Email marketing is just as powerful and effective as it ever was. Despite the widespread use of mobile phones, text messaging, and chat apps, email marketing still maintains a very high ROI and a marketing strategy every company should utilize.
Consider some of these email marketing statistics:
- 90% of people over the age of 15 regularly use email.
- 58% of people check email before checking anything else (such as social media).
- For every dollar spent on email marketing, you can get up to $44 in return.
- 60% of people subscribe to a brand’s email list to get promotional deals, as opposed to 20% who follow a brand on social media.
Clearly, email marketing is still alive and well, and you are doing your company a disservice if you are not utilizing this marketing channel.
Of course, all this raises a critical question: what makes an effective email marketing campaign?
Here are 7 steps you should follow to create an effective campaign.
Step #1: Determine Your Goals
The first step in an effective email marketing campaign is to determine your goals. You’re not simply blasting out emails to your list, hoping that some of them resonate. Rather, you’re sending highly targeted, specific emails that are tied closely to your overall marketing goals.
So what do you want to achieve with your marketing campaign?
Maybe you want to welcome new subscribers to your list. In this case, you would educate them about your business, provide them with key resources that help them understand your core values, and give them the next steps to consider taking.
Or maybe you’re seeking to nurture your existing subscribers to the point where they’ll purchase from you. To accomplish this, consider sending high-value content that will demonstrate how your solution solves their pain points. Eventually, after you’ve delivered enough high-value content, you can ask for the sale.
Or maybe you’re trying to re-engage subscribers who haven’t been active. You could send several emails that attempt to get them to signal to you that they still want to be on your list (click a link, reply, open an email, etc.).
You get the point. Before you launch any email marketing campaign, it’s absolutely essential that you define your goals and then send emails that are specifically in line with those goals.
Step #2: Know Your Audience
In addition to setting appropriate goals for your email marketing campaign, it’s also critical that you know your audience. If you want them to open and click on your emails, you need to know what matters to them.
Why did they sign up for your list in the first place? What pain points were they hoping it would solve?
Were they looking for:
- Deals on products or services?
- Information to help them solve a particular problem?
- Tips and tricks?
- Education related to a specific subject?
If you don’t know your audience, then you can’t send them emails relevant to their interests. If you don’t send relevant emails, then your open rates will plummet and your click-through rates will be abysmal.
What are some specific ways you can get to know your audience? Two simple ways include:
- Use Google Analytics to see what types of content your website visitors are consuming. For example, what blog posts are they reading on your website? What pages are they visiting the most? What pages have the highest and lowest bounce rates? This should give you a sense of what matters to your audience.
- Use Facebook Audience Insights to get a general sense of the overall likes and dislikes of your audience. Audience Insights is a treasure trove of data and can help you know things like which Facebook pages your audience likes, demographic information, and even income data.
Step #3: Plan Out Your Email Sequences
Once you’ve identified your campaign goals and have taken the time to learn about your audience, it’s time to roughly map out the email sequences you’ll send. When mapping out your sequence, consider these three items:
Email Frequency: This is how often you send emails to your list. You don’t want to over inundate your subscribers with too many emails, but you also want to maintain consistent contact with them, to remain top of mind. In some ways, the frequency of your emails will be determined by the type of email that you’re sending.
Informational or educational emails, for example, may be appropriate to send every week so that the subscriber gets to know you. Promotional emails should probably be sent less frequently so that they don’t come across as spammy.
Email Content: This is simply the content that each email will contain. For example, a new subscriber’s sequence might contain an initial welcome email, an email pointing subscribers to valuable resources, and a FAQ email.
When mapping out the content of your emails, go back to what your subscribers really want. What will benefit them? What will help solve their pain points? What will make them want to continue receiving and opening your emails?
Call-To-Action: Ideally, every email you send should have some sort of call-to-action associated with it. This is the primary action you want the reader to take after they read the email.
Maybe you want them to use your software. Maybe you want them to watch a webinar. Maybe you want them to purchase a product from you. When mapping out your email sequence, determine the purpose of each email and the primary action you want the readers to take.
Step #4: Segment Your Email List
Ideally, you want to segment your list before you send out an email campaign. In other words, you probably don’t want to send every campaign to every member of your email list. Not every email you send will be relevant to every person on your list. You want to send specific emails to specific segments of your list.
There are dozens of ways that you can segment your list, including by:
- New vs existing subscriber
- Geographic location
- Click behavior
- Opt-in form
- The lead magnet they downloaded
- Purchase history
- Abandoned cart
- Company role
- Website behavior
Segmenting your list allows you to send highly relevant emails to specific subscribers on your list. For example, let’s say that you have a lead magnet on your website related to email marketing. People who download this lead magnet clearly have an interest in the subject and thus you can send them more resources and offers related specifically to email marketing.
Step #5: Write Your Subject Line
Now it’s time to finally start writing your emails. The first step in crafting excellent emails is to create subject lines that get clicks. The subject line of your email is like the headline in a newspaper. It’s what gets people’s attention. It creates curiosity in them and compels them to open the email. And with people receiving so many emails now a days, it is crucial to have subject lines that will generate opens.
A great subject line can result in a very high open rate, while a mediocre subject line will almost always produce mediocre results.
So how do you craft a great subject line?
Consider using one of the following subject line tactics:
- The question – Questions make for outstanding subject lines because they force the reader to stop and think for a moment. They make the reader ponder how they will answer the question. For example, “Do you feel like this too?”
- The how-to – People love to learn new things, especially when it is relevant to their lives. People have questions and they want answers. Using a how- to subject line taps into people’s interests, especially if it’s something they are genuinely interested in. For example, “How to quickly get 1,000 email subscribers”.
- Scarcity – People are always afraid of missing out on something good. If you can create a sense of scarcity with your subject line, there’s a greater chance that people will click on your email. For example, “Only 2 days left to get this deal!”
- An announcement – Announcements trigger something in us. We want to be in the know, up to date, and always on top of things. When you use words like “New” or “Introducing” or “Just Added”, you make people feel like there is important, breaking information that they need to know. For example, “Brand new: a faster way to get paid”.
- The numbered list – It’s no secret that people absolutely love lists. When things are presented in list format, we can easily get a sense of what we are in for. You can take advantage of this by using list format subject lines. For example, “9 methods for getting into shape quickly”.
- The curiosity gap – Websites like Buzzfeed constantly create curiosity with their headlines. They’ll write something strange in their headline and then answer it in the body of the article. You can use this same tactic with the subject lines of your emails. For example, “The results are in. We certainly weren’t expecting this!”
Don’t skimp on your subject line. It’s the first thing people see when your email shows up in their inbox and is the number one factor in whether or not your email is opened. Spend the necessary time crafting a compelling, clickable subject line and make sure that the content in your email meets the expectations presented in the subject line.
Step #6: Write Your Body Copy
Once you’ve written your subject line, it’s time to move on to the body copy of your email. For the best results your body copy should:
- Get to the point quickly – Don’t make your readers skim through hundreds of words to figure out the primary point of your email. Make your point clearly and quickly. Also, keep your emails relatively brief. You’re not writing a book. If you can’t can’t get the point across in just a couple hundred words, include the key points or give users some of the details, before linking users to a web page where they can get all the information.
- Talk in the second person (“you”, “yours”, etc.) – Ultimately, every email should be about the reader. If you find yourself using the words “I” or “We” a lot, then you’re probably spending too much time talking about yourself. Focus the copy of your email on the reader.
- Focus on benefits – Every email should focus on the benefits to the reader. For example, if you’re offering a discount on a product, don’t just talk about the discount itself. Talk about how the discount will benefit the reader. How will they benefit if they take advantage of the discount? Paint a picture of the good life for the reader.
- Delight your readers – Let’s be honest: most emails can be boring and too informational. If you can delight your readers, then there’s a much better chance that they’ll take action on your emails. Consider telling personal stories, referencing current events, using humor, using images, or even using GIFs. All these things personality to your emails and can help you stand out amongst the sea of emails in the inbox.
- Have a compelling call-to-action – As noted above, every email should have a call-to-action. You don’t want the recipient to simply read your email and then move on. You want them to take action. Be sure that every email you send calls the reader to take a specific action.
- Optimize your emails for mobile – Remember, a large portion of people will read your emails on their mobile devices. This means you absolutely must optimize the format of your emails for mobile. Use a bigger font size and large amounts of whitespace so that the emails are easily skimmable. If you’re using images, then test your emails across a variety of devices and operating systems to ensure that they look okay.
Step #7: Test and Track Everything
You’re finally ready to send your emails. You’ve segmented your list, crafted the perfect subject line, and written the perfect body copy.
But just because you’ve sent your email doesn’t mean you’re done. You need to test and track every aspect of your emails to ensure that they perform at the optimum level.
This includes A/B testing your subject line to determine which gets the most opens, testing different layouts and designs, tracking clicks on links, and even experimenting with different send times.
You’ll also want to monitor open rates, unsubscribes, and click-through rates.
All of these metrics give you a sense of what’s working and what’s not with your email marketing. For example, if you see that your emails have low click-through rates, then it’s probably a sign that your calls-to-action aren’t compelling enough. If your open rates are low, then it’s a signal that your subject lines need work.
Always be testing, tracking, and tweaking your emails to improve their overall performance.
Email Marketing For The Win
When done properly, email marketing can generate a huge ROI for your business. But you can’t simply crank out an email, blast it to your entire list, and expect it to perform well. Rather, you need to do the hard work of defining your email marketing campaign goals, knowing your audience, segmenting your list, writing your subject line, writing your body copy, and testing and tracking everything.
It’s only when you do those things that you can expect to see big results from your email marketing.