Top 10 Email Marketing Secrets: Part 1
A 5 Part Series on How to Use Email Marketing for Your Business
Part 1: A Powerful Tool for Building Your Business: Email Marketing, Demystified
Email marketing is an essential component to generating revenue for your online business. If your website acts as your digital storefront, email marketing is your salesperson. How compelling are they? Here’s the thing: email is one of the simplest and most effective ways to not only reach and communicate with clients and customers, but to keep them coming back. If you’re not utilizing a profitable email marketing campaign for your online business, you’re doing it wrong.
So, what makes a profitable email marketing campaign? Let’s break it down.
Remember: You’re not sharing products or information about your company, you’re offering solutions. Your customers and potential customers face challenges that need solving—a new coat, holiday gift ideas, marketing services, anything. An effective email marketing campaign will bring solutions to customer inboxes in the form of snappy, eye-catching messages. That means engaging copy and calls to action (CTAs), striking graphics or important attachments, all tailored to the individual customer demands.
You want to receive good, relevant and consistent email. So send good, relevant and consistent email. That takes segmentation. By segmenting your email lists, you’re able to target your versatile contact database and send individual customers exactly what they want to read. Through email marketing, you’re engaging customers and potential customers in a conversation. It’s up to you to keep them interested. Tell them what they want to hear, show them what they want to see. In other words: trigger actionable emails based on customer behavior patterns and send the right content at the right time. In order to stay relevant, segmentation is critical.
Side note: Since personalization is key, it’s a good idea to send emails from an actual person (i.e., email@example.com rather than firstname.lastname@example.org, which is more likely to end up in the dreaded spam folder).
Thank You for Sharing
Include those little social media sharing buttons with each email blast to help cross-pollinate your campaigns. If the content is compelling enough (and it ought to be—subject lines, for example, should be impeccable and eye-catching as newspaper headlines), customers and potential customers will click-through and share on their own social media platforms, organically driving traffic and subscribers (your customers’ friends and followers, their friends and followers, etc.) to your online business. This is one of the simplest ways to increase revenue, establish brand awareness, and add to your company’s digital footprint and data trail.
Integrating and promoting social media sharing options into your email marketing campaigns can organically extend reach, increase potential clicks and conversions, and provide yet another platform to connect and communicate with customers and potential customers in different ways.
Some insider tips:
- Feature the social media sharing buttons in a conspicuous place (i.e., header or footer)
- Include a social media call to action (“Share this email” “Follow us” “Stalk us”)
- Dedicate occasional emails entirely to your brand’s social media (invite users to engage in a social media contest, event, takeover, etc.)
- Include simple “Retweet” and/or “Share” options
- Provide incentive (“Follow us on Facebook for exclusive content, insider advice, deals, etc.)
Timing Is Everything (well, almost everything)
The world of email marketing is a delicate ecosystem. If you’re quiet, you’re forgotten; if you bombard customers with too many emails, you’ll lose subscribers. The trick is to find a balance. How? That depends on the target demographic. Emails to business clients will of course yield better results when sent during work hours (keeping time zones in mind), email campaigns targeting Millennials could be more effective during weekends and evenings, and so on. Nobody knows your clients and customers better than you, so take their prospective availability into consideration.
You can narrow down the most effective times through simply A/B testing a small sampling of a segment. This strategy allows you to monitor engagements, unsubscribe requests, and returns on investment (ROIs), before implementing your campaign on the entire segment. If one strategy doesn’t work, try changing the content or subject lines, calls to action, length of messages, layouts, etc. Most importantly, try changing the time of day at which the emails are sent. Some sources believe midday is primetime to send emails, while other swear by the weekend. Whatever your customers respond to, run with it.
Heads-up: According to HubSpot, emails containing the words “you” “quick” “meeting” and “fw:” were found to be less effective (read: unopened). But emails with the words “free” and “tomorrow” or those with no subject at all proved more successful. This of course is relative to your target demographic.