Being an owner of a small business can be a hard nut to crack. Even if you are creating unique content, you are in halfway to success. Great content is a fantastic start, but you have to find an efficient way to promote it and reach a bigger audience. You probably practice email marketing but do you have a formal strategy? An email strategy is one of the most overlooked components of a successful email marketing campaign. Follow these 7 easy steps and find out how to develop an effective email strategy.
What is email marketing?
Before starting you have to understand what email marketing is? In short, it is the act of sending a commercial message using mail to promote products or services. More precisely, email marketing allows you to develop relationships with potential customers or clients. Furthermore, owners of a small business can use this form of direct marketing to keep their customers informed and tailor services to their needs.
Email marketing, in an age of increasing usage of social media for advertising, is still relevant. According to the Email Statistics Report 2018-2022, before the start of 2019, there will be more than 3.8 billion email users, over 100 million more than the previous year. Researchers also expect that this number will grow to over 4.2 billion by the end of 2022.
To compare, the most popular social media channel, Facebook, has 2.23 billion monthly active users worldwide as of 2nd quarter 2018. DMA’s Marketer Email Tracker 2018 Report points out that email marketing has an average ROI of 4,300%. For every $1 invested, the average return is $43 (40$ in 2017). In other words, email marketing still rules the roost.
Those numbers clearly show how important email marketing is for your business. Keep in mind that sending random emails to your clients or customers will not bring you desired effects. Unquestionably, your business needs a comprehensive and complex email marketing strategy. Check out how to do it right.
Step 1: Establish qualitative goals
Before you start sending newsletters to your clients, you have to establish qualitative goals. This is just a sophisticated way of asking what kind of an email program do you need for your business. Don’t think about numbers, ROI or revenue, yet. Above all, ask yourself about your aims.
Would you like to:
- sell your products or service
- build your reputation as an expert
- promote your service
- reach a bigger audience
- drive repeat traffic to your website
- generate revenue via advertising
While defining your qualitative goals use transparent and understandable language. Bear in mind that this kind of aim concerns two fundamental issues. First, acquiring new customers and revenue. Second, retaining or renewing existing customers and revenue. In other words, you have to operate at each stage of the inbound marketing funnel. It’s all about acquisition and retention.
Step 2: Build and grow your contact list
When you identify your goals, time to build and grow your email contact list. This part can be a bit challenging because you have to reach your audience organically. Note that when it comes to converting prospects into customers, email marketing is 40 times more effective than social media or any other online services.
You are probably wondering how to acquire those all email addresses? No worries! There are many effective methods, you are free to try various approaches. The starting base is your website. When customers are visiting your site or blog they are already interested in your offer, so enticing them to sign up might be the easiest way to build the contact list.
You can also integrate your social networks and face-to-face contacts to tell followers and customers about the benefits of joining your mailing list. Eventually, you can use incentives to drive sign-ups. However, you have to be careful because some subscribers may sign up only for the one-time offer.
Step 3: Define the target audience
As mentioned above, sending a newsletter to random customers will not bring the expected results. Most of all, you have to define the target audience. In other words, the group of individuals, or for email marketing purposes the specific list or segment, at which a campaign is aimed. For example, if you are an owner of the bookstore, you will target readers, librarians or publishers. Remember that the target audience refers to those who are most likely to purchase your products or services.
Notice that there are no targeted audiences without proper segmentation. It can start with your signup form. Based on the information from the signup form, you can classify new subscribers from the beginning. For example, you can segment your list based on demographics. This covers gender, age, and location.
You can also create a segmented target audience around the type of industry a subscriber is in, the size of their company or any wide range of data that you can ask for on your signup form. When you have divided your list into various target audiences, you can plan campaigns specifically tailored to those groups of people.
Step 4: Plan your campaigns
After identifying your goals, building the contact list, and defining the target audience, it’s high time for preparing the email campaign. You will probably ask what kind of information emails have to contain? Although some ofthe content is highly customizable and depends on your goals, there are a number of elements that always have to be included in the emails you send out.
First, start with the subject line. It has to be a small but powerful sentence that allows you to attract the target audience. Remember your clients’ inboxes are already full of content. That’s why use these 60 characters in the subject line wisely. You may like to try different approaches that allow you to draw attention to your emails, such as catchy phrases or emojis. After all, don’t forget to keep the tone and voice true to your brand.
Second, appreciate the power of the “from” name. Always make sure you let your contacts know who’s emailing them. Otherwise, your message will end up in the trash folder quicker than you can count to three. Successfully, you can use a company or brand name or, if you want to be original, find something that can still be connected with you.
Remember that some email services limit “from” names in the inbox view. For example, Gmail allows to use up to 20 characters in the address line, while Yahoo gives only 14 characters. Hence, the sender field is a bit challenging.
Third, the meaning of the mail preheader, a short line of text in the recipient’s inbox that is displayed after the subject, is often underestimated. This is an easy and effective way of summarizing the content of your message, especially on mobile devices. A well-written preheader is not just a kindness towards recipients, but a strategic element that leads to an increase in open rates and stimulates CTRs (Click-Through Rate) and conversions. It should complement the subject line and attract the recipients’ attention.
Call to action
Last but not least, call to action buttons are essential to every email campaign. Notice that a single CTA can increase clicks 371% and sales 1617%. Before creating CTAs, consider what you want your subscribers to do after reading your email. Take into account also the tone and voice of your brand or company. Creating responsive CTAs, that are easy to navigate on desktop and mobile, is no less important.
Step 5: Design the email template
If you want to attract your subscribers, you have to choose an appealing and flexible email template. It allows you to use the same basic structure each time you send. No matter what type of content you generate, your template should follow email standards and best practices.
First of all, the email must look like it’s related to your website. Don’t forget about the logo of your company. Incorporate the same colors, fonts, and layouts. The top portion of the message is crucial. This area must engage readers and pull them in.
Be sure to include there:
- company or brand name in the body text
- a benefit-oriented headline or title.
Consider also the size of the email; too large takes a long time to load and will be chopped by some email readers. Try to find the right balance between images and text in your newsletter, as well. This is a key to ensure your contacts see the message just as you intended them to. Keep in my mind the power of colors. They will impact your client’s feelings about your email and brand. Ensure your color scheme doesn’t affect the visibility of the text and that it completes your brand.
Don’t omit transactional emails. Make sure your brand identity is recognizable by presenting a unified, seamless experience across both marketing and transactional emails. Notice this kind of email is eight times more often opened than marketing emails. This a significant area to strengthen the value and meaning of your brand.
Lastly, before sending an email don’t forget to test it. Ensure your images are well optimized, your links are working without charge, there are no typos, and your CTAs are precise and responsive. The quality of your messages says a lot about your brand or company.
Step 6: Specify quantitative goals
At this stage, the time has come to develop quantitative goals. This is a great place to specify details like leads, sales per month, registrations, etc. One more time you have to analyze your qualitative goals and try to create a list of quantitative purposes.
You can take inspiration from the list placed below:
- Sell your products: 100 sales per month
- Deliver qualified leads for my services: 200 leads per month
- Encourage customers to register for your events: 100 registration
- Drive repeat traffic to your website: 2 average site visits per visitor each month
- Generate revenue via advertising: $100,000 in ad revenue per month
Basically, quantitative goals are simply quantitative goals supplemented with specific numbers. When you establish your objectives, create some assumptions that will become your means-to-an-end goals. You should lean your assumptions on industry benchmarks.
Step 7: Get some feedback
The final step, getting feedback, allows you to find out how successful your campaigns have been, and learning from past experiences. How to do this? Just, collect customer feedback to find out exactly what they like about your brand and where is a place to improve your brand or service.
If you want to make this task easy-to-do, you can use specific tools that allow you to analyze ‘hard’ data, like A/B testing. You can conduct A/B tests to verify items such as the sender name, subject, content, and design of your email.
Email marketing has two most significant advantages: price and ease. Sending emails is an inexpensive way to reach an audience and advertise your company and its products or services. That’s why email marketing should always be included in your long-term business development strategy.
Undoubtedly, running your own business can be a bit challenging and requires continuous improvement. Take good care of your subscribers and regularly deliver them valuable content. Thanks to these 7 easy steps you will be able to create your first email campaign and develop an effective email strategy. Keep calm and carry on! 😉