I get spammed daily by retailers that believe that receiving their generic email will make me suddenly realize I can’t live without them and I should act upon it. Email marketing can be a very effective strategy.
Let’s review some of the basics you should keep in mind when developing your email marketing strategy:
Goal: The goal is the key to your success. Before you even start writing anything make sure you know exactly you want to accomplish. Do you want your database to purchase your product? Do you want them to call your sales team? Do you want them to fill out a survey??
The email marketing strategy will be aligned to this goal. The goal will help you figure out what type of content to have, what the call to action should look like and all the rest of the variables that we will review below. In fact, I have seen various companies optimize their email marketing strategies and increase their revenue.
Timing and frequency: Within the purchasing path, pinpoint when the emails should be received. Maybe you first decide you need to send a “save the date message” with a teaser of an event. Then send another email with the actual event invite? Each occasion is different, and you should understand who your database is and what their needs are.
Determine a frequency for each database you have. Weekly? Monthly? Please don’t send emails daily unless your consumer has specified and understands that will be the case! You are pushing it if you send a weekly email.
Keep in mind day of the week and time of day. These are simple enough to think about and they make a big difference. Based on your previous sendings you can determine what works best for your database. I have seen usually Tuesday and Thursdays are good days with higher open rates. Mailchimp provides a few insights.
Subject lines: Which subject line will you use for your email to stand out within the inbox? Having someone’s name on the subject line does make a difference. What else? Try different ones and track performance.
Content: The first challenge is to make sure that the email gets to your consumer and that it is readable. There are some prerequisites, including:
- HTML version & text only version available for each sending
- Both HTML and text only emails should have a “open in browser” option
- It should be mobile friendly
- No attachments
- Elements of the email should load quickly
Regarding the content itself, keep in mind first impressions make a difference. Within the HTML version the look and feel should be aligned with your brand. The email should also be attractive to the user and easy to read. Within the content is the Call To Action – CTA. The CTA needs to be clear and stand out.
A few tips on writing your emails.
Customization: Overall, companies are still behind on implementing customization technology. For example, if you have a profile at a retailer and it includes your age, where you live and your size, why would they send you an email about kids clothes if you don’t have any. Why would you receive an email about cooking utensils if you don’t like to cook.
This is also when database segmentation comes into play. There are basic variables of language, age, geography that you should keep in mind when tailoring your emails. Many other variables may be tailored to the needs of your consumer.
Tripadvisor.com is a good example of a company who tracks which destinations you searched for and then emails you regarding that destination. Here are a few cool examples.
Landing page: Once your consumer clicks on the Call-to-Action – CTA, they will arrive to a landing page which is a carefully thought out web page where you have included all the information needed to “close the sale” and reach that goal you set yourself. The landing page and the email need to be aligned in all their aspects: look and feel, call to action, and concept.
Take a look here for a few interesting landing pages.
Generate trust: Every time you send an email you should proof to your database that they did the right thing when they accepted to receive emails from you. You will be building their trust as they realize that you won’t be wasting their time with your sendings. It will only take one email to have an “unsubscribe” which is why it is important to have an email strategy in place.
Use a sending tool: Never ever send emails through your outlook or gmail account. Your domain will get classified as spam and your email will never make it through. Use an email marketing software to program your bulk sendings. There are many out there, free and paid options. Mailchimp is a free simple one to use. ExactTarget is my preferred paid one to use.
And last but not least, there is better conversion when your consumer within the database knows you. They know your name, who you are and how you can help them. The closer relationship you can build, the more conversions you will have. Tender, love and care is what your database needs and as you get results you can segment it and clean it out to optimize your efforts.
Connie Marianacci is an accomplished professional of e-commerce, marketing and strategy with over 10+ years of experience increasing online productivity, results and effectiveness. @cmarianacci