By Rithesh Raghavan

Email marketing is one of the leading techniques used by businesses to expand their reach and attract more prospects. In recent times, it feels as if social media is more important than email when it comes to digital marketing, but that is far from reality.

Email remains a powerful component of any robust digital marketing strategy. Properly planned email marketing can help you generate and nurture leads while keeping your existing customers engaged. It is no surprise that many marketers rank email marketing as their most effective digital strategy.

Why Should You Embrace Email Marketing?

There are many reasons why email marketing is an integral part of many digital marketing activities across the web.

  1. Email marketing campaigns are generally low cost. With the right tools and a defined strategy, you can start generating results over a short time.
  2. It is easy to create a campaign.  You can get started with an email template, optimized landing pages and proper automation.
  3. You are always in control of all aspects of your email marketing campaign. You decide what type of content to use, the audience demographic you’d like to target, processes you’d want to automate, etc.
  4. Instead of deploying a scatter-gun approach with acquiring an audience, you can use email-marketing techniques like double opt-in to ensure that you are only communicating with people that want to receive your brand’s messages.
  5. Your customers prefer contact via email instead of other marketing channels.
  6. Email allows you to reach people on their mobiles, where they spend a large portion of their time.
  7. You can track your results easily with various advanced analytics tools.

These are some of the reasons why you should embrace email today. To launch your first email marketing campaign, here are the steps you need to take.

1. Set Your Brand Goals

Before you kick off your email marketing campaigns, you need to decide your goals and what you intend to accomplish. This is the only way you can know what you need to do to achieve your desired results and also what to measure to determine the success or failure of the campaign. Your goal can be broad or highly specific.

The key is to ensure it can be measured. Not sure how to create a goal? Find out why you want to start an email marketing campaign. Do you want to make your brand more popular? Do you want to sell more products? Do you want to get your customers to follow your brand on social media?

Your answer will determine the content and tone of your email campaigns.  Clearly defined goals give you a chance at effective campaigns.

2. Choose the Right Email Marketing Software

The right email marketing software will make it easier for you to accomplish your objectives. There are many options available today. Do not just go with the most popular. Choose an email service that makes your job easier. You shouldn’t have to spend weeks learning all the controls that come with the software.

Do not attempt to use normal email clients like Gmail or Outlook either. They may work when your email list is still in its infancy, but the problems arise as your business grows. Choose email solutions that are designed to handle bulk emails for marketers like you.

Some of the best email software companies will simplify your email marketing campaigns by making it easy to send bulk emails, create and manage your email database, create customisable templates, etc. Not sure if an email service is for you? Use the free trials where available, as you explore your options.

3. Develop a Quality Contact List

Once you have settled on the right type of software to use, the next step is to start building a list of prospects to target with your campaigns. You need to invest your time and resources in developing and managing a quality contact list. Start with your past and present customers, and grow the list with lead generation techniques that apply to your brand.

Don’t forget to ensure that your list is highly targeted to reflect your brand goals. An email list for your e-commerce store that is predominantly made up of your high-school buddies will not generate the same result as one that contains only the emails of visitors to your website or your brand’s social media followers.

As your subscriber base grows, you can create mini-segments within the list for ultra-targeting. For example, you can differentiate between your existing clients, past clients and prospects and target them with different campaigns.

4. Choose a Campaign Option

There are lots of options when it comes to email marketing campaigns. Do you want to send email marketing newsletters, announcements, product offers, or invitations?

With newsletters, you can only target your current subscribers to keep them informed about your brand and engaged. Product offers and announcements can be sent to existing, new and potential customers to encourage the purchase of your products and to educate them about your brand solutions.

Depending on your goals, you can focus on one option or combine as many as necessary.

5. Develop Concise Content

The content of individual emails in your content marketing campaign will be determined by your objectives. Whether you are looking to increase sales or to grow your social media following, the content of the email should make goals instantly identifiable to the target audience.

Your content should be concise, original and in line with your brand’s image. Incorporate elements that can make your emails stand out from the crowd, starting from your subject line. Don’t forget to add more visual content in your emails than blocks of text.

Images and videos are very effective because 65% of visual memories can last for up to three days in human memory, while only 10% of the text memories make it that far. It is also well-documented that we listen to visual content more than written instructions.

With the right visual content, you can increase the chances of user action before the content fades from their memory.

6. Decide on Frequency

By monitoring the habits of your audience, you can determine how often you should email them. If you email too frequently, your brand can fade below the mental eye-level where the user sees your message, but subconsciously ignores it.

If you rarely email, on the other hand, the user will forget they ever signed up for your emails in the first place, and other similar brands will replace yours in the mind of the user. At the start of your campaign, three emails a month is usually enough. However, let the data guide you.

Similarly, the email send times can influence the open rates on your emails. Sending emails to coincide with morning and evening commutes as well as lunch breaks have been proven to work for many marketers.

Others have achieved results with sending emails on weekends and avoiding Monday mornings. Again, the data generated from your campaigns will guide you. If your users on your list are spread across multiple time zones, the capabilities of your email marketing software can help.

7. Track Your Campaign Data for Better Results

The average email marketing software collects a wide range of data about your subscribers that can be used to improve your campaigns.  Metrics like the percentage of emails opened, the number of clicks, conversions etc. can guide you through fine-tuning your campaign strategy.

For instance, if your email newsletters are rarely opened but your promotions enjoy very high open rates, it shows you what your subscribers prioritize. You can either limit your email newsletters, or transform it into a blog post, and include a link to the post in your promotional emails. This way, everyone is satisfied.

This is just an example of what you can achieve by tracking your email marketing campaign data. As you use the software, you will find more uses for your data.

8. A/B Testing

Pic: BuzzStream

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of having access to your email marketing campaign data is the ability to test for what works and what doesn’t. By splitting your campaigns into A/B groups to see the impact of various elements of your strategy on your bottom line, you can improve the overall effectiveness of your campaigns.

When to Use Email Marketing Campaigns

Email marketing campaigns are useful at all stages of the buying process. You can use email marketing campaigns in the following ways:

  1. You can create awareness for your brand by creating a campaign that directs your audience to carefully designed landing pages that will present your brand’s solutions as well as collect the emails of people that are yet to subscribe.
  2. Proper email marketing can keep your brand at the top-of-mind for your target audience. If you achieve this, your brand will be the first port of call when they need a solution in your niche.
  3. An impressive email marketing campaign that highlights why your brand offers the best solution to your audience can shorten the comparison process and make them choose you.
  4. You can use email marketing to nudge customers that are close to purchasing over the line.
  5. Since your job isn’t done after the first sale, you can use email marketing to stay in touch with your audience. Find out if your product lived up to expectations. Such reviews are important social proof. You can also use these emails to suggest products they may also be interested in.

Conclusion

Creating an effective email marketing campaign is not a walk in the park. However, as is the case with other aspects of marketing, you can generate results through commitment. Set your goals, get to work, analyze the data and make changes where necessary. Most importantly, you need to ensure you create relevant and highly-target email experiences for your audience. This is the only way to achieve success with your campaigns.

Featured photo credit: Depositphotos
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