Some people think of email marketing as an old strategy -- when we have social media, chatbots, and artificial intelligence, why would we use email?
But email is a force to be reckoned with in digital marketing. And it’s not a strategy that you want to ignore.
And this isn’t just me saying this. We have actual data to back it up!
Let’s consider just some of the numbers…
According to one report from Hubspot, a leader in the digital marketing space, email generates $38 for every $1 spent -- that’s an ROI of 3,800%!
And as to why it’s so effective, consider that there are 3.9 billion email users out there who check their email at least once a day. And 73% of millennials said that they prefer to receive communications from companies via email as opposed to other forms of communication.
And then there’s the power that email has on decision-making. In the same study, 59% of respondents said that email had an influence on their purchase decision.
The facts speak for themselves. Email has earned its place at the digital marketing table and deserves dedicated space within your strategy.
So now you know why you need to include email in your strategy. But how do you truly rock your email strategy? Let’s look at a few email marketing best practices that you need to know.
7 Ways to Rock Your Email Marketing Strategy
1. Carefully Choose Your Subject Line
One of the very first things people will see in their inbox is the subject line. If the subject of your email sounds boring, they will probably move on and forget about it.
What do you need to make your email subject lines more powerful? Here are a few pointers to keep in mind…
- Keep it short -- you don’t want it to be cut off!
- Put the important words at the beginning.
- Be specific about the purpose of your email.
- Start with action verbs.
- Use exact numbers.
- Don’t use ALL CAPS.
And if you’re on the fence about a couple of email subject lines, A/B test them to see what gets the best results. This will send each headline to a set amount of contacts. Then, once the test is complete, the one with the most opens will be used to send to the rest of the contacts on your list. It’s a great way to break the tie.
2. Make It Personal
Email tools have come a long way and the power for personalization is one you need to tap into.
Whenever possible, use the recipient’s name in your email. Not just in the introduction. Use it once or twice in the body of your email to keep your reader focused. Virtually every email tool out there will allow you to use “personalization tokens” to do this.
But personalization can extend beyond simple names. Depending on how sophisticated your marketing software is, you can send product recommendations based on things that someone has specifically looked at on your site. Such personalized recommendations can be subtle but effective in your strategy.
3. Become a Storyteller
Good storytelling is one of the cornerstones of effective marketing. A good story forms a connection with your audience and stirs feelings that they will remember long after they read your email.
Your email should never feel like a pitch. In fact, the majority of the email should not even mention your products or services. Sure you might include a call to action at the end, but it’s not your main focus. Instead, think about the feelings you want to instill in your reader and tell stories that will get them there.
For instance, a makeup brand might share stories of female empowerment. Because of these stories, customers might want to feel empowered in their own lives and think about a certain bold look that they want to achieve in the process.
A pet products brand might share touching stories of pets who made a difference in their owners’ lives. This would move pet owners to appreciate their pets and want to do everything they can for them.
4. Segment Your Lists
Sure, if you just send out the occasional newsletter, then segmenting probably isn’t for you. But if you regularly send out product updates, case studies, and sales info, your lists need to be segmented or separated into individualized groups.
Choose a system to segment your lists. For instance, you could tag emails according to their stage in the buyer’s journey. If they download a simple infographic, they might just be “Awareness Stage.” On the other hand, if they download a white paper, you could classify them as “Decision Stage.”
Once you’ve segmented your email lists, you can start to formulate email strategies for each segment. This way, your strategy fits each individual’s wants and needs.
5. Get Your Timing Right
Timing is everything when it comes to delivering your email. You want to schedule it for a time when your audience will be most engaged. And this will change depending on your industry. For B2B, the best time might be at the start of their workday. For B2C, it might be in the evenings as they’re winding down.
Do your research on your audience. Look at past email send times and open rates and adapt according to your findings.
Some email tools will even allow you to schedule an email to send according to time zones. This means that if you send an email at 5:00 pm, your recipient in New Delhi will receive it at 5:00 pm their time and not 2:30 am. This is especially important if your email audience is scattered through several time zones.
6. Consider Your Frequency
If you send out emails too frequently, you might just kill your email strategy. Statistics actually show that the most common reason for unsubscribing to an email list is that the company sends too many emails.
You have to strike a balance that gets valuable emails to your audience without overwhelming them.
How do you do that?
Concentrate on engagement levels. Are they opening your emails? If not, then you might want to ease up on your frequency. If your email tool has an option not to send to unengaged contacts, use it.
7. Measure Your Results
Email is not an exact science. One strategy will look vastly different from another. A lot depends on your exact audience and the kind of company you run.
What is important is to measure every campaign and learn from those measurements. Every email campaign company out there is going to have analytics built into their software. Use those analytics to see how many people are opening your emails, how many are clicking on your CTAs, and even how many are unsubscribing. All of this data will tell you which tactics are successful and which you need to change.
Email marketing is a solid strategy for digital marketing. I hope this helps you see why it's important, and also how to improve your own email strategy.