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Common Questions and Answers
Email marketing has been in existence since several years, yet even with the arrival of cross/multi-channel marketing (with widely used social media marketing, video marketing, and other forms of marketing), it remains as of yet unmatched in its efficacy.
Email marketing is still the easiest and cost-effective way to reach multiple prospects and essential for building/nurturing relationships with new leads ,prospects, existing consumers, and even previous users because it equips you with the opportunity to speak directly to them, in their inbox, at their convenient time BUT only if you do it right!
Many successful email marketing campaigns are results of carefully measuring, planning, and strengthening your weaknesses, so let me take you through a quick ride of the top 9 marketing essentials.
1. A Clean And Updated Email List
The foundation of any email marketing campaign is a list, containing the email addresses of your prospective clients.
You may get such lists from multiple sources like — online database, LinkedIn connections, Website registrations, lead generating tools, sales contact, purchased list (though you should avoid it) and what not.
The point to be noted here is – whatever may be the source of the list, a good portion of it becomes inaccurate overtime. Thus it requires ongoing efforts to purge hard-bounces, or non-deliverable.
List hygiene or continually cleaning your list is critical to email success and using an accurate email validation tool will provide the most relevant results.
When using an ESP (Email Service Provider), you can integrate the email validation tool and automate the email validation and verification process plus the unsubscribers and opt-outs will purged out from the list. The data left in the email list after this procedure should be your targets.
2. Email Design
Have you heard the old saying ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’, the same way too much information at once creates confusion and congestion!
So keep the following information in mind while designing your email
* Keep the design simple, avoid over-designing: The cleaner the design, the easier it will be to code, and will lessen the likelihood of abnormalities occurring between the plethora of browsers, email clients, and operating systems.
* Keep the main message and CTA above the fold: The recipients may not see your main call-to-action if it does not appear in a viewable area when your email is opened for the first time.
* Keep your email narrow: It’s a mobile friendly generation and upto 70% of the emails are opened on mobile devices. The best practice is to limit the width of your design to six hundred pixels at the most, four to five hundred pixels is best. Anything wider than six hundred pixels may result in asking users to scroll horizontally to read your entire message. And that’s a no-no.
* Stick to fewer than three typefaces: The less clutter you have in your email, the more conversions you will experience. Don’t junk up your email with more than two or three typefaces.
3. Use Updated Technology –ESP’s, Hardware and Software
Setting up your own infrastructure is complex, cost-inefficient, involves the implementation of several low-level standards and protocols and soon enough you need to find personnel specialized in handling the day-to-day operations.
Its better that you go ahead with an ESP (Email Service provider) that fulfils all your requirements. Other areas dependent on your wise decisions
* Decide which IP address to go for – Dedicated or Shared
* Check and Monitor Feedback Loops
* Set up (And Monitor) An Abuse Reporting Mailbox
* Scale Your Campaign by Setting up MX records
4. Deciding the Email Frequency and follow-ups
Once you know your goals, email type and audience and you’ve attracted people onto your list it’s time to decide the frequency of the emails to be sent out;
A good approach is:
* Create segments of the users/subscribers
* Decide the type of email to be sent out
* A rough idea of the content
* The main action you want subscribers to take (such as signing up for an event, following you on social media, buying a product)
Once a person has subscribed you need to ensure you are fulfilling any promises that you made to subscribers at the time of sign-up. Don’t email subscribers more or less frequently than you initially promised, and don’t push other types of content without getting their buy-in first.
Stay true to your brand identity with every email to ensure consistency across touch points. This further familiarizes your subscribers with your brand and gives them an idea of what to expect.
5. Short but Impactful Subject Line
The subject line is the only way to create an impression on your subscriber/targeted user as it is the only thing that is read before opening the email campaign.
One more proven fact is that mailbox providers such as Gmail, ‘read and analyse’ your subject line to decide whether to categorize you as a spammer or not!
Options for improving your subject lines include:
* Telling people what they’ll get when they open your emails; no need to be clever or witty unless that’s your brand’s personality.
* Adding personalization, as including people’s name in the subject line can keep them more engaged.
* Avoiding spam trigger words so your emails make it to the inbox.
* Borrowing one of these high-converting email subject lines and adapting it for your own use.
6. Good Opt-in preferably double opt-in
First suggestion, never send emails to people who didn’t sign up for them. Send emails to users who have voluntarily signed up to them. Second suggestion, go for double opt-in rather than single opt-in. The advantage of Double Opt-in over Single Opt-in is that you’ll know the email address is for a valid, monitored inbox. Double opt-in is highly recommended for companies who aren’t focused on audience growth, or who have had low open rates or abuse complaints in the past. This will really help in a long term growth with contacts of superior quality.
7. Content — Error free and intriguing
When it comes to content make sure below points are taken care of:
* The image and text ratio is balanced – If your email only contains an image and no text, it is more than likely to sail straight into the spam folders of your recipients, if at all.
* The content is compelling – Consumers want quality content; without it, everything else is academic. Decide a goal in mind, address your reader, respect your reader, use incentives to increase open rates etc.
* It has variety – When you’re first getting into email marketing, it’s a good idea to play with a variety of content types, also termed as A/B testing, to find out what your audience likes best — don’t rely on existing data to make assumptions about the people who sign up for your list.
* Error free – Mistakes are an undeniable fact of life. But, doing your best to minimize mistakes in your emails is very important for creating successful email campaigns and maintaining a positive brand image.
Before shooting out the emails, it’s best to make your email go through the multiple deliverability test available, to ensure your emails hit the required target.
Some email elements to test before sending out an email:
* Subject Line
* Layout of the email
* Design (colors, images etc.)
* Level of personalization (Mr. _____ vs. First name)
* Content (balance of written copy and visuals)
* Mobile Version
9. In-depth Analysis of Email Campaign/Close eye on metrics
Numbers play a very valuable role when it comes to email marketing. It should not be a surprise if I suggest you to keep a close eye on your email marketing campaigns on a daily basis!
It’s essential to keep an eye on:
Open rates: It directly shows how impactful your subject line has been and shows the strength of your brand name in the market.
Click-through rates: It represents how compelling your content is. It is inherently affected by any deal or discount on your product.
Bounce rates: As opposed to being indicative of email marketing performance, your bounce rate is a good measure of list health. A high bounce rate might mean an incorrectly imported list, or an old list with stale or inactive emails.
Landing page conversion rates: Your page conversion rates are generally representative of on-page conversion rate optimization, but can also be indicative of the expectations you’re setting up for visitors.
While these top marketing essentials you now know where and how your email marketing can be made better, you will also start seeing a lot of difference over the time, by continuously following above tips in your email marketing campaigns. To understand the real changes you should compare your email marketing metrics once you implement these tips to your campaign over time to see the overall improvement in your program.
If you are aware of people looking for improvement of their email marketing campaigns, go ahead and share this blog.
Any cool new email marketing techniques you’ve seen lately? Let me know in the comments below!
Author Bio : Working at Social Frontier as Digital Marketing Expert. Expert in Paid marketing & Email marketing niche with hands-on experience in SEO.
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