Email marketing has become the ugly stepsister in marketing conversations these days, taking a backseat to its trendier, cooler counterparts: inbound marketing, content marketing, and social media marketing.
But that doesn’t make it any less effective when it comes to building your audience, converting leads, and retaining new customers. In fact, according to McKinsey, email is 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. Per the eConsultancy Email Marketing Industry Census 2016, it also outperforms SEO, PPC, and content marketing.
Whether you are new to the email marketing game, or you’re in desperate need of some fresh ideas for how to take your campaigns to the next level, keep reading to get email marketing tips that will drive business and get results.
Why email marketing
Email is not going away. In fact, the number of email users worldwide will reach 3.7 billion by the end of 2017 – that’s 54% of the planet! And thanks to mobile phones and tablets, people are actually checking their email more than ever.
According to one poll, about 40% of people surveyed that they thought they checked their email between 6 and 20 times per day.
As a marketer, it’s only natural that you’d want to reach your audience where they are, which is why your email strategy is one of the most crucial parts of your overall marketing plan.
Types of email marketing campaigns
Before we get into our seven awesome email marketing tips, it’s important to start with the basics: What is an email campaign?
Per the ‘Get Response’ marketing insights glossary, an email campaign is a “coordinated set of email marketing messages delivered at intervals and designed to escalate a persuasive argument to purchase, subscribe, download, etc.”
Note that an email marketing campaign rarely, if ever, consists of one single, solitary email. Rather, you should be engaging and be following up with users multiple times over the course of a set period of time in order to break through the noise, capture their attention, and convince them to take an action based on your powers of persuasion.
Determining which email campaigns to create and run as part of your business strategy may take time and experimentation. Here are just a few examples of email campaigns that you might consider using:
- Lead nurturing and drip campaigns – Often used interchangeably, there are actually slight differences between these two types of email marketing campaigns. A drip campaign is a set of emails that are triggered based on timing. Lead nurturing campaigns are driven by the lead’s behavior.
- Welcome email – One of the most significant campaigns you run, this is the first step in solidifying your relationship with a customer (or subscriber). For inspiration, check out these incredible real-life welcome email examples.
- Re-engagement emails – A quick email is one of the easiest and best ways to reach users who might have forgotten about your business.
- Newsletter – VerticalResponse suggests making sure each of your newsletters follows the 80/20 rule, with 80% containing educational content and 20% promotional.
- There are plenty of others, some of which depend on your line of business (for example, if you have an e-commerce website you might want to initiate an “abandoned cart” email campaign).
Finding the right tool for the job
Because you will likely employ multiple email marketing campaigns all at one time, you’re going to need help keeping track of what goes to whom, when. That’s where the right email marketing solution comes into play.
You can find plenty of marketing automation platforms through a simple Google search, or you might want to check out this list of the 11 Best Free Email Marketing Tools, courtesy of Sprout Social.
A few things to remember when choosing the best email marketing solution for your business:
- A few things to remember when choosing the best email marketing solution for your business:
- Strike a balance between comprehensive (making it usable by multiple functional groups within your company) and easy to use. You’ll want to get your money’s worth, and a tool that’s too hard to use or serves only one purpose may not be your best bet.
- Test the platform with a real-world email scenario or two before making your final decision.
- Make sure you can capture all the information you want. Nothing is worse than pulling the trigger on a new software platform and then realizing that the one piece of data you absolutely must have isn’t available through their built-in reporting tools (but rest assured it’s “on the roadmap”).
Which brings us to our next topic…
Email marketing analytics – the real MVP
Your email strategy is worth nothing if you don’t have a way to track and measure how well it’s working.
First, you should determine what email metrics are the most important for your business. If you need help knowing where to get started, here’s a list of the 6 Email Marketing Metrics & KPIs You Should be Tracking according to industry leader Hubspot.
In addition to common metrics like the open rate, click through rate, and bounce rate, you will want to pay attention to perhaps the most valuable indicator of success – the conversion rate.
The email conversion rate tells you how many users completed the action at the end of the campaign. Of course, the significance of that number depends mostly on what action you had users take in the first place.
Like measuring ROI for any other type of marketing campaign, getting conversions from your email campaigns is tricky business, which is why we put together this list of seven email marketing tips to improve your success rate and generate more business.
7 email marketing tips you can start using today
1. Optimize for mobile
You probably didn’t need us to tell you just how important it is to make sure your emails display well and are effective on mobile devices. According to MyEmma, 53% of all emails are opened on a mobile device – more than half.
Ensuring your emails display properly on all different types of mobile devices is difficult, but if you’re going to design for just one, make it the iPhone which accounts for 28% of all mobile email opens. A few ideas for how to increase your open rate on mobile devices:
- Keep subject lines to 32 characters or less (the iPhone will cut off your subject line if you use any more).
- Your font must be large enough to be read on a handheld device! Same with your call-to-action button.
- For a seamless user experience (read: more likely chance that your user will buy), any click-throughs must lead to a web page that is mobile-friendly.
2. Use copy that sells
Real estate is valuable in an email, so every word needs to count. While a clever email subject line is what will boost your open rate, it’s what follows in the body of the email that will get you precious conversions.
The key is to treat your audience as real people, not just “subscribers.” Text should be short, simple, and to the point. Another great tip from Copyblogger: Utilize a good old-fashioned P.S.
3. Call them to action – every single time
Every email you send should have a goal and that goal should correspond to a CTA. As we mentioned earlier, buttons work best and the text should be clear and concise. While the action you ask your users to take should provide them with some value, you don’t want to try to make the sale in your email. Think “no obligation” and consider pointing them towards a landing page instead.
4. Start segmenting
Or, to put it a different way, targeting. Or, another way yet, personalizing. If you aren’t already segmenting your email lists, we have two words for you: Start now.
Segmentation will give you the option of writing copy that targets a specific group of people, as opposed to generic text which is so much less powerful. You will see a rise in key email metrics, not to mention receive valuable insight about each target audience.
5. Keep an inspiration file
What the email marketing pros at Vero call a swipe file. Every time an email comes through your inbox that you think is effective, nicely designed, super creative, or all of the above, save it to your inspiration folder. What works on you might just work on your users, too.
A bonus: Having these email comps at-the-ready will help guide the rest of your team (designers, copywriters) and will save time when it comes to designing your own email campaign templates.
6. Consider where your email fits into a multi-channel marketing strategy
In case you didn’t know, a multichannel marketing strategy enables your brand to interact with potential customers in a variety of ways – exactly how and when is up to the consumers. It could be through your website, an ad, a social media network, a sales call, or an email, or a combination of all of the above.
When you are devising your email strategy, think about how a user will read your email given the various other ways in which they may have “touched” your brand. And don’t forget to cross-promote your other channels through email, too (including icons that link to your social networks in every email is one example).
7. Make changes based on your email analytics. Testing is key
You can test literally every single element of your emails. That’s a lot of testing, but the impact will be even bigger. A/B testing works best for email because the result is clear and indisputable.
If you are only changing or comparing one element at a time, there will be no question about what users are responding to. After running the test, make sure to implement your findings and set a reminder to run the test again (or something similar) at a later date.
Just because something worked in an email once, doesn’t mean it will continue working forever. (That’s also why it’s vital to keep an eye on your email marketing analytics)
Other marketing trends may come and go, but it looks as though email is here to stay. Put simply, your email marketing strategy must be strong in order to compete in today’s world. We hope our list of seven top email marketing tips gave you a good place to start when it comes to reenergizing your campaigns.
We’d love to hear from you – what is currently working well for your company? Which campaigns have been the most valuable and are there any metrics you’re currently tracking that we should know about? Tell us in the comments section below.