While most businesses currently utilize email marketing in some fashion, most of them are doing it pretty poorly. Spammy bulk emails with no personalization, inconsistent communication cadences, and designs with absolutely no thought put behind them are common. Your newsletters and emails may be the only way you are staying connected to your customers between purchases, are you telling the right story? Let’s explore a few ways to make sure your email marketing campaigns are optimized for the best results.
Creating an email marketing plan
It’s not rocket science, but there is science.To maximize the benefits of email, it’s important to have a plan. To simplify this down to four steps, we recommend taking the following steps.
If you are currently just getting started and don’t have an ESP or CRM already, check out Foundations of Email Marketing first.
Identify your audience
Ever receive email blasts about products that are super irrelevant to you? Connecting with your audience is more important than ever and ensuring your email is relevant and personalized can be huge in making sure people are interested in what you have to tell them. Just like going to a dinner party, no one is interested in speaking to someone who just wants to spend all night talking about their interests. Spewing incoherent, irrelevant content to someone’s inbox is not only annoying to the person receiving the email but is a wasted effort and opportunity for your marketing team.
Providing content that your user is most interested in, can go a long way in increasing open and click-through rates. Start with your database of emails and ask yourself the 5 W’s:
- Who are they? Leads or Customers?
- Where did they come from? Are they warm or cold leads?
- What are they interested in?
- When was the last time you talked to them?
- Why did they first contact your company?
No contact list? No problem.
Google Display Ads and Paid Social are great ways to generate top-of-funnel leads (marketing qualified leads – MQLs) that will be ripe for an email sequence. BUHV is a Google Premier Partner and can help build your next campaign.
Establish your why
Define a clear objective of what you want to achieve. Are you looking for them to return for a repeat purchase? Are you looking for them to follow you on social media? Are you looking for referrals? If your service is seasonal like tax services, how are you preparing them for the sale season?
Have a clear intention of what you are trying to achieve with this campaign. Just trying to remind them you are still around? You are probably taking one step closer to receiving an unsubscribe notice.
What are the goals you are looking to achieve?
- Lead nurturing? a more passive approach – great for longer sales cycles
- Lead conversion? a more aggressive approach – great for impulse buys
- Customer retention?
- Review generation?
*Important: don’t get too greedy and constantly be asking for conversions…you will start to sound like a used car salesman and ultimately will devalue the brand through desperation.
Set your goals
When defining your goals, get a clear quantitative metric to be able to measure. Look at previous email campaigns or industry standards. Not only should you be monitoring email open and click-through rates, but also customer engagement. While most EMS programs will help monitor email open and click-through rates, the value of that customer after the click required proper tag management. Be sure to have your proper campaign and UTM parameters set up through Google Tag Manager and Google Analytics.
With this data, you’ll know if you need to adjust your list segmentation, your communication strategy, and your messaging accordingly. The great thing about most EMS platforms is that A/B testing is built right in.
A good practice is matching your email cadence to your average sales cycle. Too quick and it will feel pushy and desperate, too sparse and they may have already made their purchase elsewhere. Remember that when someone does contact you, it is likely they have already done their due diligence so be sure to match your messaging to their needs, not your business model.
Craft your message
While we are not going to go into depth in this post on writing great email subject lines or email CTA’s, the most important part is you are to the point. Reflecting on your own morning inbox purge, start to take note of what catches your attention and what deserves your attention. The truth is that nearly 80% of all emails will never be opened. You don’t get a second chance at a first impression so make sure that the first email is catchy and valuable which will drastically increase the likelihood they will open your emails in the future.
It is also important to consider touchpoint cadence. Will you send out the second email after 1 day, 3 days, 5 days, 2 weeks? If this is a lead-conversion campaign, where will you integrate calling touchpoints? If you are lead-nurturing, how often do you have valuable content to share with the prospect? Don’t force yourself to develop weekly newsletters if you only have quarterly updates worth of information to share. Repeating information week after week will just wear out their patience.
From my experience, a more aggressive lead-conversion campaign such as initial sales cycles requires nearly 6 touchpoints within 2 weeks. This typically is a blend of email and phone calls but best practices recommend favoring the same channel you were first contacted with.
Now that you have your campaign and cadence ready, you are ready to put together the email assets (subject line, preheader text, copy, imagery, and CTA’s) and build them within your email marketing software. Here are your next steps:
- Audience segmentation strategy
- Campaign and messaging cadence
- Design, Development, Deployment
- Reporting & Optimization
Making the most of your email marketing
With the average screen time for adults hitting over 13-hours a day in 2020, Americans looking at their phone an average of 262 times a day, and the extremely low costs, email marketing continues to be a channel every business can benefit from.