When it comes to marketing, there are a variety of ways to contact your audience. Conventional forms like TV and radio ads, billboards, and direct mail are still useful for the improvement of reputation. However, in an era where everyone is online, it’s also important to keep an eye on the digital landscape.
That’s the matter with email marketing. While everyone knows how to send an email, doing so effectively as a marketer takes a lot of strategic thinking and testing.
What is email marketing?
As the name suggests, email marketing is direct communication that you send to your prospects and customers to promote your business. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. You are not just sending messages that say “Buy now!” as you see on TV.
There are many elements to this type of transmission, all of which are equally significant: Write a subject line that is convincing enough to get people to open the email in the first place. Useful information that the reader can act on instantly, regardless of whether they buy something from you. A call to action so they learn more about your company, download an eBook, sign up for a webinar, or take some other desired action.
And if they do not take the desired action? No problem. One of the aspects of email marketing is fostering leads. Keep courting them and providing them with value.
How does email marketing work?
Email marketing keeps your business at the top of your target audience’s minds. You can do this by designing emails to include different types of information.
They are sent out regularly so that you reach the forefront whenever your target audience needs related content and/or is ready to purchase something. At the same time, they are sent at sufficient intervals to avoid being considered annoying and reported as spam.
Advantages of email marketing
Email marketing is very compelling because of its many advantages. Apart from being cost-effective and easy to start, companies that embrace this practice use it for the following reasons:
Send emails to individuals who have given consent to receive emails
Unlike the millions of people who skip ads on YouTube, pay for a premium membership to avoid ads on digital platforms, or scroll through their phones while TV ads are running, email marketing messages are sent to people who have willingly opted in to receive your communications. They already know your brand and are interested in learning more and staying in touch. Even if they signed up for your email list because you offered them a discount code, that means they are interested in what you are selling.
Straightforward admission to the target market
In addition to the above, you reach your target audience in their inbox. No middlemen, editors, or competing for ad slot. This is the difference between a keynote speaker talking to an audience and a face-to-face dialogue with an attendee. With the latter type of interaction, you are more likely to get their interest.
Customers open based on their comfort
Traditional forms of marketing can be disruptive. Even if someone is interested in the products or services, they are busy at the time they see them – or they are just not in the mood – so they are unlikely to give your content the attention it deserves. However, people open and read their emails when they have the time.
The chance for personalization
Email marketing gives you the capability to categorize your contacts and send each group information that is particularly concerning them. You can welcome them by name, welcome them back, send them useful content based on their inquiries, suggest products based on previous purchases, or even simply wish them a happy birthday.
When you send your contacts information that is relevant to them, they are more likely to become customers. That’s because email marketing gives readers a platform to stay in touch with you over the long term. This may be because they read your messages, take your quizzes, complete surveys, or click through to your website to access the benefits described in the email.
You can evaluate the progress
Every time you send a marketing email, you can track how many people open the email, how many click through to your website, and how many take the expected action you asked them to take in your email. With all of these insights, you can determine what’s working and what needs to be changed. For example, a low open rate means you need to work on your subject lines. A low click-through rate means you should try different call-to-action buttons.
How to construct an email list to begin
Building your email list demands some creativity. First, you need to create attractive forms that your audience will want to fill out. May we recommend HubSpot Marketing Hub or Mailchimp for this purpose? They are easy to use, offer a variety of templates, and do not require any programming skills.
But wait! That’s not all! Even if many people sign up to your email list by their own will, you’ll need to put more effort into getting people to give you their contact information. This can be in the form of:
- Discount Codes
- white papers
- Case studies
- Free participation in a webinar
- A signed book (if you are an author)
- Sample pieces
- Free demos
You can also run contests and giveaways and promote them with pop-up forms, or create surveys or quizzes and ask for participants’ email addresses to get the results.
However, just do not buy an email list. While it may be attractive to do this when you are starting from scratch, by doing so you are likely to upset a whole group of people who never wanted to hear from you. This increases the possibility that you will be reported as spam and that you will be contacted by incompetent prospects. Remember, quality over quantity. It’s better to have a small number of people who are likely to purchase hundreds of people who are wasting your time.
Email marketing terms that you need to know
Now that you know some basic benefits of email marketing. It’s time to enlighten yourself with common terms. That way, you can better comprehend what’s going on with your campaigns.
Email service provider (ESP)
An email service provider is a platform that allows you to create and store a list of email contacts and then send your marketing emails at predetermined times. Most of these providers have additional features to optimize your email campaigns. For example, they offer automation features, additional templates for creating landing pages and forms, segmenting your contacts into categories (which allows you to send personalized emails), and A/B testing.
Which ESP is best for you depends on several factors:
- The number of contacts in your email list
- Scaling capabilities
- Integration with your existing technical system
- Ease of use
- Data recovery
- Security and safety
- Customer Support
This term refers to the capability for your content to be automatically triggered by specific user behavior. For example, you can send a welcome email to a first-time subscriber or follow-up information to a repeat customer. Other examples include left carts, happy birthday wishes, or any content that relates to previous interaction with a specific customer.
The open rate displays how many people opened your emails. This is one of the most important metrics in any email marketing campaign. To calculate it, divide the number of emails read by the number of emails delivered. What makes a good open rate depends on your industry, so this will be part of your market research.
Click-Through Rate (CTR)
The click-through rate shows how many people clicked on the call-to-action button. To calculate it, divide the number of people who clicked on the CTAs in your marketing emails by the number of emails opened. If your CTR is low within your industry’s standards, try different A/B tests: you can change the color and/or shape of the button, the size, the wording, and the position. However, try one changed element at a time so you know exactly what works better than a previous version.
Deliverability refers to how many people receive your emails. Elements that affect this number include a recipient’s inbox being full, emails reported as spam, unsubscribed users, and hard and soft bounces. You can advance this ratio by constantly cleaning up your contact list.
Soft and hard bounces
Soft and hard bounces refer to whether the basis for undeliverability is a temporary situation (e.g., a server outage, a full inbox, or receiving multiple emails at once) or a permanent situation (e.g., an email address that is no longer active or a domain that has expired).
When should email marketing be used?
Email marketing should be used at every phase of your relationships with prospects and customers, as you can adapt messages depending on the context. In short, if you have a business, you can benefit from well-designed email marketing campaigns, regardless of the industry.
Email marketing challenges
Now that you have a better conception of how an email marketing campaign should be structured, let us take a look at some of the most ordinary challenges. This will help you plan accordingly and put a little more effort and energy into avoiding some of them:
Construct enticing subject lines
The shorter and fancier the content is, the more difficult it is to write it effectively. First of all, you should limit the content to 60 characters. But you should also tell the reader precisely what to expect when they open the email and personalize it.
Being marked as spam
Email server providers tend to block certain types of email communication. These include messages written entirely in CAPS, containing too much bold content or too many exclamation or question marks. Other factors include triggering words like “as seen on”, “buy”, “be your own boss”, “XXX”, “business opportunity”.
Emails may not be delivered for one of the reasons listed above. It is also possible for emails to be undelivered if they contain a typo or if too many people have reported your emails as spam. If this is the case, many of your following messages will not be delivered or will end up in the spam folder. Your emails may also not be delivered if the email is too large in terms of size.
There are several ways to lower the number of undelivered emails. Use the double opt-in process when asking people to sign up for your email list. Make sure emails are spelled and formatted correctly and maintain a clean email list.
Unopened emails often have something to do with weak subject lines. However, remember that open rates depend greatly on the type of industry.
To raise your open rate, keep subject lines short and avoid spammy wording. And make sure all your transmissions are optimized for mobile devices. Most people go online from their phones or tablets. If your emails are difficult to read, they will not read them.
People unsubscribe when you are spammy, send unrelated content, your emails are uninteresting, or none of your subject lines attract their interest. It’s also possible that they gave you their email address just for your lead interest and now that they got what they wanted, they do not want to hear from you anymore.
However, if you find that you have a high unsubscribe rate, there are things you can do to enhance it. Segment your contacts better, spend more time delivering useful, relevant content, and even ask them directly for feedback on the frequency of your transmissions and the type of information they’d like to receive.
Necessities of Email Marketing
While email marketing campaigns vary widely by industry and goal, successful campaigns have the following common aspects:
An enticing subject line
This needs to be repeated over and over again: You can write the most valuable and inspiring marketing email, but if the subject line is a flat, it will go unread. Be concise, stay precise, and always be relevant. Include the recipient’s name if you can. Think about what would make you open the email if you were in their shoes.
Get straight to the pinpoint. Only make your manuscript longer if it’s customer-focused and you are adding value to the customer. Otherwise, keep anything that is promotional or contains business announcements short and brief.
This is where contact segmentation becomes a part of the subject. New prospects or customers need different content than standard customers. Contrarily, someone who is still analyzing their options will be interested in different information than someone who is already ready to buy. No one likes to waste time. Be as supportive as possible by giving each reader exactly what they ask for.
A powerful and robust call to action
Powerful calls to action should inherently contain action-based words. They should also let the user comprehend precisely what will happen when they click on it. Download now. Sign up today. Schedule a call. Add to the shopping cart. Rate your experience. Fuzzy or confusing information does not promote action and results in a low click-through rate.
An unsubscribe button
Not only is it nice to do, but it’s also required by law. Email marketing is not about having a captive audience, and if they no longer want to hear from you, it is their right to do so. It’s good practice to (a) make it as simple as possible and (b) ask for a reason. You can either type it in, or you can include a multiple-choice template from your ESP. This will give you useful hints as to what might be more potent in the future.
Email marketing tools
While budget is always a factor when choosing an email service provider, look for options that include the most useful marketing tools, such as:
Sending classic emails will not get you customers. There are different stages in the customer’s journey, and you want to address each of them separately. Leads should obtain different information than people who have already purchased from you.
Opt for a platform with templates that suit your brand. This will save you time because you can create your emails quicker- and use existing templates in future marketing campaigns. Bonus points if ESP has drag-and-drop features for maximum ease of use.
You want the capability to facilitate the user’s experience to their specific cases. So this goes beyond just greeting them by their first name. Include content, images, and offers that are relevant to the recipient. Add product suggestions based on his or her choices. Design VIP/loyalty program emails and send messages based on behavioral segmentation.
Automation features are a necessity. They let you create a whole library of emails and then import them into your ESP to send automatically based on preset user behavior. You can also automate them to be sent at specific times, or send dynamic content based on the contact’s category.
If you have stopped mailing your former prospects or contacts, do not just think that they have lost interest. Make sure your ESP allows you to create re-engagement messages, such as “We miss you!”. Here is a discount coupon to get you excited about your next purchase!”, send product suggestions based on their previous purchases.
Even if you have the best content unit on the market and have designed beautiful emails that should be enticing to your target audience, the only way to be sure they are effective is to test them. Create two different versions of them and send them to segmented contacts to see which one works better. However, only test one element at a time.
Email marketing laws and regulations
Finally, make sure all your email marketing campaigns comply with the applicable laws and regulations. Some only apply in certain geographic regions, while others apply industry-broad. Being acquainted with all laws and regulations can give you the tranquility of sense and help you avoid penalties for violations.