Once upon a time, in a world not so long ago, small business owners would have to write sales letters, print them on fancy paper, spend hundreds of dollars on stamps, and then mail them out to perspective clients. While many businesses still do this today, most marketers would agree that email blasts are quicker, cheaper, more eco-friendly and often more effective. Here are a few tips to get you going on your next email marketing campaign.
Have Realistic Expectations: Email marketing can be an incredibly effective tool for informing potential clients about your services, letting your customers know about an upcoming sale, or just reminding people that you still exist. It’s more reliable than pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, cold calling, newspaper ads, TV commercials, public events, press releases, and even social media; however, while it can be successful, it’s important that you don’t expect too much out of it. You know from your own experience that a huge chunk of your email messages are rerouted to your spam box, ignored, or deleted without being read. If 20% of your recipients go as far as opening your email, that’s pretty good. If 5% of your recipients click on a link, that’s pretty good, too! If 2% of your recipients follow through on your call to action, that’s a successful email marketing campaign.
Do Your Research: Before you put too much thought into your email’s content, save yourself some time by doing a fair share of your research first. Understanding who your target audience is and what it is that they want will be pertinent to the success of your email marketing campaign. If you don’t already have a list of subscribers lined up and you plan to target individuals or businesses on your own, this research is even more vital. Not only do you need to have thorough knowledge on your market, you need to take steps to ensure that the information you’ve gathered (names and email addresses) are accurate. You don’t want to waste time marketing to businesses that are no longer around or individuals who aren’t the decision-makers of the company.
Add a Touch of Personalization: The more you can customize an email, the more likely the recipient will open it and read it. Unfortunately, taking those extra steps to personalize the subject line, add the recipient’s name, mention the recipient’s business, and site specific information from their webpage, takes a lot of time. Is it worth adding those little details to increase the chances of your recipient clicking on a link, or is it better to keep your messages generic so that you can target more people in a shorter amount of time? There isn’t really a right answer to this, but with a bit of trial and error, you’ll find a balance that works best for you.
Use A Powerful Subject Line: Your email’s subject line is like the title of a book, movie or song. It’s necessary for it to be catchy. It has to generate enough interest for your recipients for them to click “open” instead of “delete.” A good subject line will be short, clear, and punchy. It will create a sense of urgency. Subject lines with “24 Hour Sale,” “Today Only,” or “The First 25 People Who…” attract attention. In general, successful email subject lines follow the same rules as successful blog post titles. Asking a question or including a number is usually a safe bet.
Target Your Content: Your email’s content isn’t about you. It’s about them. It’s about a problem that they’re facing, but more importantly, it’s about a solution you offer that’s going to save them money or make their lives easier. You want to make it clear in the body of your email that you understand your clients and customers. One way you can test how well you’ve narrowed in with your content is to ask yourself if the message could have been written for someone else. If you own a retail store that markets itself to teenagers, is the information just as applicable to mom? If you’re specifically trying to grow a larger female following for your app, could the message just as easily have been written for males? The products and services you offer, the information you choose to include, the word choices you make and the tone you decide to implement should be unique to your target market.
Send at the Right Time: Depending on your industry, target market, and message content, when you choose to send your email could make or break your campaign. Many marketers advise that you skip weekends and Mondays, with a preference for Tuesdays, Wednesday and Thursdays, but really the important thing when choosing a day and time is that you’re smart about it. If you’re a bar promoting the sweet deals you offer at happy hour, maybe don’t send your message on a Sunday morning. Planning a post-holiday sale? Chances are, your customers aren’t checking their emails on Christmas day. Think about your target audience. What will they be doing that day? What are they thinking and how are they feeling? This will help you choose the most appropriate time.
Check Out These Useful Tools: Setting up and managing an email marketing campaign doesn’t have to be hard. With the tools that are available today, it’s an easily accessible marketing method to sole proprietors and big businesses alike. One of the most popular email marketing services is MailChimp. It offers a drag-and-drop designer, automation options, and detailed analytics. With free and paid plans, you can pick one that’s right for you. Constant Contact is another popular choice with features similar to MailChimp’s; however, instead of a free plan, you’ll get a free 60-day trial. You’ll also find AWeber is another contestant. While its users may find their template options to be a little bit restricting, it offers superior analytical information. AWeber offers packages at multiple tiers, but no free plans.