Creating A Successful Email Marketing Strategy
Email has an ability many channels don’t: creating valuable, personal touches – at scale.
– David Newman
Many businesses overlook the power of developing and executing a successful email marketing strategy. Are you one of them?
Mostly because we continuously find ourselves overwhelmed with emails, which leaves us wondering how & why anyone would want to open our email marketing efforts? The thinking is that there are better ways to engage our audience, like social media?
We are here to tell you that not only should you invest in developing a successful email marketing strategy, but that it’s imperative to your digital marketing efforts. To begin, here are a few stats that should get your attention:
- For every $1 you spend on email marketing, you can expect an average return of $38.
- According to 80 percent of professionals, email marketing drives customer acquisition and retention.
- Personalized emails receive transaction rates that are six times higher than others.
- You can expect over 40x the amount of customer acquisition through email marketing than Twitter and Facebook.
- By separating and organizing your list, you increase your revenue by over 760%
These numbers likely grabbed your attention. The truth is, email is the #1 driving force behind online transactions and should be adapted to every business.
In this article, we will walk you through the steps required to develop your email marketing strategy, and the tools you will need to see results.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: DETERMINE YOUR BUSINESS STRATEGY
We preach the most important thing before taking on any business endeavor is establishing a robust business strategy. What goals are you trying to achieve as an organization?
Establishing the goals frames how we will utilize each of the tools and tactics available to drive results. You would be surprised how many businesses lack this clarity in vision. Although, all the greatest companies in the world understand the value of determining the big picture first.
If you are new to developing a business strategy, check out our One Page Strategic Plan. You will dive headfirst into the critical aspects of a more extensive business plan, without having to invest too much time to see results.
Once we have developed a sound business strategy, we can move into how your email marketing strategy will be determined.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: CHOOSING THE RIGHT PLATFORM
To get started, you’ll need to choose a platform for launching your email marketing strategy. There are many great ones out there. From the large players to smaller platforms that offer more competitive pricing and support.
Another question will be who is going to design and deliver your emails? Are you planning on managing this process in-house with your current marketing team? Or would it be wise to invest in an agency who specializes in email marketing strategy?
We’ve been working with an agency out of Scottsdale Arizona, Called Fire Drum Email Marketing. For clients who want to work with experts in this field, that have designed an intuitive mobile-first email design studio for clients. Email the easy way!
Firedrum’s powerful email builder and robust management tools allow them to compete with the major players in the market; while offering clients great value for their dollar. You can manage your own campaigns, or hire them to design and deliver campaigns on behalf of your company.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: BUILDING YOUR EMAIL CAMPAIGN
Now there are a few ways to approach this aspect of building an email marketing strategy. There are some emails that you will want to send out as one-offs, and others that will be part of an automation/drip campaign.
Your one-off emails include new product releases, relevant case studies, or a test for direct response marketing. Either way, the idea is, you will design an email send it out. That is all.
Other types of email marketing efforts involve automation. Automated email campaigns are more sophisticated and challenging at first. However, once you dive in, they deliver exceptional value and ease the workload.
For instance, when users sign up for information about a specific service, one approach is to send them an email individually (old school thinking). The alternative is creating a framework that sends out a series of entirely automated and optimized emails over time for maximum engagement.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: SEGMENTATION AND PERSONALIZATION
A genuinely excellent email marketing strategy, optimized for performance requires segmentation and personalization. The more information we have on customers (although it may require effort up front to collect), the more accurate we can tailor a message based off user behavior and demographics to raise conversion rates. This means sales & qualified leads!
For example, you own an e-commerce store. By understanding which products users are purchasing, their location, age, sex, etc. You can begin personalizing emails towards these specific people, based on their tendencies.
As we referenced earlier, there is a 760x ROI on emails lists that are segmented accordingly and personalized to user groups.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: CONTENT IS KING
We have been studying some of the most successful email campaigns on the internet. It always amazes us when a company creates emails so compelling that we open them on a regular basis (Kissmetrics, Wall Street Journal, etc).
As an industry expert, we understand the purpose, but still, some companies do a fantastic job producing and delivering high-value content through email that we are compelled to open their emails and engage with them.
Your content needs to take after these companies. Transform your email marketing strategy from a spammy form of direct response sales to a highly engaging, valued-delivering form of content engagement. An audience that looks forward to opening each time it enters their inbox is the ultimate goal.
The question is, how do you create great content?
Your copywriting needs to be clear, well-articulated and deliver significant value.
Emails should have a higher text to image ratio (depending on the business) because some email servers will block images, and flag emails lacking substance. The purpose of your email should be defined explicitly in the headline and value needs to be delivered in the body.
Although some email servers will block images, that doesn’t mean they can’t be utilized to add value. The key is making sure if you are using photos in your emails, they make sense. The copywriting should stand on its own if the images don’t come through. Lastly, use high-quality photographs.
I can’t stress how often a client has come to me with a photo they have had on their phone for the past 5 years that has been cropped, filtered, etc. The point is it no longer looks good (especially when scaled for larger screen sizes). If you don’t have a great photographer, think about utilizing stock photo websites to find something relevant.
One thing that hurts any sales/marketing effort is not asking for the user to take the next step. This is true with email marketing too. Each campaign should have a clearly defined call-to-action.
Smart businesses experiment with split-testing to try different ways of encouraging users to take those actions.
EMAIL MARKETING STRATEGY: DATA AND SPLIT-TESTING
Make sure you are tracking the results of your email marketing strategy. Utilize the analytics within the email marketing platform, tracking opens, click-through, etc..
A robust analytics dashboard is something to consider when choosing your email marketing platform!
You should also remember to utilize analytics on your website. Track what happens once these users move over from the email to your landing page. What does their journey look like once they come over to your site?
UTM urls track the specific sources for links to your website (handy for email campaigns and online advertising). You don’t want to confuse your traffic with the other ways you drive people to your website.
Split-testing is a great way to optimize email marketing efforts. Successful email marketers will send out a couple of variations of an email to a small sample and monitor initial results before going all in.