It’s now 2017 and despite the hype, email marketing is still a viable way to grow and engage with customers. According to the Radicati Group, a research firm that focuses on digital marketing, there will be more than 400 million American users accessing emails through their mobile devices by the end of this year.
If your product or service isn’t online or if you’re just starting out, it can be difficult to justify the time and effort that go into an email marketing campaign. However, as more and more people turn to their mobile phones in lieu of desktop computers for online shopping, the demand for online marketers who can navigate this fragmented market continues to rise.
Fortunately, with a little know-how, you can easily set up a basic email marketing campaign that will allow you to start testing the waters and see how effective it can be. Below, we’ll discuss some of the do’s and don’ts of email marketing so you can develop a solid foundation for your future campaigns.
1. Be consistent. One of the biggest mistakes that newbie email marketers make is trying to come up with the perfect email at the drop of a hat. This kind of creativity leads to inconsistency which in turn makes the recipient of your email less inclined to trust your messages. Instead of trying to create a one-of-a-kind email to impress your audience, focus on ensuring that your emails are always of a high quality.
2. Focus on the subject line. Your subject line, whether it’s generated manually or through software, is one of the most important parts of your email as it will either make your email stand out from the crowd or bring it to the attention of the recipient. When deciding which one to write, keep in mind that subscribers are usually presented with dozens, if not hundreds of emails daily. This is why it’s vital that you choose a subject line that will make your email stand out. To learn more, check out this blog post from Derek Haligman on how to write a winner-take-all email subject line.
1. Don’t spam. Although this seems like an obvious one, people will continue to engage with your email marketing campaign if they feel like you’re regularly sending useful and valuable information. To avoid any kind of spam complaints from your subscribers, make sure that your emails always contain something valuable and relevant to your audience. Otherwise, they may just flag your emails as spam and ultimately unsubscribe.
2. Don’t make promises you can’t keep. In the same way that you wouldn’t want to get a meal deal at a restaurant that you didn’t need or want, you don’t want to make any kind of commitment to sending emails on a regular basis without intending to follow through. If you have customers who have subscribed to your email list and you decide that your product or service is something that they’ll be interested in, make sure that you send them emails from time to time so that they continue to believe in your promise to provide value.
3. Don’t be too salesy. Your goal isn’t to win them over with your slick salesmanship, but instead to provide them with useful information that will help them make better decisions about their finances or daily lives. When you get tempted to try to up-sale a product or service or to offer special deals, pause for a moment and ask yourself, “Does this email customer need my product or service?” If you answered yes, then great! You’ve got an incredibly valuable lead and you can build a long-term business relationship by providing them with useful information.
4. Don’t expect instantaneous results. Just because you followed all of the guidelines for a successful email campaign and sent an email to a list of subscribers doesn’t mean that you’ll see instant success. It may take some time for your email to start showing up in people’s inboxes, so be patient. Similarly, even if you’re sending out hundreds of emails a day, it can still take several days before your subscribers start seeing activity from your email marketing campaign.
How to Build an Email List
Once you have a sense of what works and what doesn’t in your initial email marketing campaign, it’s time to grow your list. As we’ve established, consistency is key. Building a list with 500 subscribers is great, but if you start experiencing errors or lack of communication, it may be time to start over again. One important point to keep in mind is that 500 is the magic number when it comes to the size of your list. You don’t want to go above this number because then you’ll likely start seeing some overlap with your existing lists. This is called “list creep” and it happens when your list grows beyond 500 people. When this happens, it becomes more difficult to stay focused on the original message you were trying to get across without the risk of being drowned out by all of the other messages in your inbox. In these situations, you can either start sending out fewer emails or you can look into rethinking your message to make it more accessible to a larger audience. If your product or service is of interest to people who normally wouldn’t buy it, then you may have tapped into a dormant market that you can now reach out to and convert into paying customers. Keep in mind that the reverse is also true; if your product or service is usually purchased by a certain group of people but you connected with a different group through your subject line, you may have created the opportunity to grow your list and reach a new audience. Try out different subject lines until you find one that appeals to the people you hope will subscribe to your list.
Once you have a decent list and you’re feeling comfortable with the results of your initial email marketing campaign, its time to take it to the next level. As an email marketer, you don’t need to stop here; you can simply update your list with additional emails to keep in touch with these customers and possibly convert them into paying customers in the future. Keeping your customers up-to-date with news and special offers is a common courtesy that will win you many subscribers and encourage them to stay connected even if your product or service isn’t of direct relevance to them.
The Future of Email Marketing
As we’ve established above, email marketing is a viable tool for businesses of all sizes. The trend towards mobile device usage continues to rise, suggesting that email marketing will remain a key component of any digital marketing strategy in the foreseeable future. If your product or service isn’t geared towards millennials, it may be time to revisit your strategy and try something new.
With the right information and a little bit of know-how, you can easily launch a basic email marketing campaign and experiment with a variety of messages and subject lines to see which ones work best for your particular audience. Before long, you’ll be able to develop a clear strategy that will allow you to effectively use email marketing to grow your business. Good luck out there.