With over 100bn emails sent every day, it's a communication channel that can't be ignored. So how do you tread the fine line between offering people genuine value and over-loading them with spam? Here are twelve of our top tips for better email marketing!
1. Organic list-building
It may sound obvious, but before you email people you'll need their email addresses. You can obtain these in a number of ways, but it's best for the recipient to provide it themselves (rather than buying a list from somebody else). This means you will have to offer incentive for them to sign-up to your mailing list. Can you offer a discount code? An introductory offer? Or even a freebie in exchange for their email address? For B2B businesses, the latter is also a great way of conducting content marketing. You could offer a free eBook or white-paper in exchange for an email address.
2. Be frugal with your data collection
Nobody likes giving away all of their personal information, and nobody likes filling out mammoth forms online. Therefor, you should ask only for the data that you need in order to market effectively. If knowing the gender of your recipient is important to your email marketing (e.g. for a fashion brand) then ask for it. If your product or service is gender-neutral then don't.
3. Segment your list
No two people are the same. When sending out emails, you are conducting a one-to-one conversation between your business and the person reading. This means that not every email you create will be necessary for every recipient on your list. You can segment your list via the data collected upon sign-up. A simple start could be by separating by gender or age (if appropriate to do so) but you may need to be more clever with how you segment your list (e.g. by keywords in job titles) - don't worry about cutting your list into tiny parts, as you can always send the email to multiple segments at once, when required.
4. Timing is key
When you're planning your email marketing campaigns, timing is key. If your customer receives your email in the early hours then it's likely to go unopened before being thrown out in the recipient's email-cull. This means researching when the best day and time for your emails to roll out. If you're running a seasonal campaign then you also need to plan when emails will be sent alerting different people in different stages of your sales funnel.
5. Don't over-do it
Nobody likes the person who just won't shut up. It's even more annoying if that person is invading your every waking moment with attempted conversation (via email) - so be careful not to overdo it when using your email marketing.
6. Subject headers are vital
Now that you've landed in your recipients' inboxes, the next big test will be getting them to open your email. This is made even harder by the fact that you only have half-a-sentence worth of characters to do it. Writing intriguing subject headers is the difference between having a healthy open-rate and nobody reading your emails.
7. Design your emails
With a strong subject-header, ugly-looking emails will get opened, but they'll immediately be discarded. Beautifully designed emails keep your recipient's attention and ensure that they connect with your main message.
8. Keep copy short
People are busy, so don't write them an essay in email marketing campaigns. Get to the point, do it on-brand and keep it succinct.
9. Imagery plays its part
Images, be they graphics or photographs, can be the difference when it comes to keeping people interested. Humans are inherently visual creatures, so retain interest with well-crafted imagery. Remember that email also supports .gif files, so you can include small animations or cinemagraphs too.
10. Rich media
Modern email clients can also handle richer media experiences, such as embedded videos. People don't often expect to open an email and watch a video though, so make sure it's not a feature-film. Keep it short.
Ultimately, an email should serve a purpose. Once you've told your recipient something, what should they do next? Should they visit a website/web-page? Download something? Share something? Get in touch? Make your calls-to-action (CTAs) clear and obvious from the start. If there is sufficient interest, the recipient will know what do next.
12. Play by the rules
It's illegal to send emails to a mailing list without offering each recipient the chance to learn more about the sender or to unsubscribe from your list. Make sure that these options are clearly labelled somewhere on your emails (usually at the bottom, in the small-print).
So that's it, our quick tips for better email marketing. To learn more, or to talk to us about what email marketing can do for your business, contact us and one of the team will be happy to chat!