Beginners Guide to Email Marketing
A good email marketing campaign can have a tremendous influence on the success of your business. Whilst many believe that email marketing is slightly old-fashioned in this modern world of social media, this isn’t the case and email remains an extremely effective marketing tool.
The Challenges of Email Marketing
First and foremost, you have to get to your client’s inbox. To do this, it’s often a good idea to either approach them directly, or invite them to sign up when they’re making a purchase. This turns one-off customers into repeat customers. Make it clear what people will get when they give you their email. How often will they receive mail? Will they get any benefits? Offer them something, even if it’s intangible. People are much more likely to sign up to something if they get something useful in return.
Once you’re in the inbox, it’s good to ensure you never get filed as spam by getting yourself on a whitelist. The simplest way of doing this is to get yourself added to their contacts list. The best way to do this is really just to ask at the head of your first email to the contact. Something like ‘Thanks for subscribing, to ensure you receive our future emails, perhaps consider adding us to your contacts”.
Most inboxes are busy places, so getting your email opened is quite a challenge in itself. The best way to go about it is to think about your email title as a Twitter post. The same principles apply to writing a good email title as does to a good Twitter lead. You need it to be snappy and attention grabbing, preferably simple. An email that recently got me to open it simply read ‘We Did It!’ in the title. That was enough to generate enough curiosity in my mind to lead me to open the email.
As well as the title, you really want to think about the header of your email. Some people open their emails immediately and base their decision to read on or delete on what they see at the top of the page. With this in mind, always lead with confidence into whatever it is you’re marketing. The worst thing you can do in email marketing is conceal what you’re pitching. People don’t have time for that with email, so get straight in there with your pitch and grab their attention.
A nice side effect of email marketing, as opposed to direct mail, is that it’s actually possible to track how well the campaign is going. Services like Mailchimp can provide you with detailed analytics about the success of a campaign. I wrote in the previous section about the importance of getting people to open your email. Analytics makes it possible to know exactly who is opening your email, how often they open it, and which email titles are having the most success, as well as who is clicking through to the landing page.
This kind of information is invaluable to marketers, because it allows you to better target your desired clientele. For example, you may discover that your clients are much more likely to open an email that offers something in the title than they are to an ambiguous ‘We Did It!’, or that people are more likely to click through to your site and make a purchase at a certain time of month or year. Analytics not only helps you, it also helps the customer. With this information, you can change your content, and the rate at which you put it out, to best suit everyone, with the least inbox clutter.
You want to avoid excess clutter in your email marketing. Keep everything to the point and, when you can, quite visual. Bright colours have been proven to have a strong influence on the eye, leading it to important sections like sales or calls to action. If your email is looking for a more confident tone, then you could consider greens and blues. Blue in particular has been found to create a sense of confidence and professionalism in the mind.
As far as copy goes, keep it clear and well written. It would be a shame to do all the work to get your email read only to have the writing itself let you down. Try to inject a bit of personality into your emails as well. Information and offers are always more compelling when paired with a narrative or interesting tone of voice. For example, if you’re selling bicycles you may want to preface a summer sale with a story about riding your bike as a child in summer. This conjures up fond memories for your readers and makes them more amiable to reading your entire newsletter.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever read for email marketing, or marketing of any kind is set expectations and then deliver on them. This can be as extreme as promising the best holiday of a persons life, or as little as the promise of regularity.
For email marketing, regularity can actually be a powerful thing. If you make a promise to send out a newsletter once a month, and then end up sending it weekly, that sends a bad message to your clients that you don’t stick to your word.
Conversely if you make the promise of a monthly newsletter and only deliver it biannually, they’re going to get the impression that either you don’t have enough content to fill a monthly newsletter, or you simply can’t deliver on your promises. Make sure when you set your targets, that you can hit them, and that they serve a good purpose.
Expectations also apply to the content itself. Decide on a style for your marketing campaign and stick to it. An inconsistency amongst your emails will not only confuse regular readers, it will also weaken your company’s brand and tone of voice. You want your readers to be able to identify your marketing even if it came to them unbranded in any way because your tone of voice is so distinct.
Better Every Time
Every time you run a marketing campaign you should get better at it. Through a combination of analytics, and a developing sense of what your clients are interested in hearing about through both one-to-one discussions with them and conversations on other social media. The important thing is not to simply think of it as an email, every time you send it out you should be looking to improve engagement with your audience, advertise your products and services and imprint your brand into their minds so you’re the only business they think of when the time comes.