Perhaps you’re too young to remember the iconic “you’ve got mail” notification from AOL. The phrase was so popular that there was even a Tom Hanks film that heavily featured the message. That wasn’t too long ago, either. In the world of technology, 20 years is a blink of an eye.
It’s 2016 so that means email marketing has greatly evolved since the time of dial-up Internet.
Email marketing has become a lot more sophisticated in the last 20 years. Instead of simple, one-way messages, recipients are given media-rich messages that are tailored to meet their needs. At an elementary level, email marketing 1.0 is now email marketing 2.0.
With stellar advancements in technology and new methods in digital marketing, it will only be a matter of time until it transforms into email marketing 3.0. Developers and marketers are constantly coming up with new capabilities in their email marketing systems that are complemented with data analytics and key metrics designed to meet your company’s interests.
There are several aims firms have when they employ email marketing methods. These are the five usual objectives:
- Boost sales
- Generate leads
- Strengthen relationships
- Increase website traffic
- Build brand loyalty
For whatever reason, email marketing seems like an outdated form of marketing, especially in today’s constantly changing Internet world. However, email marketing comes with an array of benefits: reduced time and efforts, personalisation, frequent communications, reduced overhead costs and test marketing messages. Let’s not forget about the impeccable data behind emails.
- Nearly 90 percent of marketers say email is their primary form of lead generation.
- 61 percent of customers like to receive weekly promotional emails.
- 95 percent of customers find emails from brands to be useful.
- For each $1 spent on email marketing, businesses’ return is $44.
- Email marketing leads consumers to spend 138 percent more than those who don’t receive emails from brands.
What do these statistics reveal? That email marketing is far from reaching its demise.
What should be noted, however, is that these campaigns didn’t simply employ techniques that may have been functional in the 1990s or early-2000s. Rather than all-caps rage or excessive exclamation points, today’s digital marketer utilises social media, analytics and psychology to ensure a brand’s email marketing campaign is a successful one.
So, are you a website or business that’s intrigued by email marketing? Here are five tips to build a successful email marketing campaign in 2016:
- Email Marketing Software System
- A Permission-Based List
- Personalisation, or How You’re Not a Robot
- Time to go Mobile
- Subject Lines, Times and Spam
Email Marketing Software System
What email marketing software system are you going to choose? There are plenty of options available online, both free and paid. Now, it should be noted that you have two choices: a full-blown customer relationship management system or a basic email marketing system. The former is a lot more intricate with shopping carts, affiliate programs and even email behaviour campaigns. The latter offers simple database and campaign management functions. It really depends on your needs and what you’re looking for.
Unsure what you need? Here are a few things to be on the lookout for:
- CRM Integration
- Visual Editing
- Analytics & Data Reports
- CAN-SPAM Compliance
In the end, you shouldn’t feel overwhelmed. Most of the email programs you come across will provide you with training and support to ensure you have the best email marketing campaign at your disposal.
Fact: There are around 250 email marketing software programs available on the market.
A Permission-Based List
First, you must understand one thing when compiling a list: it’s about quality, not quantity.
With that out of the way, you will have to build a list of email subscribers. You may already have a handful, which may not seem like a lot, but, you know, we all have to begin somewhere. A journey of a 1,000 miles starts with that first step. How do you grow your database of contacts?
Here are several tricks to assist in this endeavour:
- Content is King: when you produce engaging, compelling and stellar content then you’re going to encourage your customers to remain as subscribers. If the content is very good then you’ll certainly create hype and get others to sign up. Shopify Encyclopedia is a great example of high quality content that people subscribe for.
- A Signature Link: in your company email signature, be sure to add your logo and a link to a landing page where people can sign up for your emails (you can use this free logo designing tool to quickly create one)
- Use Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, whatever social media outlet you use, take advantage of this tool and start to announce to the world that they should sign up for your emails for the newsletters, promotions and overall unique content.
- CTA on Your Website: instead of getting visitors to search for an opt-in button, include a call-to-action on pretty much every part of your website.
- Pay it Forward: ask your current subscribers to forward these emails to others who may be interested. You can always incentivise it, too, by offering discounts for every new subscriber.
You must remember that all of these emails should be permission-based. In other words, you send emails to those who have requested them.
Your email marketing database erodes by less than one-quarter each year.
Personalisation, or How You’re Not a Robot
Let’s face it: emails we receive from robots are pretty mundane. They don’t intrigue us, they don’t make us jump for joy. They’re, in all honesty, rather boring. What’s the solution to a robotic email? Personalisation!
This could be a very difficult task, especially when your subscription list grows to 10,000.
The first step you take is that when you collect emails then you should also compile other facts, like their favourite colour, their favourite sports team, their birthdate and their interests.
The second step is to use their names in an email. Many of the biggest companies online have perfected this technique. Another aspect of this is to customise content that engages their interests.
The third step is to tailor the design to match their favourite colour (see, there is a method to this madness!).
The final step is to personalise your business, too. This means that you should show off your company’s personality by incorporating your contact information, your name and title and even a photo of yourself.
Here are a few other things to perhaps consider:
- Create automated behavioural trigger emails.
- Establish and maintain customer persona profiles.
- Utilise their location and times to your advantage (see below).
Fact: personalised emails resulted in a 29 percent increase in open rates and a 41 percent jump in click-through rates than emails without any customisation.
Time to go Mobile
Most of us are checking our email on our smartphones and tablets. In fact, one-third of all emails opened took place on an iPhone. Meanwhile, 75 percent of Gmail’s 900 million users check their emails on their mobile devices. These are hefty numbers. It proves that much of the emails you send as part of your campaign have to be designed to cater to mobile users.
Simply put: it’s time to go mobile. Your email marketing campaign should be mobile-friendly.
It isn’t difficult at all to make your emails perfect for mobile devices, either. For instance, rather than writing a 60-character subject line, it’s best to cut that number down to around 25 characters. Another idea is to ensure your copy is concise, clear and to the point.
Here are a few other tips and tricks to incorporate into your mobile strategy:
- Pre-header Text: take advantage of this often overlooked method of pre-header text. It can prove to be very useful in a mobile campaign because it provides a glimpse into the email itself.
- CTAs: so we’re back to CTAs, are we? Yes. When it comes to your mobile emails, you have to make sure that your CTAs are front and centre of the email. A large portion of your audience is busy and on the go so you have to get right to the point.
- Click-Friendly: all of your mobile emails should be click-friendly. This means that you should leave enough white space around links and CTAs.
- Testing: prior to hitting the send button, take some time to conduct a series of tests across different email clients to gather insight into how the emails would look and what needs to be changed.
Fact: there are one billion mobile email users worldwide.
Subject Lines, Times and Spam
Subject lines are crucial to getting the recipient to open your email. Subject lines are the very first impression you give to the subscriber. This is your moment to shine and impress. To do so, here are a couple of things that you must do:
- Keep your subject line short and sweet.
- Use personalisation for your subject line (their name, for example).
- Be urgent in your subject line.
- Try to use numbers or ask a question.
- Do not use capitalisation, exclamation points or special characters.
Times have also proven to be very valuable to marketers and brands. The data suggest that the best times to email your subscribers is between 8pm and midnight (their time) because these offered the best open rates. It made sense: people are finished work and have their time all to themselves.
Email clients have done a superb job in filtering out spam. However it’s email marketing companies job to ensure your emails don’t immediately get transferred into the spam folder. Here are some techniques they incorporate in order to succeed:
- Limit the amount of special characters you use, avoid all caps, tone down your imagery.
- Do not overuse your CTAs with a capitalised “CLICK HERE.”
- Refrain from using bad HTML coding and don’t convert Word documents into HTML.
- Avoid inserting re: and fwd: in your email to trick recipients.
- The best way to avoid being spammed: do not buy purchased lists!
Fact: emails with the word “tomorrow” in the subject line are opened 10 percent more than emails without the word.
Email marketing hasn’t died. On the contrary, it’s living a long, purposeful and successful life. Email marketing is just getting better and better with each passing day. And the data back it up. Email marketing is affordable, effective and easy to adopt. Your business should use it to improve your bottom line. Sure, there are other fancy marketing techniques around, but are they as good? It depends.