For anyone looking to amp up their marketing strategy, email campaigns are a must.
To give you some perspective of email usage, there are an estimated 269 billion emails sent each day. To compare the numbers, there are almost three times as many email accounts as Facebook and Twitter accounts combined. Although social media advertising has gained popularity in recent years, you can’t forget to include email campaigns in your plan.
If that hasn’t convinced you, it also has a great return on your advertising dollar. With every $1 you spend on email campaigns, you can expect an average return of $42 (DMA, 2019).
Okay, so maybe your business hasn’t been focusing on email marketing, where should you start?
Don’t let marketing terminology scare you, it can be easy to get lost in the industry jargon when researching techniques. If you’re new to email campaigns, I want to give you a breakdown of some successful email campaign components and terms to know. However, I would recommend doing more research once you get started so that you can properly assert that your efforts are going in the right direction.
Okay, ready? Let’s start with a few basic terms to know.
QA- This stands for the phrase quality assurance. I like to think of quality assurance as a full walk through of your email campaign. It means you examine it from a trial and error perspective, so that you can make sure you’re getting the best bang for your advertising buck.
ROI- This stands for the phrase return on investment. In email marketing, it’s a measurement used to determine how effective your campaign was. This gives you a good idea of how your money was spent in gaining customer turnaround.
A/B Testing (also referred to as split testing)- I like to think of A/B testing as a trial and experiment process to figuring out what does (or doesn’t) work in your campaign. By picking out different factors within your email (such as the time you sent it, the headline, or including images vs not) you can determine what your audience responds to and then improve your email based on the results.
Now that you’ve gotten familiar with a few of the terms, let’s break down some core factors within any successful email campaign.
1. Start With A Goal in Mind
All good marketing starts with setting clear goals, and email marketing is no different. What do you want this email campaign to achieve? Although your click rate is an important factor for determining the campaign’s success overall, you also want to focus on bringing content that’s of value to the right audience. Keeping this in mind as the focus of your campaigns will get you closer to the success metrics you’re looking for.
Think about your target audience. What content will provide them with the most value? As a business, you always want to provide value to ensure happy and returning customers. Understanding the needs and concerns of your target audience is the quickest way to create valuable content that will provide a higher return.
2. Build a Targeted Email List
Before you go sending out emails, you want to identify and target the right audience. You don’t want to send out mass emails to the wrong audience, making it unlikely that you’ll get much of a return. You want to reach people who are interested in what you have to say or are more likely to become a customer. Email marketing gives you the power to choose who you want the email to get in front of (and we can always customize that list as you go on).
A great way to build a targeted email list is by converting people who already visit your website into email subscribers (this could be done with a pop-up window on your site or a form for users to stay on top of news, discounts, etc).
3.Keep Your Subject Clear
One big mistake that people make is creating a compelling subject line that has nothing to do with the email content. Although you’ll want to have a subject line that encourages users to click, you also want it to correlate to the content of the email itself or subscribers will feel misled. Your subject line should be clear, action-oriented, and authentic. You should also aim to keep it short, with around 50 characters or less to prevent information overload.
Make sure the subject line isn’t filled with spam words or in all caps, we all know those aren’t the types of emails that people are excited to see in their inbox. Do your research to stay up-to-date on what current trends are and compare with competitors in your market.
4.Use A/B Testing
Once you’ve created a draft of your email campaign, you’ll want to experiment with different factors to see what works with your customers.
Since there are a lot of factors as to how well your campaign performs, it’s important to narrow the factors down for testing. There’s no point in testing too many variables, because then you won’t be able to pinpoint what works. You’ll want to test one or two things at a time to get the most accurate results.
Before you send out a massive email campaign, try it out with smaller numbers first. Take two factors you think will be successful and run it to a smaller sized group (maybe 50 people or so). Look at the metrics side by side to see which one performs better, and you’ll know which subject line or call to action was more popular amongst users.
An example of some variables that people often test are the send time, content of the email, or subject line to name a few.
Most email campaign software has built-in tools for A/B testing. However, if your email campaign software doesn’t have support for creating A/B campaigns, you also have the option to set one up manually. For additional details on setting up A/B testing for a campaign, check out this article by Mailchimp that helps break it down.
A Final Note
When starting off with email campaigns, it can be a bit daunting to figure out what works. But just like most things, it’s all about practicing and improving, responding to audience feedback as you go along.
The goal of any successful email campaign urges the recipients to take action, engage with your business, and/or help you to get more potential customers or sales. Use these goals along with the value of brand authenticity and you’re already heading in the right direction.
Content courtesy of Michelle Finn, Founder of Pop Design Shoppe
CONTRIBUTING AUTHOR, MICHELLE FINN
Michelle has a strong marketing background in a versatile set of roles including social media, events, and field marketing. She fell in love with design and combined it with her skills to create her business, Pop Design Shoppe. In the future, she hopes to continue her work within design or the arts (including interior design, fashion, the visual arts, and event design). She wants to continue working on projects that create impact. Her perfect day includes a morning workout, sunny day at the beach (preferably with her dog joining) followed by an evening out with friends at an event.