The industry leaders and masterminds of online marketing are raving about email marketing and the benefits of this strategy for years now. Regardless of the size of your business, regardless of the industry or target audience, email marketing is certainly a strategy you can use to improve your business and work towards achieving your goals.
Your starting point should be to learn the basics of email marketing. You need to learn about email deliverability, how to optimize your emails, and how to grow your mailing list. These are the basics that will help you get started. As you begin implementing your strategy, you will need to find ways how to increase the efficiency of your email marketing.
Start by learning more about your campaigns
At this point, it’s essential to have at least some insights about your email campaigns. You need to focus on those emails and just take some time and try to answer some of these questions:
Who’s opening your emails? – Can you notice the same people, is there anything they have in common? Are there people who keep opening emails, but never click on any of the links?
When are people opening your emails? – Try sending the email on different days of the week, at different times of the day, and compare the results. The idea is to find an ideal time for sending out emails to your target group.
What kinds of emails perform well? – Explore the topics and the subject lines, compare them and try to determine if there is anything that gives excellent results. Maybe a how-to email, or subject lines with a question, etc.?
What do people do? – Do people interact with your emails? How many of them click on the links/send a reply, etc.? How do they interact with your emails?
The goal here is to improve your email marketing by learning more about your audience and your content. Those are the first things you need to improve, as they are directly affecting email marketing performance. These metrics can basically show you what works best and what you can do to improve your email campaign.
Audience affecting email marketing
For starters, the people reading your emails are real humans (well, most of them). So you need to understand that email marketing isn’t just typing words and sending them out hoping to get “results”. As most of the strategies in online marketing, email marketing has reached a certain level of saturation, so quality and personalization are more important than ever.
Use your email campaigns to build a relationship with your subscribers, create respect and thus increase your influence. This will have a significant impact on how your email marketing will develop in the future. It will increase the open rate, and it will increase trust in your content. In order to build the relationship you need to:
- Learn more about your audience
- Create content they can relate to
- Use the voice/language they find familiar
- Present yourself as an expert/professional/trustworthy person
- Implement a bit of personal touch into emails to be perceived as more approachable
Conduct campaigns with care
People love getting free stuff, free advice, and realistically, that’s probably one of the main reasons why they follow you. And they don’t really appreciate the promotional content. But your email marketing needs to focus on this aspect as well, you need to convert those subscribers into customers somehow. In fact, your subscribers are probably the best leads you can get (meaning they are most likely to buy from you). So you need to brush up your writing skills and handle promo content with care.
Try to plan and organize everything as it’ll be much easier. Let’s say you have a product you want to launch. How should you approach this in terms of email marketing?
- Make sure the product is relevant to your target group
- Start talking about benefits of the product without introducing/mentioning it (how would it be to have… would your life be different/easier/better if you had…)
- Build excitement and develop a story around the product (still without mentioning it)
- Share an exclusive (sort of sneak peek for your subscribers only)
- Tell a story behind the product (how long have you been working on it, what’s the idea, why do you think they will benefit from it…)
- Introduce the product
- Offer some benefits for subscribers only (special discount, additional items included, etc.)
Content affecting email marketing
Another aspect that has a direct influence on your email marketing efficiency is content you send. Like with content marketing, email marketing also depends on content as this is the primary asset you use to build trust and encourage subscribers to complete a certain action.
Here are the three elements of an email that need to be improved and optimized if you want to increase the efficiency of such an email:
Start testing this element of an email. Use online tools to get subject lines ideas and compare the results. Try to determine the kind of subject lines that lead to a large open/click rate. Have in mind that a subject line is the first element of your email that’s visible to your recipients. This means that it has the most powerful impact on what happens with your email, whether it will be opened, read or simply ignored.
Here’s an email guide with ideas on how to evoke sentiment and give a bit of context to the readers with your subject lines. Each idea comes with a couple of examples: How to Be an Email Subject Line Superhero.
Perfecting an email copy is real art. It isn’t just about writing, but instead, try to define an approach that works. Use personalization as your main asset to create emails that address your readers. Explore how different language styles affect the email performance. Try to be concise and write only as much as needed. Finally, take leverage of emotions and employ storytelling to target those emotions. Make readers feel interested, curious, inspired, determined, etc.
Learn how to write a story and how to drive those emotions of your readers through a compelling email copy. Start with this article where you’ll learn ingredients of a good story, how storytelling affects the brain, and how you can use this in email marketing: Storytelling in Email Marketing – Your Story Needs a Hero And It’s Not You.
Obviously, you have specific goals with the email marketing campaign. You have a particular action you want readers to complete. That’s the purpose of the CTA, to encourage such action and take readers to the desired destination. Like with previous two elements, try different layout of the CTA, alter the text, compare how a button performs vs. a text link. All of this will help you find a formula that is uniquely yours, that works in your campaigns.
In need of CTA ideas? Here’s an article with Here’s an article with 75 Calls to Action to Use in Your Email Marketing Campaigns.
The relevance of your emails
Consider relevance as the factor that affects email marketing campaign performance. The content you send needs to be relevant to your target group. How to know if the content is relevant? For starters, get back to the initial step of analyzing your audience. A thorough analysis of your audience can tell you a lot about what they expect, what they would find useful, interesting and worthy of their time.
The second aspect of relevance refers to your business. Email marketing content needs to be directly related to what your business goals are, to your industry and your overall business strategy. After all, email marketing is only one of the strategies used to achieve your business goals. So, you need to make sure that what you send in your emails, contributes to those goals. Regardless if those are sales, increasing trust, promoting third-party content, or something entirely different. Make sure your email marketing approach is created in a way that it enables you to achieve those goals and thus improve your business.
Leveraging email marketing automation
When first starting out, you might neglect the power of automation in email marketing. However, as your list starts to grow, as your reach begins to expand, you’ll realize that automation is an essential part of every successful marketing strategy.
How email marketing automation contributes to the performance of an email marketing campaign?
Well, it helps you automate messages based on specific triggers. Basically, the tool will monitor determined processes and send emails accordingly, something you would hardly have any chance of doing manually. This is done by creating workflows, and one of the most commonly used are:
This kind of a workflow represents a welcome sequence for new subscribers. Over the time, you’ll start building a relationship with your followers, and you will send relevant updates. People who have just started following you might not be familiar with you and your newsletter content. So what welcome workflow does, it introduces you to the new subscribers and starts forming that relationship. It’s triggered every time you have a new subscriber.
This affects the performance of your email marketing in the long run. Firstly, you immediately filter bounced emails and those who don’t want to receive emails. Secondly, you give a chance to subscribers to get to know you and gradually introduce them to the work you do. This is especially important when sending promotional emails. You don’t want this to be the first email a person receives when he or she signs up for your newsletter.
Abandoned cart workflow
As the name suggests, this workflow is triggered when the potential customer starts the process but doesn’t complete the purchase. Again, having an email marketing tool to detect these actions and react accordingly by sending email reminders is the best way to keep up with everything. You can achieve two goals with this workflow, both of which have a positive impact on email marketing.
Firstly, you get a chance to convince people to finish their purchase. You might send a special discount, or an add-on as an incentive if they complete their purchase. Have in mind that people who already showed interest in your product/service, and left at the checkout are probably the best leads you can get. They were on the verge of buying, so you might still have a chance to convince them to complete that action. The second reason why this is an important part of the process is the fact that you can use this workflow to find out the reasons why they made a decision not to go through with the purchase. Ask your audience why they gave up, what prevented them from completing the purchase. This is a great opportunity to learn more about your sales strategy and online promotion, which as a result, can help you with improving your online presence, and maybe even reconsider the whole approach.
The bottom line is that email marketing is a learning process and a strategy that continuously evolves. As much as you need resources on email marketing and to listen to advice from the industry professionals, you still need to create a strategy that is based on your business, your audience, and your goals. Also, the results usually never come overnight. This means that email marketing is a long-term strategy and it takes time to grow your subscribers base as well as to improve conversions and other marketing results from running email campaigns.
Think of email marketing as your day-to-day responsibility. Focus on the creative process as much as on analysis. Use online tools to help you monitor everything and keep track of your progress and how campaign performance changes after the introduction of each new approach or strategy. At the end of the day, it’s important that your emails hit the target, that your message resonates well with your audience and that you keep growing your following. Content is still the king, so make sure that you only share high-quality content with your readers. If you put in the effort – they will know it (and reward it!). Hopefully this article inspires you to take that twist, and go the extra mile in the next email you send out to your followers.
If you want to learn more about this topic, download our free Email Marketing ebook, and take the free Email Marketing certification.