Chapter 9: Email Marketing

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Way back in the 20th century, on May 1, 1978 to be precise, a marketer called Gary Thuerk, working for a company called Digital Equipment Corp. send out 400 emails on a system called Arpanet, prior to the development of today’s internet. As you can imagine, only a handful of computer geeks and professors received it, and systems were so simple that one professor complained that he couldn’t use his computer that morning because the email took up all his disk-space. Thuerk was advertising a new computer his company was launching later that year, and his technique was successful – he claims it generated about $14 million in business for the company. The service provider at Arpanet warned him never to do something like that again!

From this innovative beginning, email marketing has gone on to be a global industry, and a way used almost universally by marketers to reach new contacts. Now of course some kinds of email marketing – the kind you get from people and companies you have never heard of and don’t know – is not a good form of marketing. Called spam, sending this kind of low-grade material is regulated in most countries, and if you are a reputable marketer you will not engage7 in this practice – leave it for the Nigerian Prince offering to share his $30 million fortune with you.

On the other hand, good-quality email marketing is a valuable tool for marketers, which will yield excellent results if used correctly, so that is going to be the subject of this Chapter – how to use quality email marketing to grow your business.

What Is Email Marketing?

Email marketing, which is sometimes also referred to as electronic marketing, or e-marketing, is a form of direct marketing that involves communication between a business and customer through electronic mail – what we usually call ‘email’. Thinking about it for a moment, all emails sent to customers from a business could fall under this term, since all are communication with a customer through email.

When we are talking in the world of marketing, however, the term ‘email marketing’ is used only to refer to advertising emails sent to:

  • Enhance the relationship of a business with current or previous customers
  • Persuade existing customers to make an immediate purchase
  • Encourage customer loyalty and repeat business, perhaps through a loyalty program
  • Offer membership in a special customer segment
  • Promote a new service, such as a referral program, or free consultation
  • Acquire new customers
  • Request donations to a charity
  • In a slightly different meaning, it can also cover the presence of advertisements for company A in emails sent by company B to Company B’s customers for other purposes.

We can also divide email marketing into segments in a different way, as follows:

  • Transactional emails are those involved in the actual business of the company – purchase acknowledgements, receipts, delivery notices, accounts, etc. Although not primarily intended for that purpose, these emails can and are used to carry the sort of marketing promotional material we just described.
  • Direct emails are the type we just discussed, where you’re sending advertisements of some kind. They can be sent to a company’s existing customer email list, selected segments of it or to people on a rented or purchased email list from another company, including companies who offer this as a specific service.
  • Mobile marketing is in many ways a kind of email marketing, using SMS instead of email to achieve similar goals. Of course, an increasing number of customers also receive and carry out all or part of their email activities on mobile devices. There is quite a lot of cross-over between email or SMS marketing on mobiles and other social media marketing we have talked about in earlier chapters.

Why Is Email Marketing Important?

The importance of email marketing lies primarily in its ability to allow for a direct, partially individualized form of marketing and communication. It makes it possible to target specific demographics using a method known as email segmentation, which allows you to send out multiple emails to those on your email list, based on individual wants or needs. We will discuss this in detail later. Email marketing is also important because it gives companies another way to build stronger customer loyalty, better company branding, and keep your company at the forefront of the public’s mind.

Advantages of Email over Traditional Mailing

Compared to traditional mailing, email marketing has a number of advantages, including:

  • Compared to the cost of artwork, printing, buying materials like envelopes, printing and labeling, transport and actual mailing costs for physical mail, email marketing is significantly cheaper and dramatically faster.
  • An accurate ROI (return on investment) is relatively easy to track, so analytics are easily developed and strong. As a marketing tool, many consider its effectiveness only a little outranked by pay-for-click search advertising.
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  • It is much easier to track and analyze information on customer behaviors related to these emails. By understanding and using the information thus gained on consumer behavior, improvements in campaigns are made relatively easily.
  • It is possible to reach much greater numbers of potential consumers through email marketing. Many companies now include allowing the receipt of emails in their general terms and conditions.
  • Compared to snail email, email marketing has a significantly higher response rate and the resulting orders are on average of higher value.
  • The majority of Internet users check email frequently through the day, so they are reached more quickly. In addition, more attention is paid to email than snail mail, which may never even be opened if advertisements are suspected.

Disadvantages of Email Marketing

  • Deliverability is the chief disadvantage of email marketing. By this, we mean the ability of an email actually to get through to the intended recipient. With the development of stronger anti-spam and firewalls, it is harder and harder for unsolicited emails, or emails send from provider lists, to arrive where they are intended to go. Most people’s ‘junk’ folder is full to overflowing! Delivery rates are probably well below 50% for email not on someone’s ‘safe sender’ list.
  • Legality is an important issue to consider before embarking on an email marketing campaign. Because of public resistance to spam email, most countries have legislation in place controlling the sending of bulk emails. In the US, the relevant legislation is the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. The main requirements of this act are as follows:
    • Your ‘From’ line must reflect who you actually are
    • Your Subject line must accurately relate to the content of the email
    • A physical address must be included in the body of the email
    • You cannot send an email without any content – just a subject line
    • There must be a working and clearly visible ‘unsubscribe’ link
    • Unsubscribe requests must be honored within 10 days
    • You cannot send an email to a ‘harvested’ address, that is, one collected by a deceptive way of getting someone to provide their email address

There may be other requirements as well, and if you intend to go beyond your own company email subscribers, you should use a legitimate email service provider (ESP), who will ensure legal compliance for your email campaign. This is especially important if you intend to send emails internationally, since other areas, for example the European Union, have much stricter legislation in place.

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Opt-in Email Marketing

An opt-in system is the way to go if you want to avoid becoming a spammer – which of course you do! This is the best way to avoid sending your messages to people who do not want to receive them. With an opt-in system, the customer actively agrees – usually by ticking a box – to receive information, newsletters and promotions from you. That way they can never say they did not ask you for email. Notice that you must still put ‘unsubscribe’ buttons on your emails, so that the person can change their mind at any time.

Using an opt-in system has many advantages to your company:

  • It protects your reputation and brand
  • It shows you respect the privacy of your customers
  • Your emails will go mostly to people who are interest in what you’re selling
  • It maximizes interest in your products and services
  • You will develop long-term relationships based on trust
  • You will save money and time, because you will be focused where it counts

And the best part? Setting up an opt-in system to build your email list is easy to do:

  • Have a sign up link on each page on your website
  • End every transaction, like an order confirmation, with a sign up link
  • When you are at conferences, trade shows and other events, collect sign ups on paper
  • Put a sign up link on all your postings on message boards and forums
  • Give a small discount, special content (like an eBook), or a coupon of some kind to everyone who sign up for emails or newsletters

For the rest of this chapter (and for sake of ease), we will assume you are using a legitimate method, such as an opt-in, to build your email list.

Lead Generation with Email Marketing

Generating and nurturing leads with email remains one of the most effective tools available. However, although you may get plenty of people to opt-in to your email list, they won’t become actual customers all by themselves. To make that happen, those initial leads need to be nurtured and developed. This means using emails designed to increase engagement and persuade these leads to respond to your calls to action.

The primary way to do this is to make your emails engaging. This is how you can increase the number of receivers opening and reading your emails, as well as those converting them into actions.

What is an engaging email?

Here are some things to consider in crafting emails that will bring the responses you want:

  • Create a good subject line, since this is what encourages someone to open and read the email. Good subject lines might include something you know is a concern to the receiver – Improve Your Image. Make them personal if you can – In Response to Your Inquiry. Another approach is to make the subject line a call to action – Download Our Latest eBook.
  • Use images, because these are absorbed by the brain much more quickly than text, and catch the attention of the reader, images should be a central part of your content.
  • Connect with Social Media, by including links that allow readers to share your email with others in their network. This will also increase your reach. Make sure you allow this for several different popular media, as everyone has their own favorites.
  • Provide content. Something that teaches the reader more about your products and services has a better chance of turning them into a customer. Offer valuable information and provide links to eBooks, videos, presentations, and other material on your website.
  • Make calls to action central to your message, as a passive email will receive no response. Use words like download, register, try now, read, sign-up, share, attend.
  • Feature promotions, as this will increase your conversion rate.
  • Address concerns your customers might have, about your business or the wider world.
  • Ask questions, because then people feel that are involved and have an impact on your business.
  • Keep it brief, because everyone has many emails to deal with and their time is precious.

Five Steps to Building an Effective Email Marketing Campaign

Step One: Define Your Goals

The first step in an email marketing campaign is to decide your goals. What are you trying to accomplish by executing your campaign? You may have only one reason, or you may have several goals you are trying to reach. They may be small milestones or large ones. You will probably have both immediate and long-term goals. Each campaign is different, and your campaign’s goals may evolve over time. Whatever they are, think them through, refine them and make a solid list.

Here are a few common reasons companies create email marketing campaigns:

  • Nurture Primary Audience – Your primary audience is those individuals who receive news, promotions, or information from your company first. They will chiefly be your followers on your social media accounts, your blog followers, and your email subscribers. If you neglect them and don’t keep up your connection with them, they will forget about you and go elsewhere.
  • Increase Sales – Since the purpose of any business is to make money, this is always a primary goal. Well-crafted emails can bring sales by letting customers know about new products, promotions, and discounts. Simply by reminding a customer of your existence they are more likely to come back and buy again.
  • Build branding – Particularly for a young company, developing your brand is vital. Emails project your desired image to your target audience and increase customer awareness of your unique qualities.
  • Engage with Your Customers – All engagement is good, and if you don’t communicate with your customers, they can’t engage with you. Personal and individual connection should be your goal.
  • Increase Traffic – This could be to your website, to your blog, or to some special event or activity.
  • Generate Leads – As we discussed above, good email marketing turns leads into customers.
  • Build Loyalty – By encouraging repeat business, you build a larger pool of those vital repeat customers.
  • Expand Your Reach – sending emails to a new group of customers will obviously do this, but by making it easy for your primary audience to pass your email on through social media, you will also increase your reach and expand your customer database.

Every email marketing campaign is unique. Your actual goals may include one, several, or none of these things. Your actual goals will reflect what your company needs at that particular time.

Whatever they are, make sure your goals are SMART!

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Step Two: Define Your Plan

Once you have defined your goals, you need to define your plan. A plan is not the same as a goal, because a plan is the details of how you are going to reach your goal. Many people fail to realize there is more planning involved then simply saying you are going to send out emails. For the goals of an email marketing campaign, your plan will be how you are going to make the emails you send relevant to your goals. There are three primary things you need to think about: what type of content you are going to present to your subscribers, how you will design your email, and the timing of when and how often you are going to send your emails.

Content

Decisions about the content of your emails are not about what form of media you are going to use. Typically, you will only be using appropriate graphics and written content. Videos and other rich content are usually unsuitable for email marketing because the email will be large and could be blocked by a firewall simply for its size. If it gets through it will take too long to open and will be ignored. Finally, if it takes too long to read or watch no one will bother with it.

When thinking about email content we are usually more concerned with the sub-content – the visual presentation and visual imagery. So for example this means paying careful attention to using relevant images that portray the essence of your written content, visual advertisements, product images, graphs, charts, and other similar forms of visual information.

The choices of written content are just as diverse. Here are some of the various forms of written content you may choose to include in your campaign:

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  • ‘How-To’ or instructional articles
  • The results of polls or surveys
  • Frequently asked questions
  • Articles containing advice, tips, or other useful information
  • Informative pieces based on your business niche, your company, or key company members
  • Customer testimonials
  • Breaking news relevant to your customers
  • Product or service highlights
  • Promotional information such as giveaways, contests, or new programs

You could offer other kinds of content in your emails, and you could easily include multiple forms of content, but be careful not to stretch yourself too thin. There is no need to use every single form of content available. The key is to decide which types of content will best connect with your audience. Your emails need to engage your customers, and keep their attention. Make them want to read each new email you send. Your content is the primary way to do this.

Design

Your emails can look all the same or at least very similar to one another. You do not have to come up with a different design each time you send out an email. In fact, since your emails help promote your brand, having a standard format is a good thing. You may want to alter your design for major holidays, but that is an entirely separate matter.

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The key is to find a design that works for your customers and projects a consistent and appropriate brand image. A good email design should be:

  • Conversion friendly
  • Simple
  • Appealing and visually attractive
  • Free of very bright colors, which can strain the eyes and put customers off reading them
  • Contain no hard-to-read texts, or anything else that may annoy or irritate your audience

Timing

There are two things to consider with the timing of your emails: what time of day will you send your emails, and how often you will send them.

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  • The best time of day to send your emails is early in the morning. This is because most people check their emails first thing after they wake up. You have a higher chance of engaging someone while they are sipping their morning coffee, rather than at the end of the day when they are exhausted and falling asleep.
  • How often you send emails is entirely up to you. Think about how many employees you have who can work on your email marketing campaign, and how many hours they are able to dedicate towards it. You can assume that a great newsletter may take anywhere between two and six hours to write, design, edit, and send. It just depends on how much information you plan on offering in each email. Estimate that each set of emails will take six hours if you use a very small amount of segmentation. How often would you then be able to send out emails? Many companies send out just one email a week, while others send out as many as one per day.
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Remember that there is no right or wrong answer to how often you should send out your emails, just as long as you are sending them regularly.

Step Three: Build Your Email List

NOW it is time to start building your email list. Some companies will already have a list of email contacts, which could be long or short. Other companies may be building their lists entirely from scratch.

Word of Mouth and Referral Programs

Word of mouth is one of the oldest forms of marketing still in use day, and with good reason – it works. All you have to do is tell a few friends, relatives, and neighbors to get things rolling. They tell a few people, who tell a few people, and so on down the line in a broad, rippling effect. A referral program is something that rewards individuals for bringing you new contacts or business. This is a great way to ramp up your word of mouth efforts because it offers people a real incentive to tell their own friends, relatives, and neighbors about your company, and about what it offers.

Giveaways

Giveaways are an excellent way to build your email subscription list. The most effective way to use giveaways to grow your list is to host them through Rafflecopter. Signing up for your email list can be a way people can enter your giveaway. Just ensure you are giving away something people will actually want or they have no incentive to enter.

Social Media

Not only can social media assist you in word of mouth campaigning, but it is also a useful tool for growing your email list all on its own. Social media is so effective because it offers a personal, engaging form of communication with your customers. It allows you to gain their trust slowly, which not only encourages them to subscribe but also to actually open the emails they then receive.

Calls to Action

You can utilize calls to action to ask people to sign up to receive your emails by putting them on your blog posts and articles. Remember that the best calls to action are simple, short, and straight to the point. Just let them know what you want them to do – which in this case is to sign up for your newsletter.

Links to Sign Up On Your Blog & Website

Place links on both your blog and website for people to easily sign up for your email list. This is just another way to prompt individuals who have found their way to your site to continue receiving information from you. The more high-quality, informative, and engaging content you have on your site, the more likely readers will want to subscribe.

Sign-Up Sheets

If you have a physical store for your company, you should leave an email sign-up book somewhere near your cash register. When your customers check out, ask them if they are interested in signing up for your newsletter. After all, the worst they can say is no, and you may be able to collect quite a few sign ups this way. Do the same thing at conferences, trade shows, and other events where you have a table or booth.

Step Four: Create Content

Now it is finally time to create your email content. What you create depends on the planning decisions you made for your emails. Prior to launching your campaign, you should create some backup material so that if something goes wrong and you are not able to create new material at any time, you have something to fall back on.

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Here are some tips for creating top-quality content for your email marketing campaign:

  • Create the highest quality of content possible, every time. Mediocrity is not an option when aiming for success.
  • Always edit your content for typos, grammatical errors, etc. Nothing is less professional than badly edited pieces.
  • Keep your audience in mind when devising topics. It shouldn’t be about what you like or want to write about, but what your audience likes and wants to read about.
  • Diversify the forms of content you use in each email, and create with that goal in mind.
  • If you are going to post entire articles in your newsletters, keep them short – under 400 words. Most people simply do not have the patience to read long articles.
  • Alternatively, post 200 to 400 word excerpts in your emails and supply links to the full articles on your website, should your audience wish to read more.
  • Use seasonal content when applicable. Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year, Easter, Halloween, etc. are all great times where seasonal content is a good idea.
  • Research your competitors. Find out what has or has not worked for them. Now use that information as a guideline to create your own successful content.
  • Use short blocks of information. Sentences should be short. Limit your paragraphs to three to five sentences.

Step Five: Send the Emails

Most people think that this final stage is as simple as copying your content into an email space and sending it out. In reality, there is more to it than that, because you may not want to send the same emails to everyone on your list. This process of dividing your list into specific groups is called email segmentation.

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Email Segmentation

It used to be that when a marketing email was ready, it was simply sent out to everyone on your email database – what some marketers call batch and blast. If you have a small list, or are just getting started, you may still choose to do that – it is certainly the simple option. However, most companies have found much greater success with their email marketing by aiming different emails at different people on the list – this is called segmentation and personalization.

If your database contains more than a name and an email address, you can segment your database and send appropriate emails to each segment. By breaking up your main email list into smaller lists, based upon what your customers are interested in or need, you can achieve a much higher ROI on your email campaign.

Segmentation sends the right emails to the right people, at the right time, and for the right reasons

Segmentation also means that people do not receive emails for things they clearly do not want. When this happens your company loses credibility, and you don’t want that to happen. Studies have shown that clicks to links are almost 60% higher in properly segmented emails, compared with ‘batch and blast’.

There are several ways to do the actual job of segmenting your list. Here are some of the most common strategies:

  • Manually monitor the behaviour and activity of your customers – this works, but with anything but a small list, it is time-consuming and inefficient, as well as prone to errors.
  • Use a software tool – there are several simple systems available to help you track your customers and segment them into various groups. With software like Mailchimp, Aweber, Streamsend, and others, you can easily customize the program to create the segments you want.
  • Self-segmentation – by sending a simple questionnaire, that could even only be one question, you can create segments directly from customer responses.
  • Sign-up forms – add some boxes to your sign-up form as another way of allowing customers to segment themselves.

A WORD OF CAUTION: start small…

Although it may be tempting to immediately jump into a program of highly segmented emails, don’t do it. When first starting out, you should segment your emails into only two or three lists. Use wide-ranging or ‘umbrella’ categories to segment your subscribers.

For example…

  • If you run a blog or business based upon parenting, you could split your subscribers into expecting parents, parents of young children, and parents of older children.
  • If you run a blog or business based upon relationship advice, you could break your subscribers up into those who are single, those who are dating, and those who are married.
  • If you run a business that sells automobile parts, you could break it up into individuals who own cars, and those who own trucks.

Decide which two or three umbrella categories might be best for your own company, and start with that. Remember too that humans are complex, and just because they have only bought a certain type of product from you so far, doesn’t mean they are definitely not interested in something completely different.

Develop a Wider Range of Content

To use segmentation effectively you need to create a wider range of content. Keep your segmentation in mind and create a separate email for each of those umbrella categories you came up with in the previous step. This means you will be creating multiple emails that you send out at the same time, so you will need to create more content. While this requires more work, remember that it allows you to target your audience more effectively. When your subscribers receive information more targeted towards them, emails are more likely to convert into what you want, and into sales.

Segment More Personally

Once your email segmentation is off the ground and you have become used to developing multiple emails to send out at the same time, you can begin to segment more personally. This may include segmenting your email subscriptions into as many as seven or eight separate emails to send out at any given time. How much segmentation you actually do is entirely up to you. In fact, many companies are happy with the results they receive from their small segmentation and never decide to segment any further. You don’t have to segment more, but as your company grows and changes you may decide it would benefit your business to do so.

Tips to Better Understand Your Audience

Here are some ideas for ways you could segment your list, and then send each segment you create a unique email:

  • Active vs Inactive – You can tell from orders or other responses if a person on your list has ever responded to you, beyond giving you permission to email them. Some people might be inclined to simply delete them after a period of time – a few months, maybe, or a year. However, before doing that it is best to send an email asking them to renew their subscription. If they do not reply, fine, delete them, but they may ask to be renewed, indicating that at some time in the future they might become a lead or a customer. Equally, very active customers will probably be comfortable receiving more emails, and as well, you can target them with limited offers, to build greater loyalty.
  • Location – If you know where in the country or world a person lives, or if they live in a city or small community, this can help you direct the right products to the right people. There is not much point sending an offer for snowshoes to a customer in Florida, or air-conditioners to Maine in January. The same thing can be done with local weather, for example for heat waves, or heavy rain.
  • Age – You obviously don’t want to practice ageism, but a message to a college student should probably use different language from one to a typical retired person.
    Gender – Particularly if you offer products with a gender split – such as toiletries – then segmenting your list by gender makes a lot of sense.
  • Persona – If you have created customer personas, you can (and should) assign your real-life customers to their nearest persona, and then use appropriate emails for each one.
  • Buying Behavior – Some customers buy certain things at certain times of the year, or with a certain frequency. Once you detect that pattern, a gentle reminder sent at the right time can work wonders.
  • Interests – If you know users are interested in specific topics of types of products, you can target them to make offers related to those interests.
  • Satisfaction – If you measure how happy customers are with your goods or services, perhaps with something like the popular Net Promoter Score (NPS) you can target emails that reward satisfied clients with special offers, or ask them to write reviews and make referrals. For less-satisfied customers you can send them more information, or offer customer service to resolve problems they may have had.
  • Income or Average Purchase – If your products or services cover a wide price range, dividing by income could be a useful split. If you are dealing with existing customers, then looking at the price-range of their purchases allows you to target discounts and other offers, as well as products, more accurately.
  • Job Title – If you are selling to businesses, then knowing what role and power a person has allows for much better targeting. Other possible segments specifically for B2B marketers might include the particular industry, or the type of organization the person belongs to.

Personalization

Related to, but different from segmentation, basic personalization is as simple as putting the customer’s name and job title in the body of the email. It can also mean putting personal information like the name of their town or the company they work for in there, or wishing them ‘Happy Birthday’ on the correct day. Since the time of day an email arrives is important, you can use the time zone of where the person lives to make sure it arrives at the right moment. Since personalization uses data in your database, make sure that is accurate, or you could be creating emails that say all the wrong things!

Email Marketing Upkeep

Your work is not finished once you have launched your campaign. There are certain things you must do on a weekly, monthly, and annual basis in order to keep your email marketing campaign effective. Failing to upkeep your campaign properly means it will grow stale, which you should obviously avoid at all costs.

Weekly

  • Send out at least one or two well-crafted emails
  • Check the landing pages on your website that you have linked with your emails. Make sure they are working properly and are free of errors.
  • Use social media and your blog to keep gaining new subscribers. One post a week is enough once your campaign is off the ground.
Monthly

  • Clean up your email subscription list. Get rid of any bounced email addresses.
  • Host an exclusive promotion or giveaway for your email subscribers. If you are unable to do this monthly, try doing it bi-monthly instead.
Annually

  • Update your plan of attack. New techniques come out every year, and sometimes you learn that what was working when you launched the campaign is no longer working. Consider these things and update accordingly.
  • Research what your competitors are doing with their email marketing campaigns. What is or is not working for them? Adjust your own campaign accordingly.

8 Tips for Success

We have looked in detail at how to develop an effective email marketing campaign. While you are working on it, keep these tips in mind, and your campaign will be a big success:

  1. Make your emails mobile-friendly to increase the chances of them being read.
  2. Remember to include an ‘opt-out’ for customers who want to. If someone doesn’t want to read your emails, it will not help you having them on your email list anyway.
  3. Keep in mind the goals you defined at the start of your campaign, when creating your calls to action. These should direct customers to actions that achieve these goals for you.
  4. It is better to send out one well-crafted email regularly each week, than to try to send one out each day, but overload your marketing team in doing so. The number of times per week you send out emails should be realistic and within the ability of your team.
  5. Calls to action need to be clear, simple, and short, to be effective.
  6. Email designs should be simple, conversion-friendly, and appealing.
  7. Don’t jump into extremely personalized segmentation in the very beginning. Ease your way into more personalized segmentation if you want to, but always start with just a few broad categories.
  8. Keep your audience at the front of your mind in everything you do. This includes design, segmentation, content creation, and every other part of your email campaign.

5 Things to Avoid

To have the most successful email marketing campaign possible, you should avoid the following things at all costs:

  1. Cookie cutter designs – while your design should be simple, it should still be unique. People grow weary of seeing the same thing repeatedly, so give them something new to look at.
  2. Cookie cutter content – like your email design, your content also needs to be unique. If someone has already read the same thing somewhere else, they probably won’t take the time to read your version of it.
  3. Inconsistencies – if you normally send out one email each week, make sure you continue to send out that one email. Don’t make contradictory calls to action from one week to the next. Avoid inconsistencies of any kind.
  4. Never lie or stretch the truth – it will only make your audience doubt you. Trust is much easier to keep than it is to get back once it has been lost.
  5. Think personally – never do something in your email marketing campaign just because you like it. Always think instead about what your audience would like.

Your Top Priorities

An email marketing campaign takes a considerable amount of time to execute properly. Not all businesses have the amount of time it takes to carry out every task day in and day out. If you only have five minutes per day to dedicate towards your email marketing, what should your top priorities be?

Here is a comprehensive list of how to spend those five minutes productively:

    • Monday-Friday

    • Create content for your emails. This can be cumulative, writing for five minutes each day to complete as many articles as possible for your newsletter. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes)

    • Saturday

    • Design and send your newsletter. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes)

    • Sunday

    • Post on one or two social media accounts asking people to sign up for your newsletter. (Estimated Time: 5 minutes)

Although these are the items to focus on if you have only five minutes a day, a much better solution is to outsource a few additional items. Like all other aspects of business, the more work you can put towards your email campaign the better your results are going to be.

Getting Professional Assistance

Outsourcing is a popular way to get more work done for less money and in a shorter amount of time. Hiring a professional has benefits over and beyond this, however. With a professional, you will receive higher quality work with a smaller margin for errors. You should also encounter less stress in your life because you can be certain things are done right . . . the first time. Here are some tasks associated with your social media campaign for which most experts would advise hiring a professional:

Content
Hiring a professional writer to prepare or at least edit your content is a great idea. Having top quality material, written with the target audience in mind, is very important. Just as important is the quantity of high quality content you are able to create for your newsletters, since the more content the better. If one person can write two high quality pieces of content per day, then two people can write four. It may not seem like much more, but it will give you much more flexibility when you begin to segment your emails.

Design
If you haven’t already hired a graphic designer than chances are you probably need to. Your email design is crucial, as it is often the ‘deal breaker’ on whether or not someone decides to read your email in full. Graphic designers are relatively inexpensive, and you only pay for the work they actually do. A higher rate of conversions is definitely worth the one or two hours you pay a designer for.

When Will I See Results?

The first results you will see is your email list growing. If you work hard at getting new sign ups, you could see a satisfactory increase in the number of subscriptions within one to two weeks. This number should steadily rise over time.

If you are creating top-quality emails, carefully aimed at your various targets, you will begin to see a greater number of leads appearing for your products or services. It is hard to estimate the time this will take, because your numbers could increase as soon as you send out your first email or they may take months to increase.

Granted, you will only generate a small number of leads at first, no matter how quickly or slowly they arrive. However, your results should steadily increase until you begin seeing an optimal level somewhere between six and twelve months into your campaign. Optimal results might include more followers and likes on social media accounts; more website and blog views; better company branding; an increase in media awareness; and an increase in sales.

How to Measure Success

Success in email marketing can seem hard to determine at first glance. In reality, it is actually quite simple. You need to check the following things to determine the success or failure of your campaign:

  • Clicks – how many people are clicking the links you included in your newsletters? You can see this by looking at your website analytics. Look under the section labeled where views are coming from and see how often your email links show up. If people are actually clicking the links, that means you emails are converting, which is fantastic.
  • Sign Ups – how many people are signing up to receive your newsletter? If this number is steady or rising, you can assume at least marginal success in your email marketing campaign. If this number is decreasing (i.e. you are losing subscribers), you need to figure out where you have gone wrong.
  • Sales – ultimately, every single form of marketing you use in your business should create sales. If your sales are not rising, you are doing something wrong, and you need to find out what it is, and fix it. If your sales are rising, you are obviously doing a good job, and you can congratulate yourself.
  • Views – how many website and blog views are you receiving? Most importantly, how many views are you getting on the landing pages linked to your emails? This is a good metric of success.

Keeping track of several metrics at a time and calculating your ROI is obviously the ultimate in measuring the success of your email marketing campaign. This calculator allows you to measure ROI in the planning stage as well as while your campaign is running. With your ROI available, you can demonstrate with hard numbers your success, and be better able to secure future funding.

Summary

In this section of the course, we covered the following topics. Make sure you understand them all before moving on to the next section:

  • What is Email Marketing?
  • What is Email Marketing important?
  • Lead Generation with Email Marketing
  • Five Steps to an Email Marketing Campaign
    • Define your Goals – make them SMART
    • Define your plan – fill in the details
    • Build your email list – there are many ways to do this
    • Create content – make it top quality
    • Send your emails – segment your list for top results
  • Email marketing upkeep
  • Tips for success
  • Things to avoid
  • Your top priorities
  • Getting professional assistance – why professional help pays for itself
  • When will I see results?
  • How to measure success

Conclusion

Email marketing is a viable marketing tool that all companies can easily utilized, no matter how large or small they may be. It offers a more personalized form of communication that can easily generate numerous leads for your company. By following the steps outlined above and using the tips listed, you can begin to reap the benefits of a successful email marketing campaign sooner than you might imagine.