Email marketing can be a highly effective way of communicating with your audience, but if used too little, or too often, it can have disastrous effects on your mailing list (the contacts that you’ll be emailing), resulting in high numbers of unsubscribers - which can mean that potential customers are lost forever. So you have to take the Goldilocks approach and get it just right.
There are lots of different email marketing platforms that you can choose from: MailChimp, Constant Contact, Campaign Monitor… the list goes on. It’s up to you to research them all and find out which one works best for you and your business. Some will have different capacities as email marketing platforms, so you’ll have to work out how you want to use it, and what messages you’ll be communicating to your audience.
Here are some of the ways in which you can use email marketing to the fullest, to get the most out of your mailing list, impress your audience, and increase your conversion rate:
Personalisation is paramount for today’s marketer. Your customers expect it. Personalisation can be as simple as using your customers’ first name at the beginning of an email (eg. “Hi Buffy…”), or as complex as suggesting products for a customer based on their previous purchases. Personalisation can now be used in such an intricate way that each customer will get a completely different email, but this can be costly and time-consuming. Some examples of personalisation that you can explore are: subject lines (a simple way of doing this is using the customer’s first name, which can increase the chances of them opening the email), product recommendations (Amazon do this really well), abandoned cart emails (when customers have a product in their shopping basket but haven’t purchased it), promotions (you can use your customer data to determine which offers a customer is more likely to take up), replenishment/renewal emails (to remind a customer to purchase from you again) and emails asking for reviews (these can be sent in real-time, so it’s fresh in the customer’s mind to review your product/service - reviews are gold-dust to the marketer!).
This can be tied in with personalised emails - most email marketing platforms support this function. Automation can save the marketer and sales personnel a great deal of time, and can often be tied into different types of trigger. Triggers are the events that cause an email to be sent to a customer - for example, if they have logged into your website and click on a particular link, but don’t purchase, you can email them to give them a gentle push in the right direction, and maybe make a personalised suggestion as to what they can purchase next. can be effective. It’s also a good idea to implement a ‘Welcome Series’ of emails so that when a customer signs up, they get an email welcoming them to your site and explaining a bit more about your company.
Segmentation is fundamental in today’s world of marketing saturation. As a marketer, you need to know exactly who should be receiving an email from you. Not using segmentation can lead to over-exhaustion of your mailing list, which can result in poor open/click-through rates, meaning fewer conversions from your emails - i.e. wasted effort. There’s no point in sending an email promoting a particular product, such as bacon, to someone who won’t be interested in purchasing it, like someone who is vegan. It’s up to you to gather relevant data on your customers in order to communicate with them appropriately.
Video can be useful to explore if you’re getting your emails opened, but your click-through rate is low. It can be time-consuming to create and embed a video that looks on-brand and suitable, but it can really help add some fresh content to your emails. Even gifs can stand out more in emails than static images, but it’s worth testing them to make sure they’re right for your audience.
If you want to hear what your customers have to say (and you should), surveys are a great way of getting that information. Ideally keep it to as few questions as you can, as customers don’t want to spend their valuable time filling out a lengthy survey of unimportant questions. You can embed surveys into your emails as well, which can increase the response rate. I recommend Survey Monkey, because they are so simple to set up, and they pretty much do everything you need them to!
Even if you’re looking to send out just one email a month, it’s important to use email templates and to stick to them as much as you can. They form part of your brand, so consistency is key. Of course, you can mix it up a bit with different forms of multimedia and minor format changes, but it’s best to stick to your brand, so your customers will recognise your emails when they arrive in their inboxes. Creating templates can be simple or more complex - whatever you need for your business. But once you have your templates, it makes creating email campaigns so much quicker!
If nothing else, this is the MOST IMPORTANT part of email marketing. You don’t know what success is unless you TEST. A/B testing is one of the easiest ways to test what is working for you, and, again, most email marketing platforms support this function. The usual criteria for A/B testing can vary: subject lines, calls-to-action (eg. ‘Buy now’ or ‘Find out more’), email layout, personalisation (David versus Mr. Bowie), images, video, offers, headlines, body text, and email sender, to name a few. Then you need to determine what success is for you - for example, if you’re testing a subject line, it makes sense for you to test the open rate of the email, but if you’re testing the calls-to-action, you could test the click-through rate or the conversion rate. Honestly, testing is fundamental, and a marketer’s best friend. Do it now!
Stay tuned to NSC for more analyses of email marketing, and how-to guides to help you find success in your role.