As well as attracting customers by sharing your news through SEO and social media, you should also connect with them directly.
Email marketing is one of the most effective online marketing channels, with a return on investment of $40 for every dollar spent.* Email helps your business stay top-of-mind, builds trust and customer loyalty, and is a great way of keeping in touch with both existing customers and new prospects.
But how can you make sure your emails aren’t deleted in the slew of spam that bombards customers every day? It’s just like everything else in marketing: have a strategy! Here are five steps to a successful campaign, each with a set of rules for making them happen. Follow them and you won’t go wrong.
1. Create a Plan
Know the goal of your email BEFORE you send. Who are you trying to reach and with what information?
Get to know your audience. Are you talking to customers or prospects? Are you reaching out to industry experts and peers, or to followers of your brand? What do they already know? Why would they want to hear from your brand?
Be purposeful. When you know who you’re talking to, the goal of the campaign becomes clear. Are you rewarding existing customers with a special deal or promotion? An introductory offer may be your route, for example.
2. Build a Contact List
Get permission. To avoid being relegated to the spam folder, get permission to send email. Include sign-up buttons on your webpage or put a sign-up book out if you have a store location. Use incentives to get customers to sign up.
Set up auto-responders. These can welcome people to your list, send out birthday reminders and special offers that go out on specific days.
Keep your list up to date. Segment your list. You can divide it geographically, demographically, or by purchase activity for greater relevancy.
3. Craft your Message and Image
Keep your message simple. Get to the point, and quickly. Be yourself. Write as if you’re having a conversation, and don’t be afraid to let the personality of your brand shine through! Put your company name in the “From” field. Use a compelling subject line. Avoid using all caps and phrases like “Click Here!” or your message will go straight to spam. Check your formatting. Check that everything appears as you’re expecting in the body of the email by sending a test email to yourself. Have a clear call to action. What do you want the reader to do? Tell them, and then make it easy for them to do it!
4. Hit ‘Send’ (after doing your homework)
Experiment with timing. Ideal timing of your messages will vary depending on your business and customers, so finding your groove may take some test runs.
Be consistent in frequency. As a rule, don’t overdo it so that people feel like they’re being stalked, but don’t go for months without sending an email.
5. Analyze and Improve!
Track your results. This is essential to making each email campaign more effective than the last.
Test to identify what works. Vary your subject lines, send time, and frequency to find what works best for your brand and customers. Test one variable at a time. Don’t measure everything at once. Three straightforward measurements to start with are bounces, open rates, and click rates. Benchmark against yourself. Compare your results to your own previous campaigns, not to competitors or industry averages.
Look for trends. Identifying trends in your data will point you towards what is connecting with your audience.
Email marketing may seem daunting, but it can be surprisingly easy with the right tools and it can deliver real results for your business.