Nowadays, a great deal of emphasis is put on social media marketing to effectively promote your business. But don’t forget to include tried-and-true email marketing in your marketing plan. Email marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels around. In fact, in a Litmus survey, four out of five marketers said they’d rather give up social media marketing than email marketing.
According to the Litmus research, every $1 spent on email marketing in the U.S. is returning an average of $36, although various factors can increase or decrease this digital marketing ROI.
As with any marketing effort, there are ways to maximize your email marketing campaign’s results. We’ll explore eight email marketing strategies and dig deeper into email marketing’s importance for your business.
Here are eight practical tips to help you gain more subscribers, increase engagement, and ultimately make more money.
You can’t conduct an effective email marketing campaign if you don’t have any subscribers. While you may be tempted to buy an email list, avoid this action at all costs. Your open rates – and return on investment – will be dreadful. That same list was probably sold to many other companies, and you’ll likely be flagged as a spammer the moment you send out your first newsletter.
Here are some practical methods for building a quality email list organically:
Building a quality email list is only half the battle. You still need people to open those emails and engage with your content. Just as it sounds, your open rate is the percentage of your list that opens your emails. Here are a few tactics to improve your email open rate:
Generally speaking, the best time of the week to send emails is midweek (Tuesday through Thursday), when people aren’t playing catch-up from the previous weekend or distracted by the coming weekend.
Using video content to promote a business has taken off on the web, but videos in email marketing are also gaining traction. Consumers seem to love videos. According to Social Media Week, more than three-quarters of people (78%) watch online videos every week, 55% watch daily, and 54% want to see even more video content.
There are some drawbacks to using video in email marketing. For example, some email systems aren’t compatible with video playback. One way to get around this is to send an animated GIF thumbnail in your email message with a button that looks like a video player. When the reader clicks the play button, they’re redirected to a landing page with the embedded video.
The additional benefit is that you’ve just transported the reader to your website. If you use this method, set videos to auto-play once the reader is redirected, and make sure there is a clear call-to-action (CTA) at the end that directs the user to their next step.
Other forms of dynamic content include animated gifs as well as interactive polls and surveys.
If your business is hiring an email marketing manager, ask candidates how they keep email campaigns from being marked as spam and how they’d improve your current email systems.
People love to see what others have to say. Information from peers is more credible than information from a company, and gives a human face to a product or brand.
Use your website, social media accounts and email to solicit customer feedback, including reviews, stories about how they used your product or service to solve a problem, photos, and testimonials. Include some of the best responses in your email marketing campaigns.
Customers who submitted a response will look to see if you included theirs, and everyone else should be able to relate to a fellow customer’s insights.
If you’re not sending out relevant and engaging content to your subscribers, it won’t matter whether or not they’ve opened your email. They probably won’t ever open another one or click through to your website. Balance visually appealing and intriguing information with a small dose of promotion.
Know your email’s purpose before you begin. Is this a newsletter, information, exclusive offer, announcement or lead-nurturing piece? Remember that this is about quality, not quantity. When reading emails, people appreciate a concise message and high-quality images.
Statistics reported by Unlayer suggest that 65% of readers prefer emails that contain images. Not all email services will display images, so images should comprise only a portion of your email, not the entire message. A good rule of thumb is to use about 30% of your space for images.
If you have a customer relationship management (CRM) system, you should already know your customers and their unique tastes, needs and patterns. Email is the perfect way to use this information to send highly relevant communications to your subscribers.
According to the Litmus study on email marketing ROI, companies that often or always use this kind of personalization for their emails achieve an average ROI of 43-to-1, compared with companies that never or rarely personalize, which have an average ROI of 12-to-1.
For example, you could segment your email list by products purchased within a specific timeframe and then offer a discount on that product or promote a complementary product. If a person bought a swimsuit in the last couple of weeks, show them another suit they looked at with a small discount, or send them an email showing matching cover-ups, hats and sunglasses. If someone visited a resort in May, the resort could send out an email the following March mentioning the events planned there for May to encourage them to visit again.
Marketing emails include many variables, including subject line, headline, text length and content, image content, time of day, and day of the week sent. To identify optimal content and timing, use A/B testing to isolate variables and see which version performs best. Which subjects had the highest open rate? What content had the highest click-through rate? When are subscribers most likely to open your emails?
According to the Litmus statistics, brands that conduct A/B testing can double their ROI by eliminating underperforming content and strategies and focusing on what subscribers like.
It’s also essential to test emails before sending them to your whole list. Sending a test email allows you to check for spelling or grammatical errors, broken images, and correct subject lines and ensure it renders correctly across all devices.
Make your email designs simple, with plenty of white space. Use an engaging photo or infographic or two, but avoid competing graphics. This will increase the time the subscriber spends reading the email. Focus each email on one specific goal (CTA) to reduce confusion and increase response.
Email marketing uses email to reach out to current and prospective customers to move them forward in the sales process and use them to increase your customer base. Legitimate email marketing utilizes opt-in email lists, meaning that recipients have given you their email address of their own volition, with the understanding that you will email them specific types of communications.
Using purchased or otherwise non-opt-in email lists (spamming) is illegal under the CAN-SPAM Act. Internet companies penalize this practice. They can bounce emails they consider spam and even block your company’s IP address. Unwanted emails that are actually delivered usually get routed to the recipient’s spam folder and aren’t opened or read.
You can conduct email marketing using your company server or an external email platform.
Email marketing services make it easy to design attractive emails even when you don’t have graphic design or programming experience. They also help you manage lists, send large batches at one time, schedule preset email drip campaigns, and offer campaign analytics so you can do A/B testing and refine your email strategy.
There are many excellent email marketing services out there with various capabilities and pricing structures. For more information, read our in-depth reviews of top email marketing services:
Examine service offerings, costs, and customer support details to find the best email marketing service for your organization.
Email has been around since the beginning of widespread internet use, so it’s become a proven, ubiquitous tool. These are some top benefits of email marketing:
Jerry Low contributed to the writing and research in this article.