You’ve probably heard the bustle, seen the infographics, read the blogs, and skimmed the guides – you get it – email marketing is an exceedingly effective strategy. Yet, the sheer pressure of what it takes to start what seems like a colossal and time-consuming project stops you dead in your tracks. Knowing that 293.6 billion emails were sent and received each day in 2019 might not help soothe your fear of email marketing either.
But why is email marketing, old and timeworn, still standing as strong as ever, if not even more so than before? Based on 2019 data, the widespread usage of email is to blame, with 3.9 billion global email users reported in 2019 alone.
The competition is undoubtedly fierce. With inboxes around the world overflowing with promotional content from prevalent brands and businesses, how are you supposed to cut through the noise and get your content marketing out of its own echo chamber? Where do you even get started?
Let’s rewind to the most rudimentary ideas surrounding email marketing. We want to pave a clear and actionable path for the microbusinesses and solopreneurs out there trying to reach out to their audience through the use of a cost-effective and resilient strategy. Here is how to create a surefire email marketing strategy from nothing.
Every marketing plan is built around specific objectives that a business aims to accomplish. Although tempting, starting an email marketing campaign as soon as you employ an email marketing service might not be the greatest of ideas. Like with most things in digital marketing, it is best to have a sturdy plan before taking action. Therefore, think about the goals you want to accomplish through your email marketing efforts before hitting send. Do you want to grow your subscriber list? Launch a new product or feature? Improve email click-throughs? Retain customers and turn them into brand advocates? The choice is yours to take. Simply remember your goals as you move forward and remember to make them S.M.A.R.T.
Build an Email List
After establishing your email marketing goals, it is time to materialize your strategy by building an email list. Marketers around the world are shaking their heads in agreement when we say – your email list is your power. If your email list is short, brimming with discrepancies in audience interests or simply not aligned with your targeting, you are most likely going to do more damage than good. Without a quality email list of recipients ready to resonate with the content you distribute, all of your content marketing efforts would go down the drain.
Though time-consuming, capturing email addresses to bulk up or create an email list from scratch is inherently simple. A popular list-building method can be explained in one sentence: Create a valuable incentive that persuades people into subscribing to your email list. However, the real hurdle in this process is choosing an incentive that will persuade your website audience into filling that flashy opt-in form. What exactly could tempt them to do so?
Here are some enticing ideas of what to give back to the reader:
- A cheat sheet
In a culture of instant gratification, what better way to earn email addresses than to offer shortcuts that will fix someone’s problem? Offering already researched and consolidated information is a valuable incentive for those seeking the quickest way to solve a problem.
- A case study
Client case studies can be an inspirational and helpful tool for someone who is looking for an experienced perspective.
Not only will an eBook help you earn those coveted email addresses, but it will also establish you as a thought leader in your landscape.
- Mind map
Mind maps are diagrams used to visually organize information, and when made into incentives, can be used to visualize concepts, ideas, and processes.
Checklists are simplified tutorials for people looking to learn how to do something without doing the research themselves. They are quick to create due to their short-form nature, and therefore, cost-effective.
If you need more ideas, check out our previous blog where we reveal 5 easy ways to grow your email subscribers. Finally, remember to place numerous easy-to-see subscriber opportunities scattered throughout your website in order to facilitate the opt-in process for visitors. Your opt-in form can take the shape of a header bar, a slider, a pop-up or a form at the end of a blog.
Create a Buyer Persona
Understanding who your customers are is an important piece of the puzzle to develop effective email marketing funnels. A buyer persona is a written representation of the individuals inside a customer group. It outlines who they are, how they live, what they like, and what they may want. These fictional profiles are made to identify shared motivations and challenges so that you can create messages that appeal to specific groups.
In order to create segments of buyer personas, you need to collect data and complete research in three areas:
- Demographic characteristics
These are the tangible characteristics of a person such as age, gender, income, marital status, education, and whether or not they have children at home.
- Psychographic characteristics
These are intangible and emotional characteristics of a person such as their beliefs and values.
- Behavioral characteristics
These are the actions a person takes that can be used to distinguish consumer preferences such as the car they drive, hobbies, and magazines they buy.
You can collect this data by conducting interviews, creating online surveys, and by simply brainstorming with your team if they have direct contact with the customer. Once you have corroborated your buyer personas, you can create tailored content for them and offer accordingly.
Determine Your Campaign
There are many types of email marketing campaigns to choose from, and this decision relies heavily on the goals you have established earlier. What are you seeking to accomplish with your campaigns? We have connected the dots for you and outlined the approaches below:
- Welcome emails – Onboarding & Brand Familiarity
This is the perfect chance to introduce yourself and to invite your subscriber to connect with you via social media. Also, remember to showcase your brand and to say thanks for subscribing!
- Newsletter – Keep In Touch
This type of email is typically sent monthly and its purpose is to drive your subscribers back to your website and to give them free, valuable content.
- Announcement – Drive Direct Sales
Released a new product, feature or service? An announcement is your opportunity to keep an engaged audience updated on anything new happening in your business. Although the passing of information is the main goal of these emails, it is also aimed at leading people to your website, where they can purchase your product or service.
As you can see, there is a clear correlation between the campaign you choose to send and your broader email marketing goals. However, if you are simply looking to keep your audience engaged and up to date, we suggest sending a monthly newsletter.
Create Your 1st Campaign & Send
It is now time to create a beautiful and impactful email campaign. If you don’t have an eye for design, it is advisable to choose a template from an email marketing platform rather than designing it yourself. This will ensure a clean and cohesive aesthetic that will place the weight of your campaign in your text. Here are other things to be mindful of when creating your first campaign:
- Personalize Emails
People want to be seen as individuals. In fact, according to Campaign Monitor, emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened. Personalizing emails can be as easy as using your subscriber’s names rather than a general “hello,” but you can also take a step further by segmenting your subscribers. Segmentation is the practice of sifting the data you collect when people fill your opt-in form. You can divide groups by age, gender, and geographic location to ensure that you are exclusively sending material that relates to the reader.
- Stay On Brand
Are you using your brand’s color scheme or logo? Is your copy taking the same tonality it does on your website? Staying on brand is an important aspect of all email campaigns. Because your emails are probably not the only interaction your subscribers are having with your brand, you need to keep a cohesive brand identity throughout all of your platforms. This, in turn, will build brand loyalty and trust.
- Set A Clear Path
What action do you want your subscribers to make when reading your email? In order to direct your readers towards clicking a CTA (call-to-action) or link, your email’s visual structure and copy must guide them there. Many marketers opt for an inverted triangle design similar to that of a sales funnel with a broad beginning and narrower end. Your readers’ eyes will be naturally led towards your desired action and follow the narrow path downwards.
So, what now? Now it’s time to empower your brand with the exactitude of data. You’ve sent your first email campaign, subscribers have opened and clicked – how exactly do you measure success and what can you do to improve? Here are the most important metrics you need to track:
- Open Rate – This is the number of times your email has been opened.
- Spam Percentage – This is the spam score given by email marketing providers based on the number of links included and spam trigger words.
- Click Rate – This is the number of subscribers that interacted with your email by clicking on links to visit your website or view products.
- Bounce Rate – This is the number of particular email addresses your email marketing provider couldn’t deliver to.
- Complaint Rate – This is the number of people who received your email and marked it as spam.
- Unsubscribe Rate – This is the rate of unsubscribers per email.
These metrics should give you an advanced overview of the success of your email campaigns and help you determine its weaknesses. Make changes and test out different variables to obtain the best outcome out of your email marketing efforts.
Although decades-old, email marketing still proves its place as one of today’s most successful digital marketing strategies out there. Its cost-effective and multi-dimensional nature is sure to drive in extraordinary conversions and boost revenue when your strategy strives to follow these actionable steps.
Want to take your email marketing to the next level? Contact us at Birch River Design Group in Scottsdale, Arizona to start talking about the next steps in your email marketing strategy.
Are you local? We’d love to buy you a coffee and chat about ways to improve your digital presence in 2020!