Email marketing is the process of sharing information, promoting products and services, and developing relationships with potential customers via email.
Everyone is busy. Not many people like adding their email address to a subscription database or list, which will inevitably add to their ever-growing quantity of unread emails.
To grab their attention and convince them that yours is a cause worth joining, think about the following from a new subscriber’s perspective:
- What’s in it for me?
- What do I get when I give you my email address?
- Will I get discounts?
- Will you send me relevant offers or more junk?
- How often will you email me?
- Are you going to spam me?
With these questions and the end user always in mind, email marketing can be used by businesses to keep their customers informed and tailor their marketing messages specifically to what their customers want. Not just what they want to tell them.
Make it easy to subscribe
- How often have you visited a website only to find an annoying popup stops your browsing by asking for your email address? Unfortunately, these pop-ups work quite well to encourage your readers to join up to your list, and can be set to pop up once your customer has been on your website for a certain time period.
- Add an email sign-up link to your website’s header, footer, side bar, at the end or in the middle of blog posts, as well as create a specific sign-up page. You don’t have to do all of these suggestions, of course, but by trying a number of different places you can test which one is getting the most subscriptions.
Tell your subscribers what to expect
Once you have succeeded in adding subscribers to your list, you have to deliver exceptional, regular content to keep them there and to ensure you are continually providing value. Otherwise they will unsubscribe and even your best email marketing endeavours will all be for nought.
Almost all email service providers will give you the opportunity to create an autoresponder series. This is important because it allows you to engage with your readers to build relationships over time, so that you are not just getting in touch when you have something to sell.
Your auto responder content should be set to be delivered consistently over a couple of months, starting with a great welcome email.
Send a great welcome email
An initial follow-up email should be sent immediately to introduce yourself and confirm what you plan on doing with your new subscriber’s email.
Welcome emails are great for reminding subscribers exactly what they have signed up for. They can set expectations and clarify the types of content they’ll start getting emails about, as well as how often they might expect to receive these.
If you’re going to be trying to sell your subscribers something often, always consider this from your reader’s shoes. Question whether your messaging is in line with the expectations you have set.
As a rule of thumb, try to use your newsletter as a way to further your relationship with the reader, rather than to pitch to them. Save the sales pitch for unique updates, offers, and announcements.
Design your newsletter to fit your brand
Use this email marketing opportunity to promote a consistent message.
Your email newsletter should look as though it’s a part of your brand. Keep it simple. This will help your readers recognise that it is from you, which helps boost trust and engagement so they become familiar with it, and even look forward to it!
Use the same font, terminology, logos and brand messaging to talk to your customers how they’re used to be spoken to by you.
Hopefully, you’re already using a consistent font on your website or blog that you could also use in your emails. Choose one or two fonts that fit your brand and be consistent with each message you send out.
Make it scannable
Even with short emails, recipients may not read it all. Many studies have shown that people scan the content starting from the top left corner and stop at subject lines and images. If bold text or images capture their attention, then they may read on.
Create your newsletter content in a way that the reader can pick what they want to read when they can find time for it.
This can be done by placing the content into clearly defined sections so it is clear and simple to see where the most important pieces of content are. And you should also use sub headings and bullet points to keep people reading and encourage them to your call to action.
Send people content they want
Email marketing is about connecting with people over email; it’s up to you to figure out what way you’ll use email to fit your business’ needs. Sending great content is the key to keeping people on your list.
Original content that is engaging will work well, but there are other options for newsletter ideas. These include rounding up relevant content from the web and producing a list of the top 10 reads that are related to your subject area, for example.
Segmentation is the practice of splitting up your email list into more targeted groups. By doing this, you give yourself the ability to send more targeted communication so that is highly relevant.
Keep an eye on how your readers react to certain types of stories and which types generate the most clicks through to your site.
Keep a publishing calendar
A publishing calendar allows you to plan the process for brainstorming, creating and publishing content weeks or even months in advance.
By identifying how often you want to be sending content you can use a publishing calendar to help keep track of your email marketing details. This can help you record what you are publishing, target different segments, identify gaps in core areas and uncover new ways to use existing content.
Think about mobile
Make sure your emails can be viewed easily on mobile, as this is where the majority of your customers will be picking up your messages.
Be sure to opt for a responsive email design template that resizes images and text according to the screen where they’re displayed to. This will avoid limiting your readership.
Try not to use a lot of content as the mobile version may squish all your content into one narrow column. This will annoy most readers!
Your newsletter will look different in different email programs, so try to create an email that will look the best in most. More than 50% of all customers open emails in their mobile devices, so it is crucial for emails to look good on the small screen too.
Continue to check your analytics to see what has been working and adjust and modify to improve your results.
Your open rate will tell you how well you’ve built your relationship. If the number is low, it means that people have started to delete or archive upon receipt. This may mean you need to work harder on providing value and/or managing expectations.
If your click-through rate is low, it means that your message is either not targeted enough, or simply not getting through. In this case, focus on improving your copy.
If your unsubscribe rate is high in relation to your opt-in rate, then you’ve passed the point of building value and writing good copy… you’ve got some serious work to do. If this is you, try to examine when people are leaving and take action based on those leaks.
Growing your email list
One of your goals is likely to focus on growing the number of people on your list.
You can encourage regular sign-up from your site through the use of easy sign-up and call-to-action buttons. Promote the benefit you will provide in terms of content.
Note also that some companies prefer to give something away for free for joining their list. This could be a short eBook or private access privilege, while others simply offer a regular newsletter or product updates.
Work out what will work best for you and keep it up. You will soon find that the proof is in the pudding!
Please feel free to get in touch with us for more help and tips and tricks on how email marketing can improve your online business.