Email marketing has a few moving parts, but successful campaigns boil down to these six factors:
1. Use Tools Made for Email Marketing
You can’t run an effective email marketing campaign using a standard email service. Yes, you can send bulk and blast emails from Outlook, Office 365 and Gmail. However, none provide email list building and maintenance tools, list segmentation, attractive email templates, campaign reporting or list scrubbing features.
To achieve business-building results, you need software designed specifically for email marketing or a customer relationship management (CRM) system with email features. We’ll explore some top options for these below.
2. Build Your Email List Proactively
Start building your list by collecting customer email addresses during your sales process or client interactions. However, don’t limit your email list-building opportunities to only these interactions.
You can entice potential leads and customers to give you their email address before they ever spend a dime with you. The secret is using lead magnets. These are value-added freebies, such as e-books, webinars, checklist downloads, free trials and even coupons.
To get new email subscribers, promote lead magnet items on your website, landing pages, social media channels and so on, and require an email sign-up to download or receive the freebie. If the viewer perceives value, they’ll happily provide their email address and opt-in to your email list in exchange.
3. Segment Your List by User Intent
Segmenting divides your email subscriber list by user interest and is a key strategy to email marketing success. Using segmentation, you can target content to specific subscriber groups and deliver real value to readers. Campaigns that use segmentation have higher open rates and fewer unsubscribes compared to those that send generalized messaging to all subscribers.
You can segment email subscribers in several ways, such as by purchasing history, website interactions and lead magnet types. Most email marketing solutions even let you add interesting questions to your signup emails.
Most email marketing tools have customizable email signup forms that help you build segmented lists automatically like this one from Mailchimp.
Many email marketing tools integrate with website and retail platforms for automated segmentation based on sales history and website interactions too.
4. Engage Your Readers at Every Step
Once you have your email subscriber list, you’re ready to create and send content that delivers value to your segmented subscribers. Here, you have five opportunities to engage subscribers and entice them to open, read and perform an action in your email.
- From line: Your business or promotion name that subscribers will recognize and trust.
- Subject line: The short phrase that catches their eye as they scan their inbox.
Preheader line: Supports the subject line with an added enticement to open the email.
- Email content: Short and punchy message such as a promotion, news update or announcement.
- Call to action (CTA): Buttons or highlighted links drive click-throughs back to your shopping pages, signup forms or whatever action you wish subscribers to take.
When you send your emails also impacts engagement, opens and clicks. Most experts agree that email marketing should hit inboxes at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. on business days. Data also shows that Mondays tend to have the highest open rates of 22% on average while weekend open rates run lower at about 20%.
5. Measure Your Email Marketing Campaign Results
After your email marketing message is sent, you’ll be able to review key metrics including the number of email bounces, how many subscribers opened your email and how many clicked on your CTA links and buttons.
If you follow the send at 10 a.m. or 2 p.m. rule, you’ll have a good picture of the success of your campaign within eight to 10 hours. After about a day, new email opens tend to just trickle in.
Tracking and measuring email opens and CTA clicks helps you gauge the messaging that works for your audience. A/B testing different email “from” lines, subject lines, preheaders and CTAs helps you fine-tune and pinpoint which phrasing and offers get your readers to click.
6. Scrub, Rinse and Repeat
Bounced emails happen. It’s just part of the process. This means the email you sent was undeliverable due to a bad email address format, a blocked email or a fake email address. To maintain the health of your email list and improve overall deliverability, bounced emails need to be removed or scrubbed from your list.
Most email marketing systems make this step easy. Once a scrub of bounced emails is complete, you’re ready to jump back up to step four and run another campaign on the schedule you set. Remember to use what you learned from previous campaigns to improve your messaging each time.
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