Email consistently ranks as one of the top marketing channels for many businesses. Despite not experiencing much change over the years, email continues to help marketers maintain interaction with valuable leads and drive customer conversion. With engaging messaging and well-planned campaign coordination, email can play a role in developing your business as well.
Email marketing centers around a reliable email platform and a well-maintained contact list. There are many platforms to consider, and most offer free plans for businesses with contact lists under certain thresholds. Providers range from simpler email-focused software such as MailChimp or ConstantContact to more robust offerings such as HubSpot. Each platform’s website contains additional information regarding its capabilities and tiered plans.
Your contact list can start with existing customers and leads though you should continue to grow subscribers through your other marketing channels. Opportunities range from featuring an email sign-up section on your website to collecting contact information from in-person events such as a pop-up market or conference.
As with any marketing initiative, approach email marketing with your business goals in mind. While it feels great to send an eblast to thousands of subscribers, the message needs to connect shoppers with next steps to engage with your brand. If an email is sent monthly, is it promoting this month’s limited-time offers to drive sales? Is it sharing the latest accomplishments of your nonprofit and encouraging donations or sponsorships for your cause?
Aim to send campaigns with a frequency that makes sense for your business. Many brands have success deploying eblasts on a monthly basis and only sharing special one-off emails as needed throughout the year. Connect contacts with your organization without them feeling bombarded by too many emails.
The timing of your email deployments is also important. Your customer personas will dictate the optimal days and times of day that your subscribers are most likely to engage with your content. Many businesses have success sending emails in the mornings of days during the middle of the week. Others do well scheduling emails outside of traditional working hours. Test send times and determine what performs best with your contacts based on analytics and customer feedback.
When designing an email campaign, there are several elements you can customize for improved performance. The “from” name seems straightforward though consider addressing your eblast from business owner or another public-facing member of your leadership rather than simply your business name. This can provide a more personal impression and increase email engagement.
For your subject line, choose a brief headline that attracts recipients to open your email without giving a spammy impression. For example, headlines with words in all capital letters can potentially land your email in the recipients’ junk folder. You should also craft a preview message, the short text that appears by the subject line before an email is opened. This text should also be kept brief and encourage the subscriber to open your email without raising alarms of potential spam.
Once opened, the content of your email should focus on engaging the reader and encouraging one primary action such as browsing a product sale or booking a reservation. Featuring multiple “asks” in one email can leave recipients feeling scattered or only focused on the last thing they see. Consider including elements other than plain-text such as a select few images.
Before deploying an eblast to subscribers, send a test email to yourself and view it on multiple device types. Ensure the desktop experience of your email translates well to mobile as most recipients will likely view it from their phone.
Once your campaign has been sent, providers offer analytics into how subscribers interacted with your email. Review the percentage of your contact list that successfully received your email. Analyze the percentage who opened your message and who clicked through to your website. As you send additional emails, use this data to identify the types of messaging that draw the most interest from your subscribers as well as which days and times of email deployment attract the most engagement.
Though this overview only scratches the surface of email marketing, it should highlight the importance of this valuable channel and offer insight into developing strategy for your business. From here, there are several optimizations that can further improve the performance of your campaigns including automatically personalizing emails with your subscribers’ information, A/B testing variables such as subject lines and implementing automated drip campaigns based on leads’ interactions with your brand.