What is Email Marketing?
You have heard of email marketing repeatedly on the internet, at conferences and during marketing strategy meetings. They say email marketing enriches business communications, targets specific key markets, and is both cost-effective and environmentally friendly. But what exactly is email marketing and how does it work? How is an email more effective than a radio spot or television advertisement and why should a business spend the time to maintain an email list?
Email marketing occurs when a company sends a commercial message to a group of people by use of electronic email. Most commonly through advertisements, requests for business, or sales or donation solicitation, any email communication is considered email marketing if it helps to build customer loyalty, trust in a product or company or brand recognition. Email marketing is an efficient way to stay connected with your clients while also promoting your business.
With email marketing, you can easily and quickly reach target markets without the need for large quantities of print space, television or radio time or high production costs. Thanks to effective email marketing software, you can maintain an email list that has been segmented based on several factors including the length of time addresses have been on the list, customers’ likes and dislikes, spending habits and other important criteria. Emails are then created and sent out to specifically target members of your email list, providing them with a personalized email detailing information that they are interested in or have requested. This helps promote trust and loyalty to a company while also increasing sales.
DO use segmentation and targeting
Perform segmentation per behavior, preferences and demographics and personalize the emails you send to fit the preferences and interests of the recipients. You can target your audience according to gender, interests, language or business, for example. Tip: Ask from subscribers to update their preferences.
DON’T send your campaigns without testing
A/B testing should be used to improve response. Test your email, your landing pages, your subject lines, your tracking, your personalization and all the other essential email elements. Don’t forget, it is quite easy to make a mistake. Also make sure to check what your emails look like in different browsers and devices before sending.
DO track your campaigns
You can track your campaigns even automatically from the email software you use via Google Analytics Tracking or even by using manually a Google URL Builder by adding tracking parameters to your links’ URLs. Measure, track and use that data you receive for open rates, bounce rates etc. It is also very important to detect the best time to begin your email campaigns, based on the data you receive (days and hours you have the higher CTR etc).
DON’T neglect the power of mobile
The era of mobile is here to stay. You need to be able to send mobile optimized emails and use templates that are cross device friendly. Fortunately, all email software companies provide this opportunity with only a click of a button.
DO have a template that engages recipients
Use a headline and a pre-header for your campaign’s copy. This is a good way to reinforce your message. Brand elements must also be clear and combined with engaged imagery. Your email should answer the most FAQ, highlight main services & sales channels and include recognizable call to action buttons. Tip: Left columns are effective for CTAs according to eye catching searches’ results.
DON’T have multiple goals in each campaign
Hybrid emails with multiple elements and goals is the best practice, so you should not overload a single email with multiple goals. This confuses the viewer and takes his attention from your real goal.
DO add more animation
People love images, more than text. Video, gifs and animations included in the emails will certainly stand out from other email communication as they are considered powerful for storytelling while showing that your business makes an effort to communicate to the next level.
DON’T hide the Unsubscribe link
Each email should contain an unsubscribe link, make it as easy as possible for people to leave your list if they want.
DO integrate in a multi-channel way
It is vital for the other channels of your business to be cohesive e.g. social media website and offline communication with email campaigns. The copy and the images of all channels should be consistent with your brand and have common touch points.
DON’T dispatch emails to a long list of customers using the cc: function
Even if it seems convenient enough to send a long list of emails in such way, your customers doesn’t wish to have their email address displayed everywhere and it is also one of the reasons why your message will end up into the spam folder.
DO include Multiple Avenues to Contact
Including your phone number, social links and other forms of contact provides flexibility to the reader and encourages engagement from your customers. In this way, you can remind your audience that they can also engage with your brand on other platforms.
DON’T send Emails Too Frequently
The frequency of the emails is very important. A common practice is to send your newsletter about once per month or try a regular schedule as for example every third Thursdays so that people don’t forget about your business. If you send less frequently, you run the risk of recipients forgetting that they have even signed up.
DO use a welcome email and goodbye email
One of the best practices for your “welcome” email (once someone is subscribed) is to have a short list of what he should expect from you and your next campaigns and provide him with an incentive such as benefits for staying subscribed, offers and discount codes. You should also be able to customize an automated “goodbye” email that gets sent to everyone who opts out. In this way you can take feedback and prevent other unsubscribes.
DON’T forget to clean up your list
The sender score and list hygiene can kill your deliverability and your account’s reputation. You need to remove unsubscribes, bounced and invalid email addresses so as to not harm your list hygiene.
DO take into account the recipients’ customized needs
For example, if a customer buys a product then it won’t be appropriate to continue emailing him about that product, so you need to have some rules for such emails. You can also reach out subscribers that show no activity or honor loyal viewers of your emails by letting them be the first to know about new products or by providing them exclusive giveaways.
DON’T buy a list!
There’s no reason to send a newsletter to someone who doesn’t want to receive information. Bought lists can result to inactive emails, or emails from companies that have closed, not to mention the legal risks and delivery problems that may occur.