Email marketing is more relevant than ever. For the average marketer this means that the stakes are higher than ever, too.
Consider that when it comes to purchases made as a result of receiving a marketing message, email has the highest conversion rate (66%), when compared to social, direct mail and more. [DMA]
Or, that you are 6x more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet. [Campaign Monitor]
The need for savvy email marketing is clear – and so is the potential when it’s combined with marketing automation.
Why? Because automated email messages average 70.5% higher open rates and 152% higher click-through rates than “business as usual” marketing messages. [Epsilon Email Institute]
Here’s the problem though: the abundance of strategies and options can leave many marketers feeling lost. Batch-and-blast is no longer enough. To craft intelligent campaigns that bring in high ROI, marketers must redefine their best practices.
Here are five ways to hedge your bets with email marketing.
Articulate Business Goals
Before getting lost in the details of open and click targets and the size of your lists, sit down and draft your high-level business objectives. After your goals have been outlined, formulate strategies that tie your long-term objectives and marketing practices together.
Create compelling content
Too many marketers treat content as an afterthought, and think that any promotional email will get attention. They’re wrong.
Interesting content and irresistible subject lines are critical to increase open and click-through rates. So are commanding calls to action.
Even though emails are typically briefer than an old-school direct mail letter, the content creation should be just as strategic: you still need to think from your customer’s perspective, address their pain points and align your offers with their goals.
Offering meaningful emails will also establish a track record that trains your recipients to read future messages instead of deleting them unread.
Also important: make sure that your branding, storytelling and messaging are consistent across mediums and platforms. Your email campaign should possess the same tone and aesthetic as the rest of your Web presence, from social media, to landing pages, to digital assets like online guides and webinars.
Finally, make sure that your email content doesn’t contain red flag words like “free” or “offer” that can trigger a spam filter.
Integrate social media
If any trend continues to be red-hot it’s social media. Platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Snapchat are still a must when it comes to customer outreach and marketing.
Yet many marketers still assume that social media is an adequate substitute for email campaigns. It’s not. The two should be used in tandem, offering a smooth cross-channel experience that carries an engagement campaign from its initial email launch though mobile, social media and display marketing strategies.
Thanks to analytic tools, marketers can understand exactly where those campaigns performed and failed. Email and social media should also work together in combining leads and prospects; use your list to guide your email subscribers to your social media sites, while converting your social media followers into email subscribers.
Embrace the mobile reality
55% of emails are opened on mobile devices. Let it sink in, because that number will only grow.
And while social media has been a dominant trend in marketing dialogues, it’s in danger of being
eclipsed by the excitement over mobile. Don’t listen to marketers who call mobile “the future of digital” – the truth is that it’s very much a primary player right now. And when it comes to smartphones and tablets, reading email is just as popular an activity as surfing the Internet or visiting Facebook.
This means that appealing to the mobile readership should be the top of any marketer’s to
do list. The first strategy should be prioritizing the user experience, and understanding the
difference between an email read on an iOS device and the desktop version of that email. You can use tools like Litmus to test on various devices.
Just as your merchandising strategy would change based on venue, your campaign look and feel should adapt to both smartphone and desktop subscribers. The user experience can make the difference between a delete and a transaction.
Test, test, test
One of the most useful tools a marketer can employ in email marketing is testing different content versions on variable groups. Experiment with multiple CTAs using criteria like title, location or industry, or subject lines with different offers and see which performs the best. With
those results in hand, the campaign can be refined and optimized for maximum impact before the official launch to the entire list.
Email marketing doesn’t have to be a gamble. Following the steps above is a great way to hedge your bets and, ultimately, line your pockets.
Looking for the full scoop on creating killer emails that convert? Download our guide to email marketing: How to Write Email Copy that Readers Can’t Resist. Don’t want to miss a post, article, or video? Fill out the form on the right and you’ll always be the smartest marketer in the room.
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