Every time I open one of my nine email accounts (overkill, yes, I know), I am reminded that email marketing campaigns are one part logic, one part magic — and sometimes completely misunderstood.
Contrary to popular belief, email marketing isn’t dying. According to eMarketer, small and medium-sized business owners feel email marketing is the easiest, most cost-effective, and efficient use of marketing time and dollars.
Whether you’re B2C or B2B, email marketing educates your audience so they know which products/services your business offers, as well as understanding your business’s strategy to solving their unique issues.
With such a powerful tool, though, comes much responsibility. There is a science to creating and executing a successful strategy. Here are six tips to remember and utilize when revisiting your email marketing campaign:
1. Be purposeful: Know what purpose your email communication serves in the plethora of e-correspondence that consumers get every single day. Are you offering specials or new product promotions? Or are you just giving general updates about the company and its successes? If it’s the latter, consider whether your audience truly cares. Typically, your subject line will tell a user if they care what else is in your email — don’t get deleted without even so much as an open.
2. Write it down and revisit: Believe it or not, clients make the mistake of coming up with an insanely brilliant marketing strategy with tactical-level elements, but it is garbled on notepads drenched in coffee stains or random middle-of-the-night epiphany notes to “Staff.” Conversely, some who manage to get it all out in a beautifully formatted document seem to lose it in the clutter of their office desks. Try revisiting the document with every new email you send out … just to make sure you’re on track.
3. Treasure and respect your lists: A list of qualified people who might be interested in buying from your company is something for which you should be thankful. Upkeep on your list is vital to preserving the quality of it as a marketing tool. Segment your audience to fit their needs and, where possible, your business model. Ensure that your list continues to grow by asking for emails on your social pages, on your website, and other digital applications (i.e., digital-out-of-home, mobile marketing, display advertising).
4. Integrate your content: Many organizations spend a ridiculous amount of time writing blogs, industry publications, press releases (LEAP, included) and other useful content pages for their website or digital distribution methods. Why not use these assets in your email marketing campaign? And don’t forget to link out to articles written about your company or services.
5. Look beyond “open rate” and “click-through rate”: Analytics programs, even the free ones, are continuously improving and allowing marketers to do more with their campaigns. Yes, the fact that someone opened your email is great — though, with mobile devices and some email clients, an email might be triggered as an open without ever having been seen (bummer). On the other hand, did that person engage in the content? Fantastic, they clicked through to your landing page — accidental clicks do happen, though. Can you tell how much time they spent reading your blogs? How about filling in your lead gen form? What about your sales funnel? Did they get to the payment page and then exit? These are all questions that can be answered with tools like Google Analytics or Omniture SiteCatalyst.
6. Never stop learning: The phrase “best practices” can get muddled and lose its flavor when people throw it at you day after day. There are definitely RIGHT ways and WRONG ways to use email marketing — make sure you’re staying up-to-date with what distinctions are being made in the email marketing (and holistically, the digital marketing) industry. Don’t think that a successful email campaign can be created overnight because there are a number of elements you have to consider, including spam compliance, subject lines, calls-to-action, opt-out policies, landing pages, analytics changes, and design challenges.
Not sure which resources can help you do that? Well, Merry Christmas …
Email Experience Council
Federal Trade Commission
Interactive Advertising Bureau
If you have others to add, please do so in the comments!
[Post contributed by Emily Carroll]