The first “electronic mail” was sent in 1971 by Ray Tomlinson (MIT student). And, the first email marketing campaign was sent in 1978 promoting a computer company that resulted in $13 million in sales.
That was 40 years ago.
Despite technology changing, email is still alive and well.
In this guide, we’ll share the reasons why you should consider including email marketing in your digital marketing strategy.
3 Reasons why you should consider email marketing
Everyone uses it. Think about it. Who doesn’t own at least one email address? Most use two: one for personal and one for work. Granted, most of our personal inboxes are retail promotions and spam, but you have the opportunity to get in front of your customers wherever they happen to be when checking their inbox.
List = leads.You own your list of email addresses, no one else has access to it. You have the ability to use this list to send direct communications to your leads. You can also use these email addresses to target an audience through other channels, like social media marketing.
More conversions. If they’ve subscribed to your list, they’ve put trust in your brand and chances are they’ll convert eventually.
Now that you understand why you should be doing email marketing.
How to run a successful email campaign: 10 tips
1 – Set your goals
Just like with any other digital marketing tactic, you should establish goals that you can achieve with email marketing, such as increase returning user sessions by 10% or receive 50 registrations to our upcoming webinar.
Whatever the goal is, make sure you get it in writing before launching your email marketing campaign.
2 – Get permission
There are many methods of obtaining your email marketing list, but the only one that we recommend is just asking. We don’t recommend purchasing email lists or manually inputting your customer’s information if they didn’t give you permission to in the first place.
“But, I have something really important to send them and they probably won’t mind.”
WRONG! If you add users to your list that haven’t yet opted-in and you send the first campaign, if your email provider tracks a significant percentage of unsubscribes, you may be blacklisted and won’t be able to send any emails for a while.
If you’ve been collecting addresses from customers over time and haven’t communicated with their email yet, consider running them through a tool like Voila Norbert to verify before sending.
Why? Well, when you import a list of emails to a service like MailChimp, you’re going to want to do everything in your power to avoid high bounce and unsubscribe rates in the beginning.
It can be tricky if you’ve been holding out on an old email list with customers from 5 years ago because there’s a good chance some of the emails no longer exist or the users choose to unsubscribe immediately because they’ve moved on.
High abandon rates from your email marketing list can ban you from using that email service. Which is why we always ask for permission, or verify email addresses before sending.
3 – Grow your list
Build it and they will open.
There are many ways to build your subscriber list. The first step is to add a sign-up form on your website. You can also take advantage of social media, to either share organically or run a lead generation campaign to collect emails.
Another idea that takes more time and effort, but is always worth it, is to create a robust piece of content and in order to download or view it, users must share their email address.
The valuable piece of content could be:
- Access to a Video
- Ebook or Guide
- Virtual Conference
- Free Evaluation
Build your list the right way, and you’ll have a list of people who are interested in what you have to say.
4 – Write a catchy subject line
Imagine you’re one of seven candidates for a job. You have to figure out a way to set yourself apart from the rest. How will you do it?
Maybe you tell a joke. Or, maybe you use humor or wit.
Here are some tips that work:
- Entice curiosity
- Tell a joke
- Share a statistic or fun fact
- Add an emoji
Whatever your tone is in the subject line, make sure it matches your brand’s voice and flows with the rest of the email.
5 – Create an experience
We’re talking about design and the content writing here. Make sure the design is responsive, clean and loads quickly.
When it comes to the writing, make it short and sweet, but also make sure it’s worth the open. If you can create an email that your customers want to open every time, then you’re on your way to a successful email marketing strategy.
6 – Test, test, test!
Whether you have one core audience or a few, email marketing is a great channel to test your marketing on. Most platforms like MailChimp and Emma offer A/B testing, which allows you to compare messaging, graphics, or calls to action.
MailChimp’s A/B testing will send both versions to a percentage of your list (half and half), and after a certain period of time when they declare a winner based on open rates and engagement, they’ll send the winning version to the rest of your list.
You can also test with your dedicated subscriber list before promoting a big campaign on social media.
Items you may want to test:
- Subject Line
- Intro Copy
- Static Images vs. GIFs
- Calls to Action
7 – Segment
Segmenting your email list is SO important! Whether you’re segmenting your audience based on their interests and past purchases, or segmenting based on the type of emails they receive, make sure you’re only sending the content those people care about to that list.
Think of each segment as a buyer persona, and you may have 2-3 of these that require a different message. Based on these segments, you can adjust the send times, frequency and personalize the emails to that audience.
8 – Automate
In order to successfully run an automated series, you’ll have to map out your sequence and build out the campaign before you launch it into email space.
For example, you may create a “welcome series” that automatically sends to all new subscribers. This is a great way to introduce your brand, send a first-timer’s coupon and build trust with them right away.
Or, you could build out a lead-nurturing campaign that starts when visitors view a product on your website, but don’t purchase. Follow-up with an email reminding them of their abandoned cart. Then, send them another nudge a few days later, maybe with a coupon attached. Once they complete the purchase, send them a celebratory email and let them know the product’s on its way. You can stop there, or continue with an email after the product’s arrived, asking what they think of it (review, please).
You can set these automated campaigns up and use them on all customers. There are many ways to add a personal touch, so your customer feels like they’re getting an email that was meant for them.
9 – Give them something to open about
According to MailChimp, open rates range from 15.22% (daily deals) to 28.46% (hobbies). That’s pretty good if you think about the amount of emails you receive every day.
One of my favorite daily email newsletters is theSkimm. They know how to get their subscribers to open on the daily. They digest the morning news to a five-minute read. Plus, they have an ambassador program that encourages subscribers to share. They’re a company built on email marketing, but they also are active on social media which is another way to stay engaged with your audience.
10 – Analyze & adjust
Hooray! You’ve sent an email!
Now, we wait a few hours and review the engagement insights. You’ll notice that a lot of users will open emails almost immediately (thanks, push notifications!).
But, you’ll also start to see trends like whether your list opens right away in the morning or late at night. Once you determine what works best for your email marketing campaigns, make sure you adjust future campaigns based on the analytics.
This is an ongoing process, and you’ll want to consider other factors like competition, seasonality and user behavior with new technology.
Not sure what to analyze? This great infographic by Campaign Monitor lays out what to look at:
Ready to email?
Now that you’ve read through the basics of an email campaign, you’re ready to start trying one. If you’re still unsure about how to get started or would like an experienced email marketer on your side, reach out to Thrive today and let’s get started!