How to: Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to stay relevant and keep your customers informed. These email marketing tips are perfect for businesses looking to start email campaigns, or for experienced marketers looking for a few extra tips.
Build a List
Before you can send out marketing emails to your customers, you need to build a database. There’s a few ways you can do this, and you should be doing more than one of them to target different customers.
You can add a sign-up box to your site, in a static or a pop-up format. You can ask customers who have already entered their email address at the online checkout if they want to be kept updated. If you have a retail store, ask your customers if they’d like an e-receipt instead of a paper version. Social media is another good way to ask your target audience to sign up.
Segment your Audience
Once you’ve built up your database, you should segment your audience. Depending on their needs, they’ll be interested in different updates. For example, a 25-year-old man with no kids, probably won’t be interested in the new kid's toys you’re stocking in your store. Some emails can be sent to their whole database, but a lot of them won’t interest everyone. You’ll get fewer unsubscribers and greater open rates if you target who you want to send your emails to.
Make a Plan
Try and map out an email plan for the next couple of months so you’re well prepared and have an idea of what you want to send out. Make a note of all the interesting developments within your business, and the dates you want to share these updates with your customers. If something happens spur of the moment, it is completely fine to send out ad-hoc emails, but for the most part you want it as organised as possible.
Best Time to Send Marketing Emails
One of the most commonly asked email marketing tips is the best time to send marketing emails. Unfortunately, there’s no one best time to send marketing emails, it will always differ from business to business. Try put yourself in your customers shoes and figure out when you’d be most likely to open an email. Once you have a general idea, test out different days and times and see what gets the best open and click through rates. For a lot of businesses Wednesday is the best time to send marketing emails, so if you’ve no idea where to begin, start there.
Include a CTA
Email marketing campaigns should have a clear goal, they shouldn’t just be sent for the sake of it. As such, they should all include a relevant and clear CTA (call to action). The CTA usually directs the reader to do something, whether that is to fill something out or go to the website. Links work really well on CTA’s, as it will result in minimal effort for the reader to take action.
Subject lines are just as, if not more, important as CTA’s. They will determine whether or not an email marketing campaign is opened. Subject lines should tempt the reader into opening the email, they need to stand out. It’s important that your subject line is short, clear, and relevant to the content in the email. If you want to resend emails to non-opens (do not resend marketing emails to your whole database), change your subject line around and see if it gets a higher open rate.
Before you start thinking up email marketing content ideas, write a list of the goals you want to achieve with your email marketing campaigns. This list should give you a good idea of whether or not a content idea is relevant or not. Emails are really good for keeping your audience up to date, engaged, and interested in your business.
If you’re launching new products, or brands, that will make for an interesting email. If you’re hosting an event or doing something for the community, that will also make for a good email. Visual emails are much more interesting than plain text so keep the written message to a minimum and fill it with interesting images. Promotional emails with discounts usually perform quite well, and can be a nice reward for your email database.
Integrate with Other Channels
You can read as many email marketing tips as you want, but if your email marketing campaign isn’t running alongside your full marketing plan it won’t resonate with your audience. Integrate your emails with the content you are putting on your website and your social medias. If your customer reads a message on social media, and then it is reinforced through email, they are more likely to take action.
If you’re committed to email marketing, it will work a lot better than sending out the odd random email. If your customers don’t hear from you for months and then get three emails in a row, they won’t engage as well, and are more likely to unsubscribe. This does not mean you have to send out daily emails, but stick to a core number of emails you want to send, leaving room for a few ad hoc emails.
Looking for more invaluable business skills? Visit this year’s Autumn Fair, and take part in the free workshops and seminars at the retail skills theatre.