Are you an Email Scrooge?

Published: Tuesday, August 23rd, 2016

As we revealed in a previous blog, email marketing is still a very effective way to nurture leads and drive new sales for your business. However, unless you deliver real value to your subscribers your email campaigns are more likely to fail.

It’s pretty simple; subscriber’s scour at an email Scrooge!

Like Scrooge, the spirit of giving is lost on some email marketing campaigns. They only email you when they want a sale and never seem to give much in return. Bah humbug! Your subscribers will quickly tire of this miserly approach.

Don’t get me wrong, sales are vital. Of course they are but adding value to your email campaigns is absolutely critical for building trust in your brand and delivering long-term success.

Let’s look at 9 areas to help improve your email marketing campaigns.

Target your subscribers – List Management

A crucial and often overlooked area in the email marketing process is list management. Not only is it important to segment your mailing list into segments based on demographics, sales funnel positions, interest etc.., it is also critical that you clean your list regularly, removing those that have shown no interest or have requested to unsubscribe.

Without regular list management you may find yourself frustrating your subscribers and potentially coming to the attention of the dreaded spam police.

Give subscribers valuable content

So you have cleaned and segmented your list. Great! Now what?

Think of all the times you have received emails from companies you respect. They offer you free ebooks containing valuable information pertaining to your business, or free white papers keeping you up to date with your industry’s best practices. Other valuable content includes links to insightful blogs, how-to videos, free seminars, special unique offers, competitions or…well you get the idea. It’s for this reason why you and many more appreciate and value these brands.

Simply put, your email marketing campaigns need to inform, educate and entertain in order to build trust and loyalty in your brand.

Give subscribers a reason to open your email

Your list is cleaned and segmented and you have developed valuable content for your subscribers. So far so good, now if you want your subscribers to read your email you have to compel them to open it. One key factor in whether your email will be opened or not is the subject line. Analysis by Mail Chimp, called ‘The Most Popular and Most Capable Email Marketing Service’ by pc mag, recommends a short, descriptive and compelling subject line. Research has also shown that personalising your messages by placing the name of the recipient in the subject line along with the content of your emails can increase open rates by 26%.

A final consideration is that subscribers generally won’t open emails from an unrecognisable sender so it is important to make sure that the “from name” is updated to something recognisable to the subscriber.

Give subscribers a clear call-to-action

Every email should have a goal, you may want to increase your brand awareness, to build trust and loyalty or to encourage a sales conversion.

To achieve your goal you will need to include a Call-To-Action (CTA) in your email content in order to drive the subscriber to your blog or to a sign up / sales landing page.

A CTA can come in many formats, it can be a simple text link, an image or a simple but effective CTA button. The most effective CTAs are visually striking but also include copy that is compelling. The copy is very important and should be brief, a couple of words is generally best. It should also begin with a verb like “Download”, “Register”, “Buy”, Or “Read”. Your CTA should also follow the flow of your content and be large enough to stand out but not so large to take away from the main content. You should also use contrasting colours to help your CTA stand out.

Every email you send should contain a call-to-action. This is another critical step, don’t ignore it!

Give subscribers great landing pages and get those sales in!

So you have sent out several emails nurturing your subscribers with wonderful high-value free content that makes their lives a little easier and builds a sense of genuine trust in your brand.
Now the time has come to send out a direct sales email and for that you will need to send them to a great landing page. A landing page is essentially a page on your website that you send subscribers to after they click a link in your email. Selling products or services isn’t always the goal of a landing page but when you are ready to sell you need a well-designed page built by experienced web designers who understand the best conversion methods.

Make sure you take as much care with this page as you do with the email. We recommend consulting with a qualified and experienced web design team.

Landing Page Design Example - Web Design Galway

 

HTML rich or plain text – test different versions of your emails

In keeping with the theme of added value, think of your subscribers as a unique group with their own preferences. Do you know what style of email they appreciate more – plain text emails or emails with lots of visual images (HTML rich)?
The former does what it says on the tin, it’s just a plain written message that gets straight down to business. The latter includes visual styles, images and video which usually have a powerful effect on marketing channels but with email, research has shown that HTML rich messages can result in lower conversion rates.

It’s worth testing this to help you better understand your subscriber base.

Give them mobile-friendly content

Research by Litmus showed that 53% of emails were opened on mobile devices, with webmail on 25% and desktop on 22%. With that in mind make sure you use a responsive design that displays well for both mobile and desktop. Content that displays poorly on mobile devices runs the risk of lower conversion rates.

Don’t be a Scrooge here! Make the effort to make it easier for your subscribers to interact with you.

How often to send email – Frequency

A word of warning here folks; bombarding people with too many emails will only encourage them to hit the unsubscribe button. Testing the frequency that suits your audience is really important. Research from the DMA revealed that 35% of companies surveyed were emailing subscribers 2-3 times per month. 21% were messaging their list 4-5 times per month.

The point here is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all frequency level for email. Talk to your customers. Ask them how often they would like to receive emails from you. Weekly, fortnightly or monthly?

A good rule of thumb is only send emails when you have genuinely valuable and relevant content to share with them. If that’s just once a month so be it. Otherwise you’re just clogging up their inbox and that’s not adding value; that’s just adding clutter.

Avoid spam – don’t let valuable content get red-carded

Spam is simply email that we do not want to receive, it can be harmless but can also be sinister and dangerous. Email service providers use algorithms to determine whether or not your email is suspect or legit and whether they should place your email in a subscriber’s inbox or their spam folder. The danger here is that you end up being blacklisted so all your email messages end up in the spam folder putting a halt to your email marketing campaigns.

Just some ways that spam filters work is based on your reputation, how your subscribers react to your email and the quality of your content, so make quality a priority. In addition, try to avoid the spam trap by following these simple rules.

  • Avoid sending the same email repeatedly; keep your content fresh.
  • Avoid using too many attachments; these may be perceived as spam.
  • Avoid buying email lists; these people may mark you as spam.
  • Avoid sending emails to those not interested; Keep your email lists clean.

Key Takeaways

The key to successful email marketing is to enter into the spirit of giving – don’t be a Scrooge, develop a relationship with your subscribers over time based on delivering quality content that they trust.

Some best practices to remember include segmenting your subscriber lists, creating quality content, personalising emails and always including a call-to-action in your email. Furthermore, ensure your email campaigns are mobile-friendly for today’s users and it’s also worth investing in well-designed landing pages to increase your sales conversion rate. And finally, be aware of the frequency with which you send emails, don’t overdo it.

Applying these best practices will greatly reduce the risk of ending up in people’s spam folders while increasing the potential for building trust in your brand, nurturing leads and converting subscribers into customers .

What should you do next?

If email marketing is on your list of priorities but you’re unsure how to start or you are finding it difficult to allocate enough time to your campaigns, then why not try a consultation with the Digitaledge team. Contact us by email or telephone. We’ll work with you to develop and execute the right email campaign to convert your subscribers.