Email Marketing Essentials that will Help You Create Effective Campaigns for Your Business
Email marketing is the practice of sending emails out to people to solicit, remind, share, or notify of your products, services, promotions, advice, or other business related information.
This super-fast guide will run through the essentials of getting started with email marketing for your business. Along the way, I’ll provide some interesting statistics that even a seasoned email marketing professional should find useful.
You need to understand 2 important things before we jump in here:
- Email marketing is a deep and rich Internet marketing practice. There’s so much more to it than I can possibly tell you about in this one article.
- Everyone is different. The statistics vary widely by industry and individual companies. The statistics are to provide examples of the overall average. Your actual statistics, tests, and understandings will vary (sometimes contradict).
Choosing an Email Marketing Service Provider
First step to email marketing is to find a good email marketing service provider. I recommend:
These both have good user interfaces, email templates to get you started, and statistical tracking. MailChimp even has a free option for those of you just getting started.
I do not recommend (mostly due to the difficulty integrating a lead form with their system):
- Constant Contact
Others that are out there, that I haven’t tried yet: Benchmark, Pinpointe, Campaigner, Get Response, Jango Mail.
Building An Email List
Next you’ll need to build an email list. This is actually a pretty tough thing to do… So don’t get too discouraged if it takes time to build a good one.
Here are some good ways to build a list:
- Website lead form (and other online lead forms)
- Promotions and Contests
Here are some bad ways to build a list (don’t do these!):
- Collecting business cards from networking events and dumping their email onto your list
- Scraping websites for email addresses
- Any other non-permission based method
Another way to build your list is by purchasing one. This method can be controversial from an ethical stand point. Most of the time this is not a good thing to do. Lists need to have people who will find your email relevant and who expect to be emailed your offers. Studies have shown that there is a high unsubscribe rate to purchased lists (according to MailChimp data).
List building is an on-going task. You should not stop if you wish to keep growing your business.
Email List Segmentation
Once you have a list going, you should use “Segmentation.” That just means you’ll create sub-lists of your subscribers based on a wide-range of criteria (such as demographics, areas of interest, position in your sales funnel, etc…). The purpose is so that you can tailor the email content towards that segment of your subscribers. The more relevant and interesting you can make your email, the more people will purchase from you.
According to MailChimp, segmentation can improve open and click-thru by 14% on average. Sometimes more, depending on how well you do it.
Autoresponders are also a great feature that you should use. An autoresponder allows you to send automatic emails based on the time elapsed since someone subscribed to your email list.
For example, you can immediately send them a greeting. Then every few days send another email to remind them that you are there and what you offer.
It’s good to offer free stuff, discounts, and/or provide them with useful information (useful is defined as relevant and exclusive – to the receiver).
Did you know that 40-50% of online leads are not followed up on? That’s a shame because it’s just lost potential clients (and income). You are 7 times more likely to qualify the lead if you contact them within 1hr. These stats are from the Harvard Business Review (source linked below). On average, it takes 7 touches to make a sale.
Autoresponders help REDUCE the amount of manual sales work you have to do. But they are NOT a replacement for face-to-face or calling a person.
Composing the Perfect Email
It takes practice and some solid copywriting to compose a great email. You’ll need an enticing subject line, good content with a strong call to action, and a page to receive anyone who clicks through on your emails. Here’s some guidelines:
- Subject lines sell/encourage receiver to OPEN the email and read it. They do NOT sell a product or ask the user to do anything before opening the email. Just tell people what they get for investing their time reading your email.
- Focus your email message to one simple and clear message of value (to the receiver). Connect your call to action with your message of value.
- The call to action, located in the content of the email, sells/encourages the CLICK or REPLY.
- The landing page (the web page a person will “land” on if they click a link in your email) sells the actual product/service and attempts to push the viewer into the final stage of this transaction.
Just remember… Baby steps and micro-yesses. Keep content value-centric, not action-centric. For example, Get 40% off by Responding to this Email (GOOD) vs. Respond to this Email and Get 40% Off (BAD). Whatever comes first is the main subject of your call to action. So make it about what the person gets instead of what you want.
Regarding the design of your emails: simple is better. It has been proven that emails with fewer links and fewer images get a higher click through rate (MailChimp). So restrain yourself to 1 or 2 links and 1 or 2 small images. The more direct and focused you are with your emails the better off you’ll be.
Also, responsive design is an option for your emails (may require a web developer to set up a template for you). Responsive design means that your email will display nicely on most devices such as PC’s, tablets, and smartphones.
Other Random Statistics
Finally, some random stats for you from MailChimp data:
- Average across all industries is about: 30% open rate. 4% click-thru, and 0.2% unsubscribe (estimates)
- Hotmail & AOL addresses tend to be the most valuable for eCommerce businesses
- Best open days are Thursday, then Wednesday, then Tuesday. Significant open rate dips on Weekend. Best open times are 2-5pm. However, I have heard plenty of conflicting research on this so take it with a grain of salt.
- People are most engaged with your emails when they have recently subscribed to your list. Engagement drops the longer they are on your list.
- Use placeholders when you can. For example, insert receivers first name, last name, address, etc… whenever you can. This increases opens and clicks!
Here’s a few links that I’ve pulled my statistics from:
- Harvard Business Review on following up on your leads
- MailChimp Email Stats: 1) MailChimp Research & 2) MailChimp Email Marketing Benchmarks by Industry
As I mentioned earlier, email marketing is a deep and rich Internet marketing practice. There’s a lot to learn. A lot more than I was able to cover here. However, I hope that this guide was helpful for you and provided you with enough information to make the changes you need.
If you’d like to really get your email marketing campaign going with some professional support, contact devEdge Internet Marketing by calling 250-516-4327 or using the sign-up form on this page. We’ll help you get an effective email marketing campaign.
Have any tips of your own? What have you found to be critical email marketing information? Please leave your comments in the discussion below!