Email Marketing – Where to Begin

Posted on January 22, 2014 at 2:11 pm Written by

Email marketing is arguably one of the most powerful channels for lead generation. It’s inexpensive, it can help you reach your target audience almost instantly, and it allows for a quick response time. Email also helps to build a relationship between your customers and your company, and drives online sales like no other marketing tool can. However, for your campaign to be successful there are a few things you need to take into consideration and a few key steps you need to follow…

Step 1: Goal Setting
Identify your email marketing goals before you run your campaign. What do you want to get out of your email marketing?

Maybe you’re running a special offer, want to promote a new product or just want to connect with your customers through a newsletter. Whatever your goal, you should think about a strong call-to-action and ensure you keep taking small steps to reach your end goal.

Goal setting will also help you determine the overall success of your email marketing and your return on investment (ROI).

Step 2: Creating and sending your email campaign

The basis of an effective email campaign is crafting an effective email. The most important elements of your email are:

Subject Line: The estimation is that you have up to 5 seconds to catch your subscriber’s attention with your email marketing subject line. With most people receiving on average 50+ emails per day you really have to make your subject line appealing to your readers and make them want to open your email.

  • Avoid subject lines that are too long – anything from 40-55 characters should be OK.
  • Keep the use of punctuation (that can often flag spam filters) to a minimum.
  • Always be honest – don’t try to fool your subscribers and lie about the content of the email as this could cause them to unsubscribe.

Subject lines typically perform one of the following actions; educate, ask a question, announce a sale or new product, offer a solution to a problem or jump on a popular topic.

From Name: Aside from the subject line, the first thing a recipient is likely to look for is who the email is from. It should clearly be identifiable – either your company name or your personal name if it is well known. Once you decide on the from name, keep it consistent with each email. Late Rooms does this really well with Lucie.

Whatever you do, avoid using a ‘do not reply’ or ‘no reply’ email address as your from name or email address. Nobody wants to get an email from their good friend ‘do not reply’ – you’re basically forcing your subscriber into a one-way conversation, the exact opposite of what a marketer should be encouraging.

Content: Keep your copy concise and include a clear email marketing call-to-action, encouraging the recipients to do something, such as click through to the website, sign up for an event, download a free trial, or print a coupon. Remember, you don’t actually want your subscribers hanging about, reading your email all day, the key is to get them somewhere else, your website or blog for instance, where they can consume all the information. Your email just gives them a little taste of what is on offer.

Also, remember to be human, ditch the corporate speak, add humour, include customer stories, weave in real word-world events and pop culture when relevant and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Mobile Design: A recent study claimed we’re on our mobile phone every 6 minutes, checking it on average 150 times a day – that means your email marketing campaign needs to look just as good on a mobile as it does on a desktop. There are two common design options for mobile email design — scalable or responsive:

  • Scalable: The layout is clickable and the type is readable, even when reduced 50% in size. Scalable design avoids large widths and includes big type and big buttons.
  • Responsive: The layout of a page responds based on the proportions of the screen on which it’s presented. This design is becoming increasingly common for use in emails, as well as on websites.
Sending: How often and the time and day you send your email campaign will greatly alter the effectiveness of your campaign. In terms of when, the default industry standard is that B2B emails should be sent on Tuesday or Thursday at either 11am or 2pm, and B2C emails should be sent on a Wednesday or Friday late afternoon. However, we’re all different, so why stick to the same plan? It’s a great place to start but the only people who can answer this question for you are your subscribers. When do they open your email? When does the phone start ringing after a campaign has been sent? In regards to email marketing sending frequency this is entirely up to you, but there are certain pitfalls to sending too often; subscribers could get burnt out and stop reading your emails, and too infrequently; subscribers can easily forget who you are and hit the delete or spam button.

Overall, consistency is key. Whether it’s timing, frequency, branding or content, for an effective email marketing campaign you need to build trust with your subscribers and the best way to do that is to be consistent.

Step 3: Tracking Your Email

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After sending your email marketing campaign, you will want to know how many people opened it, how many people clicked on specific links in the email, how many messages bounced, how many unsubscribes you had, and maybe how many people converted to a sale. Unlike print and traditional direct marketing, email marketing allows you to answer all of these questions. A few important things to note are your:

  • Open Rate – The percentage of people who opened your delivered email.
  • Click Through Rate – The percentage of people who clicked on a link within your delivered and opened email.
  • Conversions – The number of people who received your email and took the action you wanted them to take, whether that’s a purchase or a like for your Facebook page.
  • Client Summary – the number of people looking at your email on a desktop, mobile phone or tablet and exactly what email reader they used e.g. Outlook 2010, Mail for iPhone.
  • Bounce Rate – The amount of emails that were returned by the recipients server and therefore undelivered. A “hard bounce” occurs when the recipient’s email server doesn’t accept your message – the most popular reason being the email doesn’t exsist or may have been misspelt. A “soft bounce” occurs when your recipient’s server accepts your message, but your recipient doesn’t get it – perhaps because they have deleted the email address.
  • Unsubscribe Rate – The amount of people who remove themselves from your email marketing list meaning you can no longer send them emails. A perfect unsubscribe rate is around 2%, as it’s practically impossible to get down to 0%. The common mind set will lead you to believe that unsubscribes can only be a bad thing, but people unsubscribe for a reason; so don’t be downhearted when someone does, just take it as feedback for the next campaign you send.

A good ESP (Email Service Provider) should offer you all of this information plus much more via their email marketing reports section. NewZapp LIVE! allows you to see in an instant which link is the most popular, if your email is trending in social media circles, what time your email was performing at its peak and what device and email client your subscribers are using to view your email – all in real time. This kind of information is essential for future campaigns as it allows you to target your subscribers in a way that best suits them and as a result increasing your ROI.

The importance of tracking and measuring your campaigns cannot be overstated. It eliminates the guesswork and enables you to calculate your email marketing campaign ROI, so you know just how effective it was and whether you should spend your marketing budget in this way in the future.

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