If email marketing isn’t yet part of your marketing mix, you’re bonkers and need to start planning you first email campaign. How bonkers? Well, according to the Direct Marketing Association Client Email Report of 2014, in 2013, each £1 spent on email marketing resulted in an average return of almost £25. You’d have to be nuts to ignore email marketing.
So, here are a few key pointers for your email campaigns.
What do you want to communicate to your customers? Deciding clear objectives and how you will evaluate the success of your campaign is absolutely vital. It sounds an obvious one, but you’d be surprised how many companies go into this with a hit and hope approach.
- What’s the purpose of this email? Is it to inform? Promote an event? Launch a service or product?
- What’d the most appropriate audience? Are you sending to your entire customer base or a subset?
- What would you like the recipient to do? What’s the call to action?
- Why should a recipient be compelled to take that action?
- What constitutes success?
Email service provider
It’s absolutely key that you choose the right Email Service Provider (ESP) if your email marketing campaign is to be a success. Don’t, under any circumstances, use Hotmail, Gmail, Thunderbird, Outlook, Hotmail or another email platform to send bulk emails.
We use Campaign Monitor to send create and send bulk emails, manage email databases, provide analytics and reporting stats. Other ESPs are also available including like Mail Chimp, Pure360 and Verticle Response – all damned fine platforms.
Build your mailing list
With all ESPs, you can add an email sign up form to your website that will update your database when people sign up for your newsletter.
When asking for sign ups, make it clear what you’ll give them in return for the gold dust that is their name and email address… such as:
- Early notice of exclusive offers.
- New product announcements
- A quid pro quo – e.g. a white paper or industry information in return for their details
It’s also a good idea to make it clear how often you will be sending them emails. BIG TIP: Send emails too frequently and you’ll find the content quality will suffer and your unsubscribe rate will go up.
You should only add people to your database who have given permission for you to email them. It’s worth considering including an email sign up as part of your registration process, or ecommerce flow, to build your database.
There are laws that cover sending promotional email messages. You need to be aware of them. They differ from country to county but are usually very straightforward and unambiguous. If you’re in the UK, you can check out the rules at https://www.gov.uk/marketing-advertising-law/direct-marketing
Create your email
Most ESPs have a selection of perfectly serviceable email templates you can use. Here are a few key considerations when putting your email together:
Engaging subject line
Your subject line should give your recipients a good reason to open your email – there should be some kind of benefit – something in it for them . Make sure your subject line is compelling and clear.
Pope kidnaps monkey headline
Grab attention with a powerful/curious/compelling headline that will make them read further.
Detail the benefits of your products or service rather than just the features. For example:
- Feature Driven: ‘Buy these elasticated waistline trousers’
- Benefit driven: ‘Buy these elasticated trousers and stay as fat as you like! No need for pesky, boring diets!’
Keep your sentences succinct and don’t be too clever or technical. It has to be easily understood on first swift read. Use bullet points to break up text, and embolden important phrases. Keep it short. Believe it or not, your audience hasn’t been gagging to read your email so make it swift, punchy and worth reading.
Text to image ratio
An email made from a single image may look the dog’s doo-dahs but it will be useless if images are disabled. Your recipients won’t have a clue of what your email is about until they have enabled images. When using images include alt tag descriptions so if images don’t render the recipient will know what’s supposed to be there.
Call to action
Make sure the call to action is obvious so it stands out on the page. It should be a clear direction, e.g. ‘Register for our webinar today’
Be proud, people! Always the logo.
Personalise your email by using the recipient’s name in the title and body of the email. Your ESP will have a simple method of merging names into your email. Using names in the subject line improve open rates by around 5%.
You must include your business address in the footer of your email.
You must allow your recipients to leave your mailing list. It’s not only a legal requirement but it’s also polite. ESP generated emails will include an unsubscribe link at the bottom of your email.
You’re now ready to send your email. As you become more comfortable with email marketing, you may want to consider split-testing your campaign to see what works best e.g.:
- Best day to send
- Best time to send
- Types of email – text only or html
- The nature of the offer – discount in £s or %
- Trying different subject lines
- Trying different copy
Once sent it’s important that you measure how effective your email has been.
You will have different metrics for different types of campaign e.g.:
- Order volume
- Registration volume
- Email open rates and click through rates
- Number of report downloads
Learn from each email distribution, revise and test.
Good luck with your email campaigns and please get in touch if you’d like any help or further advice.