It’s no secret that email marketing is one of the most effective (and cheapest!) ways to communicate with customers. With dozens, if not hundreds, of emails chattering away in their inboxes daily, it’s easy for marketers to keep in touch and keep customers interested in what they have to offer.
While email marketing is a fantastic tool for marketing executives, it can seem somewhat daunting to those new to the game. After all, there are so many different approaches to creating effective emails, and the sheer volume can make it difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’ve decided to write this guide: to help make email marketing more approachable and less overwhelming by breaking it down into bite-sized pieces.
1. Select the right email marketing platform
If you’ve decided that email marketing is right for your company, the first step is to select the right platform. There are numerous email marketing tools out there, each with its perks and quirks. To ensure you find the best suited for your needs, review the following checklist:
- Features: What features does the platform offer that will make your life easier as an email marketer? For example, do you need the ability to segment your audience or send out emails instantly?
- Pricing: How much does the platform cost? Is there a free trial available?
- Support: Does the company offer expert support if you need help setting up automated email campaigns or integrating with other platforms?
- Reputation: What is the reputation of the company behind the platform? Is it a reliable and trustworthy provider of email marketing services?
- Analysis: Does the platform provide any kind of analytics report detailing the performance of previous email campaigns? If so, how useful are those reports?
- UI/UX: How does the platform’s interface and UX look like? Is it easy to navigate?
2. Customize the email content
Once you’ve found the right platform, the next step is to customize the email content. This is one of the most important steps in making an email campaign work, so take your time here. Tailor the message to your target audience and create content that will make them act, think, or feel a certain way about your product or service.
As an email marketer, you’ll likely be asked to create promotional emails to nudge people into taking a specific action (such as buying a product or signing up for a free trial). To create the best possible experience, you must gear your copy to tug at their emotions and appeal to their desires. To do this, simply follow these five steps:
1. Choose your product or service
In order to tailor the email content to your target audience, you must first choose your product or service. It is essential to understand what your product is and what it does. Without a clear understanding of your target audience’s needs and desires, it’s impossible to craft an effective message.
For example, if you are marketing a travel insurance policy, your goal may be to persuade people to buy insurance or renew their existing policy. Tailor your message to appeal to their desires and needs, and avoid using terminology that may confuse them. Instead of pitching ‘journey’ insurance, focus on the ‘journeys’ the insurance protects. In this way, you can present your product in the most favorable manner and make it easier for them to understand what it is and why they need it.
2. Identify the decision-makers
Once you’ve chosen your product, you need to identify the people responsible for buying it. These are the individuals who have the power to decide whether or not to purchase your product. They are the ones you’ll need to focus on convincing to make your marketing efforts pay off.
Decision-makers often have other responsibilities in their life, so be sure to consider how you can be most useful to them. Perhaps you can offer them helpful advice on how to manage their personal finances better, help them get organized, or expose them to new opportunities. The choice of the product you’ll promote influences who you’ll reach out to, so take the time to understand their needs and wants. In this way, you can tailor your offer to be of most value to them.
3. Identify the decision-making cycle
As a marketer, you’ll likely be asked to consider the decision-making cycle of a target audience. That is, you’ll need to identify the stages that they go through before making a purchasing decision. Simply put, in order for your marketing efforts to be effective, you must consider where your target audience is in their decision-making cycle.
You can use a simple, yet effective, tool like a journey map to identify the different stages that your target audience goes through before making a buying decision. A journey map is a visual representation of the stages of a typical buyer’s behavior. By understanding where your target audience is in the decision-making process and what they need in terms of content, you can determine the right timing to reach them.
4. Tailor the offer to the decision-makers
Once you’ve established the decision-makers, it’s time to tailor your offer. Your goal is to design a message that will appeal to the people most likely to buy your product or service. To do this, you must understand their needs and wants and what makes your product or service special.
To begin, look at what the decision-makers have already decided, either consciously or subconsciously. This is important, because the choices made by the decision-makers will influence everything they do—even the products they buy. That is, the products they buy will reflect what they want and need, which in turn may reflect what others want and need. This is a cycle that must be broken before you can successfully market a new product or service.
Take a little bit of information about each decision-maker and weave it into your pitch to create a more personalized experience. For example, if you’re marketing a travel insurance policy, you may want to send out an email to all of the travelers on your policy mailing list. In this way, you can ensure important information about your product is delivered in a way that is most useful to them.
5. Create actionable steps
Once you’ve appealed to the decision-makers’ emotions and engaged them in the decision-making process, you can nudge them into taking action. This is where the fun begins. As a marketer, your goal is to get people to take the first, second, and third steps toward buying your product or service. To do this, you must develop a strategy for converting non-actioners into buyers and develop content that is useful and that will encourage them to take the desired action.
Your strategy must include a combination of the following:
- Education: Inform your audience of the benefits of your product or service
- Emotion: Appeal to your audience’s emotions in order to get them to act or make a decision
- Scarcity: Alert your audience that they are missing out if they don’t take action
- Incentive: Offer them something of value for taking action
The following are a few examples of how this might look in practice.
1. Travel insurance example
Let’s suppose you’re marketing travel insurance and you want to target males aged between 18 and 34 who are interested in luxury hotels. You’ve chosen this group because they represent a lucrative market with high purchasing power. Using the tools mentioned above, you can create a journey map for this audience.
You can start by considering their decision-making cycle. Based on the map, you’ll see that this group doesn’t really make many buying decisions regarding travel insurance. They have been influenced to believe that it is exclusive to wealthy people and therefore not applicable to them.
To solve this problem, you can implement a number of strategies, but probably the most effective one is to simply educate the audience regarding the benefits of travel insurance. You can do this in a number of ways, but the simplest and most effective one is to have someone with experience in the industry write an article detailing the various reasons why someone needing travel insurance would want to buy it.
In this way, you can show that not only is travel insurance beneficial for the person needing the coverage, but it is also valuable to those around them. This type of education can help counter the effects of mass media, which is heavily biased toward demonstrating the greatest profit potential. By presenting both sides of the argument, you can show that even people seeking the cheapest travel option also want quality services.