We’re all swimming in a massive pool of personal, professional and promotional emails. They’re everywhere! Apparently, we spend around 6 hours of our day trying to get to grips with them all. And people say email is dead, pah…email is very much alive and doing a little dance in your face. One of the biggest challenges brands face is the sheer volume of emails that people have to sift through and making theirs stand out.
You’ve got to grab people’s attention; otherwise, your emails will get lost and consigned forever to the place where emails go to die. We want a happy end to the tale, where your customers trust you as a sender, look forward to your inbox influx, actually open your emails and chuckle at your witty, fabulously useful content. How can you do this? Well, before we jump into that…
Did you know?
There are 3x more email accounts scattered around than Facebook and Twitter account’s put together – the audience is there. And that’s a hell of a lot of embarrassing email addresses…
You’re 6x more likely to generate a click-through from an email than on a social channel. Basically, email marketing still has a healthy ROI for your brand, consumers engage with email and lots of them prefer receiving emails. It’s also a relatively calm online space, away from the constant hustle, bustle and Insta-perfect posturing that you see in social marketing and if done properly, it doesn’t feel like a hard-sell.
So, how can your brand set-up an effective email marketing campaign and what should you be considering before you do?
The best Email Marketing tools
There are lots of great email marketing tools out there and you can usually get hold of them cheaply using low-cost plans for a few hundred subscribers. They vary, depending on the size and requirements of your business.
We’d recommend doing a bit of research and finding a tool with a user-interface that you like the look of or using a free trial to get the hang of them and their design. Does it have an auto-responder feature and custom workflows so you can segment? Can it integrate with third-party software? A few things to think about:
Mailchimp is one of the most popular email marketing tools and it has a really easy-to-use interface, so it’s perfect for small businesses and people who’ve never tried out a campaign before. Its marketing automations are superb too.
Campaign Monitor is well-known too and it’s also simple to use but it doesn’t integrate third-party software if you have more complex requirements. But it helps you to create beautiful email campaigns with easy tracking.
SendinBlue is easy to use but it can be a bit basic with uninspiring templates for your emails and it also lacks third-party integration.
GetResponse lets you use lots of its advanced features when you choose a free trial, so you can play around with autoresponders first.
What are your objectives?
Before you dive in – what objectives are determining your campaign? What are your goals & key performance indicators (KPIs)? This should be connected to your overall marketing strategy anyway, so it could be that your campaign is related to a new product you’re launching, aimed at creating a bigger audience and driving more traffic or getting more people through the door for your event.
When you’re pinpointing what your aims are and why you’re starting your campaign, it makes it easier to decide what you’re going to send and to who. In the long-run this will make your emails more effective and concentrated.
You also need to propose some ideas about managing expectations and your follow-up emails. These are changeable as your campaign goes on, but deciding how often you’re going to send, creating your autoresponder sequences and scheduling content to be delivered on a consistent basis are super important.
Consistent content makes it easier to establish a relationship and drop news about new products. If your un-subscription rate is low then you’re probably onto a winner.
And how will you measure your campaigns to see if they’re helping you to meet your objectives? Well, we’ve found some really useful UK SME email marketing campaign stats, with average results that you can compare your campaign metrics to:
- Open rate: 24.79% (2016: 24.88%)
- Click-through rate: 4.19% (3.42%)
- Unsubscription rate: 0.49% (0.52%)
- Click-to-open rate: 11.88% (10.88%)
- Unsubscribe-to-open rate: 2.59% (2.72%)
Who are you sending to?
If you already have an email list then you can integrate this into your new campaign. These might be people that already have a connection or affiliation with your brand, so you can use their existing details. Usually, you’ll be able to automatically sync your customer details, BUT a big thing to check beforehand is that you have the permissions to do this – unwanted spam = *sad face*
When you’re building your list from scratch, you need to incentivise signups. There are a bunch of methods to do this, depending on your service:
- Gated content – offer part of an article and the user “unlocks” the rest of the content with their email.
- Free white papers/ebooks – similar to the above but the content is in a downloadable form.
- Free downloads and trials – perfect for software and apps.
- Discounted offers – 10% off for signing up to the newsletter? Yes please!
- Free shipping – because customers love it.
Above all else, you need to create great content that is irresistible. You also need to make it really easy and simple to sign-up. Tweak things along the way that aren’t working, for example, if people are unsubscribing after certain autoresponder emails then re-work them.
You can also include CTAs on other channels. So you can use your header bars, sliders, landing pages and other magic tools on your website to encourage new sign-ups.
To send more targeted emails you can split your subscribers into groups and segment your email list. Some people might only want offers and deals, while others might only want your newsletter. Let them choose and trigger certain email sequences when they sign up from specific channels.
You can split test your messaging with your different lists to see what works best.
What is your campaign type?
Time to get existential. What type of campaign would you like to send? There are a fair few different campaigns depending on your objectives and brief, so let’s have a quick peek:
- Newsletters are your most common type of campaign. It’s regular and usually covers a set few topics. It has a central theme and sends customers content based around it and creates value for the theme. You can use it to drive traffic to your website/blog, let people know about new products and generally create compelling content. Newsletters don’t work as well as a direct sales tool, they can be more of a brand building/awareness.
- A deal/offer type campaign is when you’re launching something new or trying to refresh interest in an existing product line. This can have more of a direct-sales approach because you’ll probably be offering a one-time deal or discount with a set time limit for people to activate it in. Include some direct CTAs to drive sales.
- New product campaigns are basically a fanfare about something new going on with your brand. It might be a special announcement about a product, a new feature or some sort of amazing new service you’ll be offering. This keeps people up to date and can loosely drive traffic, but it’s more of an awareness building tool.
- Event campaigns are for, well… events. So, if your brand has an awesome event for fellow professionals or a product launch etc then you can encourage people to sign up.
It all boils down to your specific objectives, but usually, newsletters are great for building awareness and offer campaigns are better for direct sales.
Creating an Effective Campaign
People have really short attention spans…if you’re still reading this then hey, you’re one of the good ones, we love you. So, you need to create engaging email campaigns – if people are short on time, they want to scan through your email and see some sparkly, attention-grabbing stuff.
Don’t overwhelm your readers with reams of text
Don’t overwhelm your readers with reams of text though – write smart copy that clearly communicates your message. Use a concise, memorable headline (and subject line) to pique attention and then use supporting text and visual content to back it up.
Subject lines are one of the biggest hurdles and most obvious ways you can entice your customers to open your emails. You could have the best content in the world, you could be the Beyoncé content, but if you’re not inspiring people to spend their precious time opening your emails then what’s the point? We’re scrolling all the time, having an eye-catching subject line can stop someone in their tracks. Use A/B testing to test and experiment with different styles of subject line and other variations, it’s a great way to gain some insight. You could use:
- Direct, actionable language
- Flattery and complimentary language
- Unexpected, off-the-wall lines
- Promotional offers
- The promise of a ‘secret’ or inside info
It all depends on the type of customer who casts their gaze over your subject line and as you’ll know, people are weird and wonderful creatures with completely different tastes and subjectivity. So what works for one person won’t for another. That’s why it’s super important to get to know your customers and target demographics as much as possible and send them tailored content.
We spoke about segmentation earlier, but make sure that the content and messages that you’re sending in your campaign are relevant and create value for your audience. Sending content that wildly strays from your central themes will turn people off.
It’s up to you how you separate your users; it could be the frequency they buy from you, how much they buy when they last bought from you or other things like age or location to personalise your content more. You can use as much statistical analysis to inform your segmentation as you like.
Segmentation allows you to cater your subject lines, offers, discounts and info for specific users and deliver content and ideas that are more applicable to them. Automated emails also give you the chance to personalise your emails and trigger email sends that are relevant to the customer journey your user has just been on; like a welcome email if a customer has just signed up to your mailing list.
You also need to ensure that your campaigns connect to your overall brand identity. Readers need to see consistency from one channel to the next, so when they interact with your brand somewhere else it should make sense. So colour schemes, visuals, fonts should be similar across all of the entry points for your brand.
If your campaigns are designed in a clear and concise way then your audiences should be able to follow a user journey, respond to CTAs and be compelled to take action and convert.
41% of email opens occur on a mobile, so ensure you’re using an email service that optimizes your campaigns across devices and uses responsive templates to guarantee high-performance and conversion rates.
Of course, one of the best ways to ensure people keep on coming back for more of your email goodies is to consistently create killer content. Becoming a trusted source for valuable and useful content takes time, but it’s definitely worth it. You can become a brand that someone associates with good content and then they’ll open your emails with confidence…and a majestic trumpet noise will sound in the distance* (*not confirmed). At its best, quality content leads to generating more traffic to your site and increased sales and it can help you to have meaningful interaction with customers.
Measure, Measure, Measure
Constantly keep on top of your campaign metrics and tweak your content, layouts and segmentation accordingly to make your campaign more effective. You’ll usually have an analytics suite with the email marketing tool you’re using and you can keep an eye on the traffic driven to your website with Google Analytics. Use your reports to look at these metrics:
- Amount of bounces – how many emails never reach the inbox? It could be an issue with your subscriber quality.
- Amount of unique opens/open rate – how many emails are opened?
- Amount of emails not opened – how many are not? Could the subject line be improved?
- Click-Through Rate – how strong are your CTA’s? What is the percentage of people who have clicked through to your website?
- Unsubscribe rate – people not interested in your newsletters? This may not be a bad thing since many of them may have got what they wanted from you already.
- Spam complaints – This is a bad thing if it’s high. Don’t annoy your subscribers.
- Shares – we love a forward to a friend!
You can use these stats compare campaigns and make changes based on what you learn works and doesn’t work.
Email is alive and well
Email marketing campaigns are still super effective and a really great way to drive traffic, sales and generate leads. Work on creating relevant emails with concise, intelligent copy, and smart design.
And whilst we are on the subject, don’t forget to subscribe to Watb newsletters. 🙂
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