Email marketing has somewhat fallen out of favor over the past few years, with it's younger, trendier cousin social media growing in popularity. Yet time and again studies prove that reaching your audience via their inbox is still one of the most powerful and cost-effective methods of driving conversions.
Follow the 8 step plan below to perfect your email marketing!
1. Build Your List
Growing your email list with new subscribers should be an ongoing priority for your marketing efforts. Constantly adding fresh subscribers to your audience stops your list from getting stale, and ensures you are reaching an ever greater pool of prospective customers.
Vital to the growth of your list is making it as easy as possible for people to sign up. Place clear subscribe buttons and call to actions in highly visible places on your website, and keep forms as short as possible.
Offer visitors something to encourage them to subscribe, such as exclusive content, money off vouchers, or a credit to apply to a future purchase.
2. Know Your Audience
Once you have people in your list, how do you keep open and click through rates high? The key is making content as relevant and engaging as possible. Ask yourself some important questions such as:
- What does your audience want? Are they looking for offers, news or advice?
3. Use Tailored Content
Making your emails as personal as possible to each subscriber is a proven tactic to increase the results of your email marketing. Emails can be customized based on a subscriber's interest, (this information can be collected in the subscription form) or by demographic information (such as where they live, their job title or how old their children are.)
Just need to take that first step? Be sure to customize the email greeting with the subscriber's first name. Ban the phrase "Dear Subscriber" from all future emails!
4. Be Consistent
Now you have filled your emails with content that people can't wait to read it's important that you maintain consistency in your content, style and sending patterns. This consistency lets subscribers become comfortable with your email marketing. Using the same "from address" and similar subject lines ensure that they recognize your emails as something they signed up for, and don't dismiss it as spam.
Keeping content closely aligned to the reason that they signed up builds trust. And sticking to a delivery schedule (e.g. monthly Best Sellers and weekly Special Offers emails) means that your emails are expected and familiar.
5. Test, Test and Test Again
Of course, being consistent doesn't mean never varying from a cookie-cutter formula. Best practices come and go, and consumer habits change. Tweaking different elements of your email marketing to optimize results is vastly important to find out what resonates best with your specific mailing list. Some common areas around which to run A/B testing include:
- Subject lines
For the most accurate results, only test one thing at a time.
6. Launch a Social Ad Campaign the Day of the Email Send
The key here is to reach your audience in more than one place, effectively doubling the chances that they will open and engage with your email content. By importing your mailing list to Facebook or Twitter as a custom audience for an ad campaign, you can promote your newsletter content to your subscribers in their social media news feeds as well as their inbox.
This little trick can extend your email reach significantly.
7. Make Sure Your Landing Pages Are Optimized for Visitors From Email
Congratulations! Your subscriber count is growing, open rates are soaring, and people are flooding to your website to learn more about the content advertised in your emails. Now is not the time to drop the ball!
Putting some thought behind where visitors will go once they click on your email can mean the difference between a bounce and a conversion. Every page that your subscriber clicks through to should meet 3 key criteria:
- Highly relevant to the email content. Give your reader what they expect. Enticing them in with clever copy or marketing gimmicks only to then send them to an unrelated offer or piece of content will cause a disconnect that will break the trust you have gained so far. (e.g. don't use a photo of your best selling shoes only to drive traffic to your clearance sale!)
8. Encourage Sharing
Emails that include at least one social sharing button have over 100% higher click through rates. Even better, each social share increases your reach from your email marketing to potential new subscribers and customers.
Including at least three social platforms yields better results than including just one, and you should consider which social platforms are most popular with your audience.
Apply the same practices to email marketing at every stage of your marketing funnel, and watch your results steadily improve.