Email marketing has become nearly ubiquitous with effective digital marketing in 2018. But comparatively speaking, email marketing is still in it’s infancy. Though it is uncharted territory for many brands and may seem like an intimidating platform to get into, it’s truly not as scary as it sounds. These days, there’s tons of different platforms that offer free templates and super user friendly interfaces that can be learned in a day’s time. Here’s our beginners guide to crazy good email marketing campaigns:
What is it Used For?
Email marketing campaigns are used for a wide array of purposes. It’s a great way to build trust and a relationship with your customers. You can send your subscribers a welcome email, birthday wishes, exclusive promos, and product updates. The possibilities are truly endless. Additionally, sending regular emails will help keep customers from forgetting about you!
Where To Start
There’s literally a sea of email marketing software on the market right now. Depending on your needs and the size of your company, there’s probably one out there that’s perfect for you. Heres our top picks:
Mailchimp has a free option if you have less than 2,000 contacts and plan to send fewer than 12,000 emails per month. This is a great free service to get your feet wet. It’s an option that’s super easy to use AND they have lots of a clean, beautifully designed templates to choose from.
Benchmark is a similar service with it’s only style. They have free as well as paid options depending on the size of your business. Benchmark also has a mobile app that allows you to send campaigns on the go.
Emma is a powerhouse of an email marketing software company. In addition to traditional email marketing services, the company is also known for their excellent customer service and training. If you’re new to email marketing and need a professional to show you the ropes, Emma is a great option. They’ve worked with household names such as Girl Scouts, the YMCA, and NPR.
iContact is one of the most popular options; currently in use by more than 50,000 businesses across the country. This platform is super user friendly and they offer a 30 day free trial. Also, their segments feature is one of the easier to use.
How To Get Subscribers
Now for the tricky part. I know, I know, building a list of contacts sounds daunting and down right scary. How does one get from zero to a couple thousand contacts? Whats the secret?
The truth is, thats going to largely depend on your business and industry. One of the most basic ways is to include a form on your homepage. The example below is from popular luxury resort, Blackberry Farm.
They’ve included a simple form on the bottom right of their page footer as well as an attractive graphic button at the top left. Ideally, the form or button should fit in seamlessly with your web site’s theme.
Another effective strategy is to promote, promote, promote, Make sure you never miss an opportunity to remind your followers on social media that you have a newsletter or subscriber list and encourage them to join. Post this message on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to take things offline. Any time your business hosts an event be sure to have an iPad or clipboard at the front door. Encourage customers to keep up with whats new by subscribing to your email list.
Sending A Baller Email Campaign
So now that you’ve got your software set up, a fat list of contacts, and some ideas on what you want to send, it’s time to send your first email. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a graphic design super star to send a well designed attractive email. Any of the above platforms all have excellent templates. I advise starting with a simple template and just playing around with the features until you’ve gotten the lay of the land.
Start with a basic welcome email. This is something all new subscribers should receive so they know they’ve actually signed up and are being acknowledged by you. Also, use this as an opportunity to thank them for their support and give them a taste of what to expect. The design should be clean, crisp and well organized. Be sure all emails are consistent with your current brand voice and image. Here’s an excellent example of a welcome email from Ancestry.
The email is clearly branded, has specific call to actions, and is beautifully designed. Keep it simple and to the point and you can’t go wrong.
Other Helpful Tips and Tricks
Personalization is key! There have been tons of studies done on the effectiveness of personalized emails vs. generic emails. The data is overwhelmingly in support of personalization. Including a first name in the subject line can do wonders for your open rate. Additionally, it helps to dramatically increase trust build relationship with your customers.
Don’t send excessive emails. Think about how many emails you receive in your own inbox on a daily basis. We are all used to sifting through tons of promotions and spam to get to the things we really care about. Remember you’re probably not the only company’s email list that customer has subscribed to. If you start blowing up their inbox, they’ll likely go straight for the unsubscribe button.
Be strategic about what day and time you send out your emails. There have been many studies done that suggest Tuesday’s at 10am is the most ideal time to send out campaigns. Also, MailChimp reported in their study they experienced the highest open rate on Thursdays. In Campaign Monitor’s study, they concluded 8pm as the best time of day to send because many people check their email lying in bed in the evening. So take this information into consideration but don’t be afraid to experiment. Try a few different days and times and figure out what works best for you.
Test Your Results
This brings me to my next point. What works for your business might not work for others and vice versa. It takes time to figure out what’s going to be most successful for you and your business. The best way to determine what’s working and what’s not is to objectively look at the data and make adjustments. A simple A/B test can make a huge difference in click through and open rate.
Just the mention of A/B testing is enough to make many people’s eyes glaze over. But it’s really not as complicated as you might think!
Running a simple A/B test with two emails will substantially help you to hone in on what your subscribers respond to and what they don’t. Remember learning about the basics of the scientific method in the 6th grade? Well that information is finally about to come in super handy.
The first step is to decide specifically what you want to test. Personalization vs. generic subject line, for example. Then you’ll send a personalized email and a non personalized email to your entire list of subscribers. Make sure every other variable remains the same so you can be sure no other factor skews your results. After both emails are sent it’s time to analyze the results. Which email generated the highest open rate? Conversion rate? Click through rate? If you’d like to read more about A/B testing, kissmetrics wrote a great beginners guide on the subject.
In conclusion, there’s no one correct way to create and send successful email marketing campaigns. But there are things you can do that have historically been successful for many many companies. So get to it! Do some experimenting, track your results, and you’ll be making crazy good email campaigns before you know it.