Creating an email marketing strategy is one of the smartest moves you can do for your business today. Why? Because it works.
People exchange billions of emails everyday and they will continue to do so. The number of emails sent daily is growing and is expected to reach a whopping 320 billion daily emails by the year 2021. This just goes on to show that email is here to stay.
Talking from a purely business point of view, email marketing has been proven to give a better return on investment when compared to many other marketing channels and methods such as organic SEO and PPC. According to the DMA National Client Email Report, successful email marketing ROI is a solid 3,800%.
However, in order to succeed and truly understand the benefits of email marketing, it’s important to have an effective strategy up your sleeve. Reaching your marketing goals and connecting to the right people is all about sticking to your email marketing strategy, and making sure you stay focused on it.
Also, just the way it is important to document any other marketing strategy (such as content marketing), you need to document your email strategy as well, as it increases your chances of success.
It’s important to note that most people fail with email marketing because they fail to plan their moves.
By having an email strategy that is focused, you are not only motivated to take the right actions but also find yourself accountable. Which gives you enough clarity with each of your email marketing campaigns. With the right strategy you will know what kind of emails to send out and when to send them.
In the following blog post we look into how you can plan and execute an effective email marketing strategy without compromising on your big business goals.
How to Improve Your Email Marketing Strategy
Tip #1: Focus on Improving Key Metrics
When you know what type of goals or objectives to go after for your email marketing strategy, you find it easier to achieve them. So yes, choosing your email marketing goals is the first step to making your strategy result-oriented.
Start by understanding what you seek to achieve with your business this year and in the coming years. Once you know your broad business goals, you’ll be able to see how your email marketing strategy contributes or helps you reach them. Next, make a list of these improvement areas so that you can align them to your goals.
Here are a few metrics to focus on improving when planning your goals:
- Get More Email Signups: By focusing on the increasing the size of your subscriber list, you’ll be in the position to connect to more “relevant” people and build lasting relationships. This is important for your email marketing strategy because you need an audience to increase the likelihood of making sales via email. The bigger and the more targeted your email list is, the better results you will see in the long run.
- Get Better Email Open Rates: The number of times your emails get opened is a metric that you cannot and should not ignore. Because if a large number of your subscribers don’t open your emails, it would be difficult to engage them with the right message. Even if you have a big email list, you will not see results until and unless you boost the number of subscribers you interact with.
- Get Better Click-Through Rates: The reason why you have an email list is and why email marketing is your choice is because you can grow your business through it. And that only happens when your subscribers do business with you. By working on your click-through rates (CTR), you automatically increase the chances of making more sales with your emails. Having a good percentage of your subscribers clicking on the links in your email proves that you are providing them the value that you’re supposed to give.
- Get Lower Unsubscribes and Complaints: This is one email marketing goal that many businesses tend to ignore. Just the way it is important to add more quality users subscribing to your email list, it’s also important to retain them. So focus on sharing valuable content and relevant resources with your subscribers as it helps bring down the number of unsubscribes, inactive subscribers and spam complaints. While these may not disappear completely, lowering them will make a significant impact on the your email marketing results.
Having these goals is not enough. You also need to fully commit to them so that you not only achieve better email marketing results in the long run.
Tip #2: Know Your Target Audience
In order to get the most out of your email marketing strategy, it’s important to understand your target audience. This not only helps you improve your overall email marketing efforts, but also makes a positive impact on the number of new subscribers and sales you generate. If you don’t know your ideal customer, email marketing only gets difficult and confusing.
Here’s how you can define your target customers and increase the ROI you get from your email marketing efforts:
- First and foremost, you should fully understand the kind of problems you’re solving for your potential customers. When you are clear about these problems, you’ll naturally have a better idea of who has them.
- Create a picture of your ideal customer and stick to it when marketing through email. You can do so by making a list of all types of customers that may need your solution. Try and define your customers in a number of relevant ways. Group them by location, interests, gender, etc.
- Focus on the right niche as it helps you segment your marketing and reach out to the right people. Your email marketing needs a direction and by finding a niche, you’ll know how to impress your audience.
- Analyze your competition to see who you are up against. Do you have a unique selling point that the others don’t have? How different are you? Finding the answers to these questions will tell you if you’re targeting the right market and if your product/service is relevant.
There’s nothing worse than wasting your time and money on marketing to the wrong segment of the market. Your email marketing needs a firm direction. By understanding your ideal audience, you minimize your risks in more than one way.
Tip #3: Personalize Your Email Messages
Personalization is an integral part of an effective email marketing strategy. Without it, you simply won’t see the results you’re looking for.
Now, personalization isn’t limited to using the first name of your subscriber in the email subject lines of your follow-up messages or email content. It’s about knowing prospects/customer’s needs and then leveraging this information to deliver value. It’s about using personal data in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise use.
Let’s look into a few aspects to keep in mind when it comes to giving your email list an impressionable personalized experience that translates into more business for your company.
- Give them Control
Email inboxes these days are brimming with not-so-useful information, which is why people have become careful about who they let in. So it makes sense to offer different choices of email content (newsletters, reports, etc.) to different segments of your audience. This helps you convert more and at the same brings down the unsubscribe rate.
You can also give help them decide when they would like to receive emails from you. Right from the day of the week to time of the day. Don’t just stop at giving them options before signing up, but also after they join your list so that they can customize their email preferences whenever they want. Remember, retaining subscribers is equally important.
- Know them Better
Without the right level of information about your subscribers, how can you effectively personalize your email marketing automation? Which is why it makes sense to get them to complete a survey asking about personal details about them such as their interests, job title and industry. Make sure you offer them of something of value in exchange for their details.
You should think about personalization right at your opt-in or sign up form. Try to grab their basic details such as name, location and the company they work for. This will enable you to personalize your email messages from the word go. However, it’s better to avoid asking for any information that’s not necessary as it will only bring down your conversion rate.
Also, focus on learning about your subscribers from their behavior. Conduct regular A/B tests to get an insight into what they prefer. The information you learn here will prove to be of great help when you segment your subscribers and make your marketing even more targeted.
- Be Real
Give your subscribers a reason to put their confidence in you by being real and human in your approach. Avoid using a [email protected] for your own email address as it doesn’t give that personal feel. You want to make your messages as authentic looking as possible. The best email domains use a real reply address that adds to your credibility and doesn’t make you look like an automated bot.
You should also use a conversational tone in the email by using words that showcase you as a human. Use “I” instead of “We” and “Me” instead of “We”. This may seem like a small step but it will make a huge difference.
Tip #4: Effectively Segment Your Email List
Making email marketing work gets easy when you know how to send more relevant emails to your subscribers. When you divide your email list into various segments based on interests or needs, you’ll know exactly how your email communication should be. Email list segmentation is not new, but it’s still not used as widely as should be. Which gives you an opportunity to have an edge over your competitors who aren’t practicing it.
The good thing about email list segmentation is you’re only limited by the type of customer data you have on hand. In other words, you can segment your email list in more than one way if you have the right data.
However, in order to get real-world results with email list segmentation, you need to keep your main business’s core email marketing strategy in mind and at the same time know more about your customer’s buying decisions.
For now, let’s have a look at three interesting and effective ways to segment your email subscribers to create relevant emails that get results:
A) Segment by Location
If you run an ecommerce business or a business that is location-intensive, then it makes real sense to segment your email list by geography. By targeting your subscribers based on their location, you may see a much better response for your automated email campaigns.
You should segment your list by geography when:
- You are sending out special invitations to local events relevant to your customers
- Your company or business operates in a certain geographic boundary
- You are establishing your presence or brand in a new location
These are just a few ideas as to how list segmentation based on geography can work for you. But every business is different with different goals, so it always helps to get creative and think out of the box.
B) Segment by Industry or Role
This applies to you especially when you are running a B2B company. When you’re communicating via email to your B2B prospects or customers, they will respond better if the emails are tailored to them based on their role or the industry they work in. Your email communication becomes more relevant when you speak to your recipient in their language.
Would you speak the same way to a dentist as you would to an account? Would you speak the same way to a company’s CEO as you would to its Marketing Manager? Of course not. Your subscribers work in different industries and have varied roles, which means their goals are also different. They all may be interested in the same product, but their purpose could be different. By segmenting this way, your email marketing can experience a higher click-through rate.
C) Segment by Content Consumed
While targeting by geography or role makes sense, it’s still not based on real data. But when you segment based on the type of content that interests your subscribers, you’re no longer segmenting based on assumptions. You can find out what content interests your email subscribers by analyzing how they behave with the content on your site. What blog posts have they read? What videos have they viewed? How much time did they spend consuming a piece of content on your site? What whitepapers or other materials have they downloaded?
Tip #5: Make Your Emails Mobile Friendly
Gone are the days when consumers were dependent on their computers or laptops to check their emails. Today, things are different. Mobile devices are dominating the technology landscape. Even Google agrees to that with their Mobilegeddon algorithm update. Which means your email templates have to cater to mobile users in order to see targeted results.
However, focusing on mobile friendly email design is not that straightforward. Any business, including yours, needs to approach the whole email creation process differently. While most companies are aware about desktops, not many are aware about the importance of mobile in email marketing.
Here are some ways you can make your email newsletters and campaigns mobile friendly:
- Create Shorter Subject Lines
Prospects and customers accessing your emails from their mobile devices don’t have as much as space as other desktop countertops. Due to the inherent nature of mobile devices, there isn’t much space. Which means you have to make it easier for them to get your message before opening it. Your subject line has to give them a clear idea about the content of your email. Or else it may affect your open rate in the long run.
The number one rule of making your subject lines effective for mobile viewing is to shorten them while keeping them meaningful. Keep them to the point and don’t make your recipient do the guesswork. The fewer the words, the better it is. Brevity is the name of the game when writing short subject lines. And to avoid getting your emails filtered and marked as spam, avoid using exclamation points and all caps. Also, keep in mind that the following words/ phrases could lessen the chances of your emails getting seen by your subscribers.
– limited time
– today only
– special offer
Use enticing subject lines without a hard sell. If it’s too obvious that you’re trying to sell them a new product or something right from the start, they probably wouldn’t even open your email to see what’s inside. Remember, once they open the email you have the whole body to impress them with your content.
- Use Right Images
Email marketing can feel dry if you’re not making it interesting with relevant images. Customers tend to give better responses to marketing campaigns that are easier to go through.
The good thing is images not only enhance the experience of your email recipient but are equally enticing on desktops and mobile devices. It’s a good idea to limit the size of your images to 640 pixels (in width) so that they won’t get cut off.
These images contribute greatly to your mobile friendly design, especially when you’re sending promotional emails.
- Focus on Your Email’s Call to Action
Your email marketing campaign will prove to be a failure if it doesn’t have the right call to action in place. Each of your emails needs to end with a call to action. But since you don’t have much real estate on a mobile device, your call to action should be clearly placed and be visible to your readers. They shouldn’t have to search around to look for it. Last but not the least, double check to ensure that the call to action is linking to the right landing page.
Tip #6: Pay Attention to Deliverability
It’s good to focus on the superficial aspects of your email marketing such as the copy and the subject line, but that does not mean that you overlook other issues that may affect the overall results you achieve. A lot of companies tend to lose money by not realizing that their emails are not reaching the intended recipients. A study conducted by Return Path found that as much as 12% of your emails don’t hit the inbox and at least 7% go into the junk folder.
Now, 20% is a serious figure, considering you’re putting in so much effort into your email marketing campaign. It’s important that you bring that number down by paying real attention to deliverability. How? Let’s find out.
A. Ask them to Whitelist Your Email
Becoming a trusted sender should be the first and the most important step you take towards improving your chances of getting your emails delivered. As soon as someone joins your email list, send them a welcome email and include a section wherein you can ask them to whitelist your messages by adding it to their address book.
This is also called the approved list or the “trusted sender” list, depending on the email client they’re working with. Make sure your ‘From Email Address’ is not too complicated, or else they might not type the correct email in their contact list.
B. Keep the Email Spam Filters in Mind
Your emails will get trapped by email filters if you don’t work by their rules. So make sure you check everything – right from the subject line to the email copy to avoid looking like a spammy email.
As a thumbs rule, avoid using spammy words, incomplete physical address, excessive punctuation, misleading/missing subject line, etc.
C. Analyze Bounce Rate
Just the way it is important to keep an eye on your spam reports, you should also analyze your bounce reports. You want to ensure that you’re not emailing bad email addresses again and again. Because repeat bounces are a problem and can affect the deliverability of your emails. So look out for emails that keep bouncing and strike them off your list.
D. Use a Good Email Service Provider
Many times your deliverability issues can persist if you’re not using a reputable email marketing tool such as MailChimp, AWeber, Constant Contact, and etc. Choose an email service provider that has built a good relationship with Internet Service Providers overtime and are whitelisted. Even though your emails are permission-based, they need an effective service provider to reach the intended inboxes. The bottom line is, you have to see to it that the company you choose has firm permission policies and an anti-blocking team working with you.
Do you need help in planning and executing your email marketing strategy? Our email marketing service agency can help you achieve your goals while staying in budget. Also feel free to get in touch with us with any queries or if you need clarity. Contact us to find out how we can help you connect to your target audience and convert prospects into customers with the power of email marketing.