You could argue that effective email marketing is more about targeting rather than a numbers game. That’s particularly when you don’t have an opted in email database that’s well segmented enabling you to tailor email messages to the relevant buyer role and their interests. Of course, you could identify individual decision-makers in companies with which you want to do business and craft well-targeted individual emails relating to their needs. But that’s not always easy or practical and it’s not what we’re talking about here however merit worthy that email strategy is.
The advice I give clients is that email can be a good option if you are clear about the following:
- A clearly defined target – i.e. you know who the buyer is (not info@) and their job role
- An opted in database – is best practice and preferable
- Good quality data – if you don’t have an opted in database, when you’re considering 3rd party opted in lists make sure the data comes from a reputable broker or source.
- Clear Message – Make sure your message is clear, relevant and interesting
- Strong Call to Action – What does the reader need to do as a result of reading the email?
- Effective landing pages – They need to support the activity and deliver on the promise in the email.
So what are our top ten tips for good email marketing?
- Follow Email law and best practice – Email marketing best practice points towards using an opt-in mechanism to get prospects to sign up to your updates and newsletters. A good example of how to do this is on the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) website where you can find details of the best practice guide here . You can see how the DMA tells you up front what it is going to do with your data.
There are all manner of regulations concerning the use of people’s email addresses (and mobile numbers) and you should take care not to break the law by sending unsolicited emails to individuals. For proper advice, check the best practice guide from the DMA or with a lawyer if you’re doing a lot of email marketing to consumers or contact the Information Commissioner’s office on https://www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx
- Plan, plan, plan – Do your research into the market, buyer challenges, product opportunities, competitor activity and so on. Build a spreadsheet and plan your campaigns so you have a schedule to work to and so you know when to start the planning for each broadcast whether it be weekly, monthly or quarterly. Learn from the previous campaigns and you will ensure that each new email campaign is effective. Make sure the emails go out on time (especially if you’ve promised customers that they will have it each month on the 1st) and you’re more likely to get better results.
- Offer a value exchange – The DMA site above is a good example of this. They are offering visitors valuable advice (content) in exchange for their email address. They will no doubt email you if you sign up but will respect the law and your preferences by offering you an unsubscribe and by not bombarding you with irrelevant info. If you want people to sign up for your emails and newsletters, give them something of value to encourage them to do so.
- Make sure you grab their interest with benefits not features – We are all busy and get tons of emails. So, you need to grab people’s attention quickly. Too often, email subject headers are bland and uninteresting. You need to be punchy. I saw a headline recently which said ‘remove chewing gum from your floor easily’. Whilst that may be useful for a janitor or facilities manager, it hardly grabs the attention. What are the buyers’ issues? A product ‘feature’ is removal but what’s the pain / benefit? Is it prevention of costly damage to expensive flooring? Is it reduction in complaints that the gum causes when stuck on shoes? Or is it an easier life for the cleaners? Whatever your solution, think about it from the customer’s perspective and make sure your subject headers use compelling benefits that reflect this not features. The more you can segment and profile your database the more this enables you to tailor the messages to the individual needs of any given buyer.
- Make it easy on the eye – No-one wants to or has the time to read a long boring essay on a dull subject. Therefore, make your emails brief, concise, interesting and possibly entertaining if relevant to what you offer. Make sure that you use compelling sub headers and also bullet points like in this blog to break up text. Don’t overdo the different fonts, colours, use of italics and so on.
- Provide strong Calls to action – What’s in it for your audience? Make sure your email has something that encourages the reader to do something as a result of reading it whether that’s to call or email you, fill out a form, watch a video, make an enquiry or purchase based on some offer.
- Avoid spamming – There’s nothing worse. No-one wants unwanted emails clogging up their inbox. So consider ways to avoid this. Mailchimp does a useful article on how to avoid being caught by spam filters that you can read here.
- Be consistent – Most email broadcast mechanisms offer templates so you can achieve brand consistency. If the email is recognisable that it comes from a trusted source, it is more likely to be read. So, focus on making sure your emails are clear and uncluttered and that they present a consistent image
- Use good broadcast software or email provider – Whether it sits on your desktop or you use an online email service provider or agency, make sure you choose a solution that provides good features to help you. There are lots of recommendations on the web but a useful guide to software is here or here for online email service providers.
- Track and measure performance – Most solutions provide you statistics. It’s important to review them through the life of a campaign and in advance of the next campaign. Test and learn by trying different headlines, different calls to action and different times of the week, day etc. You can track the activity using Google Adwords and further check what level of click through you achieved, where you got high bounce rates or good results based on your calls to action.
However you approach email marketing, surveys show that the ROI from email marketing can be very positive. The more targeted and relevant the more the return will be. So, make sure you refine your email strategy, plan your campaigns and learn from each experience.
If you’d like to know more or book a new business development strategy workshop and find out how GSA Business Development can help Generate Growth for your Business, by contacting us now on 0845 658 8192 or send us an email.