If your email market strategy isn’t sound… there is no point continuing it. There. We started off pretty harsh. There are over 250 billion emails sent each day – that’s a conservative estimate – so any amount of email that you send is but a drop in the ocean unless they are all effective emails that efficiently capture your target’s interest.
In this guide, we’ll take a look at the very basics of email marketing campaigns. The aim is to help you can get a start on elevating your brand to the status that it deserves.
Let’s start at the very foundation.
What is an Email Marketing Campaign?
An email marketing campaign is a series of emails sent from a business to one or more customers or potential customers. When conducted successfully, an email marketing campaign will have great results: your recipients will engage with your business, take action and help you get more leads and sales.
The whole draw of email marketing is the simple fact that email is still used widely by people all over the world, across all ages.
This simple fact makes email marketing the most viable option for a business to build long-lasting relationships with it’s customers and generate more leads and sales. But you can’t just jump into an email marketing campaign with an eyes-closed-head-first-can’t-lose attitude.
You’ve got some prep work to do and it all starts with:
1) Knowing Your Goals
Sure, wanting to run an email marketing campaign is good and all, but it’s pointless unless you know what you want to achieve with it. Think about your campaign in both the short-term and the long-term and figure out what you want to do with it.
Typical goals for email marketing campaigns include:
- Welcoming new subscribers
- Promoting engagement
- Building loyalty with existing subscribers
- Re-engaging inactive subscribers
- Segmenting your base of subscribers
The finer details will of course vary depending on the nature of your business. Use this as a starting point.
2) Building A List
What list, you ask? You need a targeted list full of qualified leads who are interested in your offerings. One of the best ways to go about doing this is to convert your website visitors into subscribers by way of using exit-intent pop-ups.
On average, about 80% of your website visitors will leave your site for good without signing up for your email list – they simply don’t have the time to seek out your newsletter on their own – so help them.
Exit-intent pop ups are simple. When they detect that a user is leaving the site – often by closing out the tab or going to a different domain – they will spring a targeted campaign at the user, allowing them to conveniently sign up.
3) Utilize Great Opt-ins
We don’t need to tell you that without people to send emails to, there is really no point in running an email campaign. You need to get people in your mailing list.
To do that, you need to give them a way to sign up by utilizing creative, attractive opt-in forms that get the attention of people and encourage them to sign up. You can use multiple types of opt-in forms on different parts of your website, including:
- Welcome gates: these pop-up when visitors first arrive to your site.
- Lightbox pop-ups: which appear on any page and temporarily blank out the page.
- Exit-intent pop-ups: you already know what this is.
4) Know Your Audience
Here’s the thing. People are all different and they respond differently to different things. Knowing your audience and the sub-categories within them is essential if you want success in email marketing. If you’re just getting started, you’ll obviously have to make some educated guesses to compound what little data you might have gathered when they signed up.
However, you don’t need to worry. As you build your campaign, you will learn more about your audience and will be able to fine tune things as needed.
But here’s a tip to help you out in the beginning: Google Analytics and Facebook Insights are both excellent places to start. Both of them have data on demographics, location, and interests, plus a whole slew of other metrics, that will give you a good starting point to launch your campaign from.
5) Understand Different Email Types
You know your audience now – or at least, have taken an educated guess at them.
The next thing is to understand the different types of email that you can send as part of your campaign. They can be broken down into many subcategories, but for our basic purposes, there are three different types of emails.
- Promotional emails: these talk about offers, sales and whatnot
- Relational emails: these give content, information, free gifts and the like
- Transactional emails: these mark transactions, like sign ups or order confirmations
Knowing these different types of email and when to send them – and who to send them to – is a key part of running a successful email marketing campaign, so make sure you take your time to familiarize yourself with all of them.
6) Take Advantage of Technology
Technology exists. Make use of it. There are many email marketing services out there that will allow you to create a more cohesive, powerful email campaign. You can find features like:
- Campaign creation and automation with templates and workflows.
- Integrations with other email marketing software.
- Ways to easily segment your audience.
- In-depth analytics on all metrics of your email campaign.
MailChimp is one of the more popular email marketing services, but you have a multitude of other options that might serve your needs better.
7) Plan and Schedule Emails
Once you start an email campaign, you can’t just be sending random emails at random times. You need to plan your email campaign properly, with several emails being part of one complete experience.
Consider the following factors:
- How frequently you want to send emails
- What purpose you are sending the emails for
- What content you want in your emails
- What action you want from your subscribers
The main thing to keep in mind when you are creating your emails is to make them timely, relevant, interesting and more than anything, provide something valuable to your subscribers.
However, you don’t want to overwhelm your subscribers by emailing too frequently. If you do that, your subscribers will simply send them straight to the spam folder. So, in addition to planning your emails’ content, you also need to have a schedule for your emails.
Sending emails on a schedule will make sure that your subscribers don’t feel overwhelmed and on top of that, it will also mean that they will know when to expect emails from you. Which will mean that they will – if you’re providing the right content – be looking forward to your emails.
All of these together will mean more engagement, which is what you need for a successful email marketing campaign.
8) Use Effective Subject Lines
You’ve planned everything and you’re sending out emails now. That’s all great. But unless you have a good subject line to entice your subscribers… the chances of your open rates being great aren’t too good. Subject lines play a crucial role in getting people to open your emails. Much like a headline on a blog post, an email subject line has to be crafted to get people’s attention so that they want to learn more.
You don’t have a lot of leeway to make an impression, either. A study by Campaign Monitor shows that most effective subject lines ranged from 41-50 characters. On a mobile device, you have even less space. So, you need to consider your subject line very carefully.
You can improve your subject lines by:
- Being straight to the point
- Adding personalization
- Avoiding spam trigger words
9) Writing Your Copy
Subject lines done! They’re great. But if your subscriber opens your email and finds nothing in it… they will not be pleased. Now, you need to write your marketing copy with a hook that will immediately spike people’s interests and make them want to read on.
Keep your marketing copy short and make sure you have it personalized wherever possible. Address your subscribers by name. Don’t jump straight into your pitch. More important than anything else, make sure the content is actually, genuinely interesting.
Email copy can vary based on the type of email and the reasons you are sending it. Some of the different types of content your marketing email can contain include:
- Personal stories that show the human side of your brand
- A relevant picture, GIF or a video
- Educational content
- A poll or a survey
While these are to be used depending on your needs, there is something that nearly every email marketing copy should contain and that is the call to action (CTA). Your CTA reflects the action you want people to take having read your email. While CTAs should most prominently appear at the end of your email, it’s not wrong to include a CTA near the start, in the middle and also near the end.
10) Design, Design, Design
Aesthetics matter. As such, your email’s overall look and feel matters if you want to have a successful email marketing campaign. If your emails look terrible, that reflects badly on you, and it can actually lead to people stopping engaging with you.
The important thing to keep in mind in today’s world is the fact that mobile devices are more often than not used to view emails. So, not only does your email have to look good, it should also be formatted in a manner that allows it to look good on whatever device your subscriber is reading it in – whether it’s a phone, a tablet, or a desktop.
You can always include pictures to enhance your emails, because they genuinely can make your email more attractive, but you do need to ensure that the images don’t carry any important information. Your email needs to be able to stand on the strength of the text alone, because there are people who have images disabled.
11) Test, Track and Re-test
Sending your email – with it’s perfectly picked subject line and creatively crafted copy – is just the first step in achieving real success in your email marketing campaign. To bring it home for real, you need to be testing everything, collecting data and analysing at every step so that you can continuously improve your brand.
And we do mean testing everything: starting from design and layout to the email marketing copy to the subject lines to the calls to action – everything must be tested. Additionally, also consider testing different emails for different segments and experimenting with different times to send your email, too.
You also need to keep an eye on your email analytics from your service provider relating to important metrics like opens, clicks, unsubscribes and forwards. This will enable you to figure out what’s working and what’s not with email marketing.
Something else to monitor is your sender reputation, which is a key factor when it comes to email deliverability. Use Sender Score as a resource to see if there are any problems that might get in the way of your email marketing campaign and if there are, get to work on fixing them fast.
Also keep in mind, it’s better for email marketing campaigns if you have fewer active subscribers instead of a large number of inactive ones. So, if someone is not engaging with you, send them emails to get them re-engage and if they don’t… simply remove them from your marketing mailing list.
Your Own Campaign
If you put all of these together, add a dash of creativity and dedication, you can look forward to seeing great results with your email marketing campaign. There are, of course, additional factors involved in each of the steps we looked at in this post, but this is meant to serve only as a starting point.