As a business owner or savvy digital marketer, you probably would have come across plenty of infographics and articles highlighting the effectiveness of email marketing. And you’re looking to get started with an email marketing campaign.
But, then how to get started? What should you do? No clues worry not! We’ve got you covered. This is the ultimate guide to getting started with the email marketing campaign. We give you step by step instructions to ensure that your first email campaign is a roaring success. Make sure to bookmark this page to reference later.
Step 1 – Define your Goals First
Let me explain the needs for a defined goal with a real-world analogy. Let’s say; you go on a road trip. What’s the first thing you do? Search for your destination on Google Maps, right? Starting an email marketing campaign without a defined goal is like going on a road trip without a map. You’re bound to get lost.
So, before you start anything else – you have to define your goals – what you wish to achieve with this campaign. Do you want more leads? Introduce a product or service? Increase site visitors? Having a defined goal will help you decide the type of campaign, the content to include in your emails, whom to target and how to measure the success of the campaign.
Here are some popular goals of email marketing that have been defined by our clients:
- To drive more traffic to the site – If you generate revenue from your site using advertisements, then this goal will help you increase revenues.
- To promote new products – So that potential customers reach your e-commerce store or visit your physical store to purchase the new launches.
- To increase attendees to an event, you’re promoting.
- To keep your customers reminded of your brand.
- To increase brand awareness.
Step 2 – Grow your Email List Organically
For an email marketing campaign to be successful, you require a list of relevant and valid email addresses. Ideally, your email list should contain all existing customers, customers who have shown interest in your brand but have not yet made a purchase and potential target customers.
There are several ways you can grow your email marketing list:
Import Customer Contacts from your Customer Database
If you have a database or even an Excel sheet of customer email addresses, you can directly import the email addresses into your preferred email marketing tool. Make sure that you have permission from your customers to email them. While collecting email addresses, get their consent to send them occasional promotional emails.
Build a list from scratch
What to do if you don’t have a spreadsheet/database of customer email addresses? You can build it from scratch. If you own a physical store, get a guestbook and request walk-in customers to provide their contact numbers and email addresses. Provide customers with a simple incentive – a candy or a discount on the next purchase, when they fill up the guest book.
The second step in building an email list is online. Add a subscription button to your website. The formula to follow here is,
Subscription opportunities + a small but valuable incentive = large email list
Now, the question here is,
What makes for a good incentive?
Here are some examples of what you can offer as an incentive to get customers to share their email addresses with you:
- Discounts on first order
- Free shipping
- Express shipping
- First to know the latest product launches
Now, coming to the next question,
Where to place the Subscription Bar?
- Header bar – This is at the very top of the website and gets the attention of all site visitors.
- Slider – This is a small box that slides into the website, usually in the bottom right corner.
- At the top of the Sidebar – If you have a sidebar on your site, you can place the CTA on the sidebar above the fold.
- End of Posts – Place a visual newsletter opt-in at the end of your blog posts.
- A Pop-up – Use a pop-up box to get readers to opt-in for your email newsletters.
Step 3 – Decide on the Type of Email Campaign
There are several types of email campaigns. Here are some of the popular ones:
Newsletters – This is a periodically distributed email that gives customers the latest information about your brand, products, services, etc.
What does it do? Helps to keep your brand on top of the mind of customers.
Marketing Offers – This email encourages people to make a purchase by offering discounts and special promotions.
What does it do? It helps to drive sales. It includes a direct call-to-action and clicking on it takes customers directly to the product page.
Announcement – This email is sent to customers to announce a new product, service or feature.
What does it do? It helps you keep your engaged audience up-to-date with your latest products and features.
Event Invitation – This email helps to attract guests for your upcoming event.
What does it do? Increases awareness of your events.
Step 4 – Selecting the Right Email Campaign Tool
Now, that you’ve got the basics sorted, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and get into the job. There are plenty of easy-to-use email campaign tools like Constant Contact, Drip, MailChimp, Campaign Monitor, and more.
Using these tools, you can quickly create beautiful and compelling emails, manage your contact lists, schedule emails, measure the performance of your emails and more.
Which Email Campaign Tool should I Use?
There’s no single tool that works for all. Try out different tools – most of these tools offer free trial versions. You can use different tools to get the feel of each tool and see which works the best for you.
Step 5 – How to Design the Best Promotional Emails?
Now, we come to the crux of this post – the content and design of your emails. Here are some thumb rules that help you get the best results from each campaign.
- Aim for Easy Readability
Studies reveal that the average attention span of human beings is just 8 seconds. People are not going to read your emails word by word – you have to hook in their attention within a few seconds. You need to capture the attention of your readers with the visual design of your emails. An effective approach is to use the “inverted pyramid model.”
As you can see from the image above, this model contains a headline that highlights the key message of the email, followed by supporting information and a clear CTA. Structuring your emails using this model makes it easy for reading while grabbing user attention, which translates to higher CTRs (Click-through-rates).
- Use Engaging Visuals to Increase Engagement Rates
No one likes to read line after line of text. Avoid having lengthy blocks of text in your emails. Add striking images and videos to draw in attention. Studies reveal that people remember 65% of visual content compared to just 10% of text-based content.
- Personalize the Emails you Send Out
Remember that your audiences receive hundreds of emails in a day. How do you ensure that your emails stand out from the rest? The answer lies in personalization. Start by adding the name of the recipient in the subject line. Then personalize the content of the email using user segmentation buckets.
To give you an example, let’s say you have a group of audience who have previously purchased “heels” from your e-commerce store. Then, you can send them personalized offers for stilettos and wedges, as they are likely to be interested in these similar products.
This brings us to the next point,
- Ensure Relevancy of your Emails for your Audience
Start by categorizing your subscribers into different lists. You can then send different content to each list of audiences based on their interests and preferences. Segmentation of audiences into different categories makes for efficient personalization.
Why Segmentation plays a Crucial Role in determining the success of your Business?
Market studies indicate that targeted and segmented emails generate 58% of all email revenue. Additionally, this study also found that marketers who make use of segmented lists see an increase in revenue by 76%.
Here are some ways in which you can segment your audience:
- Demographics – based on gender and age
- Demographics – based on gender and age
- Past activity
- Type of products
- And more
Ok, now that you’ve seen the different ways to segment your audience, the next question is, how to approach segmentation? There are two ways to get this done:
One – You can sort existing customers on the back-end using available customer data
Two – Get your customers to self-segment without their knowledge. In this approach, you provide customers with the same opt-in at different places on your site. Based on from which page, they are subscribing you segment them. To give an example, if a user subscribes from a page detailing laptop troubleshooting, you classify them as laptop owners.
- Ensure that your Emails are Similar to your Brand Design
Even customers who haven’t yet purchased from you are likely to be familiar with your brand. So, it’s essential that you use the same colors, fonts, and themes in your emails so that it reflects your brand value. Make sure that your emails offer a consistent experience to customers, like that of your brand.
This is crucial as it helps your email subscribers feel that the emails are from the company, thereby increasing their trust in your brand.
- Let your Emails make it Easy for Customers to Convert
Ok, quick question – what’s the purpose of sending emails to your customers? Of course – to increase sales and get them to convert. Make sure to include actionable buttons on your emails that take customers directly to the relevant landing pages.
- Time your Email Campaigns Right
Make sure to use an email planning calendar to decide when to send emails. This helps you avoid sending too many or too few emails. Nailing the right frequency matters – send too many emails and your customers are likely to get annoyed, send to few your customers are likely to forget your brand. Make use of web insights like Google Analytics to find out when your customers are most likely to open emails.
So, how often should you send campaign emails?
This chart from MarketingSherpa will help you determine the optimal frequency.
Image via MarketingSherpa
Once or twice a week is a good frequency to start. You can then increase or decrease the frequency later, with inputs from your subscribers.
- Follow the 80-20 Rule
All your emails shouldn’t just be promotional content. Make 80% of your emails offer valuable information to your customers and limit promotional content to the rest 20%.
Bite-sized content that’s easy to read, storytelling, stronger narratives, interactive email experiences, personalization – are some of the best ways to create highly engaging emails that see high open rates.
Running short of ideas on what to send? No worries, here are some ideas to help you out.
- Behind-the-scenes content – get your audience to see what’s happening inside your company, something they usually don’t get to see, like your assembly line, brainstorming sessions, etc.
- Infographics, survey results, links to recent blogs up on your site
- Storytelling content like customer feedback, interviews of team members/new hires, etc.
- Product updates, new releases
- Unboxing content, tutorials, how-to-guides
- FAQs, webinars, case studies, free resources
- Company information like upcoming corporate events, trade shows and more
Step 6 – Measure the Results of your Email Campaigns
By now, you would have identified your email marketing objectives (step 1), built your customer list (step 2), decided on the type of email campaign (step 3), figured out the email campaign tool to use (step 4), drafted your first email (step 5) and finally sent it out.
Now, it’s time to measure the results of your email campaigns. Were your emails effective? Did your target audience open it? Did it get customers to convert?
You can find the answers to these questions in two places:
1. Your email campaign marketing tool – irrespective of the type of tool you use, it’s sure to have an insight section. Look for the report section in the tool. You can find the following information:
- Number of unique opens
- Number of unopened emails
- Number of bounces (most likely faulty email addresses)
- Click through rates – the percentage of people who opened the email and clicked on the button that brought them to the corresponding landing page
- Open rate – the percentage of subscribers who opened the email
- Unsubscribe rate/spam complaints
2. Your website analytics tool, like Google Analytics. Using GA, you can find out the number of people who landed on your site/made a purchase, how long they spend on your site, as a result of the email campaigns.
Get Started with Split Testing
Using the metrics gathered, you begin to get an idea of the emails that your customers like and the ones that don’t work. The next step is to work on split testing to optimize open rates. Split testing is sending different versions of the same email – only with different subject lines. See which subject lines get the most opens and use it for future emails.
Few Words to Include in Subject Lines to Increase Open Rates
|Back in stock||Brand New||24-hour giveaway||Today Only||Breaking||Freebie|
|On Sale Now||In Stock||Golden||Expired||Congratulations||Holiday|
|Thanks||New||Holiday||Great Deals||Limited Time||Exclusive|
|Get this now||Last Chance||Today Only||Try||News||Daily|
Few Words to Avoid in Subject Lines
These words have been studied to get people to add them to the spam filter. Try to avoid these words in your subject line.
|#1||Shocking||See for yourself||Dear friend||Loan||Download|
|100%||Exclusive Deal||Money||Lowest Price||Score||Risk-free|
|Hello||Greetings||Not Spam||Once in Lifetime||Fantastic Deal||Increase in Sales|
|Announcing||Certified||Get ready for||Giving Away||Apply now||Budget|
|Stop||This isn’t Spam||Terms and Conditions||Join Millions||Make Millions||While supplies last|
Email marketing is a powerful tool to drive sales, increase brand loyalty and boost business revenues. The best part – it offers high returns on investment, compared to other marketing channels.
Make sure to follow this guide to craft a stellar email marketing campaign and watch your business success soar. Make sure to share this guide with friends who would benefit from this. And, if you’ve got any further doubts or need help on creating the “perfect email marketing campaign,” for your business, all you’ve got to do is give us a call or say a hi to us via our contact form, and we’ll get back in touch with you.