Essential Steps to Drive Your Email Marketing to the Next Level
Email marketing entails a lot more than merely building your list of subscribers and sending out a few emails from time to time. This approach is about as effective as dropping business flyers into random letterboxes in your neighbourhood. Sure, you will get some takers, but the conversion results will be extremely low.
With so much new technology on hand to track, analyse and make adjustments to your email marketing strategies, it would be madness not to take full advantage of these invaluable tools.
While tools for tracking and analysing data are growing more and more sophisticated, it’s impossible to fully understand the habits of every single reader of your emails out there. However, that being said, automated marketing tools are getting closer and closer, and what data there is available is there for you to take advantage of to increase the overall effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns and drive your business engagement and conversions to greater heights.
Depending on who you team up with, various marketing automation software has different ways of both presenting and analysing data. As an example the two giants in marketing automation software – Pardot and Marketo – work differently. Pardot bases its data in percentage terms determined by the activity of subscribers, whereas Marketo use an averaging system to estimate activity and engagement.
Set Some Goals For Your Email Marketing
No doubt you have set, and continue to set, goals in other areas of your business, and email marketing should be no different. You also have to decide what success means to you when it comes to email marketing campaigns.
This will vary from business to business, depending on what products or services you are offering, and whether your business is predominantly online or offline. Many offline businesses will use email marketing to lure customers into their physical stores by sending exclusive deals available only to email subscribers. Whereas, an internet based business will be likely hoping for online conversions of some sort.
Work out the goals for your email marketing campaigns and define what the success of those goals actually means to your business. Make certain everyone involved in the campaign is aware of the goals and desired outcomes.
In addition to the above, you also need plans in place to optimise your email campaigns, and have the adaptability and flexibility to adjust things as you go.
Write Some Killer Newsletters
Newsletters can generally be defined in two categories:
- Regular daily, weekly, monthly informational newsletters with occasional deals and promotions.
- Email blasts that send out information regarding a new product launch or a time sensitive deal.
Essentially newsletters can contain anything you like, but they should always serve to increase your brand awareness and trust through providing value to the reader in some form or other; whether that be through a discount on a product, or useful information.
As an example, AirBNB are renowned for sending out emails that contain nothing more than their latest deals; with photos, locations, prices and star ratings for the accommodation. This is effective for their particular type of business, as the bottom line is people are looking for good accommodation options in a particular area at the right price. Their approach is simplicity, while other companies will need a lot more meat in their newsletters to make them effective.
Before writing up and blasting out your newsletters, you really need to sit down with the team, work out what your newsletters will contain, and choose the desired format for them.
- Will they have text and images?
- Will they be broken up into sections kind of like a newspaper or magazine layout, or will they
- be displayed like snippets from a blog roll?
- Will product promotions appear in every newsletter?
- Once you have the design finalised, then you and your team can set to work creating the content and also determining how often newsletters will be sent to your subscribers.
The next step is to set up KPIs in your marketing automation software or platform, so you can gauge the effectiveness of your emails and optimise their performance for future mailings. Test, test and test again. That is the real key to discovering what works best.
Arresting and Eye-Catching Headlines Increase Email Open Rates
Email marketing giant, Aweber, talks about this very subject with a recent blog post : “The 5 Most Common Subject Line Mistakes to Avoid”.
Without catchy or arresting subject lines, the chances of your email being opened and read are greatly reduced. The very first thing a subscriber sees in their inbox is an email from you and the subject line. If the subject doesn’t pique their interest, chances are they will either just delete the email unopened, or best case scenario, open it, give it a cursory glance over, and then delete it.
Why would they not read it thoroughly once they’ve opened it?
Because your bland subject line has already pre-conditioned them to believe the email will be of little interest to them.
A good subject line that really catches their eye is both sure to be opened and be read more thoroughly.
You Need An Email Autoresponder Series
Whether you want to set up an automated welcome series of emails for new subscribers, or simply want to send out a sequence of time-delayed emails on autopilot, autoresponders such as that found on the GetResponse email marketing platform are worth their weight in gold.
Many business and individuals use autoresponders to email such things as an eCourse, or promised giveaways. Regular giveaways, spaced out over a period of time, is a great way to ensure your subscribers remain on your list. When a new subscriber first joins your list they are generally in their most eager state to receive communications from you. The above regular giveaway idea not only keeps them on your list, but guarantees they will remain hungry to hear from you. In between those giveaways you can send out some newsletters with even more valuable information, as well as promoting some deals to your valued subscribers.
Smart Insights has written a detailed post on email open rate statistics for many of the major email marketing platforms during 2016. The very beginning of a subscribers life to your campaign is when they are at their hottest, so take advantage of this by offering fantastic value in your welcome series of autoresponder emails. The more you engage and excite your subscribers early on, the longer they will stay on your list and the higher their level of engagement will be.
If you are using an autoresponder series as a sales funnel, then the more value you give you readers up front, the more likely they will purchase your bigger ticket items down the line.
Organise Your Email Lists
Once a new subscriber joins, it’s now the perfect time to gather just a little more information on them. Generally, in order to entice them to sign up in the first place you will offer something free as your lead magnet, and usually only ask for their first name and email address, so as not to scare them off, thinking they have to divulge too much of their personal information to get the “freebie”.
Once a subscriber is on your list however, you have the chance to gather a bit more data. This could be in the form of offering another freebie for further information, or possibly even conducting some sort of quick and easy survey.
The key information you are after includes things like:
- Level of education
- Interests and hobbies
- Their age
What information like the above allows you to do is segment your email lists into different groups to allow for more targeted email campaigns. Let’s say you group all people of a similar occupation into the one list and email this list information and/or offers that are pertinent to their job roles. The results are a much higher open and read rate, increased email engagement and, ultimately, more conversions for your business. The data you get back from your email company in their statistics database also allows you to refine those campaigns based on bounce rate, those who unsubscribed and so on. Being able to test, analyse and try something new based on this data is what will inevitably make your future campaigns that much more successful overall.
Give Your Subscribers Options
If the only option you give your subscribers regarding the information they receive from you is to completely unsubscribe from your mailing list, then you are bound to lose a lot more subscribers than you would have to.
For example, if you sent out a daily newsletter, perhaps some of your subscribers don’t want to receive a daily email from you, but don’t mind receiving a weekly newsletter that summarises all the key points from the daily newsletters.
This way, whenever a subscriber feels overwhelmed by the number of emails they receive from your business, if they click the “unsubscribe” option in your email, they can be taken to a screen that offers alternate options to merely completely unsubscribing from all of your mailings.
According to a recent post from Campaign Monitor, the #1 reason people unsubscribe from your list is” “because the sender mails too often”.
But if you give your subscribers options to receive a weekly digest, or only receive emails on a certain topic, then the likelihood of retaining subscribers is so much higher.
This is where your email marketing platform and marketing automation tools will come in handy. You can set parameters for exactly this based on the information you gathered from your subscribers when you segmented your lists.
Never Spam Your List
Of course you want to email your list regularly. That’s why you built a list in the first place. However, there is a huge difference between emailing them with quality and useful content, than just simply bombarding your subscribers with deal, after deal, after deal.
Some companies send out 10 emails or more a day! It’s way too much. Sometimes it’s even the exact same email over and over again. No one enjoys being spammed and it makes the subscriber feel like nothing more than yet another consumer to sell to rather than a valued reader of your emails. Too many emails to your subscribers – especially when they are new to your list – will simply scare them off and cause them to unsubscribe. The only real exception to this rule is when you have offered to email them a bunch of information in a short space of time as part of the lead magnet to join the list. That eCourse idea again, as an example. In this case, if you promised them 5 parts to the course per day, then they are expecting at least 5 emails from you a day.
Remarketing To Dormant Leads
Periodically looking through your subscriber statistics will give you clues as to which subscribers are rather dormant. They are still on your list, but are not opening and engaging with your emails. The most morbid reason for this could be the fact that they have passed away, but more often it’s because of other far less terminal reasons.
New subscribers are generally the most enthusiastic. Over time the enthusiasm wanes and readers become somewhat “desensitised” to your emails. This won’t apply to everyone on your list, but many will eventually fall into this category. While these people remain on your list and haven’t bothered to unsubscribe, there is still hope of re-engaging their interest in your company and its products and offerings. First you must determine if these dormant subscribers are worth retargeting. Do they still have a valid email address? Have they opened any emails in the past few months?
Once you’ve decided who to cull and who to retarget, you then need to plan an approach to re-engage their interest. Maybe now is the opportune time to offer up another freebie, exclusively for those subscribers who have become dormant. This will achieve two outcomes:
- Those dormant subscribers will take you up on your offer and engage once more.
- They will do nothing at all.
If the latter is true, then you know these subscribers are definitely no longer interested for whatever reason and you can confidently remove them from your mailing lists. And the ones who responded? Well, you know you now have a chance to start marketing to them again.
To Wrap Up
You are now armed with some solid information to get the most out of your email marketing campaigns. Teamed up with the right email marketing and automation marketing platforms, you will have all the statistics and data you need to analyse and refine your campaigns so they are much more targeted and profitable. The bottom line is to make your emailing as successful as it possibly can be, and that’s a learning curve that actually never ends. You always need to be monitoring your campaigns for as long as you are running email marketing campaigns.
So put the tools you have at hand to work and always strive to be improving. Your business will be all the better for it.