5 best practices for email marketersBy Whitney Zelmer on June 16th, 2016
I’ve heard some people say email isn’t a very effective marketing tool. But as a marketer, I have to disagree.
Email marketing remains a big part of the job when it comes to your firm’s outreach. I’m certainly not alone in this opinion—some of the biggest names in the biz have stated without a doubt that email marketing is their key to success. Even smaller startups have attributed boosts in sales to a well-planned email marketing campaign. Do it right and you can reap big rewards!
Here are five best practices for your email marketing strategy.
1.Build a targeted list
As everyone in the marketing department knows, building targeted lists with relevant and up-to-date contacts is essential to the success of any marketing effort. These lists, for some firms, are the bread and butter of the business—hence their extreme value and why they’re kept close to the chest.
There’s no secret to building the perfect list. It’s really as simple as providing something to your audience that compels them to want more. If you provide great content on your blog along with a succinct call to action, your list will grow. Strong social media content with a click-through to sign up for money-saving promotions, discount options or to receive a regular and informative newsletters is a great way to build your list. Ensure when they click through, there’s a big, bold and easy-to-complete form to sign up!
2. Set up a schedule
Although it takes some effort, preparing an email schedule that includes all your key messaging can save you a ton of time in the long run. I like to use a calendar format or an Excel document. Included on this document is a subject line, a brief overview of the content and a strong call to action. Prepare this in advance and you won’t find yourself scrambling to think of something to write about at the last minute. Take some time when you’re feeling creative and write a bunch of subject lines, jot down some points to be included in the mailer, and find or create some stunning graphics that apply.
Unlike some, I firmly believe there’s a limit to how many times your readers want to hear from you. Try to limit your emails (especially if you’re sharing the same information in different ways) to no more than three per week. It doesn’t matter how much your readers enjoy receiving the latest news from company A or how often they’ll buy from company B, too many emails can be tedious and could ultimately end up losing you subscribers.
3. Create great content
This is the most essential part of your email marketing campaign. Obviously, sending the same message day after day is not the best practice. If you have a similar message to convey to your list, think of as many different ways to say it without being repetitive. First and foremost, write a compelling subject line that will make your readers want to open the email. It shouldn’t be too long, and it definitely shouldn’t make a promise that the body of the email doesn’t keep—stay away from clickbait. Nobody wants to open an email based on the subject line and find the content within completely irrelevant.
There are many benefits that great content brings to your organization, including more inbound traffic to your site, increased engagement with targeted audiences, the generation of more leads, increase in sales, brand awareness, establish your spokesperson as a thought leader and more.
Change the graphics so the visual story is always different, as well. Beautifully designed headers and photos are also a great way to compel readers. Besides graphics, create some fun video or animated GIFs and include those in your email.
Just because your emails may be targeted to accounting firms or those at the C-suite level, don’t make the mistake of thinking they want formal, stale content. They too want to have a little fun and read something humorous and engaging. Don’t take your audience too seriously!
Marketers today need to be good storytellers. Even if you or your client is making or doing something very niche that only .01% of the population will ever understand, it’s the job of the marketing team to tell that story in the most compelling way possible. If it’s not the product, maybe it’s about the people behind the product or those that benefit from this unique tool.
You should be on a first-name basis with your list. Personalize your emails right in the subject line and, chances are, your open rate will increase.
4. Make your emails mobile-friendly
I don’t have to quote statistics on how many people read emails on their mobile device. Almost all of us do it. But there’s nothing worse than clicking to read an interesting story and finding you have to expand the image in your phone, and scroll from side to side to get the gist of it. There are so many great email tools available there really is no excuse for your emails to not be mobile-friendly. Free services like MailChimp, or more comprehensive marketing automation software like Hubspot, can make your emails easy to read on small devices.
5. Do some testing
If you’re using email software, there are ways to do A/B testing. Create more than one email campaign but change the subject lines or content slightly. Use some with graphics and video and some without. Your software will report on which email received the most engagement. Do this a number of times and you’ll start to really get to know your audience and what entices them to open, click on and engage with your strong call to action.
Once you’ve taken all these necessary steps, you’ll get a real handle on the best practices for email marketing to your potential customer base.
Now go out there, get creative and have some fun!