Written by: Helen Cartwright
With social media, viral videos, ephemeral content, and virtual reality all fighting for your customers’ attention, email marketing may seem almost archaic. However, email is still a preferable way to reach audiences, and a well-crafted campaign can do more to grow your business than even the most successful social media efforts.
To leverage the power of email for increased sales, a stronger brand image and better customer relations, familiarize yourself with the process and be ready to hone your marketing tactics for optimal impact.
What is Email Marketing?
You can think of email marketing as a formula in which you combine promotional messages with informative content to nurture customer relationships. Any message from your company containing something relevant to your customer base and sent via email can be described as email marketing. These may take the form of newsletters, coupons, limited-time discounts, event announcements, product suggestions or remarketing.
As the modern answer to direct mail, marketing through email has the goal of not only selling but also increasing brand awareness and strengthening the connections between your company and your customer base. Customers opt-in for your list when they sign up for an account or choose to receive emails when responding to an incentive on your website. This gives you a continually growing collection of contacts and chances to make sales when sending email messages.
Why Your Business Needs to be Using Email
Since building an email list increases your potential customer base, you want to make sure you deliver on the promise you made when each person signed up to receive communications from your company. It doesn’t do you any good to have a list if you never send any emails, and inactivity is likely to result in people unsubscribing before you have a chance to make meaningful connections.
Content marketing is all about relationships, and email continues to be a strong component of this essential advertising strategy. The goal of content marketing is to set your brand up as a thought leader and an influencer in your industry so that customers are drawn to you as a source for information. When you consistently deliver emails containing interesting content and relevant promotions, you strengthen brand loyalty and increase the number of long-term relationships between consumers and your company.
If you’re not quite convinced email has this much power in the modern internet landscape, consider these statistics:
- The number of people using email is expected to rise to over 300 billion by 2020
- 94 percent of internet users are active in email compared to 61 percent on social media
- Consumers are two times more likely to sign up for an email list than to follow a brand on Facebook
- 75 percent of adults online prefer email marketing messages over other types of advertising
- 61 percent of consumers enjoy receiving weekly email promotions
- The average ROI for email campaigns $38 for every $1 you invest
- 88 percent of people check email on their mobile devices throughout the day
With such a large potential audience and options to expand your reach over time, email continues to reign supreme in the world of marketing.
Planning an Email Marketing Campaign
Making email work for your business requires more than firing off a few messages now and then and hoping people respond. Like other forms of content marketing, email messages need to be planned and deployed with care. Everyone on your list opted in because they expected to receive something valuable from your company, so it’s up to you to meet their expectations.
Start by determining the goal of your campaign. Is there a lucrative holiday season coming up? Are you celebrating the launch of a product or service? Do you want to recognize new customers and give them an incentive to continue buying from you? Use your goal as the central part of your campaign, and design every aspect of your messages to drive consumers toward the action you want them to take.
Start with the right type of email to convey your main message. Promotional emails are used to generate sales, and informative emails educate consumers. Put together a draft, working out the best layout for text, images and calls-to-action (CTAs).
This might seem a bit complicated to understand. Let me give you an example, suppose if you are trying to promote your new fashion store. You will try to target the people living nearby areas. While emailing to them, you can make use of videos of your store along with describing some of the USP’s and discounts of your store. Further, you can add some images related to fashion and CTA’s in the emails where the chances of conversion become high.
Optimizing Emails to Meet Your Goals
As you’re planning your campaign, you need to optimize specific parts of your emails to increase the likelihood customers will open them and respond to the messages. A strong subject line encourages clicks, and an opening “hook” delivered in the well-known voice of your brand keeps people engaged. Asking a question is often a good tactic because it increases customers’ curiosity while requiring them to think and react.
Your CTA must be clear, compelling and placed for maximum visibility in the body of the email. Leave no doubt in customers’ minds about what you want them to do after reading your message. Whether you use a link or a button, your CTA should be so strong as to be irresistible.
Remember that a large number of people using their mobile devices for email, and make sure every message is sent in a mobile-friendly format. Pay attention to overall layout and design, and test the final email on several screen sizes before sending to ensure it displays properly and your CTA isn’t hidden on smaller devices.
Email marketing has the potential to be very lucrative for your business. If you have solid goals for each campaign and a clear understanding of who your target audience is and what they want, you can craft powerful marketing messages to which customers will be more than happy to respond. Be ready to test and analyze each campaign, and update your tactics based on what you learn to create effective email messages.
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