With a whooping ROI that hovers around 3,500 percent, over the past few years, email marketing has proven to be one of the most result driven methods, used by businesses to build result oriented marketing.
Beyond creating opportunities for businesses to create and send mails, it has evolved to become one of the most powerful strategies to craft and share immersive experiences that resonate with audiences of all kinds.
Curiously, in spite of the ground breaking impact of email marketing in driving sales and boosting overall business outcomes, most businesses are still struggling to get a hang of it.
If you’re one of these businesses, after reading this guide, you’ll understand this aspect of digital marketing and learn how to use it to effectively to grow your business.
What is Email Marketing?
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Email marketing is a form of digital marketing where a business promotes its products or services to its leads, prospects or customers, using emails. It is regarded as a direct form of marketing as well as a type of digital marketing.
As a popular form of marketing, email marketing has been used by both small and large businesses from the early days of internet marketing and digital technology.
Types of Emails
There about four popular types of email marketing approaches viz: Transactional emails, Promotional emails, Retention emails and Newsletters.
Transactional emails are widely used to create and build client focused relationships that will eventually lead to sales. Promotional emails on the other hand get a business the chance to promote their products or services directly.
Retention emails are meant to keep users sticking with the brand while Newsletters are used to keep email subscribers updated with a brand and what is happening around it.
As a business, you can use either of these email marketing approaches to send mails across to your target audience, depending on the purpose of the mail or campaign you’re embarking on.
Steps to Create an Email Campaign
There are many steps to create an email campaign. To create a robust marketing campaign that delivers a decent return on investment, you have to start with the steps below…
Step 1: Building Your Foundation
To evolve a robust email marketing campaign that will deliver on all or most of your expected outcomes, you have to set in place certain measures that will get you started in the right footing towards success. Some of these measures are;
Identify Your Audience
Effective email marketing is built on a clearly identifiable audience. Before embarking on this kind of campaign, you must take steps to identify the kind of audience you want to attract and keep you’re your emails, create a buyer persona that acknowledges their pain, needs and aspirations.
Having this knowledge will influence your emails as per the kind of content you’ll create. And this will in turn affect your outcomes.
Create a Goal
Find out the outcomes you intend to achieve with this email marketing campaign and how you plan to achieve that.
Identifying your goal before embarking on an email campaign is very crucial as it points you towards your expected outcomes and how you can craft your mails to deliver on that.
Choose the Best Email Marketing Provider
There are a number of email marketing service providers out there. For the popular ones we have a list of service providers like Mailchimp, Constant Contact, Aweber, Convertkit etc.
Select an email marketing service provider that aligns with your needs. Look out for their service features, including automation and analytics options that fit into your needs
Build your Email List
Build your email subscriber list. This is the best way to lay the foundation for a result driven email marketing campaign. Although a good number of people have provided options like buying email lists from vendors etc.
In most cases, these lists are always generic and may end up not delivering on expected outcomes. So, to get the best out of your email list, start with building it from the ground up by offering value and incentives like discounts, ebooks, webinars etc., in returning for subscriptions.
But before then, keep in mind to build a back log of decent content either from your website or blog that will attract just the right kind of audience. With this you can then use the right opt in options, to get them to sign up.
Step 2: Create & Share Compelling Content
Email marketing thrives on content. Regardless of whatever type of email you want to send, to score the best results from your marketing effort, you must work on creating pieces of email content that’s appealing, useful to your audiences and capable of meeting their needs.
The following are the important steps to take as you go about creating your email content…
Find what your Audience Wants
Even though you already have been able to identify your target audience in step one above, it’s still important to be able to identify exactly the kind of content that will work with that audience.
Doing this makes it easier for you to be able to create the kind of content that will meet their needs. And when your content is able to meet the needs of your target audience, you’re able to get even better results, based on your goals.
So, before hitting your laptop to create the next piece of email, find out the needs of your target audience and how you can get your mails to deliver just the right solution.
Make it Engaging & Value Driven
It’s not enough to find out what your audience wants. To deliver the best results with your email marketing your content must be value driven and engaging.
And this is regardless of whether you’re sending a blog post, personal stories or even sales pitches, you have to make it value driven.
It’s possible your subscribers are already receiving a ton of mails from other subscription lists. So to capture their attention, you have to find a way to make them stand out. It’s just what it is.
Create Captivating Titles
Your headline creates the first impression about your mails. It’s the first thing your subscribers get to see, as soon your mail lands in their inbox.
To get your subscribers to open up your mails, make your headlines stand out. Create curiosity driven headlines that captures their interests. With this, they will be more compelled to open up and read your mails easily.
Categorize your Subscribers
You might have a large bulk of subscribers with different demographics and interests.
Categorizing your subscribers based on their preferences or demographics will lead you to achieve better results as you will be able to create an even more tailor made content for your email marketing. And this will lead to better outcomes.
If you’re just starting out with a fewer email subscribers, the more you send email newsletters on different subject matters, you’ll get to find out what’s working for some and what’s not working for the others.
With this data, you’ll eventually find ways to segment your subscribers effectively.
Step 3: Design Visually Appealing Emails
Design matters. A subscriber can close your mail even after opening it because the mail is not delivering the right visual expectations.
Even where you’re delivering consistent value with your mails, to get even better results from subscribers, work on improving the visual appeal of your mails and here are some of the areas to look into:
Optimize for Mobile
Some email marketing services do not come with auto optimized mails. Since most of your mails are going to be viewed using mobile devices, take the extra effort to make the mails appealing to mobile users.
Making your mails easy to read might involve relying less on heavy Images, graphics or videos. It can also involve making the mails sweet, short, straight and well suited for mobile screen view.
Make it Visually Appealing
Personally I’m not a fan of using videos or serious images in mails. However, just as normal content of any kind, adding some sort of images, Infographics etc. can give more contexts to your mails.
It can also give it a better visual appeal. But, while going for this, be sure you’re not using content that will end up disrupting the user experience especially for mobile users.
Add a Call-to-Action
Your email should have a clear and compelling call to action. This is one of the overall goals of most mails so, you can’t afford to miss out.
As much as possible, use action oriented language to strategically place call to action to guide your subscribers towards taking the right action after reading your email.
To get better results, try using your CTAs at different strategic positions in your mail. Observe the results for each position to find out what delivers the best results and then stick with that.
Step 4: Setting up Email Automation
Email automation is one of the most popular approaches to email marketing. It gets you to create and send certain kind of mails in advance, whether you’re available or not.
The following are some of the automated emails you may want to consider using as part of your email marketing effort. These automation emails will fit in for almost any kind of email campaign, regardless of the goal…
Welcome Email Automation
Welcome emails are some of the most popularly automated mails. You can use your welcome email to introduce a new subscriber to your mail, introduce them to your brand or get them to take specific actions.
It is one of the first points of contact with your subscriber as far as email marketing is concerned. So you have to pay attention to creating a good first impression.
Thank you Email Automation
Thank you emails can be used to reach out to clients after they make a subscription, make purchases or take specific actions after getting in contact with your brand.
Automating a thank you email can also get you the chance to cross sell a product, provide more value for your client or leave a better impression for your brand.
Usually, instructional emails are short, concise and straight to the point. They are also always tailor made to meet specific needs, based on your overall goal.
You can make use of instructional emails to direct your subscribers on certain actions to take. For example, confirming an email subscription, online purchase, enquiries etc.
Outside these three, there are a number of other automated email options you can implement in in your email marketing campaign, depending on your goal.
For instance, cross sell automation emails will work very well for websites selling products and services while cart abandonment automation email will work perfectly for ecommerce websites.
Step 5: Measuring Email Marketing Success
One of the key success indicators for an email marketing campaign is being able to reach your goal.
To have a better idea on whether you have been able to reach your goal or not, there are some specific key performance indicators you have to look out for.
Measure Important Metrics
Some key metrics will give you insights on your overall performance with your email. And to gauge your performance, you have to look out for them.
These includes performance indicators like open rates, click through rates, conversion and un-subscribe rates. Most email marketing campaign providers give users options to this data.
With the results you get from this data, you can rejig your mails to create even better outcomes.
Try A/B Split Testing
Email split testing is sending out two different versions of an email to find out what works best for an audience, based on the number of click through rates, views etc.
To know what works for your audience, you can use split testing, experiment with different subject lines, content and even call to action options. And then find out what delivers best results.
The insight you generate from this can get you better ideas on how to optimize your mails for even better outcomes.
Engage Data Driven Iterations
The overall goal of measuring your outcomes using your key performance indicators is to understand how to generate an even better result.
With available data from your email marketing analytics dashboard, you can get to iterate, make adjustments where needed and then provide a better value for your audience with your email.
This will definitely improve your outcomes in the long run.
Email marketing remains a powerful tool to create meaningful connections that will lead to expected outcomes with brands and their target audiences. Taking the steps to know your audience, create exciting content delivered in mails with compelling headlines, you will get to create mails that deliver on expected outcomes.
While at it, you must keep in mind that creating consistently successful outcomes with email marketing is a work in progress.
As you keep at it, you will gain better insights that get you equipped to create even better results. And of course you can take steps to learn more about email marketing and how to create effective email results by joining out content marketing course here.
Now, it’s your turn! What are your biggest challenges when it comes to email marketing? Drop your comments below.