Do not stick a fork in it.
Even in our spammy, blocky, filtering times…email marketing is not dead. It’s not even sick. It doesn’t even have a sniffle.
Not even with the advent and popularity of social media, Facebook and Twitter and Vine and all that! None of those can hold a candle to the power of email marketing. When it comes to converting leads into buying customers, studies have shown that email marketing is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter.
40 times more!
This means if you spend more time working on your social media strategies than you do working on your email marketing…you have got it completely backwards. Let’s turn that right side up and get you going on sending out loads of new, profitable emails.
Here are some important things to remember when you create an email marketing strategy for 2015.
All In The Palm of Their Hands
When you design and send your emails these days, do not expect your prospects to be sitting at their desks, luxuriously clicking around your email with a mouse and expanding it to ‘full screen.’ Instead, assume they’ll be sitting in a restaurant, waiting for their lunch date, fumbling with their thumbs on their tiny phone screen.
So keep the graphics bold and simple and easily identifiable, even when shrunk down to thumbnail size. Keep the links well spaced out so they don’t ‘fat finger’ it and click on the wrong link, get frustrated and close it all out.
Think small, simple, easy to read and easy to navigate.
Seek to Enrich, Not to Sell
The most effective email campaigns aren’t the endless streams of discounts, sales and buy, buy, buy! They’re the ones that are so good, so interesting, that your prospects begin to actually look forward to them. Prove to them you’re interesting; show them that you have personality.
Better still, show them that you can help them be more interesting, more educated…and you’ll win them for life. Think of your emails as a chance to add value and strengthen your bond. The ROI will follow.
Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook
The brilliant marketer Gary Vaynerchuk wrote a book called “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World“ That title is a great distillation of the best way to pattern your content in email (and in fact all social platforms.)
Every jab stands for a time you ‘give value’ and the right hook is when you finally go for the sale. The point is that for every sale you go for, you should be offering at least 3-5 times more fantastic, interesting pure content. Creating that landscape of great content will make your customers ready and excited to buy from you when the time comes.
Now, when you do go to sell, you can still be subtle and interesting and full of personality. You don’t want to lose all your charisma, just because you are trying to persuade them to buy.
But still, you must be urgent. Light a fire under those wallets, so to speak. If you have been doing the work and putting out compelling content, your prospects should be eating out of your hands by now. They should be ready and eager to buy whatever you sell.
So make your sales feel special, important, urgent. You don’t want to overdo it and irritate them by just giving them, say, a few hours to buy. But neither should you give them too long to decide. Adding weeks onto a deal will make it feel commonplace, everyday, un-special. Make them feel like that they need to leap at this offer.
Send More Than You Think You Should
Yes, you read that right. So scared are we to annoy people and be thought of as spammers, that we don’t really maximize the power of email. So think of how much you are comfortable emailing your prospects, and then email just a bit more.
All kinds of studies and graphs exist proving that there is no direct correlation between frequencies of emailing and unsubscribe rates. And remember – not everyone is seeing your emails all the times. They may be getting buried, they may be getting filtered out…you can’t be sure they’re seeing each and every email you are sending. So send away in full confidence. As long as your email content is great, they won’t mind seeing a lot of it!
The more you can segment your list, the more effective your campaigns will be. You can segment by surveying them and try to get age, gender, general preferences. But even if you haven’t done that, you can segment your current customers. You know more about them than you think you do.
You know how much they spent and where they live. And most importantly – what exactly they bought! Use all that juicy info to inform the content of your emails and it will resonate that much more with your prospects.
Track & Tweak
Set it and forget it does not apply here. Effective email marketing must be monitored, improved, altered. Watch what subject lines get great open rates and which fall flat. Note what sending times seem to work very well for you and which result in low engagement. It takes a bit of extra work…but tracking these metrics and altering your strategy based on them going forward is the best way to maximize your email conversions.
Don’t Jump to Conclusions
Don’t be rash. If you see that an email has a bad open rate, it might be a bad subject line. But it might not be! Doublecheck that the whole list was effectively mailed. Check that you didn’t send something rife with spam ‘hooks’ in it, causing you to be caught in your prospects’ filters. Again, this means diving a bit deep and taking time to understand what is happening with your emails. But the conversion potential is so very worth it!
Keep At It
So maybe you start emailing and tracking your results. And you see that maybe 30% of your list, after the first month or so, is not yet opening your emails. Maybe you think it would be smart to prune your list and just send your emails to the people who open (appreciate?) them.
But don’t chop those un-openers off yet! Give it a bit of time. Maybe they are slammed at work and they’d love your stuff but have zero time to read it. Maybe they are purposely ‘saving’ your emails until they have the funds to even think about what it is you have to sell.
If someone hasn’t opened an email from you for six months, then you might think of pruning. But until then, why not give them a chance to eventually catch on to the greatness that is you and your email content?
Keep Unsubscribes Holy
No means no. When someone unsubscribes, take great pains to make sure they are off your list. Ideally they will click the link you give them to automatically remove themselves from all of your lists.
Inevitably you’re going to get someone hitting reply (to your “no reply” email address) and saying, in all caps, “TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST!!!” Sure, they didn’t follow the rules and didn’t officially unsubscribe themselves precisely the way you want them to.
Yet you need to pay attention to these outliers because if enough of them complain about you and report you as spam it can bring your whole email operation crashing down.
So are you emailing your customers and clients regularly? How often? What are you sending? What are you afraid to send? Tell us any fantastic success stories or dismal failures in the comment section below!
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