These are my top tips for creating an effective email marketing campaign. This is by no means the law, but hopefully it is something that will give you some food for thought.
1. Understand your Audience
Get inside the mindset of your audience. You need to understand what they find interesting and what will grab, and hold their attention. This is the fundamental underpinning of email marketing and determines your message and how you are going to say it. Get this right, and you are halfway there.
2. What is your subject line
This is the second most important factor in email marketing and is the difference between an opened email and a deleted email. Appeal to the individual in your audience and inspire them to take action. Think about the group of people that you are emailing; what they have got in common? Personalise the email to interest them, even split the email database by their interests.
3. Consider who the email is from
Are the recipients going to recognise who the email is from? Do they know your brand? If they do, then why not consider sending the email from someone that they would know from within your organisation. If they don’t know who you are, then remember that email marketing also works as a brand exposure exercise, so if they don’t know you that well right now, they soon will.
4. Your Message
Make sure that your message is clear, worth reading and original and not just someone else’s words regurgitated. Make it worth the recipient’s while to open your newsletter; whether it is a discount, some top tips or a recipe for treacle tart. Give them something to think about.
5. Consider your email design
Once you have got people to open your email, you want them to read what you have got to say. A well thought-out email, with a nice design and clear layout will do just that and can even inspire them to visit your website. If you want them to visit your website, then emulate the look and navigation of your website to get some coherence, which will help them to work their way around your site.
Emails with a personality and an actual person behind them help to build an affinity between your business and your audience. If you are sending a newsletter, then keeping it corporate might not be the way to go, so why not try and introduce a human element into it that people can identify with. One of my favourite examples of giving an email personality has to be the Christmas E-card that we put together for Jackal Advisory. Click on the links here to see what I mean: Merry Christmas from Jackal Advisory… email then leads to “Message from Simon at Jackal Advisory”
7. Testing, testing, 1, 2, 3
This sounds obvious, but check for typos, spelling mistakes and that the links work. My favourite email faux pas is a ‘personalised’ email, gone wrong. You know the kind I mean. ‘Dear Jen’ reads ‘Dear [company name]‘ etc. Not good for your image. Everybody makes mistakes, and everyone knows that, but it does make you look a bit daft, so test it and send it to your colleagues.
8. Signing up
There are several ways in which your email database could have signed up to receive your newsletter. They could have gone to your site and opted-in, in which case they are probably counting down the days until they get your next newsletter or they bought something from your site and never opted-out. Make sure that you manage your database and give people the ability to opt-out should they so desire to do so. Give them the option to tell a friend about you with a ‘forward to a friend’ facility, always allowing your database to grow. A well-maintained database is an engaged database and a strong platform from which to talk to your audience.
There are lots of myths about when to send out your email. When is a bad time? When the best time is? There is no real ‘general’ good day or perfect time; it just has to be right for your audience. If you are a B2B type of business, then try sending out an email on a Tuesday mid-morning or look at when your existing audience is hitting your site and that should give you a good indication.
10. Spamming and Filters
There are certain words that are looked for when you send an email that will inhibit an email from getting into someone’s inbox, so don’t spam your email. Equally do not spam your database, emailing them every week. In the same vein, if you are emailing your audience every month, then keep them engaged by varying what you have got to say.