Email marketing is still as relevant as ever and is a direct line to your customers – more about the benefits here.
As one of the most cost effective marketing strategies, if you are not already doing email marketing then you are missing out on a great opportunity.
Today I am writing about some of the lessons that I have learned first hand while conducting the email marketing campaigns for e-CBD and our email marketing clients.
First things first: Make Sure You Are Collecting E-mail Addresses
This one seems a bit obvious, but it is important to set up systems so that you are always collecting the email addresses of your clients/customers and even your potential clients/customers.
It is surprising how many businesses who are not currently doing e-mail marketing are also not making an effort to collect the e-mail addresses of their clients.
The 3 rules about collecting email addresses:
- If you are currently doing email marketing, you should be regularly collecting new email addresses and updating your email database.
- If you are planning to do email marketing in the future, you should be regularly collecting email addresses.
- If you hate email marketing and have no plans to ever engage in email marketing at any time, you should still be regularly collecting the email addresses of your clients.
Methods for collecting email addresses
There are several ways that you can routinely collect email addresses. You can automate the process by using the email or newsletter subscribe forms that are provided by email marketing platforms such as Mailchimp or Campaign Monitor.
These forms are embedded on your website and allow visitors to subscribe to your email campaigns.
If your website has online quote forms, contact forms or enquiry forms, you can integrate an e-mail promotion ‘opt in’ checkbox. This will automatically add the email addresses of clients/customers that fill out your forms to your email marketing list if they choose to opt in.
Manual email address collection
Your business may use a CRM (customer relationship manager) that has a field for the email address of your customers. You will be able to export these email addresses and upload them to your email list.
You can also simply add the email address of each of your customers to an excel spreadsheet as you collect them. This could be through:
- Paper forms filled out in store.
- E-mails sent directly to you.
- From the e-mail field on your website’s contact/quote forms.
These emails can then be periodically added to your email marketing master list.
Use a Nice Template
An email template provides a reliable framework that will allow you to quickly build elegant and consistent email campaigns.
Before you start sending out EDM blasts, you need to get set up with a good quality email template.
A good email template will be responsive, clean and content focused. Responsive email templates scale to display correctly on whatever sized screen the email is opened on. This is very important in 2018 because according to Campaign Monitor, over 50% of emails are opened on a mobile device.
There are plenty of free and premium email templates around that are easy to customise and can be great for getting started with email marketing.
A good quality email template will set you up for email marketing success and also make your email campaigns more consistent, more efficient and accessible to all of your audience.
Keep Your Content Focused
It is really important to keep the messaging clear and concise when you are building an email marketing campaign.
Each EDM should focus on one topic/product/category of items with your aim to entice the reader into completing an action.
It happens all too often that I see EDMs and they try to ‘sell’ every product, every product category or every service that a business offers.
This much information can be overwhelming for the user and makes it more likely that they will close your email and even unsubscribe from your list.
The general rules of creating your content should be:
- KISS (keep it simple, stupid.)
- Less is more.
The only time these rules do not apply is when you are sending a purely informative EDM, such as a newsletter that is recapping recent news/events. In this case, you can load it full of as much good stuff as you want.
One more content tip: Avoid asking your audience too many rhetorical questions in your email body.
If you try to write compelling copy and you find that you keep asking the audience questions, keep that content and then re-write that message as a descriptive statement.
Change this: How would you like a surfing holiday in the beautiful Maldives?
To this: You’ve been working hard lately, it’s time for a holiday. The Maldives are calling you to relax with sun, surf and beautiful beaches.
Create a Call to Action
A call to action is simply a marketing term that means a piece of content that grabs the reader’s attention and encourages them perform a particular action.
In an EDM, a call to action is usually a link that when clicked will direct the user to a landing page that you have set up on your website or to a product page, product category, quote form or contact form.
You should try to only have 1 primary call to action in your EDM so that you don’t overwhelm your readers and give them decision fatigue.
Calls to action should be obvious (use a contrasting colour), whether it is in the form of a linked image or a button with action inducing text such as ‘learn more’, ‘read more’, ‘find out how’, ‘register now’ etc.
Write A Strong Subject Line
Your email subject line can ultimately be the difference between someone opening your email or deleting it.
The subject line gives the first impression of the email and users will judge the content inside based on the email subject. This means that your email subject lines need to be strong so that they encourage as many users as possible to open your EDM.
Here are some general guidelines to keep in mind when writing your email subject lines:
Test different types of subject lines
I would encourage you to try some different styles of subject lines with your audience and see what gets the best responses in terms of open rate and conversions. A few of the different types of subject lines that:
- Convey urgency.
- Pique curiosity
- Promote special offers.
- Use big name/famous name recognition.
- Use humour ie quirky/funny/witty.
- Play on current events & news.
Be direct & concise.
Many email clients cut off the subject line once it reaches a certain length, so it is best to keep the subject short, punchy and straight to the point.
Don’t go for misleading or clickbait phrases because that trend has been done to death. We live in the age of clickbait, your audience will see straight through it and either delete your email or even unsubscribe.
Make an offer.
If you have a promotion running or you are able to include a special offer for anyone that completes your call to action, be sure to notify your audience. Including this in the subject line is a sure way to encourage a higher open rate.
Use personalisation when appropriate.
If it fits the content of your EDM, include personalisation in the subject line. Using the users first name can make the email seem more targeted and can encourage more users to take action.
Tell the audience what content is inside.
Be upfront with your readers about the content of the email. This can sometimes result in a lower open rate, however it means that the users that do open your email are more interested in the subject matter and also more likely to convert.
Remember: Open rate is not the most important metric in your email marketing, what you really want is your audience to take action and convert.
Experiment With Timing & Frequency
Timing & frequency can really influence the open rate, conversion rate & unsubscribes of your EDMs. It is important to experiment with timing and see how this affects these metrics.
In my experience, I have found that the best times for sales/conversion based EDM’s are usually around the middle of the week Tuesday – Thursday.
Timing should be around 10am – 11am which is just after your typical daily workers have gotten into the day and might be looking for a distraction.
If you are sending an urgent alert or a newsletter, these time guidelines are much looser.
The frequency of your EDM’s can also have a big impact on conversions and unsubscribes so ensure you are not spamming your audience with emails.
Nobody likes a spammer, so sending 1 – 3 EDM’s a month to the same email list will usually be your ideal sending numbers. This frequency is enough to keep you in the mind of your audience and also generate the best results without (hopefully) annoying anyone.
Hopefully you found some of these tips for email marketing informative and useful and will keep them in mind when you create your email marketing campaign.
If email marketing seems like it is too hard or too time consuming, we can help you out.
At e-CBD we run many email marketing campaigns that involve creating content and sending out EDM’s on behalf of our clients.