Email marketing best practices in 5 easy stepsPosted October 9, 2013 | Promotions by Theme or Event, Tips and Trends from the Experts
Marketing hasn’t really changed at the same pace as technology. Sure, better computers mean better Photoshop jobs for your magazine ads, and improved computer graphics have allowed Super Bowl commercials to get weirder and cooler looking over time – but at the end of the day, you’re still pushing your product or service to a demographic.
Technology has significantly changed on delivery method. Once upon a time, mail marketing required man hours of stuffing envelopes, licking stamps and getting flyers out the door. There’s still plenty of direct mail marketing going on – and it’s still effective – but the widening bandwidth of high-speed internet has made the email inbox just as effective an advertising venue as the physical mailbox.
Simply put, email marketing is cheap, fast and ridiculously efficient. You reach an astoundingly wide consumer base with the click of a button. It’s eco-friendly, too, which is an absolute must for some companies looking to re-brand themselves in a modern, green culture.
Email Marketing Services Best Practices
Get started on your email marketing campaign with these 5 steps.
1. Don’t doubt in email
One of the first things you may be thinking is that email marketing is a thing of the past. Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms have triumphed over that antiquated e-advertising tool. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Spam is dead. Bad email marketing is dead. But good email marketing isn’t just alive and well, it’s thriving. As DIYthemes outlined, here’s why email marketing works:
- You can communicate with someone when you want and how you want, rather than hoping they log into Twitter in time to see your hash-tag campaign
- With good communication, you’ll see a significantly higher response than via other social media platforms
DIYthemes marketing editor Derek Halpern ran a quick test to prove his point. He sent out a quick link to his Twitter following, which yielded around 50 clicks in an hour. He sent out the same link via his Google Plus stream. It earned around 75 clicks in the same amount of time.
Then he sent the same link to his email list, which is about twice the size of his Twitter or Google Plus following. In one hour, he received more than 1,200 clicks. Even though it was only 2 times as large, it generated 24 times the interest.
Content marketing site Copyblogger told the same story. Citing stats from the Direct Marketing Association, the news source noted that email marketing has a return-on-investment of about 4,300 percent. This isn’t too surprising when you consider how few resources it actually requires.
2. Avoid being a spam bot
What’s the key to writing good email marketing content? Don’t spam your readers. Earn their trust. Make your content something they can look forward to. According to Copyblogger, you need to hit on three qualities:
- Effective subject line writing
- Distinctive voice
- Delivering of high quality content that hits its niche and is easy to share
Essentially, effective subject line writing is what gets your foot in the door. Once the reader is hooked, they’ll open the email. Inside the message, you want content that keeps them engaged. This is where your brand image comes in.
Think of distinctive brands with iconic voices. There’s Coca-Cola’s all-American style or Apple’s sleek and stylish marketing tactics, which seem to say “This is the future.” Once you know your demographic, you can tailor your content best to them.
As a classic example, take the famous J. Peterman catalogs. While the catalog was famously lampooned on Seinfeld, it continues to deliver not just products but marketing content that is entirely unlike anything else out there. In every product description is an epic story.
This is just one example of niche advertising that delivers on the next level. It’s not just your product or service that has to be a cut above, it’s your marketing content as well.
3. Build a stronger, larger email list
Think back on DIYthemes marketing editor Derek Halpern and his brief email campaign which proved the efficacy of that platform compared to social media. As he noted, one of the benefits of email marketing for him was having twice the list than he did followers on social media. Building a more robust emailing list is key to good marketing.
According to Halpern, you can improve yours in these steps:
- Get a reliable email provider. Gmail is solid for everyday work, but it’s not going to give you the tools you need to really launch an email marketing campaign. You also want something with stat-tracking, according to Halpern.
- Equip your website with email signup forms. Offer visitors the option to sign up for your mailing list on every page of your site, and consider offering a pop-up reminder every so often. This is especially useful if you know which of your pages get the most views.
4. Engage the consumers
Both before and after you’ve got a consumer’s email address, you want to be engaging him or her actively. This may mean providing incentives or bonuses. You may want to offer promotional product giveaways for those who enroll for your weekly newsletter. Then give consumers a reason to stick around by hosting email contests on a regular basis.
Email marketing services are a great way to reach out, but don’t forget that consumers love actual tactile marketing, too. Send out invitations to promotional events or company shows, and use those opportunities to get physical marketing into your consumers’ hands, whether that means a pamphlet or personalized apparel.
5. Measure your success
One major benefit of email marketing best practices compared to direct mail marketing is how much easier it becomes to measure a campaign’s success when it’s digital. Beyond just reading site traffic, make sure your email marketing software or service – if you have one – keeps you updated on opened mail and click-through rates.