accepted form of marketing and communication. But with so many emails flooding our inboxes every day, how do you stand out? How can you help ensure that your emails get read and not deleted?
You must remember these two things:
|Your email message must be relevant.||It has to be about something that the prospect cares about or might be interested in. The more personalized it is, the better chance you have of getting prospects to read it and act upon it.|
|You must intrigue your prospects.||Does your subject line make your prospect want to open the email? Does the copy leave them wanting them more? Is the information or news you provided useful to them? Your email must motivate the recipient to open and take further action.|
Using the analytics built into most email marketing systems, you can test new email campaigns, analyze the results, and make adjustments. The most common metrics marketers look at are open rates, click rates, unsubscribe rates, and bounce rates.
|Open rate||The number of people opening the emails you send.|
|Click rate||The number of people who open your emails and take action by clicking a link on it. They might go to your site or sign up for a newsletter or webinar.|
|Unsubscribe rates||The number of people who ask to unsubscribe from your list.|
|Bounce rate||The number of email addresses on your list that didn’t receive the email due to it being returned by the recipient’s email server. A hard bounce is when the email address was invalid. A soft bounce is when an email is returned for another reason such as a full inbox or the emailer’s name being unknown.|
Create an email list out of people who have shown an interest in your brand and your products and services. They might have signed up for a newsletter or webinar, filled out a form on your site, or be following you on social media. It is better to build your email list with people who want to hear from you, rather than buying email lists or procuring email addresses from other sources.
In this way, you can better ensure that the email is something the recipient wants. Sending a random email out, even if it’s relevant to recipient’s interests and business, is the same as cold calling them. They didn’t ask to be contacted and may not be receptive to hearing from you.
You’ve built an email list out of interested prospects. Your emails contained relevant information that made your audience want to learn more. Yet, your open and click rates still aren’t going up, and that means sales aren’t increasing.
Maybe it’s time to look at how you’re designing and producing your emails. First, take a look at your web copy.
Remember, there’s a lot of competition for your audience’s attention. People have jobs, families, and millions of other things that can distract them online (including other emails). You need to capture their attention right away—and get to the point quickly.
Email copy needs to be concise and sharp. Use no unnecessary words. Your subject line needs to be intriguing and your headline should use as few words as possible. The body of your message—the email copy itself—needs to be short and sweet. Once a recipient opens the email, they should be able see the whole email without having to scroll up or down. Once you have your prospect’s attention, don’t waste it. No one wants to read a too-long email. .
Strive for clarity in your writing. You don’t need to be mysterious. Simply tell them everything you think they need to know. Whether you’re promoting a brand, selling something, or sharing information, tell them a story. Storytelling is still the best way of communicating. But keep it brief
After you’ve made your offer, prompt your audience to take action with a short—but powerful—call to action (CTA).
Now we can address email design. An email’s images and design need to pleasing to the eye and leave a strong impression. They have to align with the copy and the message of what you are trying to get across. And they should reflect your brand’s voice and tone.
An email should be easy to read and understand. The copy and design work together to achieve this. Visuals—infographics, maps, and charts—can often communicate product benefits more concisely and powerfully than a few lines of copy.
Keep in mind that people read emails on their computers, phones, and other mobile devices. Consider how your email design looks on both mobile and computer. Some marketers choose to create an email optimized for both mobile and web, while others prefer creating different versions for each.
The best way to improve your email marketing results is to test them. Which subject line is working best? Which call to action performed better? All of these elements are easy to test. With A/B testing, you can test two or more versions of an email and compare how they perform.
By running tests and looking at the metrics, you can learn to fine-tune and improve your email marketing. You can see what prospects are responding to, and tweak your marketing strategy to achieve the best results.