Aside from social media, email marketing is one of the best ways to reach out to and stay engaged with your followers. This provides a reliable, consistent communication method with customers that can be very successful if followed within certain bounds. Studies show that ROI achieved via email marketing is double that generated through other marketing tools that companies try to utilize, with ROI being 119% for email marketing.
More people sign up for email accounts every day, and usage remains steady, making email the most cost-effective method of marketing. As you look at your business’ email marketing strategy, here are a few important aspects to consider while sending messages that will have the most impact on your success:
The most important component of email marketing is to have permission to contact the audience that you are reaching. Do not make the visitors feel forced to subscribe, let them choose how often and what they want to subscribe to, while communicating the benefits that they will receive.
A good way to build an email list is to offer something to subscribers for free if they sign up. Make sure to answer their question of “what I am getting if I subscribe, will I get discounts and relevant offers?” If people are already buying your products or engaging, this creates the perfect opportunity to have them subscribe and keep in touch.
With the new General Data Protection Regulation that has gone into effect, there is concern that you need to make your email re-affirm their interest in subscribing to your emails. As long as you can prove that people subscribed, this is not the case. You also don’t need to provide checkboxes to your emails or provide for double-opt-in for your emails. Make sure you are sending to groups with explicit consent, but overall, not many changes are needed.
In general, GDPR is about transparency and protecting individual rights, while personal data will be handled respectfully. To see a basic guide to how this impact marketers, view Smart Insights guide to 2018 email marketing trends.
Make sure content is relevant to what the subscriber is expecting and what they will want. Follow-up with customers after they first subscribe, to introduce yourself and make sure they know what you’re offering.
By providing consistent, visually-friendly design, your audience will come to expect the same format and be familiar with what you are sending. Subject lines are important in gaining readers’ interest, so make sure they help preview the content of your message, have a concise title, and have character (event throw in an emoji!). It is important to make sure not only subject line, but pre-header lines will attract people before they even open the newsletter. Also, different images can resonate differently, such as GIFs versus static images. Finally, making sure your tone is personal and delivered to the audience in a sincere way, keeps them interested.
Offer value to those receiving your newsletter, whether it is linking to another blog or media that they may be interested in. Make sure you are providing messages and updates that make the customer feel they are receiving something important. Also, make sure your call-to-action and goal of each newsletter is clear, so there is a purpose why you are sending it.
In addition to keeping a personalized, humanized tone in your emails, using automation tools can make contact easy and reliable with your readers. 66% of marketers say they use basic automation to help users manage preferences. Triggered emails (or autoresponders) are also cost-efficient in engaging leads and customers with your brand. Chatbots are an example of a tool that can help attract new readers and visitors to your email campaigns.
Like your subject line, make your message content short and sweet – about 500 words or less, while keeping things easy to read with bullet points and other formatting. Also, make sure messages are mobile-compatible, since these days so many are using smartphones. People are spending 50% or more of their online time on mobile devices, so making sure the content you are sending is compatible with the tool they are using is important in keeping them interested.
Segmentation and analytics
Segment the audience to make sure you are reaching the right people at the right time. If you specialize what people are receiving, they will not unsubscribe as often, and you will have lower risk of spam complaints. Time your messages like a TV show so people come to wait for and expect the messages.
Analyze your open rate, click through rate, and unsubscribe rate to see what is and isn’t working with your newsletters. In testing different subject lines, you can determine what is attracting your audiences and help segment to groups based on their behavior. By looking at your lists and making sure you are delivering relevant content to the right people, you can broadcast the most relevant items to relevant groups.
Despite following all of these steadfast rules, you can still only measure success by testing different email ideas and seeing what is successful. A/B tests and different subject lines will help you to gauge what works with your audience and develop lists that react uniquely to different content.
As people come and go and change their interests, be sure to scrub your email lists to keep the audience current. If people haven’t opened a message or aren’t clicking through, consider why that might be. Allowing users to pick their interests from the get-go, will allow you to send relevant messages to interested groups. You can also look at the lists’ behavior and make your own lists to further tailor content.
Touching again on GDPR, there will be new requirements to keep your lists up to date, which will require a contact management strategy to make sure permissions are intact and protected under these regulations. More tips about how GDPR will impact your emails and developing a marketing strategy can be found in Hub Spot’s write-up on What’s Happening with Email Marketing in 2018.
There are many tools that can help you compose, test and analyze the messages you are sending. These include popular platforms like Mailchimp and Constant Contact (for a comprehensive list, view Neil Patel’s Email Provider List).
Overall, email marketing will continue to grow as an important tool for businesses to stay in touch with and attract new users. With analytic tools and more data at our disposal, there are new opportunities for marketers to explore more strategies, while maintaining quality, legal contact with customers. Businesses will want to continue to provide genuine content, while knowing the laws and watching the trends and feedback of those engaging with their emails.
Until next time…
If you are in the Boulder, CO area, you may want to check out our workshop on Email Marketing!