Email marketing has long been one of the most powerful tools used by large corporations to promote their brand, and now, thanks to a number of services on the internet, smaller companies can make use of it too. Successful email marketing campaigns have a proven track record of driving web traffic and conversions; they’re a highly effective method of spreading the word about any new offers or promotions you might be having, and can also create a sense of community by keeping your subscribers up to date with any developments in the company.
It’s not just a case, however, of putting some text together and hitting the send button, effective email marketing requires consideration, timing and precision, to say the least. If you find that your open rates are crashing, or that your subscriber rates are slowly dwindling, then it’s most probably the case that your email marketing needs to change. Before sending out your next campaign, take a look through the following five steps to make sure that you’re doing everything you can really ‘sell’ your emails.
1. Use a Professional Service
It seems obvious, but the first step to establishing a strong email marketing campaign is to invest in a professional service. You’ve probably heard of services like Mailchimp and Constant Contact, but the fact is there’s a whole multitude of email marketing companies out there who all offer slightly different features and designs, so take some time to choose the right one for you. As standard, packages are tiered based on the number of emails you send per month and how many people you send them to. This way you’re never paying for more than you need. These services are easy to use, and most feature straightforward drag and drop user interfaces, so your emails are sent out looking simple, professional and most importantly uniform.
2. Check Your Subject Lines
Do you find that your overall open rate is generally quite low? This is a strong indicator that people are put off by your subject lines, and thus never actually read any of the content that you’ve spent time and/or money to create. Subject lines are difficult to get right because they have to be equal parts informative and entertaining. If your subject lines are too informative, the chances are they’re overly long and thus are actually being abbreviated by your users’ email programmes. As a general rule shorter subject lines are best, but you have to take care that they’re not misleading as to the actual content of the email.
3. Clip Your Content
Trends indicate that more and more users now access their emails through their smart phones or tablet devices, which means that your content needs to be easily digestible on the go. This is part of the reason email marketing is so effective for promotions, as you can simply explain the deal in 3-4 lines and then offer a link back to your website. It’s difficult however to incorporate blogs or newsletters into emails as they often feature long, potentially off putting, stretches of text. Wherever possible, when sending blogs out via email, it’s best just to provide a few introductory lines accompanied by a link back to the page on your site. Consequently this should also provide a boost in web traffic.
Studies continue to show that digital users respond best to attractive visual content online, so investing in some for your email marketing campaigns is heavily recommended. Imagery is best used alongside short and engaging content; let your visual elements do the talking for you, so you don’t have to clutter up the email with swathes of copy.
4. Timing is Key
When scheduling in your email marketing campaigns, take time to consider just when exactly you think your subscribers are most likely to engage with emails they receive. To use an obvious example, there’s no point in sending emails out in the middle of the night; customers will simply gloss over them when they wake up and forget about them after two minutes in the shower. With the advent of mobile, scheduling emails to catch subscribers on the commute to and from work, or during the lunch break, has proven to be a very effective method.
5. Is What you’re Offering Really Exclusive?
Findings indicate that one of the biggest reasons people unsubscribe from mailing lists is that the content they receive is irrelevant or futile. Bear in mind that when people actively subscribe to your mailing list, they do so in the large part because they want privileged access to deals and information that you, as a company, are distributing. Is there any point in them opening the email if the content or promotion within it has been seen before, or can be accessed through other means? Before you send out your next mass email, make sure that you’re offering your customers something exclusive, and giving them a reason to click through.
Successful email marketing campaigns require patience and resilience, don’t be surprised if your first few don’t produce outstanding results. The key is to learn from your previous mistakes; make sure that you regularly consult the reports from previous campaigns, and take time to consider what works and what didn’t. By continually redrafting your emails, and building on techniques that work, you should soon see an increase in both your subscribers and your CTRs.