Email marketing campaigns have become synonymous with digital marketing success over the past 10 years. Though, recently it has been talked about less and less as the rise of social media marketing along with SEM has stolen the spotlight away from it. Is this justified? Well, the new kids on the block may be getting all of the attention, though it is email that is still the undisputed champion (statistically) of the digital marketing world!
Picture- ROI of marketing by channel per $1 spent http://blog.fusionfarm.com/blog/email-marketing-for-business-is-not-dead-find-out-why
As important as email marketing is for digital marketers, many simply miss the mark and never reach the full potential ROI of their marketing campaigns. Building an effective email campaign is an imperfect science. One will always need to take into account the subscriber’s receiving the mail, the ISP they are sending to and the message they are sending. With so many factors coming into play email marketing can get tricky.
Being able to step back and understand the message that you are delivering from the end users point of view is of the utmost importance. You will soon realize that blasting out self-promotional messages is going to do nothing but hurt your reputation over the long run. All of the short term profits from constant promotion will pale in comparison to the possible long term revenue you could bring in by providing useful information to the end user consistently. Providing useful, relevant and consistent messages to your subscriber’s is the key to the long term profits.
Here are 6 key areas that you need to focus on to increase the ROI of your email efforts-
Imagine if you were looking into buying a magazine, you would not choose the one that is all advertisements, would you? No, you wouldn’t. So why would you try to email out your messages with constant sales requests without providing them any value of being on your list. You need to make yourself the industry expert in your field and gain the trust of your subscribers; this is something that you cannot attain by blasting out’ buy now’ messages every day. Provide them value and they will become a valuable customer of yours.
2.The Call to action
The advice to “always ask them” has been turned into a heroic-sounding marketing term called the call to action as if trumpets were sounding and prospects were marching off to war just because you inserted a couple of words at the end of your copy.
The term might sound a little old fashioned. But the simple fact is, once you’ve gained your reader’s attention and presented all the benefits they will get by taking the action you want, you still have one more hoop to jump through.You need to tell your reader exactly what to do, how to do it, and that you want them to do it right now!
3.Staying Top of Mind
Engagement is your goal and top-of-mind awareness is your reward. It’s important to remember that engagement is a means to an end, not an end in and of itself. The real value derived from engaging your subscriber base between transactions is maintaining top-of-mind awareness for your brand. This is a phrase often used to support ongoing advertising campaigns.
The marketer wants his brand of soup to be the first one that a shopper thinks of when browsing the soup aisle at the grocery store. While the Soup company won’t get many if any online conversions for their soup, next time the shopper goes down the aisle they’ll be more likely to pick a can up when they see it because they engaged with them recently.
Email marketing may not be the best converting ads for a soup marketer (technically since there isn’t much of a direct return per se), but it has real value for something like a hotel chain. A subscriber might only travel for leisure a couple of times a year, but if she regularly engages with emails from Wyndham hotels — even if it’s no more than noticing an email in the inbox — she’s more likely to check Wyndham’s website for rooms and prices when it’s time to travel.
4.Force an answer, Present a Deadline
A deadline forces action. There are plenty of mental justifications you can give yourself for not doing something, especially if there is no compelling reason to decide right now. When you force a decision with a deadline, people have to do something; it’s either a yes or a no. It’s just like eating out at a restaurant when you can’t decide what to order and you need the pressure of a waitress standing over your shoulder waiting to take your order to force you into a decision.
A deadline is a form of scarcity, similar to producing a limited quantity of stock or taking a certain number of members into a membership site. This creates exclusivity, a perception that your customers are part of something unique that only a privileged few get access to (which is true). You have to act fast in order to ensure you are one of the “lucky ones.”
5.Test, test, test
Like most things in life, learning how to run effective email campaigns for your list takes time. You have to constantly be testing out different subject lines, post lengths, the time you send out the campaign, how you segment your list, etc… You will consistently need to test and assess what you are doing to maximize the ROI of your campaigns.
A good way to find out what works out best for your audience is to run an A/B test. An A/B test is a way to test out 2 different email messages to figure out what your list truly likes to engage with. Here are a few best practices to keep in mind when running an email A/B test:
• Always test simultaneously to reduce the chance your results will be skewed by time-based factors.
• Test as large a sample as you can for more accurate results.
• Listen the empirical data collected, not your gut instinct.
• Use the tools available to you for quicker and easier A/B testing.
• Test early and test often for the best results.
• Only test one variable at a time for best results. (If you want to test more than one, look into multivariate testing instead of A/B testing.)
6.Improving your Email Deliverability-
What good would the best email marketing campaigns be if no one received the message you so meticulously typed up? That is like having the best car in the world ready for race day and not having any fuel, you don’t stand a chance. This is why improving your deliverability is paramount to your campaigns success.
Here are 7 tips to increase the likelihood of your email reaching the inbox-
• Warm up your IP
Gone are the days where you can upload your list into an ESP right away and start blasting out emails. You are going to need to warm up your sending IP. What this means is that you slowly add in subscribers from your list, maybe only send to 20% of your subscribers on your first send then slowly add the rest to your mailing list.
• Check your sender reputation and score
Not knowing your sender score as an email marketer is a lot like not knowing your credit score when you are looking to buy a new car or a house. This important number can tell you what percentage your emails are making it to the inbox and what percentage is instantly going to the spam folder.
• Check and Monitor feedback loops
By monitoring your emails feedback loops you can understand which customers are marking your messages as spam and change your sending habits to these people as the more the mark you as spam the lower your sender score will be.
• Stick to a consistent send schedule
The ISP god’s frown upon those that send out 4 mass emails in a week then wait a month to send out another. In their eyes it makes you appear as a spammer so stick to email out your messages on a consistent basis.
• Engage your customers with relevant content
Engagement is king in terms of deliverability. The more you can get your subscribers to actively open, click and respond to your messages the better your email deliverability will be.
• Ask for permission
Email only to subscribers that have actively subscribed to your email list, they know you and why you are sending to them therefore are more than happy to engage with your messages while not seeing your mail as spam.
• Scrub your list
You should remove bounces from your list before you mail to them. The higher the percentage of bounces your list has the more you will tarnish your IP reputation, removing bounces before you send them is a must if you want to make it to your subscribers inbox.