Email marketing is a prominent marketing strategy companies use to communicate and advertise their products, services and announcements with their customers via email. Contrary to popular belief, customers still enjoy receiving promotional emails from companies and due to the rise of tech accessibility, more people are opening emails from their smartphones. Aside from being more direct, email marketing is one of the cheapest ways to do online marketing and can be the most effective. Traditional marketing via billboards, commercials and other ads can attract new customers but email marketing helps in customer retention because they are targeting prospective and returning customers.
For this style of advertising to be successful there are a number of factors to consider and planning ahead is crucial.
Where exactly should you start? There are so many different ways to market your business and using email can be an overwhelming task — there are more steps to it than you think.
In this blog post, we will be going over what email marketing entails by listing and defining necessary steps to be successful at it, as well as other important factors to think about before going forward.
Table of Contents
- What is your marketing blueprint? (5 W’s before starting)
- Develop your voice
- Subscribe for your email list
- Select a metric to measure your success
- Reflect and reevaluate on what’s working and what’s not
What is your marketing blueprint? (Answer the 5 W’s)
Without a goal, it’s hard to know what the next steps should be for your business’ new venture so get ready to focus on one that is appropriate for your website or business. The more specific you are the better. It is also useful to make sure that this goal aligns with your company’s mission statement and core values. There are a lot of things to think about when designing an email marketing strategy but to simplify it, think about addressing the 5 W’s before you get started. This is going to be your marketing blueprint.
The first “Who” refers to your target audience, whether they are prospects or returning customers. These are the people who are going to read your emails and the content has to be relatable to them. Listen to their interests and cater the content to them. Before starting a business, you have to decide on who your target market is and the same goes for email marketing. Keeping this at the forefront of email marketing will help you understand your audience a lot more.
If you are a business owner and have attracted a new subscriber who has never bought your products, you may want to send them brief educational content that is related to your company’s history and products or services that you offer.
The second “Who” is who is going to write your email content? You may want to do it yourself or hire someone else. Email copywriters are the experts at crafting emails using the information you need and they know exactly how to attract an audience.
If marketers find a piece of content that they enjoyed reading because of its writing style, they contact the company directly to get the copywriter’s contact information. Afterwards they ask for that person’s hourly rate and hire them as a freelance copywriter. This could be a strategy you can start using as well!
The kind of content to include in an email have different priorities. The content that you send to returning customers is going to depend on what they’ve purchased before. It is so important to practice customer retention because without it, your company will always rely on attracting new customers which can take up more time.
Some topics of emails you may want to send to your email list are…
Welcome emails, abandoned cart reminders, order confirmations, and announcement reminders are just a few of automated emails you might schedule in your email calendar. These are useful because they are automatically sent to subscribers that trigger an automated response which you can set up. A number of email marketing agencies offer automated email services such as HubSpot , Omnisend , Pabbly Email Marketing , Send Pulse and Mailchimp just to name a few.
A promotional email has a single goal which is to attract the audience to make a purchase of some kind and there will always be a Call-to-Action (or CTA) in the email. These are usually time and sales based and are sent to your entire email list.
This is where you want to learn about your subscribers and share educational content. Within the email, there can be links that the readers can click on to learn more about what you’re talking about.
Creating an email calendar is extremely important so you can figure out how often you want to be communicating with your subscribers. Figuring out the right amount of emails you should send per month is great because you want to be relevant and increase your metrics. The frequency of your automated emails are important to consider as well. There are services that email marketing agencies offer that make scheduling your emails easy and also offer A/B testing to test run email campaigns before making them live. Another useful strategy to use is to sign up for your own email list because this way you’ll be able to see if the frequency of your emails are too much or not enough.
Where you do your email marketing has to do with which software or agency you choose to use. There are an abundant number of ones to choose from and they each offer similar services so some research is required before proceeding to make a selection.
Here are some services to check for when choosing an email marketing agency that’s right for you…
Email marketing automation
As mentioned, email marketing automation sends your subscribers emails based on their behaviour so this means less work for you. Due to the fact that this is a highly effective tool to have in your email marketing strategy, most agencies provide this service.
Email designs (customizable templates, mobile responsive)
User experience is used for everything and emails are no exception. HubSpot , Omnisend , Pabbly Email Marketing , Send Pulse and Mailchimp offer email design tools that let you drag and drop content into your campaigns.
If you’re feeling stuck about email design, check out Mailchimp’s Email Design Guide for a brief overview on how to make a good one.This one is about embracing email design where they interviewed a professional email designer, Austin Woodall, about his design process.
Using an email marketing agency will facilitate the way you design emails and in addition, the emails are responsive to the type of device your subscribers are using. Assuring that emails are mobile responsive can have a major impact on the viewer’s engagement with the content provided.
Email marketing strategy (Personalization, segmentation, A/B testing)
There’s a lot to cover in email marketing because you want to determine whether or not you’re on the right path to a successful strategy.
Simply put, personalization refers to addressing your subscribers by name when sending out an email. Marketing agencies offer this tool which is extremely convenient and eliminates the issue of emails ending up in spam or junk.
When you send a number of emails to subscribers, their engagement with them are tracked thus creating a segmented emails list. This is useful because you are able to send relevant emails to those who are more likely to open them.
Agencies will often offer A/B testing which lets you test out different versions of an email so you can decide which one works best for you. There are many variables that go into an email such as subject line, send time and content and with A/B testing you can change one or all of these variables to visually see which you like best.
The final chunk of your email marketing blueprint is the how. How are you going to create an email list? On your website, you can place an email sign up box in several places such as pop-ups, a designated page, during customer check out or on the side of your landing page. You want to make sure that it is easily accessible and straightforward to use because this will become your business’ strongest asset.
How to develop your voice
When creating an email it’s easy to sound robotic or cliche but finding your voice will come with practice. The more emails you send, the easier it will be to figure out a way to sound like yourself. Creating text in an email isn’t like writing a letter. Think of it like writing an email to your mom or friend. After a week or two of sending a handful of emails, you’ll soon realize what style works for you and the open rates of your emails will reflect if your subscribers are enjoying it as well.
Subscribe to your email list
Okay you may be thinking to yourself, signing up for my own email list sounds pointless especially if you have access to A/B testing. Well actually, when you physically receive your own emails instead of thinking about how they’ll appear in someone’s inbox, you may notice certain things that you haven’t before. For example, maybe you’re sending automated emails too frequently or the design isn’t quite what you thought it would be. When you are your own subscriber, you receive the emails exactly the same way other people will.
Select a metric to measure the success of your email engagement
Now that you’ve established a solid email marketing blueprint, without having a way to measure the success rate of it you won’t know if it’s working or not. Depending on the purpose of your emails, your metric will change.
For example, if it’s a promotional email the goal is most likely to get people to visit your website and purchase what’s advertised. If you have a blog and not an eCommerce site, then chances are engagement in other areas such as new posts, newsletter opens etc is what you’re looking to increase. In the back office of your email marketing
When you have this figured out, you can reevaluate and reflect on what is working and, most importantly, what isn’t. If this is your first time doing email marketing, be patient because you won’t know if the marketing strategy you’re using is working right away. Learn as much as you can from the blog posts published on your email marketing agency you’re using amongst others.
Reflect and reevaluate on what’s working and what’s not
It will take a few days or even weeks to consider what is working in your email marketing strategy and what isn’t. When releasing a new email campaign, mark the date you released this new campaign on your email calendar. After about two weeks or however long the campaign is running for, review the statistics and data in your back office. Luckily, email marketing agencies offer this tool in their basic email plans.
The metric system that you’ve implemented will help in reflecting and reevaluating how your campaign went. Make a chart of all of the data, making sure that the dates have been noted. Using the same chart, you can begin tracking other pieces of information of future emails as well. Other things worth noting is how long it took to prepare the email, what did you do differently, what was the planning process like and any references you used. Sometimes, important factors are going to pop up that you hadn’t thought of before and it is in the details that can change the success of your email marketing strategy.
Oftentimes, the preparation stage can have a big impact on your email marketing strategy. Ask your team if they felt they had enough time to complete the emails, what was the process like for them, are there areas that need improving and what are their goals in terms of email marketing. Asking for a second, third or forth opinion is crucial, especially if you are delegating a team to do some of the work. In addition, think about whether it would be a good idea to ask a peer to review the emails you send so you can observe first-handedly the reactions to your emails.