Email marketing has been around for decades and continues to be one of the most effective methods of digital marketing until this day. After more than four decades, email marketing still boasts more ROI than most of its other digital marketing rivals, with most businesses seeing an ROI of $32 for every $1 spent.
Why is it so effective? Well, unlike other forms of marketing, which are usually trying to attract new customers, email marketing is directed at a list of people who have GIVEN you their details -- given you the green light to market to them. Working strategically with lists and segmentation, businesses can tailor their communications to their customers, offering a more personalised communication that has a higher likelihood of relevance and conversion.
With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility - Be Strategic
Having an email list is like having a gold mine; it needs to be tended to, in order to extract its value carefully. When customers hand over their details and acknowledge that you will send them communications, they trust that you are going to send them something of value, something that they will want to open, not just endless promotions.
Before diving into email marketing, you need a strategy. It's important to consider what your customers will want to see from your brand; what will add value to them. It's your responsibility to ensure every interaction is as enjoyable and valuable for them as possible. Consistency is key. Get this right, and you can build loyalty and ROI beyond your wildest dreams.
To build an effective strategy, you need to know:
- Who your customers are
- What your customers want from you
- What you want to gain from your email campaigns
- How regularly you will send emails
- How you will send your emails
- How you will manage your emails
- How you will track your emails open rates, click-throughs and other metrics
- Which tools will make all of these most efficient.
Pick Up Your Tools
Email marketing tools have developed exponentially in the past 40 years, making way for A/B testing, smart automation, personalisation, tracking and management. There is now a wide range of email service provider's (ESPs) on the market that offer fantastic solutions to make email marketing more straightforward than ever. Let's first dig into the features every business needs from their ESP, and then we can look at some of the providers.
A/B testing allows you to compare different versions of an email to learn which one resonates the most with your audience to ensure you're always sending the most effective communications. You can A/B test subject lines, blocks of content or entire emails.
Automation is essential for scaling your email marketing strategy as it allows organisations to put their email campaign on auto-pilot while they get on with running their operation. With automation, you can select triggers and actions to send the right emails to the right people at the right time.
Personalisation allows you to personalise emails for different leads based on their device type, country, or list inclusion, meaning retailers could send communications talking to one group about the rainy weather in London and another about the heat in Dubai, utilising up to the minute information.
Tracking and analysis
Tracking and analysis should come in-built with any ESP and should be regularly monitored to check the success of campaigns and how they could be tweaked and improved to get better results.
Customer relationship management
With so many factors to juggle in the email marketing mix, it's essential that you select a platform that can effectively manage your leads, campaigns, tracking and all activities from the one place, with ease. Utilising effective customer relationship management allows you to nurture leads, create loyal customers and get the most out of your email marketing efforts.
The best email marketing tools include Campaign Monitor, iContact, MailChimp and ActiveCampaign, to name just a few. But our personal favourite is HubSpot for the fact that it is an all-inclusive marketing (and sales and service) tool, meaning all marketing activities, including email marketing, can be done from one platform. All the tools mentioned have excellent capabilities to bring you success in email marketing too though.
Now, How To Build a List
Whether you have a list currently or you're starting from scratch, list building is a great practice to keep developing and keep active. The more people on your list, the more opportunities for sales and advocacy.
Never buy a list. Buying a database of people who have not opted in to hear from you means you’re a spammer and spamming is a big no-no when it comes to best practise digital marketing.
You need to offer customers value to entice them to sign up organically. Whether it's a promotion or promise of valuable, informative articles, make sure you have a strong call-to-action (CTA) and enticing reason that motivates them to hand over their information.
Once you have your hook, here are a few ways you can build your list:
Get leads via your website
Your website should be the first place optimised for capturing leads/subscribers (people for your list). Every page should have a spot that visitors can clearly see and sign up for your newsletter or special promotions.
This is smart way to entice people to sign-up after giving them a taste of what they could have if they were a member. Gated content shows readers a portion of an article but requires them to sign-up if they wish to read the rest.
Timed pop-ups are another way to encourage site visitors to sign-up before they leave your website or after they've had some time to browse and become interested in your content.
Off-line data collection
Every business with a physical location should be encouraging customers to sign-up when they are in-store. Staff should be trained to ask customers if they would like to sign up, and there should be signage to encourage customers to go online and register for themselves.
Finding leads via social media
Just as you have done with your website, put posts up that encourage people to sign-up to your email list in exchange for an immediate offer or being kept up to date on new offers, promotions and news. Keep these sorts of CTA posts going up regularly but make sure the offers and the look of the posts are frequently changing.
If you're a new business without a lot of website traffic, you will want to run an ad campaign that requires the customer to submit their details in exchange for an offer. This would lead to a landing page designed to capture customer information. This is the most costly option but a great first step for new businesses or anyone looking to boost their lists.
* With all of these campaigns, you must be sure to have a proper opt-in notice so that customers are aware that they are being added to your list.
Creating Your First Campaign
Once you have worked out the strategy, which tools you are using and who you are emailing, all that's left is to dive into the first campaign. This means it's time to write. Crafting a marketing email, you need to consider the following:
Setting a topic or theme is helpful to create a rhythm to the email. Say the theme is "summer". You would then want to think of promotions, news and products that can be weaved into a summer emailer.
This will determine whether people open or ignore your email. Make it punchy, get the theme across and quickly tell them what they are going to get from opening your email. E.g. "hot summer deals", "50% off swimwear", etc. Adding the recipient's name in the subject line also helps and consider including a relevant emoji to make your email stand out.
Flow is vital in an emailer. Try to have a brief introduction, make sure there is a personality in the writing that the reader can connect to, let them know what to expect in the rest of the email and then move into it.
Emails should not be too flashy as it can overwhelm, confuse and cause readers to close. Try simple, sleek designs with clear buttons to lead them to offers and articles and make sure your emails work well on mobiles because it is quite likely that it will be read from a mobile device.
Every email needs a call-to-action (or a few). If you are talking about a giveaway, there should be a clear CTA to get people to go in the draw. If you mention an article, there should be a CTA to encourage them to click through, if you run a business where bookings are required, there should be a CTA to make a booking.
* It's worth creating two to four emails to put into A/B testing to figure out which is going to get the best results.
Email marketing is a must for every business. With strong ROI to be gained, and the ability to build loyalty, brand credibility and boost sales, it is a tactic that should not be ignored.
That being said, email marketing requires a hands-on approach with regular optimisation, reviews and iterations needed to get the best results. If your business is missing the results that email marketing can deliver, but lacking time to get it off the ground, the team at Blue Beetle have the expertise to build your lists, craft campaigns, track results and optimise — leaving you to get on with other important tasks. Get in touch today.