Does your email marketing strategy return the results you expect?
Maybe your open rates are great, but you're not getting the conversions you'd hoped for?
Perhaps you’re just not really managing to grow your list?
You’re not alone.
Whatever your email marketing challenge is, this guide will help you to get the results you need.
Let's start with why email is so important, and is seen as one of the highest ROI channels available.
Isn't Email Marketing Dead?
It's expected to grow at an annual rate of 4.4%, reaching 319.6 billion by the end of 2021.
As you can see, email marketing is far from dead, quite the contrary. We are all still using this medium heavily.
According to the Data and Marketing Association's 2017 study:
"Email marketing remains the best digital marketing channel for return on investment"
The proof by numbers;
- like receiving promotional emails from brands they know monthly
- Email’s of all media types
- Email produces the highest ROI,
Why are the numbers so high? Because these people have already opted in to receive communications from you
Now that we know it’s valuable, let's get down to the tactics that can ensure your email marketing strategy works.
2. Customer Profiles
If you haven’t already created customer profiles aka personas you’re missing a trick.
What are they?
A customer profile is a way of describing who your ideal customer is.
Profiles may include:
- Their likes and dislikes
- Where they spend time online
- Their buying behaviours
- Whether they are early adopters or laggards
- Most importantly, their needs, pain points or problems.
Why are they important?
"The more information you gather, the easier it is to distinguish why customers buy from you."
By creating customer profiles you’re going to:
- Understand who your potential 'top' customers are
- Be able to speak their language
- Find out what they are actively looking for so you can drive them to your website
- Ultimately help to solve their problems by providing the right solutions. Either products or content
It helps us to ensure each customer gets a message that's relevant and valuable to them.
Not a one-size-fits-all blanket email campaign.
How can you profile your customers?
Ask yourself, what information do you need to collect, in order to make decisions. Decisions about what content would be valuable and relevant to your customers.
There is lots of information you can collect, but focus on what will help you be more relevant. Just because you know their age, does that help you to be more relevant?
Here's some ideas of information you might want to collect;
- Income level
- Marital status
- Education Level
- Likes and dislikes
- Spending patterns
- Interests / hobbies
- Were do they spend time online
- Content that resonates with them
- The pain points they encounter day to day
- Promotions that resonate with them
- Biggest fears when it comes to purchasing
Once you have this information, turn it into visual a profile or persona. You'll reference this when making decisions on what content to include.
Make sure it includes an avatar or picture that represents the customer. It will help you to connect with your audience on an emotional level.
Here’s an example of 3 core segments for the Urban Cake Shop:
Here is an example of what a completed customer profile looks like for one of the segments,
Notice how with the later you have more empathy and can put yourself in thier shoes?
Customer Profiling Tools
To help you get started (in no particular order) here are out top customer profiling tools:
Do it yourself! Talking to customers is easier then you think. Most are very receptive to having a chat with a company they value.
It's also the best way to get more in-depth knowledge.
Conduct a simple search for your site with Alexa. It will breakdown age, gender, where they are browsing from. Alexa is also an awesome SEO tool!
Your Facebook business page will provide basic demographic information and geographic location.
4. Social Listening
This is a paid tool but the results you get will blow-your-mind. Experian profile your data and create your Avatars for you!
4. Give Value with High Quality Content
Surprisingly, content is still the most overlooked component of an email marketing strategy.
What Defines high Quality Content?
Quality content should be defined by how much value the reader gets out of it. Not how much time or money you put into making it.
Here’s what I believe quality content should consist of:
- It’s Helpful - Sharing valuable information will engage and retain your list. IF it is helpful, it solves a problem the reader has.
- It’s Personal - It is actually relevant to the reader. It talks to a point that is actually important to them.
- Its Interesting - No one likes stuffy corporate. Inject some life, some fun, some passion in to your emails.
- It’s Unique - Rehashing content that already exists is not unique. Figure out an angle the competition haven't already covered and play to it.
- It Provides Value - Valuable content should follow 2 simple rules. It's inline with your business goals and it helps to solve your customers problems.
- It’s Shareable - Not only have you made it easy for people to share. But the content ticks points 1-5 and so people cn't help but share it.
But why do all this?
By providing high quality content you build trust and gain authority.
"People do business with people they like and trust"
Here's just some of the benefits of adding high quality content:
- It positions you as the expert in your field.
- You're giving your audience a taste of what it will be like to work with you. Think eBooks, Skype sessions, videos and so on.
- High quality will increase your potential reach, drive traffic, begin conversations and convert.
- You'll grow loyal followers. By giving away super-duper content, your raving fans will share with their network. Giving you free word-of-mouth advertising.
- High quality content = sales!
How to create quality content?
6. Images, Videos and GIFs
Using Images, videos and GIFs in email newsletters is a hotly debated topic.
We could write a whole blog post on it but here are our top tips for using media in your next email marketing campaign.
Image Best Practices
Using images can bring your email to life.
When used correctly, images evoke emotion in a reader, more then just words alone can.
Number of images
Not sure whether to include 2 or 10 images? Constant contact recently surveyed over 2 million people on this hot topic.
By this we mean file size.
If they're too big they will reach the size limits of the email client and could be blocked or labeled as spam. Where possible try to ensure they are 100kb or less.
You can use online tools to reduce them if you don't have an in-house graphics team or agency such as:
Images can sometimes be blocked from rendering. This could be due to personal preferences, or the email client’s default settings.
For this very reason don't create an email that is entirely image-based. It looks terrible;
This highlights why it's important to add ALT text for each image. Then if they don't show at least the readers knows what it was.
It also shows why it's important not to put your CTA in an image.
Videos vs GIFs
It would be amazing if you could share your cute ‘bring your pet to work day’ video in your newsletter.
But unfortunately embedding videos in emails isn't a great idea, yet.
But we have a solution!
There are two ways to get around this.
First is the way all major email clients currently get around it. They represent the video with an image that is hyperlinked to the original video. So the reader feels like the video is embedded.
Second way to get around this is to use animated GIFs.
But to re-cap, here's why GIFs in your email marketing strategy can really boost engagement:
- GIFs are much more lightweight in size than video
- They communicate a lot in a short time
- Users don't need to interact with them to watch them
- They're eye-catching and engaging
- They are proven to improve CTR and ROI as shown in our
8. Killer Call to Actions
So, we've talked about what makes a great subject line and how to give value, but what about your call to action?
Simply put, your call to action or CTA is a prominent button or link prompting readers to click.
Call to Action Tips
- Limit each email to a maximum of 1 main CTA. Knowing what the one action you want someone to take is a good place to start when planning your email content
- Make visuals clear and enhancing, not distracting and confusing
- Make sure you keep button copy short, 2 or 3 words max
- Try using the first person in any copy 'Start my free trial'
- Create urgency 'Today only: 50% off!
- Action oriented text, 'Download our ebook'
- Make the button large, but keep in mind not killing the aesthetics
- Include a healthy bit of white space around your CTA
- Use bright bold colours - green and orange perform the best
- Try your best to keep your main CTA above the fold. Just as with websites, people don’t always scroll
If you have too many "crucial" call to actions it could be a good indication of a lack of planning or focus in your email.
Except for obviously curated roundups and ecommerce product roundups.
Test and Optimise Regularly
Why do you need to test?
Simply put, we are bad at guessing. And what works for one brand, may not work for you. So to get the best results, testing is your biggest ally.
Here are just some of the things you could test in your email;
- Subject lines
- Copy (length, tone)
- Call to actions
- Design and colours
- Animated GIFs and media
- More images vs more copy
- Social proof
- Send frequency
- Types of content
- Time of day/day of week
How to test? 5 Pro Tips
- Test one element at a time, if you test multiple you won't understand the source of the change in result
- Start simple, subject lines are a great place to get started with testing
- Keep a log of all your tests, so you can learn as you go and keep a record of trends
- Run tests on groups that are small. For example 10% of your database
- Control the time of day, day of week. Otherwise the change in result might be down to the send time
- Take action with the results. Use the data to refine your future campaigns