How impressive are your emails?
It’s time to build a personal connection with your customers in their inboxes.
According to MarketingSherpa, “72% of people prefer to receive promotional content through email, compared to 17% who prefer social media.”
Email is an effective medium to send timely messages to customers. Your team can communicate promotions, new product releases, and even show some customer appreciation.
“Week in week out, you have to prove your value to your email subscribers. Know your readers so well that you can empathize with their struggles. Ask questions. And offer help,” writes Henneke Duistermaat, an irreverent copywriter and business writing coach.
Let’s make your next email marketing campaign worthwhile. Explore the do’s and don’ts below.
Email Marketing Do’s
Yes, email marketing varies from company to company. But there are underlying guidelines that exist to make every campaign better.
Work with your team to find your best practices. That means analyzing data and monitoring customer behavior. In the meantime, use the following tactics to begin your journey.
1. DO Create A Strategy
Like any business function, you need a plan.
It’s not in your best interest to conduct email marketing blindly. If you do, your small business will lose money and time.
Gather your team to discuss the purpose of your campaign, the likely outcomes, and what success looks like.
Setting definite goals ensures everyone is on the same page. Plus, if during the campaign the results don’t match your desired outcome, it offers proof to adjust your strategy.
Also, be mindful of how you represent your brand in every email.
Forbes contributor Kate Kiefer Lee says,“Your email campaigns should match your brand’s look and feel. If you’re using a template, you might want to customize it to include your company’s colors and logo in the header.”
Start developing your email campaign strategy. It will guide you throughout the entire process.
2. DO Segment Your List
Mass marketing is useless in our economy today. Shoppers desire personalized experiences that cater to their individual needs.
The same holds true when sending an email. Customers are different. And they don’t want to learn about tennis shoes when their interests only include tank tops.
Therefore, email a customized message to specific consumer groups.
“Segment your emails strategically. For each one of your marketing campaigns, the key is to create messages that support your unique business and marketing objectives,” writes Krista Bunskoek, former director of public relations at Wishpond.
Below is an example of how a small business may segment customer groups by interests. It starts with what the target audience likes. Then, it’s adjusted based on their habits in the sales funnel.
Segmentation works to provide customization. Take advantage of the benefits.
3. DO Use Automation
The days of sending one email at a time are gone.
It was time-consuming and mentally exhausting. Thanks to technology, email automation tools make small business teams efficient.
Create email drip campaigns to automate your interaction with consumers. You can develop specific workflows to keep customers engaged with your brand.
For example, when someone signs up for your email list, set up a welcome workflow that automatically sends them a message thanking them for joining. You could even include a promotional discount to encourage sales.
The diagram above from Marketing Cloud shows a more complex workflow. However, it streamlines how you engage with webinar attendees. Here’s the email series:
- The lead signs up for webinar through a form.
- The lead immediately receives an automated confirmation email.
- Three days prior to the webinar, the lead gets a reminder message.
- Three days after the webinar, the lead receives a follow-up survey.
Automation takes the guesswork out of email marketing. Save your team time.
4. DO Be Mobile-Friendly
A Litmus report found that 55% of email is now opened on a mobile device.
While desktops still offer consumer value, mobile devices are a way of life. Most people carry their phones with them 24/7 — to a business meeting, dinner outing, and even the restroom.
Mobile devices are an extension of us. And that’s an opportunity for your small business.
Optimize your emails to be mobile-friendly. That involves ensuring the design fits the screen, the word length is manageable, and the loading time doesn’t take forever.
Moreover, include a single column layout and add a call-to-action at the top of the email.
Mobile users are constantly moving. They juggle multiple tasks at once. And they don’t have the time to read a 10,000-word email. Grab their attention fast and offer worthwhile content.
Email Marketing Don’ts
Now, you know what to implement. But what about the tactics to avoid?
As you begin executing multiple email marketing campaigns, you’ll learn what not to do. Keep a running list available for your team.
You don’t want to make the same mistake twice. Here are a few techniques to stay away from:
1. DON’T Spam
This rule is simple: Don’t spam. It’s unprofessional and illegal.
The CAN-SPAM Act is an United States law that establishes the rules for commercial email. It gives recipients the right to not receive unwanted emails from companies.
Email spam fits the following three criteria:
- Anonymity: The address and identity of the sender are concealed
- Mass Mailing: The email is sent to large groups of people
- Unsolicited: The email is not requested by the recipients
“Make sure your own spam filter doesn’t stop the opt-out requests coming through. Once you’ve received them, make sure you honor the request within 10 business days. Any opt-out mechanism you offer must be able to process opt-out requests for at least 30 days after you send your message,” says professional writer Brenda Barron.
Spam negatively impacts your email campaigns. Don’t do it. (Check out our post on 7 tips to avoid complaints of email abuse.)
2. DON’T Write Boring Subject Lines
Research shows that “63% of retailer subject lines are generic, and they’re losing brand value—and sales—as a result.”
Customers receive lots of emails per day—messages from coworkers, friends, and your competitors. Therefore, they’ve read thousands of subject lines. And they instantly know if they want to open an email or not.
Your team only has a few seconds to make a good first impression. So, do it right.
Aim for simple, concise subject lines. Try something controversial. Numbered lists provoke consumers to open emails. And use action verbs.
3. DON’T Forget to Track Emails
When running an email marketing campaign, don’t forget to track the progress of your success. By analyzing the data, your team can gain valuable insight on how to improve.
Are customers opening your emails? Is your bounce rate significantly high? Do certain consumer segments prefer Campaign A over Campaign B?
Click-to-Open-Rate is one important metric to monitor. It’s the percentage of subscribers who clicked a link in the email as related to the total number who opened it.
“Successful email marketing campaigns are more of a marathon than a sprint. That means you should be constantly fine-tuning your message to elicit a more engaged response, and CTOR rates are instrumental in judging and making course corrections in that process,” states Andrea Fryrear, founder and chief content officer at Fox Content, Ltd.
Draw conclusions from your observations. And keep track of your email stats.
Follow the Guidelines
Upgrade your email marketing campaigns. But before you start strategizing, know what to do and not to do.
Segment your list to personalize the experience. Create mobile-friendly emails. Avoid spamming people. And drop the boring subject lines.
Follow these guidelines. Send better emails.