So, you’ve made the decision to take your marketing more seriously in 2016. And what better, more cost-effective way to start than email marketing? True, email is one of the least expensive, most effective forms of marketing in your arsenal. However, to the inexperienced email marketer, there are plenty of pit falls you should be aware of.
Below, we provide some essential tips to help you navigate the email marketing minefield, and ensure that you get the best return for your efforts:
Choose the Right Email Marketing Platform
There are plenty of email marketing platforms out there and you need to make sure you select the best provider for your business and specific objectives. The cheapest may not always be the best choice. And, equally, the most expensive platform may include features that you are never going to use.
At the very least your email marketing platform should include the following features:
- Ability to personalise emails – This could include recipient name, gender, location or any field available in your contact database.
- Detailed reporting – The ability to see which contacts have opened the email, who has clicked on which links and which emails bounced due to incorrect addresses.
- Mobile responsive templates – More and more emails are being opened and read on mobile devices. So it’s becoming increasingly important to use an email template that responds to the size of the screen it’s opened on.
There’s a decent review of some of the most popular email marketing platforms here.
Build & Maintain a Quality Email Marketing List
Building a quality email marketing list is often the most time consuming element of a campaign. Unless you already have a list of customers and prospects who have opted in to receiving emails from you, you will need to build a list from scratch.
You can sign up users from a form on your website or through social media channels. But remember, they must have opted in to receiving emails from you or you will end up being flagged as a spammer.
Once you have built your list and you are actively emailing them, ensure you regularly clean the data by removing unsubscribes and incorrect addresses. It’s also good practice to remove any contacts who have not engaged with your emails for a given period of time. List quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to getting a return on your investment!
Do Not Underestimate the Importance of the Subject Line
The vast majority of recipients will make the decision to open your email or not, based purely on the copy contained within the subject line. Check out the below for some tips on crafting the perfect subject line:
- Ensure the subject line is relevant to the email content
- Avoid spammy words like the ones outlined here
- Keep to 50 characters or fewer
- A/B test subject lines to increase open rates
Too many people get their email template populated with content and then create the subject line almost as an afterthought. The subject line can make or break a campaign, so ensure you allow yourself enough time to get it right for your audience.
It’s easy to make the mistake of overly promoting yourself within the message content, and this can often be a real turn-off for your recipients. Instead, concentrate on providing value for your audience. This could be through financial savings or by providing useful advice and tips to make their life or job easier.
Make sure to include a clear call-to-action within your message. Think carefully about what action you want the recipient to take. Do you want them to download a voucher, or a whitepaper? Or do you want them to contact you for further information?
Incorporating images within your email will help to break up the text and make it appear less daunting to read. Your email platform also relies on images to provide reporting on open rates.
However, it’s worth bearing in mind that too many images can result in your emails being caught in spam filters and not actually reaching the recipients’ inbox at all. You should aim to have a text to image ratio of around 60/40 to avoid raising any red flags.
Email marketing is a cost effective, efficient method of getting your message in front of your prospects and customers. But to be successful requires some thought and the adoption of some good habits.
Adopting these habits increases the deliverability of your emails and the relevancy of your audience. Taking the time to craft a compelling subject line means more of the right people get to see your message and act on your calls-to-action. And the more recipients take action, the more profitable your email marketing campaigns will be.administrator