it comes to email marketing there are so many facets to consider. How do I
build my list, how do I get people to reply, what is the best way to track my
results, how do I make these emails not go into spam, and allow people to
unsubscribe? Those are just some of the hurdles people go through when trying
to make the perfect marketing campaign for their business. What I am going to
do – better yet try to do – is make this easy, understandable and streamlined
for you. Email marketing is not only hard, it’s tricky. I am going to break
this down into three areas. One, how to send marketing emails like a pro.
Two, how to create some amazing material that will give you a big subscriber
base. Finally, how to read and interpret the data.
Sending Like a Pro
Let’s start with the first hurdle. How to create and send marketing emails post like a pro. The first thing you’ll need to work on is building your subscriber list. Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects from the past, you should never stop adding to it. For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website, or through other lead capture means. Subscription forms should be on your home page, blog page and everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from more important content. The more info you can grab the better.
Getting people to reply to your emails is another tricky part of the process. It’s not easy knowing what kind of content is going to either get clicks or responses. You don’t just want to throw information to leads and clients, that is a waste of time and is not going to get you anywhere. To evoke a response, you’ll first will want to have attention grabbing subject lines, which will help increase your email open rates (this will also go into data collection later in this post).
Next you will want to make the email as personable as possible. Don’t have it sound or look like it was generated from a machine. Give it a little touch of your own expertise and personality, making it easier for people to comprehend and give a chance to read through. Finally make sure you have targeted content. Segmenting your email lists by reader demographics makes it easier to create a message that really resonates with them. The focus of these points is to encourage responses from your subscribers. Sometimes that means they click on a link in your message, but whenever possible, encourage them to respond to your emails.
Keeping emails out of spam. Start off by making sure your recipients have opted into your emails, so you aren’t running into any regulation issues like the CAN-SPAM Act. Also try to avoid using all caps, too many exclamation marks, and phrases like this: “AMAZING OFFER ACT NOW WHILE SUPPLIES LAST!!!!”. If you are proficient in HTML make sure you do not have poorly formatted HTML in your emails as this can also hurt how they’re handled. Every spam filter is different, so if emails are not going to people’s inboxes more times than not it’s the filters. Keep in mind, an email might pass through one filter but get flagged by another.
Creating Amazing Content
Next – the best part and one of my favorites – creating the material to use in your email marketing. You’ll want to adhere to a few important things. One, make sure your emails look clean and crisp; two, include interesting links and calls to action (CTA’s) with a little designing sprinkled in; three, test like there is no tomorrow.
If someone has opened your email because of an – cough – attention grabbing heading which I hope you created, well you’ve done something right. Now comes the part that is up to you and your creative mind. A key thing to note is to use short paragraphs and ensure that keywords and phrases that are relevant to your readers stand out visually. Include bullet points, this will help people skim the content and take in the vital points you are trying to express to them. Finally, Images should illustrate your message rather than replace your content. Don’t just put images in there for the sake of having graphics.
The following are examples of good marketing emails sent by Virgin America and Airbnb. See how they are short, sweet, and to the point? Not only that, they are clean and crisp with bulleted information. It has their companies’ colors, very little verbiage to get their point across, subscribe and follow buttons as well as their social media.
Next we are going to look at ones that are not the best for marketing. As you can see from these marketing emails there is a lot going on – to say the least. The Home Depot email has an intense amount of numbers, colors, verbiage, and images. While the DirectTV email does not really give you the why of their marketing campaign – only subscription information. This is an email I want you to stay away from. When you’re listening to the radio and they tell you to enter a sweepstakes and then they speed up the talking at the end, that’s what these emails say to me. From looking at the above emails and how simple they are and looking at these, you know right away someone is more inclined to subscribe and keep getting emails form the above companies.
Never send anything without making sure it’s working properly. Double-check that your messages look the way you want by sending them to test accounts. Ideally, you will view them on Outlook.com, Gmail, and Yahoo, and on a variety of mobile devices before finalizing your drafts. For testing purposes, check out Litmus, a tool that tests and provides screenshots of your emails that are going to be sent. This way you can correct any mishaps before they happen. Another good thing to consider is testing content on different platforms.
Make the first email you send out absent of images, so it doesn’t get sent to spam. Once someone subscribes you can start putting images in your emails because the email account now looks at your email as a viable email that is worthy of the inbox and not the spam folder.
Being in the Know – Analytics
Some of the statistics you’ll want to consider are open rates, unique opens, bounced back emails, and not opened emails. These types of analytics and data will help you fine tune your reach and your marketing toward your subscribers. Some email tools have built-in A/B testing modules which allows you to compare the results of different versions of your emails. This will help you test different attention-grabbing headlines, so you know what works best. Even if you don’t have access to these, you can run tests on your own. Try sending your emails on different days of the week or different times of the day to see when you get the best response rate. This will help when you automate your email.
Keep a close eye on your data, like how many email addresses were undeliverable or what time of the day people opened your message. These tiny details will tell you a lot about your email’s performance and give you a better understanding of when to send and when not to send so they do not get lost in translation like that movie with Bill Murray and Scarlett Johansson, which by the way is an amazing movie!
If you’re using Google Analytics on your website – which I highly recommend – tag your emails with custom campaign tracking. These tags can show you how your messages are driving traffic to your landing pages and how those visitors behave once they arrive on your site. Getting this type of info is like finding gold and diamonds. Click here to find out more in “Custom Campaign Tracking.” The data that’s tracked from any type of analytics application is a lot more comprehensive that what you might understand at first. Do not let it overwhelm you and do not let it scare you. Look at each piece as its own individual entity and then from there make a game plan on how to combat that.
Now that you have all these newfound tips, you are more than ready to start sending out as many emails as you can. But – and this is a big but, be cautious of how often you send messages to your list. I speak for a lot of people when I say no one likes to be an email receptacle. This will hurt your credibility and people will mark your emails as spam and you will lose subscribers and ultimately business if you over-run someone’s inbox.
Email marketing ultimately comes down to giving your audience something that sticks with them and they can see the benefit, not only now but in the future. You want to have a way to keep your business on their mind, when they are ready to go for what you are selling them. Have fun with it, don’t annoy people and good luck!