I recently had the pleasure of attending a webinar lead by Eric Shanfelt, email marketing guru, and digital marketing specialist. The webinar was hosted by the Local Marketing Institute. They provide frequent webinars about various e-commerce and digital marketing subjects.
Eric shared some valuable information that can often be overlooked when you are trying to coordinate an email campaign. Sometimes we get so caught up in deadlines and clients that we forget about the most important factor in email marketing: the audience itself. Eric gave some insight into what users really want to see.
- They want short emails
- All emails should be mobile responsive
- The information should be relevant and useful to the user
Eric noted that emails should be relatively short with a single CTA (call to action). You don't want to distract your users with long, intricate copy, too many offers or irrelevant information. A good email is a simple one. In order to have a focused and clear email, there are a few things you should keep in mind first. Eric outlined six main factors that contribute to a great, streamlined email campaign. These are:
Audience, Acquisition, Content, Frequency, Delivery, and Analysis
Let's discuss what each topic means and the ways in which they, as a whole, can create a great email marketing campaign.
1. Audience: Define Your Audience
Your audience is the first and most important factor in your email campaign. These are the people who open and interact with your messages. In order to send emails that these individuals want to open, you need to be sure you know your audience.
If you work in the field of e-commerce or digital marketing, you may be familiar with the concept of buyer personas. These are fictional representations of your target audience. They are the product of market research and analysis into your customer demographics. Before you create an email campaign, you must consult your buyer personas.
Ask Yourself The Following Questions:
- What is my audience interested in?
- What do they want to know?
- What's their daily life like?
You want to make sure that the people receiving your email newsletters truly like the content you create for them. Do the market research before-hand and find out the age of your audience, their interests, and daily routine. Once you have a good idea of who you're sending these emails to, you'll be able to create custom content, catered to what they like.
2. Acquisition: Build Your Email List
How do I define an audience when I don't have subscribers? There are many different ways to build your email list. A powerful email campaign coupled with an organized, clean list of subscribers is the recipe for success when it comes to email marketing. You can't send out a campaign without subscribers. Here are a few ways that you can attract new email subscribers.
How To Build Your Email List
- Have a prominent signup form on your website. You don't want potential subscribers scrolling and searching your site to sign up for your list.
- Ensure you have a prominent signup form on social media. You create and share quality content on your social media channels. Build your email list by letting your followers know where they can get even more great content and insider information on your email list.
- Leverage POS systems (point of sale systems) You can automate subscriptions to your email list. Simply incorporate it into your POS system. After a purchase, let your users know where they can learn more about you, and stay updated on your products. Create an automated request to subscribe.
- Have a strong customer feedback system. Gather customer feedback at every opportunity.
- Train your employees to ask. If you are a business owner, let your employees know that they should always be gathering potential email subscribers for the business. They can ask your customers directly!
- Use incentives. Give your customers that extra push and give them an immediate reason to sign up for your email list. Let your customers know that they can receive special offers and give them a sample by offering a one time discount to those who sign up. You can use different offers or create a giveaway to get them excited about receiving your emails.
3. Content: Plan Your Content
There is nothing worse than receiving an email that doesn't make sense, seems out of context or contains information that you don't find appealing or relevant. Create and share quality content with your subscribers to keep them up to date and in the loop.
- What are you trying to accomplish?
- What information would your customers find valuable?
Email campaigns are part of your content marketing strategy. You need to carefully plan out what each email will say. Set a positive tone for your email and pick your voice. Are you speaking on behalf of your company, the owner or is the email going to sound more personal?
You can share your current site content in your email campaigns as well. Let your users know about a recent ebook you've created or share the latest blog post with them. Make sure that the content you share with your users is relevant, relates to your company and to your users. Here are some tips on how to write good copy for the web.
Another important aspect of content is images. Try to avoid putting all of your written email copy in your email as an image. Images are unreliable and do not always render. Have the core of your email copy in plain text. Use images to supplement your message but make sure that your email is still easy to read and understand without any images.
Eric Shanfelt mentioned that you should never use canned content. By this, he means that you shouldn't buy content that is created in mass amounts for your industry. This copy is often general, it is not tailored to your business. Share posts that are about specific aspects of your company and avoid sharing general or bought content. Your users want to feel as though you are writing to them personally. They want the content you share with them to apply to your company and their interests.
4. Frequency: How Often Should I Send An Email?
The consensus on this varies. On one hand, you don't want to overwhelm your email list by sending too many emails too frequently. Your subscribers are likely to get irritated, annoyed or mark you as spam and abuse. On the other hand, you don't want to send your emails out so infrequently that users forget they've subscribed to your list.
They may wonder why they are receiving an email from your company if they've gone months without seeing a notification from you. This is also a reason that many people unsubscribe. So how frequently should you send out your email campaigns?
- No more than weekly
- No less than monthly
- Every other week is optimal
You want to keep your emails short and sweet. In order to do this, you should send them out on a regular basis. Otherwise, you'll end up cramming too much information into your messages. Keep your emails as simple updates to stay in your subscribers' minds and avoid giving them too much information all at once.
Outside of your regular email campaign, be sure to send out welcome emails to those who are new to your subscriber list. You can include a double opt-in form in this email to ensure that your new subscribers really want to receive your emails.
Thank them for signing up and share the perks or benefits of being on your list. The welcome email should leave them excited and awaiting your next newsletter. You can create a welcome email template and schedule it to send to every new subscriber. Most email service providers allow you to automate this process.
5. Delivery: Help Your Emails Get Opened
When you put effort into your list, audience, and content you want to be sure that your emails actually get opened! This can often be one of the trickiest parts of your email campaign because it relies on getting into your users' inbox. Avoid spam filters by using a reputable email sender.
Once your email gets into the users' inbox, you need to give them a reason to click on your message. Use a “from name” that you know they will recognize, generally, this should be the name of your company. However, if your name is used synonymously as part of your brand, you can use your name as the “from name” You can also make the email sound more personal by using your own name and the name of your company. For example: “Karmen Clark, from ElementIQ.”
Similar to your subject line, your preview text gives context and credibility to your email campaign. Give your users incentive to open your email by creating a compelling subject line.
- Use a reputable email sender
- Make emails mobile responsive
- Use good from and subject line
- Leverage preview text
These are the most effective ways of getting a higher open rate. When your email provider sees that your emails are getting opened, you gain credibility as a business and your emails are more likely to be seen as informative, rather than spam.
6. Analysis: What Are The Results Of Your Campaign?
Whether you use your email campaign to drive online sales, provide updates to your subscribers or promote exclusive, in-store offers there should always be a clear goal in mind. In order to improve your campaigns and determine whether or not your emails are achieving your goals, you need to analyze the results of your campaigns.
- Look at the metrics and adjust
- Look at any replies to your email and respond to people who write to you.
- Analyze the ROI. The rate of return is the best way to determine whether or not your email campaign is actually driving sales.
Eric Shanfelt shared a list of statistics at the close of his webinar. These were the general numbers that determine good a good email campaign. You can use these benchmarks as a basic indicator of whether or not your email campaigns are meeting your goals and serving their purpose.
Good Email Benchmarks
- 20% Unique open rates - If it's less than this, your subscribers aren’t that interested. How did you build your email list? You may want to clean out your list or change your on-site opt-in process.
- 2.5% Unique click rate - This is a good click rate. This depends on the nature of your email and your brand it only applies to a direct offer
- 0.3% Unsubscribe rate = Good
- 0.02% Abuse report = Anything more than this and your users are thinking "I didn't sign up for this, it's spam"
- 0.45% Hard bounce rate = This is an optimal percentage for hard bounces. Anything more and you should look into cleaning your mailing list.
Clean out your unresponsive emails regularly. Remove subscribers that show no activity over a year. They're dead weight. When you send to a streamlined list you have a better response rate. Your subscribers are there because they are interested in your products and your company.
Hopefully, the information from this webinar was helpful. Eric Shanfelt holds frequent webinars about various aspects of digital marketing. He is well known in the industry for his success with email marketing and e-commerce. He's also the Founder and CEO of Local Marketing Institute. If you are interested in staying up to date with our blog posts from ElementIQ, be sure to subscribe or comment below!