The goal of every marketer is to reach his target audience, in whatever possible way without sounding intruding. While given them a call on most cases may be intruding and annoying, emails remains the most effective means to bridge that gap.
Research studies has shown that one the internet, email view is the number one activity, an average office worker visits his email approximately 25 times an hour, 88 percent of customers preferred email newsletters to other marketing strategies, and the number of emails is expected to increase to 5.9 billion by 2019. Email marketing has been cited as the most effective strategy of customers’ retention. This explains why email marketing is integrated in all marketing automation tools or platforms as the basic means to reach out to customers.
But why has email become such a very powerful marketing tool? How can email marketing be best implemented to get the best out of it and achieved marketing goals and close more deals?
To answer these questions and many others, I have put together this guide of 13 best email marketing strategy that will help every business owner and marketers to obtain the best out of email marketing channel.
(Please, for best email marketing result, we advise you use a marketing automation platform and most of the marketing tips discussed here require integration between email list, automation, and list segmentation and shopping cart)
1. Generate a Good Number of Email Marketing Lead
For an effective email marketing strategy, you need to know your customers are. Thus effective email marketing strategy is built upon detailed customers personas, and your first step is to generate them.
This represents your ideal customers and is usually created by surveying, researching, and interviewing your business’s targeted audience. The information you gather for your customers personas for your EMS will depend on your business, and may also vary depending on whether your product is high or low cost or whether your business is B2B or B2C. Here is a summary of some essential information for customer’s personas; Age (best use to identify trends), location (use web digital marketing analytics tools like Google Analytics to identify the location your website traffic is coming from), income, and job title. Also for qualitative analysis, you need goals, challenges, hobbies and interest, and priorities.
Using this information, you can create more compactable personas like HubSpot’s marketing platform and ensure they’re at the core of your email marketing strategy.
2. Product Review through Email
A product review is a great way for your products and services to win the trust and confidence of every prospect and lead. While most visitors on your page will want to get review of your product and services from previous customers, products having reviewed have shown a 15 percent higher purchase rates. Product review helps to advertise your product(s) and the potential to close more deals in the shortest possible time. It’s for these reasons that a product review is very important to your email marketing strategy.
While gathering reviews may be the most difficult task to accomplish, here is a few ways to get around it through email.
- Give out Incentives: Most customers don’t usually drop a review on your product for many reasons. Some because of the extra time and others because they know for sure they will be playing the role of a publicity agent for a zero pay. Therefore, incentivizing your customers to drop a product review will not only generate more review, it will also generate more positive reviews.
- Offer free Product: You may also make offers of free products (like eBook), coupon or reduce product price via emails to every customer who drop a review.
3. Optimize your Send Times
The days and time of the day that you send out emails is very important to the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. Must research studies have shown that between 8:00 p.m. and Midnight, emails receive the most open rates and not only that, they also observed the most click-through and sales. Also, Tuesdays, Thursdays and weekend days also shown higher sales rates.
Although there is no one rule-fit-all, data can help to optimize your send times. You should be able to test to find out how your customers relates to your products and when they opens their emails and therefore optimize the most appropriate timing to send out emails.
4. Give out something for Free
Your customers may not be receiving emails from you alone. You are in a complex competitive marketing era where everyone is looking for the best possible strategy to meet target customers and close deals. You (are lucky to discover this) have to strive always to be a step ahead of your competitors. Thus giving out free gives may not only attract prospects and customers to read your email, it also has the potential to close more deals. This is true because, giving out for free reduces the friction involved in initiating engagement between your business and your audience. This is best achieved by:
- Testing every offer (coupon, eBook, price reduction, template, launch…) to identify what generates most subscriptions, emails open and click-through. Studies have proven templates to generate most open and click-through compare to eBook, photo albums, brain teasers and expert interview. (You may have to test all these to identify which work best for your business)
- Creating landing pages specifically for each of your offer
- Developing a series of emails based on your customers’ products of interest
5. Optimize for Mobile
The world is getting smarter and more and more people are getting to mobile gargets to browse the internet. It’s more likely that over 95 percent of your customers are using smartphones or tablets for all their internet transaction (purchase, research, network…). Thus customising your email for mobile platforms is very important. Mobile responsive emails attract and keep customers engage and generate a better customers experience on your website hence the penalty for entrepreneurs that do not optimized their emails for mobile is huge.
Thus to employ or implement a mobile responsive design, you may consider the following:
- Limit subject lines to below 35 characters
- Increase the font size for easy readability
- Convert all emails to a single column template
- Ensues call-to-action is large enough and well positioned
- Place important taps and scroll elements in the middle of the screen
If your first welcome email is perfectly optimized for mobile, subscribers will know they’re in for a pleasant mobile experience for the duration of their time spent with your brand.
6. Subject Line
You subject line goes a great way to determine what action your audience takes. Recent statistics have proven that, subject line of less than 35 characters have high open rates, while above 70 characters shown more click-through rates. But subject line of between 55 and 70 characters showed no increase in neither open or click-through rates. Thus while crafting your email subject lines; it’s best to avoid subject character between 55 and 70.
On the other hand, your subject line should be crafted depending on your desired email marketing goals (open or click-through rates.)
7. Personalized your Emails
The most important elements of email marketing strategy are relationship, trust and confidelity. Customers you have established connection with either via social media, website, and mobile subscribers will appreciate your email messages even if they’re personalized and that are generated from personalized communication, and recommendation. It’s an act of far greater care to send personalized email that is specific to a recipient’s needs and history. The secret here is to avoid using a customer’s complete identity (using just his first name is ok). Also, sending personalized emails to thank a customer after a purchase (or sending their purchase history) is very effective in generating repeat sales.
Customers may not be happy with personalized emails that revive their full identity for various reasons:
8. Rekindle Inactive Subscribers
Statistics have shown that, a large portion of your subscribers, (as large as two-third) may not follow up with your follow up emails. This number is too much to just let slip off therefore you have to look for a way to rekindle or re-ignite that energy in them, let them know they’ve missed a lot and the best way to do so is to plan a re-engagement email marketing campaign.
First, you have to identify these inactive subscribers, segment your customers, subscribers or prospect email list by loyalty and target them with email marketing campaigns that are relevant to their level of activeness.
- Send them follow up email with email subject line that clearly state it purpose
- You may want to consider making them some offer (coupon, price reduction, template…)
- Move those that response to your active email list
- Send further follow up email to those that failed to response and let them know they may be unsubscribe if they do not take action within a stipulated time frame
- Lastly, remove those that do not response to your subscribers email list
That’s not all, find out why your subscribers turn inactive asking them after they unsubscribe
You may also consider implementing an annual subscription renewal process where subscribers must renew their subscription to continue receiving your emails. Such program is very helpful to ensure those who receive your emails are really those interested and loyal to your products and services.
Also note that, it’s sometimes more profitable to focus on re-igniting inactive subscribers than incentivizing loyal active subscribers (but this does not remove that need to follow up with your loyal subscribers)
9. Follow up with your Most Loyal Customers
Your business is more like to hang on the head of your loyal customers. They largest portion of your revenue will come from this small fraction of loyal customers therefore, it’s vital to keep their energy flowing with email follow up. Send them personalized emails to thank them for their loyalty each time they make a purchase, and also incentivize time (usually and best with price reduction, redemption gift card to be redeem on their next purchase on the same or similar product)
10. Leverage the Potential of Social Media
Many of your customers may be on one social network or another. Thus, you can use this statistics to your marketing advantage to generate your email list and be more effective email marketer by:
- Creating landing page across social media networks
- Hosting webinars to increase the effect of your email marketing
- Sharing gifts or incentives for subscribers via emails list
You may also consider sharing ads and holding contest, giveaways or sweepstakes on social media.
11. Go Visual
Visual contents have shown over times to be better at attracting visitors to a website compared to text. This is no different with emails. Many studies have shown a correlation between audience engagement and the amount of images in an email.
A general rule (with exception of some industry) to obtain a higher click-through rates, you may create and send emails with three or less images and fewer than 20 lines of text.
Best email marketing practices for images in email are thus:
- Use small and fewer than three images that speed up email loading
- Use only relevant images that contribute to the message you are sending out
- Use sightlines and annotated images are better than plain messages
12. Use Call-to-Action (CTA)
Why? After sending out an email, you expect some response from your audience. Leaving your audience in the middle of nowhere is dangerous to the effectiveness of your email marketing campaign. Therefore it’s best to direct your users on the next step they can take, lead them to your product landing page hence the need for a CTA.
In most cases, your CTA will be a link, a button or a clickable image to click on that will take you to your products landing pages.
13. Use A/B Testing
Generally speaking, email A/B testing is simply referring to creating multiple variations of either the subject line or body content to identify which one has the highest conversion rate or engagement. It’s important to A/B test isolated variable at a time to obtain best email marketing insights you can utilize in future email marketing campaigns.
It’s ideal to test every email you send out. But this may be quite time consuming, therefore you may have to figure out which email will have the most impact on your goal if they had a higher engagement rate.
While email marketing is thought as the best email marketing strategy, a decline has been observed in recent times partly due to spam filters, large volume of messages and Gmail’s promotional tab. Thus without an effective email marketing strategy, businesses will face challenges in eventually reaching and engaging targeted customers. Email marketing is thriving due largely to the channel’s flexibility, familiarity, and universality.