When I am meeting with someone about email marketing and they refer to their campaigns as “eblasts,” I cringe. An eblast is messaging shot across cyberspace, hopefully ending up in the right recipient’s inbox, giving them the information they need to know about a company to make a purchasing decision. If this sounds too good to be true, it is. Successful email marketing campaigns need to be well thought-out and based on techniques such as List Building, Segmentation, Content Strategy, Design and Analytics.
List building is crucial to any successful email campaign. If a consumer has not expressed interest in hearing from your company, they will not be receptive to your messaging. To build an email list, create a landing page containing a lead form to collect email addresses and any other information that could help you to create a targeted message. Let the recipient know exactly what you will be sending (i.e., newsletter, product information, offers, etc.) and include links to the landing page on all of your owned, earned and paid media.
It is important to remember your targeted consumer receives email from many other businesses and organizations. Developing content relevant to each of your target audiences will give you the best chance for engagement. For instance, if your company sells pet products and someone visited your website and purchased toys specifically made for puppies, you would not want to send emails to this person promoting cat toys. In this situation, you could use your lead form to solicit specific information about what type of pet your consumer has, and send information that will interest them.
Content strategy is important for two reasons: content should entice people to open your email and take an intended action, and help to ensure your email does not end up in a spam folder. Consider the following as you develop your strategy:
- Your target audience, how much they already know, what they expect and what they need to know to choose you over a competitor
- What your goals are and how you will measure them
- How often you will send emails
Email design has never been more important than it is today. Statistics show that 44% of email is opened on a mobile device, so responsive design techniques must be employed to capture an increasing number of consumers. Here are some other tips to keep in mind:
- Incorporate ‘Read More’ functionality in lieu of overloading emails with content
- Use alt text and title text in your emails to ensure your message is still communicated when images are not displayed. Certain ISPs (Internet Service Providers) such as Gmail and Outlook do not automatically render images.
- Test your emails prior to deployment. Services such as Litmus enable you to see exactly how your emails will render in most ISPs
Improve your email campaign effectiveness by tracking how well individual emails perform and make changes based on that data. It is a good idea to A/B test subject lines and content often. Also, look at open rates and click-through rates, and monitor what content within your email your target audience is engaging with most.
Industry benchmarks for email show an average unique open rate of around 17%, a gross open rate of around 27%, a click-through rate of around 2.3% and an unsubscribe rate of around 0.17%. If your email campaigns are not coming close to those benchmarks, try segmenting your list, A/B testing subject lines, revising copy, modifying design and changing the call-to-action.
Lauren Goncar is the Senior Director of Digital Media at Flying Cork.