Should You Invest In Email Marketing?
In this short article, we will look at whether email marketing is something you should consider and why it can boost your brand awareness and ultimately your sales.
There are many ways to engage with your customers from video, social media, sales calls, even good old fashioned printed marketing materials like flyers and snail mail!
But, that’s not to say that you should forget email marketing, it’s possibly one of the most cost and time-efficient ways of getting in touch with customers on a regular basis.
Not only that but much of the time it can be very easy to set up and get automated.
Email marketing is ranked up one of the best ways to generate engagement. In fact, a recent study by Optinmonster found that if you compare email marketing to social media the figures are surprising.
They found that social media had an engagement rate of 0.6% with email open rates at 22.86% and email click-through rates of 3.71% as an average across various industries.
Add in the fact that more people use email than social media and it soon becomes apparent that if you’re not using email marketing then you could be missing a trick.
Email marketing should be part of your marketing mix
Email marketing isn’t a thing of the past, it’s something that you should be doing as part of the marketing mix.
The other benefit of email marketing, once you have the data and approval to send them out, you can control your company message, who gets it and when. It’s fairly flexible compared to PPC or other forms of marketing.
That’s why building a successful email marketing campaign is a must for any company.
There is one slight issue with email marketing and that is that to some they may not do it right or don’t know where to start.
We’re going to take you through step by step in this guide to help you get it right!
Be respectful when email marketing, you’re using customers email
A good starting point is to understand that people are really busy most of the time. People have lots of distractions, work emails, personal emails, adverts, incentives and promotions etc.
Your email message may be super important to you, however to the potential reader it’s just another email.
Make sure that the emails that you send are really polite and uses good manners.
Remember you’re a guest in their inbox, don’t be pushy, cold or in any way impersonal.
Let’s look at where to begin!
Step 1: Build Your email marketing List
It may seem like an obvious fact, but before you can start marketing by email, you have to have emails to send to.
But how do you get email addresses for your marketing list?
Offer a promotion, incentive, giveaway or updates.
People aren’t going to give you their email address for the sake of it. There needs to be a benefit that they will receive in return for their email address.
It’s a bit like you scratch my back I’ll scratch yours. They won’t give you something for nothing.
You could for instance offer a 10% discount on a first order, exclusive offers or news/product updates.
For example, Pandora in the UK incentivise you by giving email subscribers sneak peeks of exclusive products, offers and newest arrivals. So, if you like and buy Pandora jewellery a lot it would make sense to sign up.
You would have to decide for yourself what incentive would work best for your company, but always remember that there needs to be some offer/benefit to the customer.
Simply asking for someone to fill in their email is not going to work without it.
Step 2: Produce great informative content
Like any marketing you do, once it’s out there, there is no taking it back. Ensure that your email marketing hits the right note from day one.
It’s all about getting your message over in the clearest and most easy to understand manner.
For example, if you’re wanting to send a promotion offering “10% off your next order” then make sure that is really the main part of the email.
It offers a great benefit to a user, so shouldn’t be hidden in masses of text.
Remember that people are busy and won’t want to read ‘war and peace’ in the email.
Provide them with the best bits in a simplified and concise format with clear call to actions.
The other key element which is aside from producing great content is how many emails you send.
Don’t bombard people with an email every day (unless you’re a daily news/lifestyle provider and it’s expected), as they will get sick of seeing your emails and unsubscribe.
Going back to content, a great starting point would be the first email that is sent should ideally be an introduction.
Letting your new subscribers what to expect in the emails and offer them any help or advice on using your services, such as logins, how to get in touch etc.
Don’t start emailing selling straight off the bat!!
Obviously, the entire goal of the email is to entice someone is to buy your products and services.
However, people subscribed to you for information and content that they find useful.
If every email that you send is all about what you sell, then people will start to become very jaded quickly. This is especially true if they thought they were subscribing to your content for one reason and then every day you send them sales emails.
You need to engage with your customers.
As an example, let’s say you own a travel agent. If you send out an email twice per week and it’s just about what travel offers you have on, it will quickly become stale.
As an alternative, imagine adding a brief synopsis of a news article or blog and linking to that on your website.
For instance, it could be something like “got the winter blues, 5 places to visit for sunshine in January”.
As you can imagine, a lot of people would find that intriguing and is certainly more engaging to the potential customer.
Within the same email you could show a couple of holidays that you’ve talked about in the main topic.
Offer great content and don’t try and sell too much on each email.
Get a plan in place of what to send and when, what subject and keep the tone of voice the same.
Email campaigns are much more successful when people know what to expect. As with all marketing consistency is key.
Just remember that an email list is a permission asset and it’s better to err on the side of caution than to play it loose and reckless.
How to create an outstanding email
The first thing to say here is if you’re looking at your inbox and scratching your head wondering “I can’t remember signing up for this”.
Then that is a sign of a bad marketing email.
This normally happens when senders are inconsistent when they send and what they send.
If it’s sent every now and in an ad-hoc fashion, it’s possibly not something that you will remember.
Or, it can be a case that they got your email from other sources and decided to ‘add you to the list’……another big NO NO.
Make sure you are remembered — send emails at regular intervals, once a week is great if you can maintain that or what you feel would work for your business.
Email automation is your best friend
When you first get into email marketing you’ll probably feel like you personally want to respond to each new subscriber.
At the beginning that can be ok if you’re starting out with a small email list. It’s easy to imagine you’ll have time to personally respond to every new subscriber.
But once you start getting more than a handful of subscribers, it becomes next to impossible to keep up.
You’ll start to get more and more complex campaigns, and following through with everyone all the time is impossible.
Yet top marketers seem to do this exact thing. How?
Their secret is email automation.
It automatically sends out emails that you schedule in advance.
By scheduling emails to send in advance, you can prevent “dropping off their radar” for any length of time.
Email Marketing Step 3: Analytics
Now that you understand the basics behind an effective email campaign, let’s talk about how to take things to the next level.
Specifically, using analytics to refine your email and generate better results.
How to Understand Email Analytics
We all know that the only way you can improve anything is to check the data, adust and then monitor the results. Email marketing is no different.
If you’re starting to consider email marketing then you will do this through an online platform such as MailChimp as an example.
Whichever email marketing platform you use, they will, without doubt, offer you analytics or feedback on the emails that you send.
For instance, they will normally tell you the email bounce rate, open rate and click-through rate as basics. Some will even go a little deeper and offer more insights into demographics, age, sex, location, plus much more.
The main information to look at however are open rate, click-through rate and how many people have decided that they don’t want to hear from you again.
This is a fairly straightforward one.
Open rate is how many people have opened the email/clicked on it.
Normally the better the open rate the more aware customers are of you, the type of thing that you offer and whether they are expecting this type of email from you.
In contrast, a lower open rate is usually associated with low engagement from subscribers, they aren’t that bothered in what you have to say or find you of little interest.
The next important email marketing stat to look at it the click-through rate.
This is when someone has opened an email and clicked a link within it.
If you have a high open-rate but a low click-through rate, it means that you probably need to improve the content of the email.
This is the one that really shows how well you’re doing!
If you have a high rate of unsubscribers each time you send an email then chances are people really aren’t interested in what you have to say.
Some serious work needs to be done to try and understand what is ‘turning people off’.
Email analytics are really important as they offer valuable insight. If you’re paying attention then you can use this data to improve your email marketing campaigns.
Not only will it help you understand what you’re doing wrong but also what you’re doing right, which you can build on either way.
Email Marketing Step 4: Audience Segmentation
This is a fairly easy concept to understand and it’s probably easiest with a quick example.
Let’s say that you run an online shop selling sports goods.
Within your store, you have various departments, one selling canoeing gear, another selling horse riding equipment and the third selling golf clubs.
If you sent a general marketing email out to all subscribers with a 10% off store wide that’s great.
However, if you decided to send an email with the latest golfing equipment only and sent that to all subscribers then the chances are it wouldn’t do as well as it could.
The customers that shop with you for horse riding or canoeing gear would probably have little interest in looking at it, this could lead to a lower open rate, click-through rate and you may increase the number of unsubscribers that you get.
It would be far better to produce three emails one dedicated to each audience.
This is what audience segmentation is all about, putting people into groups based on a number of factors such as:
- Interest levels
- Age groups
- Buying habbits
- What they have previously bought
Infact, there are lots of ways that you can break your lists down once you have more information. Also, it very much depends on what you supply as a business.
As an example, if you run an upmarket beauty salon, chances are a large proportion of your clients will be female, be affluent and have a desire to look and feel better about themselves.
But how would you segment this audience.
It could be as simple as what treatments they have, if they have opted for wrinkle reduction, you know that they are interested in looking younger. So email marketing based around this would be of great interest.
If they opted for more beauty based treatments like pampering or massages again this is also an audience.
You’re basically giving them more of what they want based on what they currently get.
If you’ve never dipped your toe into email marketing then you’re missing a trick!
Doing it right can provide huge benefits to your business by improving exposure and sales.
Remember once someone has subscribed to your list that you’re sending emails to their inbox so ensure that you’re polite and not overly pushing a sale.
There is no magic formula or cheat sheet to follow, what works for your business may not work for another.
Try and gain as much information as you can about your audience and habits and produce content that they will love you for.