Email marketing reaches your customers and prospects in a familiar way. It allows you to target specific personas or use different stages of the customer journey to provide relevant information that helps you meet different goals. Whether you send special offers, announce new services, offer advice, or invite people to join your webinar series, email marketing drives people to your website or any other channels you wish them to visit.
You also see an average ROI of $36 for each dollar invested in email marketing campaigns. This is far too valuable a marketing tool to ignore. However, if you aren’t careful, you can become an annoyance instead of a welcome message.
So how can your small business leverage this valuable, not to mention affordable marketing tool? Use these five basic steps to develop a knack for effective email marketing to nurture prospects and retain customers.
1. Find an Email Marketing Provider
Email marketing providers make it easy to create engaging emails and send out your messages to your email subscribers. Companies such as Constant Contact, MailChimp and HubSpot are examples of email marketing platforms. Each uses its own proprietary platform with email templates, and features to upload and manage your email lists and “blast” out your marketing campaigns. Some features that make your email marketing easier include:
- A wide variety of templates for engaging designs suited to your brand
- List segmentation capabilities to allow for drilled down targeting
- Automation allows you to schedule your drip campaigns or newsletters in advance based on the best times of day and days of the week
- Affordable pricing
- Scalability to grow with you as your campaigns become more involved and your mailing list becomes larger
- Metrics to measure success
- Email list management such as sorting out non-deliverable addresses
2. Set Marketing Goals
Next, as with any marketing campaign, you want to ensure you set marketing goals. This is very important because it ensures you target the right audience and use the right messaging. Each email should have a purpose and not just send out random information that doesn’t bring you closer to your goals.
For example, drip campaigns are ideal for nurturing customers on their journey, while special offers bring value to existing customers. Each campaign should target a specific audience and have specific goals tied into your overall marketing strategy. Some common email marketing goals include:
- Increasing brand awareness
- Generating more website traffic
- Driving sales and revenue
- Supporting other marketing channels such as social media, or other marketing efforts
- Gaining customer insights
- Lead nurturing
You might even have very specific goals in mind such as asking for reviews to improve your online reputation. Regardless of your goals, you have to ensure you choose the right audience which brings us to step #3.
3. Start Building Your Email List
Your campaigns are only as successful as your email list. Building your email list must be done using acceptable methods. People must elect to opt-in to receive emails from you, which means you need to make it worth their while to subscribe. There are various methods you can use to develop your list including:
- Creating a newsletter people can subscribe to
- Offering additional relevant content throughout your blog
- Offering downloadable information such as white papers, e-books or case studies
- Subscribing to a podcast or seminar
These offers can be placed throughout your website but can also be added to things such as order confirmation forms, automatic email messages for your contact page, social media channels, or even as part of your email signature. However, you also have to remain compliant with CAN-SPAM regulations, so you must always include an unsubscribe option on all your email communications.
4. Plan Out Your Campaign
With a clear understanding of your marketing goals, you can plan out your first campaign:
Segment Your Lists
Use your goals to segment your mailing lists so you reach the right subscribers to acquire more conversions. Remember, conversions don’t just mean sales, but include any subscriber taking the action required to meet your goals.
Choose the Campaign Type
Next, you want to decide what type of campaign you wish to run such as:
- Welcome campaigns for new customers
- Pre or post-purchase drip campaigns to help people on their customer journey
- Cart abandonment campaigns to entice people back to complete a purchase or request quotes, etc.
- Newsletter campaigns providing information to subscribers
- Re-engagement campaigns to connect with subscribers who haven’t unsubscribed but also engaged with your emails in a long time
- Trigger campaigns that go out in response to specific customer actions
Design Your Email
Conversions improve when your emails have an impact and resonate with your audience. Some design tricks include:
- Prominent branding so people know the email is legitimate
- White space that makes it easier to read the important messages and enjoy relevant visuals
- Images to break up the copy, add interest and even provide a link
- Engaging, clear headings to encourage action and engagement
- Responsive designs readable on mobile, laptops and desktops
- Organized messaging using hierarchy principles
Develop Your Subject Line
You won’t get anywhere if your subject line fails to connect with your audience. Some effective subject line tricks include:
- Enticing and curiosity-raising wording
- Personalized and short lines
- Posing a question, or presenting a possible problem
- Making an offer
Subject lines should always be short and readable from a mobile phone inbox.
Include a Real Signature
The email signature on your email campaigns should be from a real person, whether it is you as the business owner, a customer service rep, or some form of ambassador for your brand.
This doesn’t always work and isn’t always necessary. Follow-ups often equal annoyance, so use them carefully. An example of a follow-up might be an abandoned cart campaign where you send three emails max: 1. A friendly reminder, 2. A special offer and 3. Creating a sense of urgency that the offer will expire.
5. Test and Improve Your Marketing
The beauty of email marketing is it is very easy to test. A/B testing is one of the best methods as you can test every element of your email design starting with the subject line and making your way through each element. You can continue to improve your format, wording, subject lines, etc. and use the most successful elements to increase conversions. Metrics to follow include:
- Open rates
- Click-through rates
- Conversion rates
Each change and lesson learned helps you become a more talented email marketer, able to meet your marketing goals efficiently and successfully.
Are you wondering how you can better manage your email lists and use them to your advantage? At StructureM, we offer email solutions catered directly to your company’s needs. Contact us today and let us help you come up with a plan!