There is still a big debate on whether email marketing is considered spam or if it is really the marketing engine we all think it to be. There are pretty much two sides to this, but one thing that cannot be denied right now is that it really does work if done right. Learning how to do email marketing right is probably the challenge that most online websites dread. They do not want to be called a spammer and yet they want to get the types of returns from proper email marketing that are still possible.
A study by Campaign Monitor in 2016 showed that advertisers who were using email marketing techniques correctly saw a return of $44 for every $1 that they spent, but why is that? Building a legitimate email list is one of the lowest cost ways to advertise your blog, products or services. Also the cost of writing a weekly or monthly newsletter or regular promotions is extremely low. The downside of this type of marketing is the possibility of being labeled a spammer. It is a fine line for sure. You have to be careful not to send out to many emails and also the emails you do send out need to be relevant to what your subscribers signed up for. Still the rewards are there if you simply learn how to do email marketing right and avoid the common mistakes that many marketers make.
So what can email marketing be used to do?
- Distribute relevant content
- Contact customers
- Deliver company news
- Promote a discount or a sale
- Introduce a new product or service
- Update customers on industry trends
- And so much more
An amazing 80% of retail professionals say that email marketing is still best way to retain customers. With this kind of proven retention of customers that is driven simply by effective email campaigns it is no wonder there were an astonishing 269 billion emails sent daily in 2017 according to a study by the Radicati Group. Another interesting fact according to a study by Adestra in 2016 nearly 68 percent of teens and 73 percent of Millennials said they prefer to receive communication from a business via email. Even if that number has dropped by 5% since 2016 that is still a huge amount of people that think email has a real value to them.
Given all these stats on how important email marketing can be there are still a lot of blunders that are made by businesses each day in their email campaigns. The reality is that mistakes are all to easy to make and you honestly want to try your best to avoid them and embarrassing yourself. Not only will it cost you in terms of your reputation, but also in lost revenue opportunities.
Give thought to your email design
One of the hardest things to do when you are first learning how to do email marketing right is to get your email design right. In fact the vast majority of mistakes that companies seem to make is that they fail to make sure that their design works when sent out. Most issues seem to be the way that emails appear in the top email clients such as Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook for example. Broken image links for example cause you to look more like a spammer then a legitimate business. This leads to your readers unsubscribing from your list or worse yet marking your emails as spam.
You might be thinking “How? I use an email marketing service that I pay for. They offer templates that are proven to work” Normally this is true,but the problem comes when you begin to make changes that everyone does. We all want our emails to look unique to our business and stand out. The issue comes when you fail to check your changes. Sometimes the changes we make cause display errors which is why it is so important to test your designs by having accounts setup with the major email providers and sending yourself test emails to make sure that there are no issues.
Another and more effective way to test your email templates is by using a service such as Litmus. With these services you will be able to test what your design will look like on more then 70 apps, devices and browsers. Since it is important that your design be responsive so that it works on all types of devices giving you the best chance to create successful email campaigns.
Do not use generic or noreply email addresses
One of the quickest ways to turn off your audience is by using a email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Many businesses uses these as a way to easily send emails without the need to monitor any potential responses. These emails are typically setup to not receive emails and are a quick way to really just tick your potential customers off.
So what does it say to your customers when you use these types of emails? Quite simply that you do not want to really talk to them and really just want their money. Think of a reply to your email as a chance to engage with your customer and gain their trust.
Email marketing is so much more then just gaining sales. It is a real chance to get to know your customers and more importantly for them to know who you are as a brand. What is more important to your business – A quick sale or A long term customer?
Discount and promotion emails only are not a great idea
The reason that most companies send out emails is to grow their sales. However, many of them lose sight of how tiresome it is for their customers to get email after email of requests to buy something even if it for a discount.
There is a general guideline that you should consider following. It is called the 80/20 rule. With this you would send 80% of your emails containing informative, entertaining or valuable information. While the remaining 20% is your sales-related material. You will get a higher percentage of emails read versus a constant bombardment of sale advertisements. People like to laugh and learn something they might not have known.
Give your customers ways to use your items or services in their everyday lives without them realizing you are still promoting your company. Another great way is to use videos. They don’t have to be professionally done either. People like to see who they are really dealing with when they buy from you.
How many emails – the real balancing act
Something that many companies struggle with at first when they are learning how to do email marketing right is how many times they should communicate with their subscribers. Sending to few or to many can both work against you.
Some companies will bombard you daily with promotions and useless information. I know that there are many of these companies that I held an interest in at first, but quickly clicked the unsubscribe button and let them go into oblivion as far as I was concerned.
The trick is to determine the right frequency that does not annoy your customers or has them forgetting about you. Take a look at your past emails if you have already started or if you haven’t just keep track and look for the following information as part of your analysis:
- Time of day that you are sending out emails
- What day of the week you are sending them out
- What is in your subject line and how does it sound
- What is your click through rate on emails
- What is the open rate of your emails
- How many people unsubscribe from your list
Using this data will help you adjust your email frequency. It will take a bit of trial and error to dial it in, but the rewards will be worth it.
Make sure you segment your subscriber list
As we all know at one time or another you will suddenly get emails from a company that you are not interested in at all. This is normally due to a mailing list that is not segmented.
What this means is that you breakdown your entire mailing list into smaller more focused groups. This way when you send out information for lets say laptop computers you are not sending it to that part of your list that is only interested in tablets. These smaller more manageable lists will allow you to deliver your emails at the right time when they are most likely to buy.
A study that was conducted by Lenskold and Pedowitz Groups found that those companies that send automated emails and segmented their lists had a 133% higher chance that their emails were going to be opened when the correspondence was sent during the correct time of year.
How can you segment your subscriber list?
- Demographic and Geographic Location Information
- Previous buying habits on file or data research
- What they are interested in
- And so much more
The way you segment them is only limited by the data you have available. This can take some time, but in the end it will help you in your efforts to grow your online business.
Make sure you ask them for the sale with a call to action
Sounds simple right? Not Always. It is one of the things that tends to get overlooked by a lot of new marketers.
So what is a call to action or (CTA). It is something within your email that makes your subscriber want to buy what you are talking about. This is usually done with a button that draws attention. It might say “Buy Now” or “Learn More,” no matter what it says this is what draws them in and says “hey I should do this.”
When you create an email campaign think to yourself “what is it I am wanting them to do.” Taking that time to decide what you want from your readers can mean the difference between success and failure.
Just remember that your call to action should be natural and flow with your email design.
Analyze your data after each email campaign
Learn everything you can possibly learn from your campaigns. It is very important that you do it early so that you can make necessary changes for upcoming campaigns. Simply ignoring this data will be a mistake you wish you had never made.
Be smart and learn how to do email marketing right
Email marketing does not have to be something that you only wish to do someday. Many people are afraid of what they do not know and with good reason. I mean honestly who wants to fail at something. The truth is you are not going to be an expert overnight, but if you simply take some time, do some research and analyze data you will be well on your way to running successful email campaigns.