How to Kick Start a Successful E-Mail Marketing Campaign
E-mail marketing is one of the most popular, cost-efficient and optimal marketing strategies a business owner can adopt. It has survived many decades and has stoically stood its ground against the recent onslaught of content marketing and social media marketing. E-mail might sound outdated but is still the most popular form of online communication both in personal and professional circles. A latest McKinsey survey says that “e-mail remains a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media—nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined”. The survey also makes the heartening statement that 91% of all US customers use e-mail daily and that they sent a mind boggling 838 billion e-mails in 2013.
A well thought-out strategy is essential for the success of any marketing campaign and the same applies to online selling as well. A point you need to keep in mind is that your customer perceives or sees your brand as a cohesive and continuous entity across all platforms, both digital and off-line. You need to maintain the consistency and unity of your brand image across all the media platforms because it is essentially the same person you are trying to woo across all of them.
Let’s have a look at the basics you need to get right for a smart and successful e-mail marketing strategy.
An ever-increasing number of businesses, startups, online sellers and individual entrepreneurs are choosing e-mail marketing to advertise their business, attract new customers, build brand loyalty and drive sales, all spam proliferated. Spam filters help recipients dump unsolicited mails into their spam bin, posing the biggest challenge to e-mail marketing. The only way to prevent your mail from getting into your customers’ junk boxes is to adopt the best possible practices and garner a right or ‘permission’ from them. Permission, which is also termed a ‘handshake’ between you and your customer, grants you authenticity and helps build brand recognition and value.
The process of gaining permission may sound tedious but is not necessarily so. A tempting discount, free sample or an informational newsletter can coax a prospect into flagging you green. Make it a priority to build, sustain and tend to your budding bond. Once the trust is gained you can recommend your products and services and nurture brand loyalty.
Manage and Maximize Your E-Mail List
It is most important for you to reach out to the right market. You need to keep a track of how your list grows. Ideally it should be on more than one front. There should be a net growth of the e-mail list with newly added e-mail IDs and steady growth in delivery, open and click-through rates. You should also keep a track of the bounce rates and unsubscribe rates. The mail list should be trimmed and pruned to remove unresponsive recipients. The best e-mail marketing strategy is one that is customized and personalized to the preferences and requirements of the customers or prospects in the list. You need to break up your recipients into categories and directly engage them. E-mail marketing metrics help you gauge the effectiveness of marketing campaigns, and improve, learn and mold your strategies according to the dynamics of your list.
Track Your User Engagement
It is very important to track the performance of your marketing campaign. User engagement and interaction are absolutely necessary to build consumer interest, loyalty and drive sales. User engagement should be gauged according to the objective of your marketing campaign. There is a need to differentiate between campaigns executed for deepening existing customer relationships and loyalty, and to drive direct response from customers. The former is reasonably successful if the customer opens your mail, reads the contents and responds to any queries, survey or questions. The latter needs to translate into subscriptions and sales orders. Keep an eye on how many recipients are signing in for newsletters or accepting free samples. The success of campaigns should not be judged on a case by case basis but over a considerable period of time spanning a few marketing drives.
Make Opt-in Stand out on Your Website
Social media icons jump out from home pages of most company websites encouraging visitors to ‘like’, ‘follow’ and ‘share’. But there is little or no encouragement or incentive for customers to opt-in for e-mails or newsletters. The e-mail invite should be easy to find, fill in and should ideally have a benefit-based call-to action which the prospect can avail in subsequent e-mail interactions. The opt-in forms should be located not just on the landing page, but throughout your website and in various placements. The webpage with the opt-ins to sign up for e-mails should be put up on your social media sites too. You can tweet about your e-mail campaigns or post them on your ‘wall’.
Make Your Content Engaging and Intriguing
Ultimately the success of all marketing messages boils down to the worth, promise and allure of your content.
The subject line should be relevant to your customer propelling him to click on your mail and read more.
Content should be concise, clear, readable and to-the-point. It should optimize the extremely short attention span of online readers and prove to be engaging.
Go for an inverted pyramid model of message delivery: the important information on the top and the lesser important ones towards the bottom.
A bold signature in the end with your personal and company details, and contact information.
An opt-out option is helpful to the customers and thoughtful on your part. The un-subscription or opt-out rate helps you determine the success and reach of your marketing campaign.
The more user-centric the content, the more engaged your customer or prospect becomes. If the write-up is useful to your customers and, they begin to respect and appreciate your opinions and ideas. A fact to cheer you up is that most people welcome buying suggestions from trusted sources. If you can win the confidence of your customers you can be assured of buying decisions in your favor.
E-mail marketing is alive and kicking. Ignoring it would be at your own peril. Traditional forms of marketing like direct mail marketing still hold their own and continue to be popular. If you are a business based in Chicago, you might want to look up providers offering direct mail marketing in Chicago. One of the prominent opinions voiced at the SES Chicago conference is that all forms of content strategy should be aimed at optimizing all forms of media and communication, traditional as well as modern. By adopting an evolving and comprehensive outlook, you can reap the best results for your business.