Email Marketing is not dead – just hard to get right. Here are some things to consider when developing your email marketing strategy – which should be an integral part of your wider social media, communications and marketing goals.
Set measurable goals for your emails
What do you want? Clicks through to your webpage? Entries to your competition? Increased social media buzz of your promotion? Be really clear about what you want to achieve with your email blast, because this will determine the type of content that you will feature in the email and in the subject line.
Your email needs to be targeted towards specific consumer acquisition and retention goals, and these goals need to be measurable so that you can determine the effectiveness of your content in achieving those goals.
The 2012 Email Marketing Benchmark Report (Sign-Up.to) which compiled data of over 900 million emails found that approximately:
- 18.35% of emails that are sent are opened
- Of those that are opened, 15.42% people clicked on a link within the email
Set goals for your emails and track their success on an ongoing basis.
Target Market and Segmentation
In your wider email marketing strategy, you also need to set goals regarding your email list, such as increasing the number of contacts that meet the target audience of your product or service. Analyse where your email contacts come from, what motivated them to sign up, and what strategies you can employ to boost your number of contacts.
When you acquire a new email contact, get them to fill in a form that identifies their demographics, behaviour, interests and concerns (relevant to your products and services). Here are six ways online retailers segment their online markets. These strategies will provide you with valuable information about each and every contact, and you can tailor targeted email communications that are relevant to your consumer.
Identify your competitors and sign up for their email lists. You need to know what your competitors are offering and how they are presenting their content. What will give you a point of difference and set you apart from your competitor? Ongoing competitor analysis will help you drive your email marketing in the right direction.
Frequency of emails
Obviously you don’t want to bombard your customers with email marketing, but by the same token you don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to keep your customer informed. Remember that your customer signed up for your email service because they are interested in the products and services of your brand. Once you have segmented your market and determined their specific interests and concerns, you can target communications that will be meaningful and more likely to be clicked on and consumed by your customer – and less likely to irritate them. To measure how targeted your content is, try an A/B Split test to determine which email subjects are most effective to each customer group.
Subject Line Strategy
If your customer receives a lot of emails in their inbox, it is likely that your email could be the proverbial baby that gets thrown out with the bath water. To increase the likelihood of your email getting opened, you need to capture your customer’s attention with an appealing subject.
The Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com suggests seven strategies to improve your email subject lines, and I also did a little evaluation of current email marketing practices.
In an analysis of subject key words in 200 marketing emails I received in my own inbox in the past month, I found that:
- 42.5% of the subjects relayed a sense of urgency, eg. Last chance, Last day, Hurry, Only a few days left, final call, don’t miss out, ends tonight etc.
- 41.5% of the emails were about a current promotion, offer, sale, special or deal
- 60% included a number – 27% of the key words were a dollar value, and 33% offered a percentage off value
- 16.5% of the emails addressed me directly using words such as “Ashleigh” and “You”
- 13.5% of the email subjects contained the word “free”
While it is important to stand out from the hundreds of other emails in your customer’s inbox, you also want to use a formula that works. Finding this formula involves constant trial and error, and ongoing review and evaluation of email marketing objectives and achievements.