In our opinion, email marketing is the holy grail of all digital marketing vehicles. It’s by far the least expensive to execute, and if you are creative around how you build your list and consistently deliver value through your content, your audience will stay engaged, active and wanting more from your brand. There are lots of trends and buzz phrases you’ll see running around when it comes to email marketing, and we thought we’d take a moment to give you a bit of our take.
Noone, and I mean no one wants to get a generic one size fits all email message and the easiest way to make each email count is by personalizing them. We like to use our email contact database as a quasi CRM system. Strategizing the various fields that can be populated to glean insights into who the subscriber is, what products or services they might be interested in, and any other details that might be useful. All of these data points allow you to craft a message that contains merge fields that make content that much more relatable. “Hi Margaret” will always be a better way to introduce an email over “Yo, random person – we have something for you.” One important thing to note, however, if you don’t maintain your database of contacts appropriately this whole effort can backfire or not be as useful as it can be, so plan accordingly and adopt practices that ensure vital information is collected and remains accurate.
Secondly, if your brand can be assigned a persona, use it! An email message that comes from someone has a better chance of getting a response. If you’re a B2B business or your business is closely tied to yourself consider dropping in your headshot as well. Afterall, we love being able to put a face to the name.
Automation in email campaigns is becoming so much easier, especially with many of the tools and services we are now deploying for small businesses. Automation also allows you to build nurturing campaigns that read as more unique and timely for the audience. You can kick off the conversation with a witty introduction and then move on to telling your story in a way that naturally builds as opposed to just emailing the random recent blog post update or focusing solely on an upcoming sale.
Once you have the basics of automation down, you can go a step further and take those automations into your Facebook Ads and Google Remarketing efforts so that everything ties seamlessly together to maximize the impact.
Don’t Forget To Test
At the core of every good campaign is a plan to A/B test various elements. The reality is that what works for one business might fail for the other. A/B testing helps ensure that the messaging, and design queues you are using make sense for your audience.
Some of the main elements you want to evaluate are audience preferences around plain text emails over lots of visual and highly designed elements. Does your audience prefer singular messages more often or a longer run-down of updates once a quarter? Maybe you will discover that animation is necessary to get those eyeballs to focus on what you are saying.
You may also want to test the engagement bait is also essential if measuring distinct ROI is necessary. Consider coupons or in-store actions that you can easily measure to determine effectiveness.
Prepare for GDPR, the European Union’s new Privacy Rules
If you aren’t preparing for what is coming starting on May 25, 2018, you need to begin having serious compliance conversations now. The new legislation requires very specific and strict opt-in rules for emails that are sent to European email addresses. And if you think this doesn’t apply to you, ask yourself this. Do you have visitors to your website from the European Union (check your analytics)? Can you confirm that no one has landed on your email list at any point in time and moved to the European Union or resides in both the U.S. and a European Country part of the year? This is our point. Today business is global, digital is global, and your liability to these new regulations is something we do not recommend taking lightly.
Make sure that you are adopting measures to ensure compliance. Send forms to collect information for your lists and validate the opt-in for emails and make sure you are informing your list what types of messages you intend to send to them.
Need to send something along to you legal advisor? We’d recommend this guide for the General Data Protection Regulation that was produced by MailChimp.
Keep It Simple and Concise
We covered this a bit up in the testing section, but studies are very clear that the most successful emails have one clear goal and message. Think of your many updates as a series of emails instead of packing everything into one lengthy, hard to read prose. Emails, after all, are intended and digested as quick snippets of information, so sending out the next great novel is likely not going to yield the results you were expecting.
You have a few short seconds in an email to engage the reader, so don’t waste their time by making them sort through competing messages and mountains of information.
“Email is scrappy, hacky, and difficult, but the incredible community around it makes life a whole lot easier.”
Non-Responsive Emails Could Literally Kill Your Business
What is a responsive email? It’s an email that has been coded in a way to look great on your desktop computer but also is easily read on your mobile. Just think about it. Where do you read most of your email? Sure we spend a fair amount of time at our laptops, but we also are checking our email in bed at night, when we first wake up in the morning, on the commute to work, and sometimes even in the loo (admit it!). So how would you feel if an email landed in your inbox with microprint and graphics all over the place? You’d delete that email and move on to the next one.
Don’t fall into this trap. Last year less than 70% of marketing emails set were responsive. That means 30% of the messages sent likely fell flat and that’s a lot of emails. If you’re not building emails with mobile in mind in 2018, you might as well pack up now. You will simply be leaving a lot of opportunities and money on the table.
We’re Turning The Marketing Funnel On Its Head
You might remember back to business school where you talked about the marketing funnel. Then came digital marketing and that funnel has morphed into a user journey that has now become a big pile of tangled string. Customers come in at any point and leave at any point. This is making it much harder to follow and track customers through the process and the multiple touchpoints you are engaging them at. This is why it’s absolutely critical to be organized and ensure consistency across all channels. Establish those brand guidelines and make sure you’re presenting a united front.
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