Importance of Email Marketing
Email marketing can seem like a deceptively simple task at first glance, but once you get into the trenches, it becomes clear that it’s anything but. Luckily, we’re here to help point you in the right direction.
Is email marketing still effective? Some marketers say it's dead. Why?
Even today, email marketing is still a very effective digital marketing tool to reach your potential/customers directly. The first and the most obvious is that everyone utilizes email with almost 4 billion users (and growing) worldwide. Most people check their emails many times a day, and hence you can reach out to them multiple times with the right strategy and follow-up. By its very nature, it is direct interaction (you have their attention) and not based on hope marketing as in social media pages, ads, etc., where your messages might be seen. Further, email marketing is super-affordable, and the cost per message may be counted in pennies. When you want to make every dollar count in marketing, email is the way to go even now. Those saying “it’s dead” typically do not have a solid approach or are trying to sell you on the “next thing” they are working on.
Isn’t social media marketing taking the place of email marketing?
No, the two are as opposite as they can get. On average, email reaches three times more people than Facebook and Twitter combined. Even though social media is immensely popular, cutting across age and gender, email marketing holds its place so far as engagement is concerned. On Facebook or any other platform, your messages will be seen by only a limited number of followers in a sea of other distractions. But once you have an extensive email subscribers list, you can be sure that everyone will receive the same message and, if nurtured properly, will literally be printing press for years to come. The bottom line, the ROI of email marketing is high, and this marketing strategy is not likely to be replaced by social media any time soon, if ever.
Can I buy a list when I’m just starting with email marketing?
Admittedly, it is the easy way out and tempting, but you should resist it, really at all cost, if you want to optimize your email marketing strategy and not be considered a spammer. When you grow your list organically, all those on it have in some way or another expressed an interest in your brand (given market-based permissions by opting in), and this is a good starting point to frame your digital strategy. Additionally, the names on a purchased list are not quality leads and are unlikely to convert to customers in the future, and can severely damage your reputation/scores online. You have to go out of your way to make them interested in your product, an exercise that is a waste of time and money. To top it all, many email service providers do not allow the use of purchased lists, and you run the risk of being blacklisted quickly if you go this route.
How should I grow my audience?
There are several ways to grow your audience and subscriber list pretty fast. One of them is to collect emails at checkout if you have an e-commerce site. But do not overdo it as about 30% of cart abandonment is because of this factor. Include sign-up forms from your content management system that simplify collecting email addresses on your website, landing pages and other entry/exit points you have established with a clear CTA to optin, ascending them to the next stage of your relationship pathway. Another option is to use social media pages to encourage signups. Put an offer that is hard to resist but available only after signing up. Most of your followers will surely opt-in, which is crucial to market multiple channels to the same audiences.
What makes a good incentive?
You can create a variety of incentives for making people sign up to your email list. An irresistible offer for first-time subscribers like 10+% off may be an excellent place to start. Online webinars to email registrants or a video course/ebooks/podcasts and more can be tempting too. However, online contests, giveaways, or sweepstakes are on top of the list that appears too good to miss out on and are worth being a part of your list if an eCommerce angle is for you. Anything goes so long as it is attractive enough to encourage people to share their email addresses and engage your content.
Do I need to send an email newsletter?
Yes, definitely! Newsletters feature content of interest like blog posts, current affairs, new launches, and product information. When you are sending a weekly or bi-weekly newsletter with well-curated content, you show your industry authority and credibility. And one email to showcase a multitude of things you offer, giving a long view into your business, whereas one-off emails are very specific. By consistently sending newsletters, you keep your brand and business on top of mind with reminders and ideas of how you can help.
How often should I send marketing emails?
This is typically a personal discretion, what your market will bare, plus how you set the stage with your communications strategy upon someone coming onboard to your list. A lot of the annoyance from too many emails stems from being too pushy, irrelevant, and out of context, to not giving REAL value in your emails that guide them on a path toward what they want and how you can directly help them achieve their goal. Here are some simple and general rules of thumb to consider. For small businesses that have already initiated email campaigns (from optins, etc.), emailing your list at least once weekly for a start is the norm. You can then slowly increase the frequency without annoying your prospects. A good strategy would be to send emails twice weekly and then increase it to a frequency of relevancy based on your campaigns, their active interest, and what makes sense based on your objectives. However, suppose you have some ever-changing offers, regular promotions, or great content. In that case, you can send emails more often without seeming overbearing as it is specific to them (given that you have prepared segmentation in place). Monitor the campaigns regularly as the line between providing information and being annoying is a thin one and, once crossed, can be a challenge to regain their interest or trust if you have pushed it too far.
What is the best day and time to send my marketing emails?
There is no consensus on the best day and time to send marketing emails. However, marketing statistics show that Tuesday and Thursday are the best days to send emails. As to the hour of the day, 8 am great for people who start the day by reading emails (in their respective timezones). People stay active online during lunch breaks, around 4 pm when a little relaxation from work is due, and around 6 pm either during or after an evening commute. It is advisable to experiment until you get the best engagement results.
How can I make sure my emails don’t end up in the spam folder?
When strategizing an email campaign, it is crucial to ensure that your emails do not land in the spam folder. The best way is to ask your subscribers to whitelist your email address, that is, add it to their contact list. Include the whitelisting instructions in the welcome email that you send. To stop your emails from getting flagged as spam, always take permission before sending them. From an ethical point of view, be familiar with the CAN-SPAM Act that outlines the practices to follow when sending commercial emails. You can do many other unknown things to most to ensure that your deliverability score is top-notch and that you garner ISP respect by following necessary email list cleaning & ongoing hygiene protocols.
Should I use HTML or plain text-based emails?
It all depends on the type of audience you have. If you compare the two – HTML and text-based emails – the latter appears plain and unattractive. Your prospects likely get hundreds of business emails, and what better way to make yours stand out in the crowd than opt for HTML with its gorgeous images and colorful fonts (in newsletters and such). However, simple text emails look good regardless of the program and are less likely to get blocked. The real here is that direct response email marketing is content messaging, and your value proposition will make the case. You want to ensure the message is right in front of your targeted audience. Your general marketing emails should always be text and HTML reserved for newsletters unless you have a specific image that is part of the CTA, a video, etc.
How long should my emails be?
This can be very subjective. Some say short, and some say long. It all depends on how you cultivate your email communication styles and nurture the relationship. As such, the lengthier emails get received more when you have the secret ingredient, engagement. As per studies, the ideal length of an email should be between 50 and 125 words as these have a response rate above 50%. Similar studies have shown that emails with about 200 words or 20 lines of text have the highest click-through rates. The average time a person spends reading an email is about 20 seconds, so you have that much time to catch the attention. Hence, ensure that the main information and your call to action are located near the top and can be found without scrolling down.
How do I write a great marketing email?
There are primarily four elements to crafting a great marketing email. First, use colors for CTAs that stand out from the main body of the text to catch the attention of your clients (like bold or blue hyperlinks, etc.). Second, ensure that the text is compelling and informative enough (value-rich) to encourage prospects to click on your CTA. Use down-to-earth language and avoid technical jargon (unless that is your market). Third, remember your client’s time is precious, so don’t beat around the bush. Write copy that is specific and quickly grabs their attention. Finally, link CTAs to website pages relevant to what is promised in the CTAs and not random pages, guiding them to take the next step on the journey with you and toward the results they desire from that click.
Should I segment my email lists?
Absolutely, segmentation is the foundation to proper marketing follow-up and knowing precisely who your audience is, what they want to receive, and for you to curate the perfect experience for them. Also, you should because it will help send more relevant content that your audience will continue to engage with, and it builds the inner narrative they are creating of who you are to them and how you specifically help them achieve what they want. This can be done optimally by splitting up the email list by audience characteristics, thereby improving the effectiveness of your email campaigns. Segmentation is also a great way to personalize messages. For example, if someone has engaged with a particular vertical on your site, move them to an email list that targets them with additional content related to that vertical.
Which email marketing metrics should I be looking at?
Several metrics determine the success or failure of an email campaign – click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, list growth rate, email sharing and forwarding rate, open rate, and unsubscribe rate. Marketers generally focus on the click-through rate and the conversion rate. The first indicates the percentage of recipients who clicked on a link in the email, and the second is the percentage that clicked on a link and took action as desired by you. The rate at which your list is growing is very important too.
How can I get subscribers to open my emails?
Give some time and thought to write a compelling subject line. The number of characters allotted in subject lines is limited, so it is not easy to write ones focused on quality without quantity, so make to punchy, captivating, and leave an air of curiosity, so they feel compelled to open the email. It has to be a delicate balancing act between the two. With this in mind, write copy and headlines that will arouse the subscribers’ interest enough to open the emails. However, being excessively vague and incredibly misleading in the subject line can turn readers off.
How do I write a good subject line?
A good subject line will pique readers’ interest enough to make them open emails. While writing a subject line, get to the point in about six to eight words. Put the most crucial information at the beginning since you don’t know how much of the subject line will be seen on a mobile device, and you wouldn’t want the most compelling info to be cut off. Don’t waste precious space with filler words like “hello” or “nice to meet you.” Finally, be specific, and the subject line should communicate precisely what the email is about, thoroughly grabbing their attention.
How can I increase my click-through rate?
There are several ways to increase your click-through rates. First, optimize your headline and copy by putting one or two keywords in them. Next, include a direct and compelling CTA in a font and potentially another color that stands out from the rest of the text. Use visuals to increase CTR. Run A/B tests to know which type of images works best for your business. Finally, use hashtags across multiple platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Find trending hashtags related to your copy to increase your target audience’s chance of seeing your content.
How do I write a great call to action?
The best call to action should be catchy and precise and make the reader do what you want while giving them what they want. Start strong and use authoritative language like “Learn More,” “Watch”, “Click,” “Join Now,” “Shop,” and the like. No ambiguity here. Make it low risk and let your audience know that they are simply finding out more without any commitment. Use persuasive words that will encourage people to follow your direction. Put in the sense of urgency like “Buy now, Limited time offer”. Finally, make the CTA pop off the page by using colors and highlights that make it stand out and catch the eyes of the audience.
What should my FROM line say?
The most crucial aspect of your From line in the email address is that the audience should instantly recognize where the email is from without confusion. You can either put your company name or your own name to send a personalized email. But in the second instance, be clear that you represent which company to avoid confusion among subscribers. A lot rides on knowing the source of the email as it will decide whether the email will be opened or not.
What does the CAN-SPAM law say?
The CAN-SPAM Act specifies commercial email rules, establishes commercial messages requirements, gives recipients the right to have you stop emailing them, and spells out tough penalties for violations. Non-compliance can be costly as each separate email violation of the Act is subject to penalties of up to $46,517. To avoid these consequences, don’t use false or misleading header information, don’t use deceptive subject lines, provide your location to recipients, and tell recipients how to opt-out from receiving emails from you in the future. When a request is received for unsubscribing from the list, honor it promptly.