Email marketing is a great, inexpensive way to reach the people on your list. If done correctly, this type of marketing will take your business to the next level and bring a great ROI (Return On Investment), for years to come. Here are the most important things you can do to improve your email marketing.
GET BETTER OPEN RATES
Are your emails getting opened? Before we get there, it might be good to know if you’re even tracking your email open rates. If not, start doing so immediately. Your email marketing provider should have this information available, and you should definitely start paying attention.
Once you determine your open rates, you’ll probably want to improve them. There are several reasons why your emails might not be getting to the inboxes of your prospects and/or not being getting opened.
Avoid Spam words...
If your emails contain a lot of spamrelated words (such as free, cheap, %, work-from-home, click here, discount, coupon, special offer, limited time), chances are slim that your prospects are even getting them. Spam filters are becoming more and more sensitive, and they can remove your email before it even gets to the inbox. Try to avoid words that might sound like spam, even if you think you’ll be safe this time.
Subject Lines and Sender...
Once your email gets through the spam filters, your readers have to decide whether or not to open it. The subject line and “from” address will be big factors in leading them to make that decision.
Make sure that your subject lines are intriguing, but that they don’t overpromise. Consumers have been jaded by companies promising the world and not delivering. Avoid sensational subject lines that claim “800% increase in sales” or “I lost 200 pounds in 1 week.” Besides being unbelievable, these subject lines probably wouldn’t make it past the spam filters. Be real, be convincing, be a little mysterious. Subject lines are only half of the equation. Be sure that the “from” field is full of useful information too. Typically, your company name is a good way to ensure recognition and trust.
Personal names work too, provided that they are recognizable. Don’t insert a name that your prospects or customers won’t recognize. Avoid using “noreply” or “systems” addresses—these are not at all personal and are less likely to be opened.
Send Relevant Content...
When you send an email, make sure the content is of value to your prospects. A valuable email could contain a special offer that appeals to the buyer, useful educational content, entertainment, or content that gives requested information.
Emails should also be sent to current lists. And your marketing isn’t relevant to people who didn’t ask for it. Don’t use outdated lists, purchased lists, or lists that aren’t yours ... that is a sure-fire recipe for
spam complaints and poor open rates.
Sending out too many emails will make you a nuisance that ends up in the trash bin almost immediately. Waiting too long in between emails might cause your prospects to forget you and will also land your “unrecognizable” email in the trash bin. Find a happy medium where you can stay in touch with prospects without bombarding them with daily emails.
But the only way to know how often you should be sending is to ask your contacts. You may be in an industry where they want an email a day. Or maybe once a week is appropriate. Take a survey and find out what your contacts are looking for.
Make Sure Your Emails Are Interesting
Your emails should be interesting. This starts with the subject line, but it also includes the headline, design, and content. It is important to be personal—think of your target audience as if they were sitting in a room with you. Be yourself and be different. You have to differentiate yourself from the other emails sitting in that inbox.
You don’t have to include everything in the email. Build anticipation by offering a brief explanation and then sending them to a landing page, blog post, product page, or other destination that can give them more information.
If you are promoting an event, build anticipation by sending reminder emails or emails that prepare your prospects for the big day. Send a little bit at a time and gain their trust by offering valuable information each time.
To get your contacts looking forward to more emails, try this technique: Tell them you’re sending them a gift in the mail … so keep an eye out. Then when that gift arrives, you can bet your contacts will be looking forward to the next email from you—to see what other surprises you have in store.
Your content should also walk your customers down the path toward a sale. Everything you write should help the prospect get answers, clarify misconceptions, climb over stumbling blocks, and otherwise help them arrive at your product/service, ready to buy.
Use Permission-Based Marketing
Prospects need to opt-in in order to receive email communications from you. This is called permission-based marketing, and it is crucial if you want to do it the right way. When a prospect opts-in to your list, he/she should know what to expect from your future communications. Tell them whether you are going to be sending weekly tips, occasional promotions, or daily offers. Be sure to spell out both the frequency and content matter of your future emails.
It is also important to allow your prospects to easily opt-out of communications when they desire. Allow them to manage their data, including the option to stop receiving all communication.
Create an Email Strategy
Sending one-off emails to friends and family works great, but it doesn’t work well for marketing. Each email you send out should fit into a greater scheme, and they should all work toward a common goal.
For example, you can create an email series that highlights the “3 secrets to success in cold weather gardening.” Each week, you can send out another email packed with data, stories, and links relating to one of the secrets. At the end of the series, you can ask recipients to buy your book, attend your garden show, or come in for a special discount on tulip bulbs. The emails work together, building anticipation along the way, and culminate with a call to action.
You can do the same thing with long-term follow-up sequences, new lead education, or any other marketing campaign. Best of all, you can write, create, and load these emails ahead of time. As you get new leads, you can put them into whichever sequence is most appropriate.
Use Multimedia and Links
Email marketing is a good way to communicate with your list, but it isn’t always the best way to educate, entertain, or sell. Including links to videos, podcasts, entertaining articles, social media campaigns, contests, or surveys, however, is a great way to reinforce your message in a unique way.
Don’t try to say it all in the email … use all of your resources together. Email is just a great way to get the word out. Different prospects respond to different forms of communication, so don’t be
afraid to try different strategies.
One of the major reasons small businesses fail is that they don’t follow up with leads and prospects. In general, it takes several communications with a prospect before he/she is ready to buy. But most businesses give up after one or two emails. That won’t get the job done.
Stop leaving money on the table and start following up with all of your prospects. If you can stay in front of them, educating and building trust along the way, they’ll come to you when they are ready to buy.
One of the best ways to have consistent follow-up is through an email sequence. If you put a new-lead campaign, a long-term nurture sequence, and a new-customer campaign into place, you will see dramatic improvement in your conversion rates. The best part? You have to write these campaigns only once.
When you're ready, automate the process and grow. You'll know when it's time, as you'll feel overwhelmed by these daily tasks to the point where you'll have no other choice but to do so.