Email marketing is a valuable and inexpensive way to promote your brand, reach out to customers, and provide special offers. Generating compelling content is only one piece of the puzzle–we’ll share what we should and shouldn’t do when interacting with people via email.
Creating Email Lists: Build your email list.
- The three most important groups to market to via email are your current customers, past customers, and prospective customers. Use a spreadsheet to create a database of their names and email addresses. If you don’t already have the email addresses, you’ll need to collect them. Use your website, storefront, front desk, and every phone call to request your visitor’s email address to build your list. Keep a clipboard at your business’s front desk or storefront for people to sign up for your email list.
- Entice them into signing up by offering discount coupons and other advantages that will only be sent via email. Then provide a summarized actionable checklist in exchange for their email. Make it relevant to what they are currently doing. Are they reading a long how-to guide?
- You can also offer something to your audience that matches your niche. For instance, if you run a health-related company, you might offer a free guide to losing 5 lb (2.3 kg) in 30 days to anyone who joins your email list.
- All you need is their name and email address to get started. Don’t ask for too much information at this point.
Many people will be reluctant to sign up for an email list unless you assure them you will keep their email addresses and personal information private. This should be promised upfront. Along with the initial promise, you should develop a privacy statement that will be included at the bottom of every email you send out. This statement should be brief and to the point.
- Privacy statements should state that your company will never give out email addresses to third parties and will only be used to market your company’s products and services.
- It should also be mentioned that the email content is confidential and intended only for the individual named.
- Also, state that if the email has been received in error, the recipient should notify the company so that their email can be deleted from the email list.
- Example: Your privacy is important to us. We will not disclose your personal information to any third party unless you have given us consent or we are required to do so by law. If you do not wish to receive communication from this company, you can opt out by replying to this email and notifying us.
Create different email lists.
Keep email addresses organized in spreadsheets, and make sure you separate them. You should have the emails broken into lists of current customers, past customers, and prospective customers. Creating separate email lists allows you to send different emails to the groups, each with its targeted content. You can get more specific with your lists for even better targeting as you go along.
- Keeping separate lists also helps prevent spamming them with irrelevant content, which reflects poorly on your company.
- It’s essential to build relationships with your recipients through email marketing. Targeted lists with relevant content will help you do that.
Generating Effective Content
Have clear and specific goals in mind.
Remember the acronym “AIDA” as you compose the message – Attention, Interest, Desire, Action. Your subject line needs to get their “attention” so that they’ll open the email. Once they’ve opened it, spark their “interest” so they’ll want to continue reading it. Create “desire” by providing them with a motivating offer. Finally, they need to be moved to “action,” – which can be clicking on a link, calling your business, buying something from your website, etc.
- For example, a dance class instructor who teaches couples could effectively market via email by offering a promotion for a free one-hour introductory class. This offer would create desire, which could be further solidified by including a positive testimonial from a current student.
- Since the primary targets are couples, a subject line like, “Do you want to take your relationship to the next level?” would be an effective way to get a prospect’s attention.
Write a compelling subject line.
Always remember the risk of being flagged as spam. A good subject line can diminish that possibility. It’s best to write a subject line of fewer than 40 characters. 20 to 30 is probably optimal.
- Tell your recipients what’s new in terms of products, services, and relevant business information.
- Using the words “how-to” is a great way to get your email opened; connect your solution to the recipients’ needs.
- Make a compelling offer that will interest the recipient. Offers are usually discounts or special pricing.
- For example, a good subject line that a POS software company could use when marketing to restaurant owners would be, “Our new security feature will eliminate internal theft” or “How to eliminate internal theft.”
Provide interesting content.
- Avoid apparent sales pitches. Instead of immediately pitching your product, make the email about your readers. Instead of long-winded descriptions of your products and all the exceptional services you provide, write about problems that might be afflicting your readers, then introduce solutions that include your products and services. Just as the subject line should prompt them to open the email, your intro needs to do one thing – get them to read the rest of the email.
- Try telling a story, building mystery, and/or including a relevant and compelling image in the email body to capture interest.
- For example, instead of announcing a new feature by describing it in technological terms, you could talk about the benefits of the element that will directly and positively affect a prospective customer. Focusing on a customer’s needs will get their attention.
- You could make critical statements using bullet points, which would succinctly convey information while also emphasizing it.
Please keep it simple and easy to read.
People receive many emails every day, and you probably will not have their undivided attention. Make sure the email is easy for the recipient to scan through quickly. Break the content up into short paragraphs. Include relevant images to break up the text. Stay on point and be transparent.
- If you have an offer that requires a good deal of information, provide a “Read more” link. They can click that link and be taken to a web page that provides additional information if they’re interested.
- Start with the most crucial information at the top of the email.
- Don’t include too many graphics or fancy designs in your emails. These might be difficult for mobile users to read.
Create an action-oriented goal.
Your email should entice and prompt the recipients to take some action. However, the act does not necessarily mean getting them to buy something immediately. The goal could be to get them to reply to the email or even click a link that brings them to your website. While people do manage to sell in their emails and drop people straight onto a credit card page, you will have more success getting people interested in reading more about your offer.
- Make sure the action goal is something that you can track – like a click, reply, or phone call – through platforms like Google Analytics.
- It’s essential to monitor the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, and the only way you can do that is by providing a call-to-action that you can track.
Sending the Email
Send a welcome email and provide an opt-in option.
Before you start marketing to someone new, you should first send a welcome email. Introduce the company and let them know what to expect from future emails. Provide an opt-in form that allows them to confirm that they want to receive further emails from you. To give them an incentive to opt-in, provide an attractive offer in the welcome email. For example, you could offer a free product or discount with their next purchase.
- An opt-in option can help prevent you from spamming people and get your relationship with that person started on the right foot.
- Every email you send should also have a prominent unsubscribe link in it. This allows the person to opt-out at any time.
Send a test email first.
There’s no going back once you hit “send” on an email. You can’t make corrections or change any of the content. Before you send an email out to your entire email list, please send it to a few key people in your company. Have these people review the email content, confirm that all the links work, proofread the text, make sure the formatting looks right, etc.
- You will feel more comfortable and confident about sending the final email out to your list if you do a test send first.
Track the effectiveness through analytics.
Most email service providers include free analytics when you use their programs. These analytics provide essential information about the email’s effectiveness, but the three most important metrics are the open rate, click-through rate (CTR), and unsubscribes. Knowing this information can help you tweak your content for more successful email marketing in the future.
- The open rate tells you how compelling your subject line was by showing how many people opened the email and how many didn’t.
- CTR shows you how many people heeded the call-to-action, telling you how successful your content was.
- Unsubscribe information lets you know when you’ve created ineffective content because it tracks how many people opted out of receiving future emails from you after seeing the current one.
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