Your handy guide to better email marketing

Megan Bullock

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With brands launching full steam ahead towards the more fast-paced worlds of social media and whatever the metaverse ends up being, is there still space for the humble email in your marketing strategy?

Absolutely. Although by no means the new kid on the block, it’s still one of the most potent ways of communication your brand can utilise. Not only that – it’s still growing. According to Radicati’s 2020 Email Statistics report, 306 billion emails were sent every day as of 2020. By 2024, that number is expected to reach 361 billion.

For many businesses, email marketing can feel like a minefield. Countless acronyms and complex terminology abound, but don’t let that stop you. Yes, it can be complex, but only to the extent that you want it to be. That said, if you’re going to do it (and it’s the 2020s… you really should be) make sure you do it right and make email marketing worth your while.

Creating a killer email marketing strategy is a very smart move for your brand. Let’s put just why that is into perspective: the DMA National Client Email Report states that email marketing has proven to give a better return on investment compared to SEO and PPC.

By how much? 3,800%.

So yes, email marketing is here to stay. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry. We’ve got you covered with our handy guide.

First things first

Here are the five core rules of successful email marketing:

1) Know who you’re speaking to

The more generic the email, the more watered down and bland your message will be. Take the time to work out who in your audience you’re speaking to and why. Consider creating some personas that will help you target your communications. Otherwise, your message risks being diluted.

2) Be personal

At the most basic, use the recipient’s name. It’s everybody’s favourite word to hear! More broadly, leverage whatever personal data you have to be as personal and specific as possible. Make your reader feel like a valued customer, not some anonymous user on a mailing list.

3)Prompt smart actions

Have a good call to action in mind. Do you want the reader to just click through to your site? Or do you have a more impactful journey in mind? An email is your foot in the door – use it wisely and to its full potential.

4) Shorten your subjects

We get so many emails each day, all vying for our attention. It’s so easy to click that “delete” button. Craft a short and disruptive subject line that grabs the reader’s interest. As a rule of thumb, 41 characters or seven words is the ideal length.

5) Don’t just collect data, use it

How can you improve if you don’t know what you’re doing right (or wrong)? Monitor your metrics and work out ways to boost your click-through and open rates. If that sounds important and deserving of its own section, well, you’re in luck:

How to improve your click-through and open rates

Stay relevant through personalisation

Don’t take a scattergun approach. Email the group of customers which best suit the objective of a specific campaign. This goes back to the personas earlier – we should never think of our audience as a homogenous group.

In fact, automation is a useful tool here – emails triggered by a behaviour or action that the user took on your site always perform higher than emails sent out en masse.

Unless your content is tailored to the reader, you won’t reach the conversion levels you want. Bombarding your contacts database with vague messaging just won’t cut it – and could lead to them hitting that “unsubscribe” button.

So, how can you make it more personal? It depends on the product or service your brand offers. You can base an email on their previous purchases, where they’ve been on the site, events they’ve attended, their location, or general behaviour of their customer segment.

Let your audience determine how you speak to them in order for your emails to maximise their effectiveness.

Test, test, test

A/B testing your email marketing is a smart way of refining a campaign. This involves sending different variations of the campaign to different groups of subscribers to work out which approach gets the strongest results.

This can be as complex or as simple as suits you. For example, you can trial different subject lines to see which leads to the highest open rates. At the other end, you can run completely different creative and messaging between groups (or different segments within a group) to see which approach works best.

Whichever variation tests highest can then be sent out to the remainder of your group. Ideally, you’d have a solid number of contacts to test so any statistical variations are ironed out, with approximately 40% of a segment being the norm.

Above the fold vs below the fold

“Above the fold” is a marketing term that goes back to the day of printed newspapers (remember those?)

In the heyday of physical media, broadsheet papers were folded in half and put on display. What remained above the fold was the content – main headline etc. – that the prospective customer could instantly see. Better headlines or exclusives above the fold meant more purchases.

Does that translate to email marketing? Yes, to a degree. There are no set parameters for what constitutes as “above the fold” in email marketing, as we all use different devices of various sizes.

However, you still need to grab your reader’s attention early. Open with a powerful subject line and cut straight to the message. Utilise compelling copy and creative that keeps your recipient engaged.

First impressions matter, and that’s just as true when it comes to email marketing.

What does your brand gain from email marketing?

We’ve only lightly touched on some of the core tenets of email marketing in this blog. There’s too many nuances and strategies to address in one post. Don’t be overwhelmed though – it’s all worth it.

Effective email marketing helps your brand:

  • Drive conversations and build relationships with your target audience, allowing you to progress the buyer journey and strengthen brand loyalty
  • Shape your ongoing messaging – both for a particular campaign and for your brand as a whole – while notifying customers of any new offers or changes
  • Increase traffic to your website and prompt engagement with your customer service team
  • Collect data on how well your brand message is cutting through and how many of your readers are engaging or deleting those messages without opening  
  • Reach people more easily. Email is one of the easiest ways to communicate. In just moments, your ideal customer could be reading your message on their computer, tablet, or mobile. This level of reach would be unthinkable just two decades ago!

Email marketing doesn’t have to be daunting. Find an approach that works for your brand and the results will speak for themselves. Have some more questions or want someone to help you with that? We’re here to help.

Let’s dig deeper and let your brand thrive. Get in touch.

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