If you’re reading this, I assume that you’re either an owner, co-owner, or manager of an online store. Or you know one. Maybe you even run one. If so, then you’re undoubtedly already aware of the importance of email marketing to bringing customers into your store and converting them into paying customers. You also know how difficult it can be to get people to actually open your emails, let alone click on an affiliate link or purchase a product that they find within an email blast. That’s why you want to be sure that you’re using email to its fullest potential and are taking advantage of every email marketing opportunity.
What you may not be aware of is just how much effort goes into an effective email marketing strategy, how important it can be, and how difficult it can be to put one in place. In order to do that, we’re going to walk you through each step of the process so that you can put one in place, or have someone else do it for you. The more you know, the easier it will be to get the most out of your email marketing. So let’s get started.
Step one: Set up a drip campaign
The very first thing you should do before you begin your email marketing campaign is to set up a drip campaign. A drip campaign is simply a group of emails that are sent out to potential customers over a period of time. Typically a drip campaign is used to introduce a new product or service to a customer, or to promote a special offer or discount code. But it can also be used to simply stay in touch with existing customers and encourage them to return.
The reason that this is an important step is that you want to make sure that you’re using a tool or platform that allows you to easily send out mass emails. Most email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp and ConstantContact, allow you to set up drip campaigns with ease. So once you’ve set up your account, you can begin to create your first drip campaign by clicking on the create a drip campaign button located in the upper right-hand corner of your dashboard. You’ll see a short pop-up asking you to name your campaign; type in a brief description of what your drip campaign is meant to do, and then click on the next button.
This will bring you to the drip campaign creation tool, where you can set the number of emails you want to send out and how often you want to send them. You also want to make sure that you’re using a tool that provides you with analytics so that you can track the effectiveness of your campaign.
Step two: Create personas and target audiences
The second crucial step in creating an effective email marketing strategy is to create personas and target audiences. A persona is simply a combination of characteristics, such as age, gender, and location, that define your ideal or typical customer. As a business owner, manager, or marketing professional, you’ll want to develop several personas so that you can more effectively market to various audiences. While developing your personas, you need to keep in mind that this is a best practice and not a requirement. You can certainly create a persona without doing so.
Once you’ve developed your personas, you want to target your audience. Targeting your audience is simply deciding which email marketing platform, social media platform, or channel to use to reach the audience that you’ve defined. Once you’ve chosen the channel, you can begin to craft your message and set your targeted audience to receive your emails, texts, or social media posts. Here’s where things get really interesting. Chances are, you have an audience on one platform, but you want to reach a different audience on another. So how do you do that?
Well, you could try cross-platform messaging. Instead of sending out a single email to your entire audience, you could send out a tweet, post on Facebook, or join a discussion on LinkedIn with your message. The key is to figure out a way to reach your audience where they are—whether that’s through email, social media, or a little bit of both. Experimenting with different platforms is how you find out what works best for your audience and builds credibility.
Step three: Research the competition
The third step in creating an effective email marketing strategy is to research the competition. Simply put, you want to find out what your competitors are doing, who they’re targeting, and how they’re attracting customers. One of the best places to do this is by searching the interwebs for information. But you want to make sure that you’re not simply copying their strategies. You want to find out why they’re effective and how you can apply what you learn to your own business.
By far the simplest way to do this is to use Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows you to track the traffic coming to your site with incredible detail. You can set up automated email campaigns, so whenever someone visits a product page or clicks a link to another site in an email, you’ll get an email notification. With this tool, you can even track the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns, so you can see which method, whether it’s a series of drip campaigns or a single mass email, drives the best results.
Step four: Set up automated emails
The fourth step in creating an effective email marketing strategy is to set up automated emails. Once you’ve set up your account with a contact form, you can begin to schedule automated emails to be sent to potential customers as soon as they fill it out. This step is extremely important, as it allows you to stay in touch with your customers without needing to be too attentive. You can also use the form to gather feedback from your customers, learn what’s working and what’s not, and fix problems as they arise.
There are several different ways that you can set up automated emails. You can use email automation software, such as Marketo, to have new customers sign up for your product or service and get a welcome email, a confirmation email, and an activation email. You can use a tool like Hello Bar to have a live chat agent greet customers when they visit your site, gather feedback, or just need a little human interaction. You can also use autoresponders, such as Aweber, to have automated, periodic emails sent to customers who signed up for your mailing list.
Step five: Measure the results
The final step in creating an effective email marketing strategy is to measure the results. This is simply the step where you compare what you did to what you hoped to see. Did sending out a single, mass email get you the results you were looking for? Did a drip campaign make more sales than a single mass email? Was there a specific demographic, such as women aged 35-44, that benefited the most from a certain type of content, such as blog posts versus product comparisons versus case studies?
By closely tracking the results of your efforts, you can determine the effectiveness of your strategy and make sure that you’re always improving. You can use tools like Google Analytics to track the results of your efforts and determine which strategy, whether it’s a piece of content or a social media campaign, performs the best for your business. You can then take that knowledge and implement it into your next campaign.
Hopefully, at this point, you’re convinced that creating an effective email marketing strategy is critical to your business. But just because something is important doesn’t mean that it’s easy to do. It takes plenty of research, experimentation, and measuring results to determine which strategy works best for your business. So before you begin your next email marketing campaign, make sure that you’ve considered everything and that your plan is sound. And when you do begin your next email marketing campaign, make sure that you follow the guidelines and strategies that you learned from the previous one. In no uncertain terms, you want to make sure that you’re investing in the right tools for the job so that you can fully optimize your results and grow your business rapidly.