Apr 14, 2014

10 Ways to Succeed in Email Marketing

Email marketing continues to be one of the most effective channels for online marketers. But it can also be a complete waste of time if you don’t take the time to plan a relevant, effective, and eye-catching email campaign to support your business goals. Design, copy, audience, list segmentation, and testing are just some of the points to consider when diving into email marketing. Check out our full list of 10 ways to make your email campaign a success. (And if you haven’t seen it already, read Sam Saltis’ blog on building a great eCommerce business on the Digital Strategy blog.)

Email Marketing Tips

Design: The design of your emails goes beyond font, colour and layout. An email template determines how much room you have for copy, images, links, call-out buttons, and other elements that can make or break an email marketing strategy. Keep it simple and clean. An email should be easy to scan, not overloaded with images and links, and it should load quickly. It should also be consistent with your overall branding and design. An email design that looks absolutely nothing like your website fails to provide a seamless transition from one marketing channel to another. 

Subject lines: The subject line of your email needs to entice users. A summary of what’s in the email is one option, but you also want to stand out from the tens or hundreds of other emails filling their inbox. Why should they open your email? What’s so great about what is inside? Why is this message so urgent? Add deadlines and active words (e.g. Register, Act, Buy) – but lose the ALL CAPS.

Copy that does something: Keep emails as short as possible. If you have a lot of information to share, create a teaser with a link to the full message on a landing page on your website. Readers want to be able to scan your newsletter and quickly see the main message and the call to action. Your copy, design, and layout should ideally encourage users to complete ONE action. Too many bells and whistles are confusing and reduce the change of engagement. An email with long messaging, tons of links, and multiple offers or actions will just be ineffective.  

Testing: Email campaigns are a great marketing channel because they allow you to be agile throughout the campaign and make changes as your go along thanks to testing and analytics (more on those later). Try our different email elements (colours, images, calls to action, etc.) and see which get a greater response than others. Take subject lines - Does your audience want to hear about new products? Are they more likely to open an email when there is a deadline in the subject line (e.g. Register by 1/5/14!) Experiment and see what is working and what flops.     

Target your audience: Provide personalised messaging based on specific audience types (e.g. Returning customers; Customers that have not returned in 3+ months; Potential customers). The same message won’t work for everyone! Craft the copy and offer around the audience you’re targeting. Relevant and personalised messaging will encourage more loyalty than general email blasts that fail to consider who is opening up the email.

Follow up: When creating an email campaign, don’t forget about follow-up emails. Use your email analytics to target specific audience members based on their previous actions. For example, send a reminder email to users that opened an initial email but didn’t click on any links, or send emails to users that have abandoned their shopping carts.

Landing pages: A landing page is a powerful conversion tool, when planned correctly. These customised webpages provide a relevant, direct message to audiences and are a great opportunity to hammer your message home. Linking an email to your website homepage or another general page allows a user to lose interest and ignore your call to action.   

Analytics & improvements: Analytics are essential in email marketing, and allow you to make small but important changes to an email campaign as it evolves. Take note of open rates, click-throughs, unsubscribes, bounce rates, landing page metrics, and conversion metrics tied to a particular campaign. Are people acting on your call to action? What can you do to make it more appealing for future emails? What about bounce and spam rates – your lists may need to be cleaned up.   

Clean, manageable lists: In order to target audiences efficiently and collect great data, you have to stay on top of your lists. Separating your subscribers into lists will make your email marketing campaigns easier to execute and track, and it will allow you to send the most relevant messages to your audiences. Lists are also an essential part of email marketing because of the importance of permission; sending an email to a person who has unsubscribed, or never signed up for a particular email newsletter to begin with, is a major error – and goes against the Spam Act of 2003:  “If your message promotes your business, products and services—or has a link to something that does, like your website—then you’ll need consent to send your message. Even if you think your message is not promotional, think about whether it’s worth walking that fine line” (ACMA).

Easy to use: Find an email platform that makes it simple for you with easy-to-use templates, straightforward list segmentation, simple scheduling, and other functionalities you may need for your email marketing strategy. Email marketing must be consistent – if you’re platform is a hassle, you’re less likely to keep up with your marketing campaigns.  A trusted web partner can handle the technical side of your email platform and allow you to focus on providing the best marketing messages to your audiences.

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