When developing your overall marketing strategy, the first order of business is to understand your customer. You’ll want to determine who they are, where they’re located, how they shop for products and services, at what time, how they receive your messaging, and what blend of tactics is going to be the most effective for your return on investment (ROI).
For many years now, email has been part of people’s daily lives. With the dependency of mobile devices, the time spent on email has continued to grow. It makes sense for many to opt for email marketing campaigns, and many do. But with the rising number of marketers who are utilizing email marketing how do you stand out in a crowd?
Let’s take a few steps back and start with the basics.
Step 1: How Do I Set Up My Email Marketing Campaign?
To begin email marketing, you need to have email addresses of the people you want to reach. There are several ways to get those emails (without buying them – which I would never recommend):
- Implementing contact/subscription forms on your website, across various pages.
- Having a catchy call to action (CTA) can help – “Learn more about our service”, “Sign up for your chance to win”, etc.
- A pop-up form that appears when a new user lands on your site.
- Introduce yourself and ask them to do the same – “We’re glad you came! Sign up so we can keep in touch” – make it feel personal.
- At events, ask for those who might be interested in learning more to sign up for your email newsletters. Having a tablet handy could streamline the process, allowing users to type their emails in right on the spot.
- If you’re an e-commerce company, ask customers for their email when making a purchase.
- Host webinars that require an email to receive the RSVP and link to join the webinar.
An organic list will always turn out to be the most successful. Why you ask? Well because the email was given to you by someone who previously expressed interest in your brand, product, service, etc.
Step 2: What Kind of Content Should I Be Sending?
When deciding what kind of content you want to send out, the possibilities are endless. Maybe you’re launching a new version of a software, maybe your company is attending an industry event and you want to invite your customers, sharing a newsletter with the latest company happenings could be of interest – whatever the content of the email is, you want to make sure it’s getting in front of the right people.
Marketing automation platforms, such as Pardot, allow you to segment your contacts and create lists, based on pre-determined categories and tags which you can assign to the forms you’re asking users to fill out. As people complete these forms for a specific campaign or content request, they are automatically assigned to list or perhaps more than one. This allows you to deliver targeted messages to specific contacts.
For example, one of our clients provides automated HR services to various industries. We recently segmented their lists based on those industries and started targeting each list with various email campaigns that offer e-books and demos of how the software can benefit the organization receiving the email.
Personalizing each campaign will ensure a better open rate and response rate due to the relevance of the message that you’re sending out.
Step 3: When Should I Send Emails?
Ah, the magic question. While there is no one-size-fits-all approach to this, there is some information available that can help get you started.
According to research, the best day to send emails is Tuesday. And the time? After 12 p.m. While this might hold true for one research group, I would recommend A/B testing your email marketing approach. Testing different days, times, and subject lines is a sure way to measure your campaign’s true success.
For our client that targets the education community, I probably wouldn’t send an email in the middle of the day to teachers who are in class. The message might be better received after 5 p.m. or on the weekends.
Step 4: How Do I Measure the Success of my Email Marketing Campaign?
Understanding the metrics of your campaign should not be underestimated. The numbers will always tell you a story. Some key data points that you should evaluate for each campaign include:
- Open Rate
This is exactly what you think it is. Your open rate shows how many people on your list are opening your email (great job on a catchy subject line!). Of course, you want a high open rate, but it’s important to understand that just because someone is opening your email doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a successful campaign.
- Click-Through Rate (CTR)
Your audience is opening your emails, which is great, but what are they doing once they opened and read it? Is your CTA working? Are they clicking through to your website? Are they downloading your e-book?
- Bounce Rate
After users are clicking through, what do they do then? Are they landing on your page and then leaving? If you find that this is happening, it’s important to now re-evaluate the content on the page that you’re directing people to. Everything needs to work together for continued success. Maybe a link is broken, maybe the content isn’t engaging enough, or maybe the content doesn’t make sense for the audience you’re directing there. You must identify your problem, address and fix it, and then try it again.
- Conversion Rate
Success! If the people on your lists are opening your emails, clicking through to a new page based on the CTA you provided, and then downloading that e-book or signing up for your demo – whatever the end goal was for you – you have a great conversion rate and your email marketing campaign is working.
Congratulations – It’s Time to Launch Your Email Marketing Campaign
Now that you have the basics of an email marketing campaign – go for it! You know your customer better than anyone else. Get in front of them, evaluate their response, and keep the conversation going. Here a couple of more best practices to take along the way.
Always remember to nurture and grow your lists. Contacts might unsubscribe, email addresses might change, a new contact might be better for the message you’re distributing. Whatever the case may be, understanding who is on your list and who you’re sending messages to will ensure the best possible results for the open rates of your campaigns.
Last, never forget to offer value. Your audience will always see your authenticity, or lack of, when you know, or don’t know, what they care about and understand them as a customer.