Developing a winning email marketing strategy may sound simple. How difficult can it be to write and send a couple of emails? Well, let’s find out.
Developing the content message you want to distribute, making it look nice, and voilà—you have an email marketing campaign. That would be ideal for any marketing manager balancing the numerous hats of effective content marketing.
Unfortunately, there is more to it than just making it look good.
Email marketing is an art. It takes time to develop a strategy and learn what your audience likes, wants and needs. At the end of the day, if your emails are not hitting the spot for your recipients, they are probably ineffective. Let's review some of modern marketing's most valuable best practices to help you send more effective emails to your contacts.
Create an email marketing plan.
In your plan, you should have a definitive picture of your recipients, and of their wants and needs. You should understand their likes and dislikes as well as how they most often read your emails. Your plan should also outline the type of content you will be sending, what you will say, and what events will trigger an email campaign.
Establish an email marketing schedule.
When you are developing a schedule, you should establish timing for when your emails will go out. In addition, you need to be sure to include a way to organize the distribution process, marketing automation, and email campaign triggers.
Develop an email marketing editorial process.
Be sure to establish accountability within your process. Divide the project into teams if necessary, and center your development strategies around the email marketing schedule you have laid out.
Create an email template that is conducive to interactivity.
If you have segmented email campaigns, your email templates may vary a little for each instance, but should maintain a branded look. Each of your emails may be received by a different buyer persona, so their needs and wants will vary as well. Keeping the recipient top-of-mind when developing your email templates is a good place to start.
Test your emails, campaigns, and offers.
There are so many variables that play into why a person opens or deletes an email prior to opening it. These variables will differ from persona to persona. It is important to know and understand that not every email will be a flying success, but testing will help get your conversion rates up. Testing different elements of your email will help you create better-targeted emails, and better email marketing results.
Measure each email marketing effort.
Because email is actively the most effective way to keep your brand top-of-mind for your customers and community, it is important to measure its success within your organization. If you are not getting the marketing results you should be, measuring and tracking your email campaigns will help zero in on possible missteps. Track clicks, unsubscribes, bounces, website traffic, and other email subscriptions or offering they may have joined because your marketing efforts.
If you are looking for more effective email marketing campaigns, you are not alone. There are many businesses that struggle with the ROI of email marketing. There are also businesses that are knocking it out of the park. If your efforts are coming up one-sided and you aren’t receiving the results you are looking for, comb through your current plan, make some adjustments, listen to your audience, and respect their wants and needs.
At the end of the day it is about providing your email recipients with the most valuable information possible. The rest is about analyzing, testing and positioning your brand as a thought leader within your content community.
Up next, email design.
Mobile design, subject lines, targeted content, and more. How are you supposed to know where to begin and when can you hope to reach the end of the laundry list of to-dos necessary to develop a successful email marketing campaign? Many, companies list email marketing as their go to marketing channel. And because of that, people assume that the size of your email list is the main determinant of success. While that’s not terribly far from the truth, size isn’t always the most important factor.
If you are looking to develop a growth-driving email marketing program, it is important to think about quality as well as quantity. After all, if you send out 5,000 emails and only 7 are opened, the other 4,993 emails were a wash. How can you find the balance, driving growth to your email list to better drive growth to your business? To build you list, you must have shareable campaigns, interactive media, and the necessary elements of an effective email marketing campaign.
- Integration should be a top priority. You must have the tools available to build success. Marketing automation tools, analytic tracking and projecting tools, and measurement tools can all help you gain insight on how your email efforts are holding up with the competition. They can also tip you off as to whether you are providing the right information to the necessary individuals at the proper time.
- Email scrubbing skills should be used each time you begin to draft a new email. This includes cleaning up your contact database, complying to the anti-spam best practices, and qualifying each of the list members to their list prior to distribution.
- Provide value and earn your subscribers. Money doesn’t buy happiness or quality leads. Build a brand presence and focus on organically growing your contact list with valuable offers and undeniable content.
- Use closed loop marketing to better serve your current contacts. Closed loop marketing allows for better management of customer data and allows you to provide more targeted and better-performing content to your email readers.
- Employ lead nurturing best practices at each point of contact. Be sure you are listening and delivering the proper information at the right life cycle stage.
- Track your performance with each email marketing campaign you send. Be sure your goals and metrics are quantifiable and timely.
- Key Metrics Include:
- Bounce rate
- Delivery rate
- List growth rate
- Click through rate
- Email rate
- Conversion rate
- Revenue per email rate
- Open rate
- Unsubscribe rate
The biggest challenge in marketing is the fast-paced changes made to the way humans consume and interact with content. Establishing a solid email marketing foundation to build your campaigns upon will help you keep up with the ever-changing ways of the people who consume your content. Focus, listen, and understand what it is they want and need. Provide clarity and education in each email sent from your brand. Remember, time is money—and that rings true with your contact list as well.
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