I’ve lost count of the number of times it has been claimed that email marketing is dead.
However, I understand why some marketing “experts” would say so. After all, 270 billion emails are sent out every single day. Sure, not all of them are marketing emails but it is safe to assume that a significant percentage have sales intent behind them.
You don’t even have to imagine being a prospect receiving hundreds of emails to understand why some would think that email marketing doesn’t work. If you have been in business for some time, and your business email address is publicly available on any platform, chances are that you already receive an overwhelming number of sales emails, offers, or pitches.
Email marketing, which is a part of digital marketing services, is even offered to me from time to time and many of the pitches are sent through emails. This is worth noting because I have my own marketing agency and I don’t really need email marketing services.
My point is, it is true that far too many sales emails are being sent out every day. It is true that standing out in a prospect’s inbox is challenging.
However, none of those things make email marketing “dead” or not worth your time. Despite all those facts, email marketing still offers the best ROI among all the digital marketing channels. Some studies show that businesses make $44 for every dollar that they spend on email marketing. That’s a 4400% return on your investment and if you are anything like me, it is extremely difficult to overlook those numbers.
If you have already been struggling with email marketing for some time, reading those numbers must be making you wonder what you are doing wrong.
The truth is that there are a number of things that you may be doing that are preventing you from getting a positive and satisfactory ROI from your email marketing efforts. In this article, I will share email marketing tips that have worked for me and my clients and have helped my agency deliver delightful results.
Let’s jump right in:
Understand Your Audience
Simply collecting email addresses and sending out emails is not enough to get results, even if you are sending emails to a warm audience.
Your emails are delivering your marketing messages to your audience and unless you develop a deep understanding of who your audience is, what their pain points are, what makes them purchase, and what prevents them from making a purchase, you cannot deliver emails that will resonate with them or inspire them to take action.
This is where the people that send me emails about email marketing services also go wrong.
If they would have researched me, they would know I don’t need an email marketing service.
If you are getting a good open rate on your email marketing campaigns, but low clicks on your links (within the email) or low conversions, chances are that there is something wrong with the message inside your emails.
Before you send out your next campaign, spend some time understanding your audience. The best way to do that is to interview existing customers and learn more about their buying journey to becoming your customers.
If you are just starting out and don’t have a big enough customer base to conduct this kind of research, you can begin working on email marketing with a buyer profile based on educated guesses and market research.
Doing all this may seem like a pain, especially when it results in delays in sending out the next batch of your marketing emails. However, I assure you that if you do your research properly and truly understand your prospects and customers, the rest of the process will be quick and more importantly, impactful.
Take Advantage Of Segmentation
The knowledge you get from researching your customers, when combined with segmentation technology, can deliver incredible results. Segmentation, as the name suggests, is the practice of segmenting your email list in different categories.
By doing this, you can start delivering more personalized messages to your prospects and customers and when it comes to improving the effectiveness of marketing emails, personalization is perhaps the most powerful tactic.
To implement this, use your audience behaviour data to create different segments of your audience. These can be based on just about anything you find relevant to your goals. For instance, if you use gated content offers to collect emails, you can segment your email list by the offer from where the email was collected. Similarly, you can segment customers and prospects within your email lists and segment your customers further by the product or plan that they have purchased or the date of their purchase.
There are virtually endless possibilities here. You must figure out what kind of segmentation aligns best with your business goals and then, deliver customized messages to each of the segments.
For instance, if you create a segment of customers that have purchased a specific product from you ecommerce store, you can start sending out emails containing information about similar products. Similarly, if someone signed up to your newsletter and has been interacting with your emails (clicking through), then it might be a good idea to start sending them a sales email sequence.
Shorten ALL Text
That may seem like extreme advice but the reality is that most people receiving marketing emails don’t have the time to read lengthy blocks of text.
Moreover, if someone is not interested in your products or service, or doesn’t find your message appealing, a longer email will not change their mind.
So, as much as you may be inclined to send out emails telling people all the awesome things they can achieve with your products or service, you must keep your emails concise and to the point.
This is actually another instance where segmenting your email list can help. If you know which features of your product or service are relevant to different segments, you can send out customized (and short) emails mentioning relevant features to different segments of your audience.
Even when you think about subject lines, there is a limit to how much length can be displayed in the standard inbox. This is why it is best to keep your subject lines as concise as possible.
It is also a good idea to cut out the fluff in your emails. I’m sure you have read sales emails that start with formal salutations and take up an entire paragraph introducing the sender.
While this practice might be necessary in the case of cold emails, you can omit this information from the emails that you send to your email list.
Never Forget The CTA
CTA or a call to action is literally a cue that tells your email recipients what they should do next.
They get an email from you and love the subject line. At this point, they already know what to do so they click on the email to investigate further. Now they see the actual email and find it very convincing. So what’s the next step? Should they click on the link in the email? Should they look for an appointment booking option on your website?
This may seem like straightforward and obvious information from your point of view but for a prospect or customer that has limited information about your business, the next step can be unclear. It is your duty to make sure such a confusion does not prevent your conversion numbers from rising.
The best way to do that? Include a clear CTA in your emails.
Let’s understand the importance of a CTA with an example. Let’s say you have an ecommerce store and you have sent a 20% discount coupon for a specific product to a specific segment of your email list. Without a CTA, the prospect, even though they may be interested, may be confused about how to avail the offer shared with them. If your email has a CTA button that takes them straight to the product page and automatically applies the discount, this confusion will be less likely to prevent a conversion.
Ensure Consistency Across The Board
Consistency is the key to presenting your business as a brand that your prospects and customers can trust.
From the moment a prospect discovers your brand or gives away their email address, you must maintain a consistent tone of voice and consistent brand messaging for as long as they are consuming your content.
However, there is another aspect of consistency that is overlooked.
You must also ensure that you maintain consistency in the experience of your emails. For instance, if someone has given their email in exchange for a content offer, it is your responsibility to ensure that the offer is delivered to them immediately. Similarly, if your email is talking about a specific topic and a user decides to click through, make sure that the content on the landing page is consistent and aligned with the content and the CTA of your email.
Without consistency, users will struggle with finding what they want in your emails or on your landing pages and may get frustrated. Such frustrations may, in extreme cases, result in them opting out of your email list.
Track Data And Use It For Testing
If you are using email marketing software, chances are that you are already tracking the obvious metrics like open rates, click through rate, and possibly even email conversions.
In order to truly understand how your audience is interacting with your content, take your tracking capabilities a notch higher and start tracking user behaviour on your website. A tool like Google Analytics is easy to use and offers some incredible insights into the online behaviour of your website visitors.
With this kind of robust tracking, you can not just track how well your subject lines or email messaging is working, you can also tie these numbers and track how well your website experience complements your email marketing efforts.
Moreover, this behaviour data can be used to inform your segmentation efforts, and may enable you to discover new ways to personalize your email campaigns and improve their results.
Test, Test, Test
Speaking of improving results, the best way to do this while taking complete advantage of your data tracking capabilities is to test your emails against different versions of the same email.
While multivariate testing is absolutely possible, it is recommended that you begin with A/B testing one aspect of your emails and continuously keep conducting tests.
With A/B testing, you can test virtually endless different aspects of your emails. Subject lines, different email copies, different landing pages, anything you feel like will make a difference, is worth testing.
Sticking to just one variable while testing will also allow you to definitively find out what is working and what is not, with every test that you conduct. As soon as you find a “winner”, you can move on to test another aspect of your email.
It is sometimes difficult to believe the kind of insights a little bit of testing can reveal. For instance, Copley Broer, the owner of LandlordStation found that in their email marketing campaigns, text-only emails outperformed emails that had visual elements by getting a higher click through rate.
This is because while visual elements are great at engaging users, many email clients, like Outlook, block images. As a result, emails using visuals to provide recipients with a delightful experience actually end up delivering broken information and a frustrating experience.
While writing this article, I noticed a pattern. Every tactic or tip that has the potential to improve the results of your email campaigns is ultimately focused at improving the user’s experience with your emails. As long as you devise user-first strategies, getting positive results with emails should not be a big challenge.
With that said, if you still have any questions about the tips I shared in this article, drop your questions in the comment section below and I promise to be prompt with my replies.
Did I forget to mention one of your favorite email marketing tactics? Share them with us in the comment section as well!