Email marketing and automation still remain a very effective method of communication for digital marketers, delivering dependable results every year. According to the DMA, email marketing receives on average, 30 times more return on investment.
The modern sales funnel is much more complex, and marketers need to take charge of every part of the customer journey and think about communicating with them at many different touch points. Therefore, there is a pretty long list of things that email marketing can be used for; the main ones being:
- Obtaining new customers
- Improving customer loyalty
- Building brand awareness
- Tracking and measuring behaviour
- Testing new products and services
- Generating sales
Email marketing used to be about mass messaging. These days are gone, and have been replaced by a channel that delivers a unique personalised experience. The vast amount of data being collected has allowed us to target based on behaviours and various other elements.
The basic principles remain the same with email marketing, and getting email right can often be a difficult task; and once you hit that send button, there’s no going back. Avoid email marketing disasters by running through this email marketing checklist:
1. Nail Your Strategy
Before you even start to think about sending mass messages out to the world, you need to make sure you have a clear brand strategy. It seems like a bit of a no-brainer, but knowing how you are perceived in the outside world and the behaviours of your target audience are key before you start looking into email marketing. Ask yourselves the following questions:
- Are you clear about your competitive positioning?
- Is this the right distribution channel for your target audience?
- Do you have a solid message that stands out from your competitors, and offers the best in the market?
2. Use Email Marketing Software
Use or invest in email marketing automation software. Email marketing isn’t about throwing money at the problem, and there are a lot of good free tools out there for smaller companies who have smaller list sizes, the main one being MailChimp.
For those bigger ones, restrictions on list sizes and template constraints mean that you’ll have to invest a bit in this. Most of the top email marketing automation tools are really simple to use and allow for things like personalisation and split testing, to make sure you’re communicating and not spamming. Some of the main tools out there are MailChimp, Vertical Response, Campaign Monitor and Silverpop.
3. Follow These Tips When Composing “the Email”
Pay attention to that subject line, as that’s what drives the recipient to open your email. Keep it short, precise and engaging. The majority of emails are now read on mobile, so make sure the important bits aren’t being cut off. Most importantly, don’t forget to check it for spelling errors. Ensure your subject line relates to the below, and then I would advise running it through a subject line checker, to check that your email will make it through those pesky spam filters.
- Urgency: make the user think that they have to click through
- Curiosity: keep a little bit back to improve the chances of people clicking through
- Offer something: people will be more likely to click through if there is something in it for them
- Personalisation: know your audience and share relevant timely information
Segmentation remains one of the highest priorities in email marketing. The one size fits all approach of email marketing is no longer working – although you could argue that it never did work. Using your existing data to segment your emails means that you are delivering a relevant experience, which will ultimately make your campaigns more successful.
Don’t become an “unknown” sender – it sounds simple, but make it clear who you are. This can add credibility to your email and increase the likelihood of it being opened. You can use your company name or a key contact within your company. It doesn’t matter what the subject line is if you don’t know who it is from. Thanks to the increase in spam emails littering inboxes, people will be less likely to open an email from an unfamiliar source.
Write compelling copy: ensure your copy is short, catchy and engaging. Invest time in creating and repurposing good content, and it’s content that will get customers to open the message and hopefully continue to read, as you send them. Content should be short, but it doesn’t mean you can’t link to the full version, in fact – it’s encouraged. Including video, images and links to other articles improves the engagement. Include a clear call to action (e.g. book online, buy now).
4. Check Before You Hit Send
Is it mobile friendly? Over 67% of emails are now opened on a mobile device. It is vital not to overlook how your message comes across on different devices. Emails might still convert better on desktop, but recipients may make a decision from viewing it through mobile first. More than 40% of mobile users check their emails four or more times a day! Always ensure that your email marketing template is responsive on mobile devices if you are getting it designed in-house. Most email automation tools will offer this as standard, but it’s best to check.
Don’t fall short on your merge fields. We’ve probably all received an email “Dear [first name]” before. Like in this email sent from the Labour Party in 2016, nothing makes your customers feel special about being referred to as “first name”, and it could end up being an embarrassing and damaging mistake.
The goal of email marketing is to get people to visit your website, so make sure you link back. Added bonus if it’s a dedicated landing page, if you want to increase conversions. Check all your links – there is nothing more irritating than a broken link or one that goes to the wrong landing page. A simple typo can render your link broken, so it is good practice to check all links in your email work and direct the reader to the correct page. You don’t want to end up sending a follow-up apology email to your entire list.
Check the version of the email is going to the correct list. Brands and agencies often create two versions of the same email based on behaviours. It’s a common mistake to make when segmenting your lists, so it’s all about checking.
Check your spelling and grammar, then check again. Get someone else to check. Customers are quick to pick up on these things and it could damage your brand massively. If you spell a word wrong, someone is bound to notice. This is a vital check that you will find a lot of people don’t bother to perform. It is worth getting a second pair of eyes to do a spelling and grammar check before you hit that send button.
5. Follow up and Improve
Report, review and improve. Email marketing is not about setting up your campaigns and walking away. Check your stats following every email, and monitor the negative results and look for ways to improve. Introducing A/B testing is an efficient way of testing this out from the start, and helps you to make those changes faster and reap the rewards.
In conclusion, email marketing is still an essential marketing tool, by far working as a better conversion tool than social platforms. By following this email marketing checklist, you can ensure that your email marketing campaigns are accurate, engaging and reach your recipient no matter which device they choose to view your message. If you need any further help with setting up your email campaigns, we have some people here that know a thing or two about the topic – just get in touch with our email marketing team today.