As social media has risen in popularity when it comes to digital marketing, you don’t see as much on email marketing as you used to on the web. It does however still have high value as a part of your overall online marketing strategy, so long as you use it correctly.
Of course, these days, we also have automation software that makes it just that little bit easier and there are plenty of niche services offering things like email templates (gone are the days of creating your own HTML email – huzzah!), somewhere to keep and maintain your lists, campaign creation and tracking and many also handle the legal bits too.
This means that creating effective email marketing campaigns these days is much easier than it used to be but still, many businesses still ignore it. With this in mind, if you want to get started with email, but don’t quite know how, here’s a few tips to get you up and running.
#1: Build Your List
In order to send out email newsletters, you do of course need people to send them to. This is easier said than done. You need explicit permission to send out emails and can’t just send them to anyone that you have an email address for. This includes your existing clients – just because they have given you their contact details, it doesn’t give you the right to email them whenever you have a newsletter ready to go unless they have opted in.
So in order to get people signing up to your newsletter, you often have to offer some kind of incentive, such as:
- Gateway content – cheat sheets, presentations, newsletters, eBooks – all of these can be provided in return for the user entering their email address
- Special landing pages can also be set up when you host a webinar, for example. At the end of the session, you simply provide a link which gives the visitor some kind of incentive such as a discount or special offer which in order to access, the user supplies their email and ticks a box agreeing that they wish to receive your newsletters
- Pop-ups/lightboxes are currently very popular. These are simple forms that pop up once a user has been on your blog for say 30 seconds and contain a CTA with an email box. Generally they will say something along the lines of ‘want more great content delivered straight to your inbox?’ They can be irritating so should also have a clear way to get rid of them by either pressing the escape key or by providing a large X to hit
- Social media is also useful for spreading the word and creating offers that require people to sign up first
The biggest mistake that you can make when it comes to building your list is to buy it. Not only is it essentially a waste of your cash as you’re not actually hitting your target audience, it can have serious ramifications for your business if you are found out and blacklisted by your ISP – at best you’ll be regarded as a spammer by recipients.
#2: Provide an Introductory Email
It’s a good idea to send out a short email to new sign-ups that outlines what they can expect with regards to the content they can expect from future newsletters, as well as how often they will receive them. Think of it as a welcome email that just tells the reader what future newsletters are likely to contain. For example, you could do a ‘coming up in August’s newsletter’ and give a few short lines on highlighted content such as upcoming blogs, videos and so on.
This is much more likely to ingratiate you with your audience, especially if the email is personalised, well designed and promises to provide value. You can even pop in a short line something along the lines of ‘look out for our exclusive newsletter offers’ to really cement the message that you have something useful to offer. However, if you do this, do make sure that you follow it up and actually give something.
#3: Don’t Send Daily
I’ve lost count of the number of newsletters that I’ve unsubscribed from recently thanks to being bombarded on a daily basis. Many of these were actually very useful and contained content that I would read, but I object to my inbox being filled with mail from the same company daily and so do many others.
If you produce a lot of content and have a good readership, then weekly is fine at a push, but I would recommend monthly, or at least fortnightly rather than weekly. Newsletters that land in the inbox too frequently are an instant turn off for many, so keep it to a minimum.
#4: Think About the Subject and From Fields
Another thing which can have many clicking on the unsubscribe button is poorly constructed subject lines, especially those that are misleading. Either give your newsletter a subject that will be used every month, or make sure that it reflects the content well.
According to Neil Patel, 21% of people will report email as spam even when they know that it isn’t, 2.43% of people report spam based on what is on the from field and 3.69% will report as spam based on the subject line.
With this in mind, it pays to craft subject lines carefully and think about what’s the best way to present it when it comes to the from field. Think about what it is about your company that’s recognisable to people – is it the blog authors, the brand name or something else?
Try too to separate lists so that you can offer different content to different groups. For example, if you run a retail business, then separate out men and women so that you can send newsletter with products in them that each sex might like and then perhaps merge every so often to give a good overview of all of your products.
Email is highly effective and is a marketing tool that can’t be ignored. However, it pays to get it right and nobody ever said that it was easy. With that in mind, do your background reading and plan out your strategy in the first instance and you should be successful in no time.