What is email marketing?
Email marketing is the process by which businesses use a digital platform to “direct mail” information about their company to potential and existing customers. This may take the form of new product announcements, discounts, sales and promotion notifications or newsletters.
Benefits of email marketing
Here are some benefits of email marketing for your business:
Acts as a cost-effective marketing tactic
One benefit of email marketing is that it’s cost-effective, which is especially good for small businesses that are already operating on a small budget. According to WebFX, businesses can potentially make $40 for every $1 they spend on email marketing. Furthermore, email marketing is typically less expensive than paper mail or TV advertisements.
Allows for easy monitoring and campaign adjustments
If you use email marketing software, you can monitor the number of recipients who opened an email you sent out and who clicked the available links to your website or product pages. By reviewing this information after each campaign send, you get real-time data about what works and what doesn’t. For example, if the subject line “Storewide Sale!” only gets 1% engagement, then you might try “50% OFF EVERYTHING” to see if it encourages better engagement.
Provides increased web traffic
Email marketing provides another method for increasing traffic to your company’s website other than through social media, web, broadcast and print advertisements. This helps you gain more leads and sales with the addition of email marketing.
Reminds customers of your business
It may be challenging for businesses to come up with ways to engage with previous customers and encourage them to purchase products or services from them again. This is where email marketing can help. You may target certain customers who purchased a particular product to remind them you have similar items or a sale on those items.
For instance, if you own an online clothing boutique that sells event dresses, you can create an email promotion to highlight new arrivals for the spring season to customers who previously purchased event dresses from you.
Allows businesses to create personalized messages
With the right software, businesses can create personalized messages for each email recipient. This helps get their attention and encourage them to click on the email and continue through to your website. One example of this would be if you used the subject line “Casey! Check out these deals for you!” versus just “Check out these deals!”
Reasons businesses use email marketing
Businesses use email marketing for a number of reasons. Email marketing provides the opportunity to:
- Connect with customers regardless of which device they’re using.
- Gain insights on the needs and preferences of the customer base.
- Remind customers that the company is there for them and their needs.
- Create a communication channel that encourages trust and loyalty with the customer base.
- Help potential customers become more familiar with their products and continue through their marketing funnel.
- Develop a friendly, casual persona for customers to engage with.
- Develop a professional persona for customers to engage with.
Email marketing best practices with examples
Here are some best practices with examples for email marketing:
Place the most important information at the top
Always put the most important information at the beginning of your email to ensure that recipients will read it. Your customers might be on-the-go or unable to read through your email, no matter how short it is. For example, put the call to action, “Click here for 50% of your next purchase” at the top of your email so there’s a better chance they’ll click on the link.
Don’t buy contact lists
Purchasing contact lists from a third party may create leads, but there’s no guarantee. Also, these contact lists may not be interested in your products or services. To save on costs and ensure engagement, start by creating a contact list of former customers whose emails you have and build from there. You can also create a pop-up ad on your website to give site visitors the option to sign up for your newsletter, promotions or company news.
For instance, if you own a wholesale vitamin and supplements company, start by adding previous and current clients who purchase and sell your products to consumers.
Use three or fewer typefaces
It may confuse your audience if you use several different fonts and sizes within the text of your email. It may appear unprofessional, spam-like or too difficult to read. Stick to three or fewer typefaces across all of your emails so that you ensure easy readability for your audience. One example of this would be to use Arial for headings and subheadings and Times New Roman or Garamond for body text.
Actively de-clutter your send list
Take note of the email addresses that show little-to-no engagement with your emails and remove them from your contact lists. This is important because it increases the accuracy of your metrics and ensures you are emailing people who want to engage with your company. For example, a local pizzeria’s open rate on their newsletter was at 10% before they removed the recipients with no engagement activity. After they changed their strategy, their average open rate was at 16%.
Choose 500 to 650 pixels in width for formatting
By keeping the width of your email format between 500 to 650 pixels, you ensure that your readers don’t have to use a horizontal scroll bar to read your message. Typically, anything larger than 650 pixels will require readers to scroll across. For instance, a lawn care service email offering a 10% discount on all weed treatments purchased before a certain date might not receive as much engagement as the same email that didn’t require scrolling to get to the link.
Always include a subscribe option for newsletters
This is important for instances where your subscribers share your newsletter or promotional emails with their family and friends who are not subscribed as it gives them a quick and easy way to engage with your business. One example of this would be if an insurance company included a subscribe button on their financial newsletters and received an additional 10 subscribers per share.
Tips for creating and optimizing email content
The content of your email marketing campaign has a direct impact on its success. Here are some tips to help you create and optimize email content for your business:
- Identify the purpose for your email marketing campaign. This will help determine the types of content you want to include in each email.
- Keep content short and simple to capture the reader’s attention for as long as possible.
- Include multiple links to entice readers to click through to your website.
- Match the tone of voice to your company. For example, an insurance company might use more formal language than a travel website.
- Mix up your content to keep your audience engaged and test what they like. For instance, send promotions, followed by customer testimonials, followed by an industry-related blog post to enhance variety.
- Include alt text in each image you choose to use.
- Insert your company logo at the top of each email to enhance credibility and brand recognition.
Tips for scheduling email sends
The day and time you choose to send out emails may have an effect on the level of engagement you receive from each send. Here are some tips for scheduling email sends, according to EmailOctopus:
- Send more emails on Tuesdays as this is the day when email sends typically receive the most engagement.
- Schedule sends to go out between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. for maximum engagement.
- Be sure to conduct your own tests as your particular audience might have different engagement habits than the average consumer.
- Be aware of time zone differences and create different schedules to accommodate each time zone for your recipients.
- Use software to schedule sends to go out automatically.
- Send emails at the same time each day to appear consistent for consumers.
Tips for testing email campaigns
Before you send out emails, you need to make sure that you have the correct layout and content. Here are some tips for testing email campaigns:
- Identify just a few metrics to get used to the metrics process. These can include the subject line, the time and day of the send, the overall appearance of the email, overall quality of the email’s content, the credibility of the sender’s email address, call to action, tone of voice, use of images or clickable links.
- Send test emails to members of your team for review before scheduling your sends.
- Record feedback from test recipients and log for future reference.
- Send out test batches to small groups of people on your email list to gauge the success of certain tactics.
- Send the same test email at different times of day or days of the week to see if that factors into engagement success.
Tips for optimizing for devices of all sizes
According to Campaign Monitor, how well you optimize your emails determines the level of engagement and potential conversion rates you receive into your marketing funnel. Review these tips for optimization across devices so you can get the most out of your email campaigns:
- Keep subject lines short as mobile devices only allow 25 to 30 characters to show whereas desktop devices allow for 60 characters.
- Make use of pre-header copy. This is the first line of text below the subject line when looking at an email preview. For those on-the-go, it can make the difference between them deciding to click on it or let it be.
- Reduce the number of images or opt for the “images off” feature as images behave differently depending on the device.
- Keep your copy short and concise, especially for mobile users who have to read on a smaller screen.
- Make the call to action the first text they see when they open the email. Mobile users may not have the time to read through the entire email.
- Leave plenty of room between clickable texts so that users don’t accidentally click the wrong one.
Tips for tracking and analyzing metrics
It is important to understand what does and doesn’t work within your email marketing campaign strategy. This allows you to make adjustments for maximum impact. Here are some tips for tracking and analyzing metrics:
- As mentioned, start with just a few metrics and slowly increase the number you use to prevent getting overwhelmed.
- Know which metrics to track. This includes open rate, click-through-rate, bounce rate, unsubscribe rate, share rate, conversion rate, overall ROI and list growth rate.
- Create short- and long-term email marketing goals on which to base your actions and the metrics you choose.
- Create a recording system using a software program if you don’t use email marketing software with built-in recording. This allows you to see how your strategy aligns with your goals.
- Review charts to identify patterns within your campaign strategy. This allows you to see what types of topics get the most engagement and what doesn’t.