Email marketing offers an impressive return on investment (around 4000% according to Hubspot). According to McKinsey & Company, email is also 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Facebook or Twitter. With these stats in mind, can you afford to ignore your email marketing strategy?
Email marketing is a great way to drive sales and engagement, but it is not without its challenges. Right now most of us probably have tens (or even hundreds) of unopened marketing emails sitting in our inbox. So how do you get started with email marketing and what can you do to avoid some of the pitfalls?
How often should you send marketing emails?
There is no simple answer to this question. Send too many emails and you will soon find a flurry of unsubscribe notifications flying your way from irritated customers. Send too few and your customers will feel ignored – and you will soon be forgotten. So what is the magic number?
This depends a little on what you do and why you are emailing in the first place. If you are a large business with an extensive product line, a host of new arrivals, and an ever-changing number of promotions you may find that emailing two or three times a week works well. Some businesses even aim for once a day (although that may be bordering on over-sharing). Equally so, a small business with less content may opt for once a month.
To find out what works best for your business will involve a certain amount of trial and error. Tracking the success of email campaigns is pretty straightforward. By monitoring your open rates, click rates, conversions and unsubscribe rates, you should soon get an idea of how your email marketing is performing.
Regardless of how often you send, try to keep to a schedule so that customers know when they will be hearing from you and make changes gradually. If you are currently sending one email a month, try an email once a fortnight and monitor the results.
How to build your database
Email marketing is only effective if it is getting to the right people. Great content and fantastic deals mean nothing if they are not reaching your current (or soon to be) customers. So how can you grow your database?
Mailchimp found that their users’ databases increased by a massive 50.8% after adding a pop-up form to their site. This is an easy way to remind your customers to sign up to your emailing list and makes it simple for users too. Forms should be short and only capture the information you actually need, for example, name and email address only, and include a clear call to action encouraging users to subscribe now.
Another great way to build up your contacts is to encourage your current subscribers to share the email with their friends and family. Your current followers do some of your marketing for you by selecting people they know will be interested in your product and you gain access to a new group of potential customers.
Things change and if your email database has been around for a while then it risks being out-of-date. If you are working with an old list consider doing an engaging opt-in campaign. While it is great to have a huge list of potential customers that only works if they are indeed potential customers. It is better to have a smaller list of interested recipients who are more likely to forward your emails and engage with your content.
How to keep your emails out of spam
Your database is full to the brim with eager potential customers and you are certain your carefully crafted email will soon have them flocking to your site. Well your next challenge is to make sure they actually get the email.
One of the biggest reasons for emails skipping their intended target and landing straight in the spam folder is ‘spam complaints’. Every time someone reports an email as spam it is recorded by the email provider and eventually, the emails from that sender will be sent to spam folders. It does not make any difference if this is actually spam or not!
So why would your emails get mistakenly reported as spam and what can you do to stop this from happening?
Firstly, make sure that your customers immediately know who you are. Make sure that your tone of voice, your branding, your images etc all match what you use on your site. If people do not recognise you from your email – amongst the hundreds of other marketing emails they might receive – they may mistakenly dismiss your message as spam.
You may also want to personalise the email. It is good practice to personalise marketing emails anyway as one of the main advantages of email marketing is that you get to talk to your customers directly. This also gives them another clue that this is something they have previously engaged with and might be interested in.
Make sure you offer your recipients an easy and obvious way to unsubscribe. Killer content and an up-to-date database should ensure you don’t lose too many of your followers but your emails may not be for everyone. People may no longer find your product relevant and want to unsubscribe and if you do not make this easy to do they may get frustrated and report it as spam.
Another sure fire way to alert the spam sensors is to pepper your subject lines with spam-triggering phrases and extreme punctuation. Phrases and words like Amazing, For Free, Near You and over the top punctuation marks ???!!! are immediately going to attract the attention of spam filters.
If you are feeling inspired and want to give your email marketing an overhaul then get in touch with our friendly team today.