The very first email was sent by computer engineer Raymond Tomlinson in 1971. It was nothing special. He sent it to himself from one computer to another and contains only a series of capital letters “QWERTYIOP.”
That first email travelled via ARPANET, a network of computers that became the precursor to the Internet. Tomlinson also introduced the use of the “@” symbol to email addresses to the world.
Years later, the first commercial email was sent by Marketing Manager Gary Thuerk at Digital Equipment Corp., and just like that, email marketing was born.
Today’s email marketing campaigns inundate our inboxes, and yes, many of them are spammy, but there is no denying the fact that a well-crafted message can have an impact on your customers as well as CRM and lead nurturing.
If you’re new and just beginning to dip your toes in email marketing, it is easy to get overwhelmed with the myriad of possibilities. Thankfully, the reality is that it doesn’t have to be all that complicated. Just as long as you understand the goals you are after in your email marketing, and you follow a systematic process on how you create your emails, you’ll get the swing of things.
Whatever it is you are sending out, you must take into consideration what you are trying to accomplish structure your message and align your strategy accordingly. Below are a few tips that can help you get the most out of your email marketing:
1. Build your email list.
Most businesses already have some existing contacts to start an email list. Even if you already have an extensive list of emails of your clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it.
You can have your list grow passively by including a signup feature on your website. You can incorporate your subscription forms on your home page or anywhere else that you can fit it in, Just ensure that it does not take away from your more important content.
Furthermore, you can also grow your list by encouraging your followers and loyal customers by using a sign-up form on your Facebook business page. Facebook Lead Ads are a great avenue to find new customers by targeting people who are more than likely to want to know more about your business.
Once you grow your list, you’d need to segment it, so you will be able to send out the most relevant information to your contacts.
2. Ensure your emails look professional.
This may sound a bit obvious, but you may be in for a shock how many people send emails that look amateurish and feel like a blast from the 1990s. Ensure your email looks clean and crisp and is accompanied by an engaging heading. And if they do open your email, you’d want to keep their interest, which means:
- You need to use short paragraphs, ensuring that your keywords and phrases are relevant to your readers to be able to stand out.
- Use bullet points to allow your reader to skim the content and take in the vital points of your message.
- Inserting pictures sparingly. The use of images in your email should illustrate your message rather than replace your content entirely. There are email providers that block images or consider your image as an indicator of spam.
- Which leads us to…
3. Keep your emails out of spam folders.
No matter how carefully you’ve constructed your email, once they get flagged as spam, they’ll never again see the light of day. A way to prevent this is to make sure that your recipients have opted in to receive emails from you.
Avoid using all caps, too many exclamation marks and hyperbolic language/phrases. Also, poorly formatted HTML in emails affects how they’re handled.
Additionally, every spam filter is different. An email may pass through one filter but can be flagged by another. Mailchimp offers extensive information on how spam filters work and how you can avoid them.
4. Add a personal element to your emails.
Most email tools provide for you to enter shortcodes that will be substituted with your recipient’s name when the email is sent out and the content is personalised.
Additionally, you can segment your email to groups of your audience. If you happen to have a business that works with various industries, consider sending several versions of your message, with each providing information that is specific to each of these industries.
5. Add interesting links and calls to action.
Most email marketing campaigns aim to increase traffic to a website, sometimes a particular landing page. It’s easy to deduce that if you got no clicks – that means you have no customers, it’s that simple.
Add compelling and visually striking buttons with text that provide your readers with more than one way to interact, such as: Find out more, Learn more, Download Now!, etc.
Additionally, encourage your recipients to respond to your emails and respond right back as fast as you can. That’s a surefire way to show you’re interested and responsive to what they have to say.
6. Be mobile-friendly.
Admit it or not, you’re probably one of most people who reach for their phone when they wake up in the morning. The fact is, that 66% of most opened emails originate from smartphones or tablets.
As it is, email continues to migrate away from desktops, which now sits on the minority of all email opens. In addition, the tablet share of email opens is continually growing.
That said, if your emails are not optimised for mobile viewing, you’re potentially losing out on a huge number of clicks.
That’s right, test to the third power. Never send anything out without having tested it and ensuring that it is working properly. Ensure that your messages look the way you intended them to be by sending them to employee accounts. See if they look right on a variety of mobile devices as well.
Make sure that all your incorporated links are working properly and that any short code personalisation is not failing. Keep on top of mind that if the email, in its entirety, or any part of it goes wrong, you’ll come across as foolishly unprofessional. Trust us, it’s that serious.
8. Test again.
Beyond testing on different platforms, you should also play around using different subject lines, calls to action, and copies to see what connects and is most engaging to your audience.
There are email tools that feature built-in A/B testing modules that allow you to compare the results of different versions of your emails. But even if you have no such facility, you can run these tests on your own. Try sending your emails on different days or at different times of the day to see when you get the best response rates.
9. Keep track.
There may be results that have nothing to do with platforms or even content. But, keep a close eye on your data. How many emails were undeliverable? What time of the day were your emails opened the most? Tiny details such as these tell you a lot about your email’s performance.
If you happen to use Google Analytics on your website, tagging your emails with custom campaign tracking will show you how your emails are driving traffic to your landing pages and how visitors behave once they land on your site.
This information helps you in tailoring your marketing message for people who will consume it.
10. Don’t drown your subscribers.
Knowing these tips, it would be tempting to start sending out as many emails as fast as you can click the send button. Be mindful of how often you send messages out to those on your list.
You wouldn’t want to flood their inboxes with everything you offer – personally, it’s annoying. You might get tagged as spam, and they may even unsubscribe.
11. Make it easy to unsubscribe.
Hear us out. It may seem unproductive that you are giving clients the chance to opt-out and cut the conversation. But if they can’t do so easily, they’ll be more likely to flag your emails as spam, which will cause you major problems later.
12. Provide value.
Great email marketing all comes down to giving your audience something that sticks with them. Something that will keep your business on top of their minds, regardless of if they are educational information, or about the products or services you offer.
Otherwise, your message will just end up going to that electronic trash bin.
13. Work with an email marketing provider.
The tips above are more than sufficient for you to get going in getting the most out of your email marketing. But if you are not sure or are not that confident yet to do it on your own, consider getting professionals to do the dirty work for you.
Work with an email marketing service provider if you are serious about email marketing. It’s the only logical and practical way for small businesses to leverage email marketing automation and segmentation to be able to deliver messages to a large group of contacts.
By working with an email marketing provider, businesses can also benefit from professionally designed email templates, email list growth tools, and tracking features that help in knowing if your campaigns are having a desired effect.
Begin your email marketing journey with us
Like other marketing efforts, success with email marketing is a process. Good planning and data analysis are vital to learn which improvements you can make for your campaigns to succeed.
Our Email Marketing Experts at Accentuate Web Design and Marketing are consumer behaviour and marketing experts, and we can help small businesses acquire maximum impact with direct email marketing campaigns.