Email marketing: no, it’s not dead. In fact, it can be one of the best, more effective ways for you to reach your audience.
Consider for a minute that on average, every dollar spent on email marketing brings a $38 return. That means that if done effectively, a one-time spend of $1,000 on an email campaign could potentially generate $38,000!
There’s no doubt that email can be a tremendously valuable customer acquisition and sales tool. But of course, not all email campaigns are created equal. In order to get the results that you’re looking for, you’re going to need to ensure that your campaigns are up to scratch.
If you’d like to get started with email marketing, here’s a look at some successful email marketing strategies and campaigns that you can emulate.
Email Marketing: Tips for Success
Like sales, in many ways email marketing is a numbers game. It’s one where you slowly build relationships with people who are interested in what you’re selling, and what you can do for them. It’s about staying the course and creating value over time. Still, there’s a lot that you can do to drastically improve your email campaign’s response rates.
Now, here’s a look at some basic email marketing campaign strategies that you’ll want to employ if you’d like your emails to get opened –and read.
Capture Their Attention Early
The most important piece of real estate in an email message is the first ‘preview pane’ in your reader’s email application, where they check the message before opening.
This means you need to design your initial message and sell your brand story within about 10 by 30 centimeters. It also means you really need to pay attention to your subject lines. Create something that’s exciting and engaging, that piques your subscribers’ interest, and makes them curious about what you have to say.
A few free tools to help you create exciting, spam-defying subject lines include:
- Test Subject: Shows how your emails will appear on mobile devices, including how your sender name, subject line, and pre-header text will appear
- Email Subject Line Grader: Tests your copy’s overall effectiveness
- Spam Check: Helps ensure that your subject line, email message, and sign-off won’t set off any spam filters
Build Great Lists
Great email campaigns are built on superb email list management. This requires attention to capturing, cleaning, optimizing, and sending to tens of thousands of email addresses. The latest platforms (see below) can assist you in managing this task, but it’s a serious marketing commitment for your business. You’ll also need to segment these lists so that you can pick out one submarket—age or lifestyle, for example, to send out targeted messages that’ll resonate with them, increasing your open rates.
We all hate spam –but have you ever stopped to think about how your customers view your emails that you’re sending them?
According to one study from Marketing Sherpa, 72% of consumers prefer to receive promotional messages through email. But this doesn’t mean that you should be flooding your prospects’ inboxes.
This one should go without saying, but hopefully, you’ve done your research and have obtained the necessary permissions so you’re not ending up flagged as spam or in their delete box. In addition to obtaining the right permissions though, it’s also important that the messages you’re sending out are welcome and relevant.
The good news is that there’s a lot that you can do to help ensure that your emails connect with your audience, and don’t end up deleted or flagged as spam.
A number of studies have shown that email users prefer to receive marketing emails just once a week. This frequency is enough for you to communicate consistently, without flooding your subscribers’ inboxes and risking banishment to the spam folder.
Focus on Design
Mailchimp and other email platforms provide customizable templates for your email campaigns. Always use high-quality images, illustrations, and design. Your readers expect quality, anything less and they’ll click away.
Personalize your emails, and make them a positive experience for the reader. Offer a clear set of benefits and features that describe your business or product offering. Use urgent or exciting language (‘call now’, ‘new-in’ ’24-hour sale’). Remember that readers with little time to spare tend to respond emotionally to a message first, then get down to its logic. If it’s something that will require a significant investment, featuring quotes and testimonials from happy customers, influencers, or experts for extra credibility, giving your prospects the confidence to go forward with their purchases.
Email Campaigns That Work
Here’s a look at some successful email marketing campaigns. Use these as motivation and inspiration for your own email campaigns.
Remember: by and large, most of these emails should be sent out as sequences. This means one email after the other as part of a drip campaign, rather than a one-time email.
- Promotions Are Critical
Nothing makes a great first impression like a free or discounted product offer. In fact, most prospects will opt into your list in exchange for a discount or promotion.
Nothing gets shoppers excited like a well-timed sale. Clothing companies like Levi or REI do this better than most, as clothing is very seasonal, allowing for plenty of opportunities to schedule the perfect sale—summer, winter, fall, the beginning of the school year, etc.
Other businesses like Humble Bundle or the Playstation Store rely mostly or entirely on the concept of sales. While PlayStation basically always has a sale or three going on, Humble Bundle’s entire business model is built around bundling products together and offering them at a huge discount.
- Important Updates
“We miss you,” is a commonly used subject line for a reason: it works. But let’s be honest, that line alone isn’t going to make you drop what you’re doing and visit a website you’ve obviously abandoned for some time. However, that line, along with a well-timed reminder of a promotion, limited time offer, or welcome back coupon –just might.
Streaming apps like Netflix and Hulu are prime examples of this. Instead of a simple: ‘we miss you, please come back.’ They give you a reason to return with emails like ‘Season 3 out now!’ It’s a perfect opportunity to bring you back in.
- Brag a Little
If your brand does something better, then why not talk about it? American Giant used this approach, and their resulting campaign worked really well:
(Source: Really Good Emails)
This email has all the hallmarks of a good campaign. It’s been validated by a third-party (Business Insider), is catchy, detailed, and includes a discount code. What’s not to love?
- Give a Great Gift
There’s a certain level of excitement surrounding the word ‘free.’ Simply giving away a free product can convert a cold-email into a customer. And ‘free’ can mean a few different things. Maybe you’re offering a free item with the purchase of a subscription, or maybe you’re offering a ‘free’ digital coupon upon checkout.
Spotify practiced this strategy to perfection when they offered a free Google Home Mini with the purchase of a subscription. With an offer that’s too good to refuse, they gained countless subscribers with one campaign.
- Celebrate the Calendar
Yes, the big seasonal holidays provide structure to your email marketing and that’s fine. Christmas, New Years, Black Friday, and any other big holiday is when people tend to buy gifts, spend money, and relax their purse strings. Even the changing of the seasons can be a huge opportunity for most businesses, whether they know it or not.
The obvious examples are clothing companies doing summer and winter sales, but one example of a ‘non-seasonal’ product that can benefit from the calendar is Dollar Shave Club’s yearly Father’s Day promotions.
- Target the Individual
Just about any e-commerce site records your purchase history. Other sites like video and audio streaming services also record your viewing or listening history, and are able to make suggestions based on this activity. Stitcher, a podcast hosting platform, sends out regular ‘recommended for you’ emails. This is a great strategy for effectively enticing a customer, because you now know what they like and what they’re looking for.
There are three main avenues for email marketing management. These include:
This requires dedicated creative marketing staff, or part-timers with specific contracts who can really optimize your email and customer service marketing over a minimum twelve-month period.
A Virtual Agency
A simple solution for your test marketing is to employ a virtual agency that can, for a specified period of time, take on the task of maximizing your email marketing program. They can also train up your in-house team to take over once testing is successful.
A Digital Platform
You can build your email campaigns using one of the digital marketing platforms mentioned below. These can tend to be expensive, but the expertise and capability they offer are growing steadily.
A few good email marketing platforms include:
HubSpot offers a fully-integrated inbound and outbound marketing platform which you can use to build your email marketing program. HubSpot’s pricing may start at a few dollars a month for test campaigns. Once tested and proven, these costs quickly scale up.
Mailchimp was the first platform to break through the email marketing barrier and has gained tens of thousands of customers and a long track record in sales. Mailchimp’s pricing follows the same industry-wide strategy of small bites, then higher costs once proven.
Constant Contact is a specialist email marketing platform that boasts all the features you might need for your inbound and outbound online marketing campaigns. Their pricing is based on incremental plans that start low and grow with the size of your email list.
Steve Jobs once said, “The most powerful person in the world is the story teller.”
A story is the underlying power of every email campaign. Each seasonal, monthly, or regular email message provides an opportunity for potential customers to engage with your unique brand or business story.
Don’t think of your email like it’s a single message that people are too busy to read. Consider those who remain on your email list as buying into your story. Naturally, some will drop out, but the net effect is a growth in lifetime customer value.
Yes, email marketing requires a commitment over time, while it’s personalized and immediate and delivers measurable results.
It all begins with an email address, a great brand message, and regular promotional activity, sent to people who actually like you and want to know what your business is up to. That can’t be bad.
If you’d like help supercharging your email marketing campaign, contact us today. At Sidekicks, our team of VAs are standing by ready to help. We can make short work of many time-consuming marketing tasks. This includes email campaigns, as well as social media campaigns, advertising, and more. Reach out today to find out how cost-effective new customer acquisition can be.