Some say email marketing is dead. We would definitely disagree.
According to OptinMonster, 92% of online adults use email, with 61% using it on an average day. More people check email than social media first each day. If your customers are in their inbox then don’t you want to be there too?
Email marketing is more effective for B2B than for B2C. Think about it, I’m willing to bet that you check, read and action emails in your work inbox much more reliably than emails in your personal inbox. However, B2C email marketing can also be highly effective. It may take a little more effort and creativity to stand out in a more crowded inbox.
It’s probably safe to say that many businesses use email marketing because they should, rather than with a deliberate reason and plan. Used correctly, it can have one of the highest conversion rates among your marketing activities and prove extremely effective.
So how to use it correctly?
Let’s start with a few terms that come up when you read about email marketing which may need clarification.
Audience or List is the name for the list of people who have given you consent to email them with marketing content.
Campaign is the name for an email sent to the people in that audience or list.
Top tips for your campaigns
(It should go without saying, but it’s important enough that we will say it anyway!) Don’t send an email to your audience that you would see as spam. Don’t send an email that if you received it would bug and annoy you. Don’t send so many emails that your audience is sick of the sight of your name in their inbox and can’t wait to click unsubscribe and delete.
Inspire, Educate, Entertain, Inform.
Send the type of email that you love to see in your own inbox. The type of email that you can’t wait to open. The email that gives your day a lift in some way.
For members of your audience who shop with you regularly, open emails regularly or are generally loyal followers in some form, give them something extra. A small thank you can make a huge difference in cementing loyalty. This doesn’t have to be a massive item, an extra useful tip, a free download, a discount code – whatever works for your business!
Balance the frequency.
Don’t send mails so often that they become a nuisance. Don’t send them so infrequently that your audience forget about you. Regular and consistent emails are ideal here. You can also adjust the day and time of issue to get the best response.
Use the analytics available in most email marketing tools to assess whether you are getting this right and modify accordingly.
Stand out in the inbox
Make sure your subject line and email preview (for those who can see it) grab attention in the recipient’s inbox.
Emojis in the subject line increase open rates, but don’t overdo it as it can be quite offputting to see a long string of random emojis as the subject of an email in your inbox and can look like spam if not used carefully!
Don’t overuse images
Images are great in emails, they make them much more interesting to look at. Bear in mind, though, that a vast majority of your audience will open your email on their phone and if the mail is slow to load because there are too many images they will delete and move on. Speaking of which…
Make sure your email is mobile friendly
Like with your website, your email is most likely going to be accessed on mobile and should display correctly on a smaller screen. If someone opens your email on their phone and can’t view it correctly you risk them deleting and possibly unsubscribing. Never underestimate how little patience people have to wait for your content!
Make it personal
Have you noticed how much differently you respond to an email based on whether it opens with “Hey” vs a personalised Hi with your name? That initial impression affects how the rest of your email content is received and is so important. It is incredibly easy to configure personalisation in email and well worth the effort.
Speaking of personal, make sure your emails are in your voice, your tone, your words. Email marketing is a very direct, one to one communication and a generic tone can be quite offputting.
What are you trying to say?
Make sure that you know what your message is so that you are very clear. Otherwise your audience will not understand the information you are trying to get across and you will lose them, literally!
One way to get started with email marketing is to set up an automated campaign which will be triggered to send when you add a post to your blog. With Mailchimp you can set this up to send daily, weekly or monthly with any new posts since the last time that it was sent. The email will only send if it has new content to include, so you don’t risk sending an empty email. This is a great way to allow people to subscribe to receive blog updates as well as start using email marketing without coming up with specific content for emails immediately.
Lining up a great set of emails to go out to your audience is a lovely start, but you also need to think about who is reading them. Who has signed up to your list? Can you ask anyone else to join that list? Can you add a subscribe box on your website, perhaps alongside your blog content so that happy readers can make sure they don’t miss your next instalment?
Are you segmented?
As Mailchimp only allows you set up a single audience, people tend to then send all of their emails to all of their audience. This is not the only way!
You can set up segments, which you can then email separately, so you can target content specifically to the people you think will be most interested in it. This reduces the risk of your content being viewed as spam by other audience members who are not interested in those topics.
You can set these segments up manually or automatically. We will go into this more in a future post.
We’ve referred to Mailchimp for managing your email marketing as it the option we tend to go for with our clients and it is the tool we use ourselves
This is mainly because it integrates with so many other parts of what we do, it is free up to an audience of 2000 so is a great way to get started and is (reasonably) straightforward to set up and use.
We have heard great things about Mailerlite, as well, and will be watching to see if it integrates with more apps and systems which would make it a viable option.