In a recent discussion on the power of email marketing, web analytics and customer intelligence firm KissMetrics observed that email has more registered accounts than some of the largest social media sites combined.
In fact, current estimates are that email has an effective reach of 2.9 billion people. As such, email marketing isn't just important - it should be a key part of the marketing plan in every organization, particularly because of its value for both customer acquisition and customer retention. Today, we're going to look at 11 email marketing ideas you can implement to help improve your own marketing efforts and increase sales.
1. Send A Targeted Message
Many companies have the idea that they should be emailing their whole list at once, but that's absolutely incorrect - not every message will be relevant to every reader. To fix this, segment your database into a number of groups and categories, each of which details people with specific interests or at a certain stage of the buying process.
Once you've done that, start creating email marketing campaigns targeted specifically to each group. You should also try sending emails on different days and different times to see which combination gets the highest response rates.
There's no such thing as a universally optimum time for sending messages - it really does depend on your audience and the industry you're working in.
2. Set Specific Goals
You should always define what your email marketing is trying to achieve. Make sure your goal is specific and measurable - and create calls to action that are aligned with what you're trying to do.
3. Provide Valuable Information
Readers want to know why they should spend time to open and read your emails. Don't create emails that simply boast about the virtues of your company - craft your emails with a focus on how you can help the reader solve their problems and improve results. The ultimate goal is to create a message that advances both of your goals.
4. Add A Call To Action
Emails should never be sent without a clear call to action (CTA). This aspect of your email should be CTAs that are large, clear, and persuasive. It should be very clear and easy for people to do what you want them to do - whether that's signing up for a free trial, subscribing to your blog, downloading an ebook, calling a phone number, or making a purchase, your goal is to get them to take this specific action.
5. Have An Interesting Subject Line
Most people assign value to emails based solely on the subject line. Subjects should be more than compelling - they should be short (under 50 characters), direct, and if possible use some kind of personal identifier to add value to the message. The idea is to evoke a sense of excitement, curiosity, or urgency and convince them to read your message in full.
6. Avoid Triggering SPAM Filters
Email providers are increasingly good at filtering out SPAM, so if you set off any of these triggers, your recipients may never even see your campaign. Avoid exclamation marks, using all capital letters (even if your business' name is in all caps), and anything from this list of SPAM trigger words and phrases to avoid.
7. Include Share Buttons for Social Media
Social media is one of the best ways of getting people to share your message - and if you're not giving contacts the option, then you're missing out on one of your best opportunities to expand your reach to new people.
For example, let's say that you have an enticing offer, and you tell the recipient that their friends and colleagues can all enjoy the same offer if they click on that share button. The same share feature is available to each person the offer was shared with, and it's not impossible for a single email message to ultimately reach thousands of people. Social media buttons turn contacts into promoters, and the multiplying force this offers is always worth considering.
8. Make The Email Eye-Catching
People don't like reading boring messages, so don't send them. Instead, take the time to format your message and make it interesting. This means:
- Using bullet points to concisely list important information
- Incorporating images (without going overboard on the graphics)
- Making each bit of text no longer than a short paragraph.
The only people who can get away with long emails are those talking to current customers and providing information that the reader honestly cares about. The rest of us will do much better if we keep it short and sweet - and if we don't, expect to see plenty of people hitting 'Delete'.
9. Make Your Emails Mobile-Friendly
People are no longer limited to desktops when it comes to reading email - as such, you need to be sure that your messages are formatted in a way that makes them easy to read on mobile devices. Many companies have yet to catch up on this, so here are a few mobile email marketing tips to get you started:
- Use a single-column template that's mobile friendly
- Have a single call to action
- Be succinct in both the subject and body of the email
- Send tests messages and view them on mobile devices, then test again
10. Use Analytics To Track Your Results
It's extremely important to pay attention to measurements like the open rate and the click-through rate (CTR) on your email campaigns. Most good email platforms have some analytics built into their tools to help monitor and measure your results.
For example, if your message was sent to a large group of prospects, then knowing who opened your message (or, better yet, who opened it multiple times) can tell you which of those prospects you should follow up with. This is even easier when you incorporate functions like Google Analytics, which can add trackable links to your messages and build reports over time.
11. Optimize Campaigns via A/B Testing
A/B tests are a particularly important part of email marketing campaigns. With this tactic, you send two different emails to your list, one of which is usually a small variation of the other. You might split the messages by when they're sent, what the subject line says, what offer you give, or anything else you can imagine - the goal is to see what performs best by testing it on a large group of people.
Once you find out what works, you can do more of that in the future even as you continue to test new messages and offers. The end result is that, over time, you'll be able to send out messages carefully tailored to maximize the response rate of your readers... and that's where the true value of email marketing lies.
If you're not yet taking advantage of email marketing, then you're missing one of the most effective tools in your marketing tool kit. Following these ideas to increase sales will help you create and continue email marketing campaigns that support your growth goals as a company.