• MarketingGirlFriday

Email marketing - getting started

Want to know the best way to encourage visitors to your website? It’s probably email marketing.

No way, I hear you say, email marketing is sooo annoying, everyone hates it! Surely social media marketing is a far better method at generating website traffic? Well, I’m sad to disappoint, but recent research suggests that your marketing message is five times more likely to be seen by email than it is on Facebook, and you’re six times more likely to get a click through from an email than you are from Twitter.

Crikey. So where do you start?

There are plenty of email marketing service providers available, making it super easy by providing you with professional email templates, clever little tools to help you grow and manage your email list, and nifty tracking features which reveal who is opening and engaging with your messages. Even better news, depending on the size of your contact list, you may be able to access these services for free!

So once you’ve decided on the provider, you can get on with the fun bit of designing the template for your email. Make sure it is instantly recognisable by bringing through your branding in full, ensuring web links are in place behind logos, using only high quality images, and signposting relevant web pages, your social media accounts and contact details.

Then import your list of contacts, and your email provider will be quick to remind you that you should only be using the details of people who have given you permission to contact them in this way. If your list is looking a bit on the light side, you need to be thinking about ways of building it. Add a subscribe form to your website and promote via your social media communications; collect data (and consent) from customers and potential customers; use Text-to-Join services. Think about incentivising new email subscribers – provide them with something free if they sign up, or entry into a monthly prize draw, or 5% off their next purchase. The stronger the incentive, the more subscribers you will get.

Next is what you are going to say in your email. Lead with an engaging subject line – this is the title of your email when it lands into your readers' inbox. And this, my friends, as you will know, can be the difference between it being opened or deleted. So make it interesting, but keep it short. Regular tricks you will see used are the phrasing of an intriguing question, or teasing the reader with some news, or prompting them with a deadline. But beware of overly promotional language including the word FREE! – your email is far more likely to end up in the spam folder. Whatever you decide to do, the chance of your email being opened increases significantly with a killer subject line.

Next is the content of the email itself. Keep it simple. We all suffer from email overload, so I try to focus the reader (and myself) on three main things:

1. What is this email offering? – this is the headline of your email and the reason your recipient should continue reading

2. Why is this offer so great? – this is the body message of your email and should persuade your reader that this is relevant to them and they can’t do without it

3. What do you want the recipient to do next? – this is the call-to-action, the click through to the web page for contact now, book now, buy now, get your discount code now…

Other than testing your email – sending it to yourself or a colleague to check it displays correctly on desktop and mobile, ensuring all the links work, it is free of typos (remember you can’t take it back once sent!) – and working out the best time to send the email (make it work for your readers, not for you – you can use scheduling features in most email applications) – you’ve nailed it!

Only kidding. There’s still a little bit more to do. Tracking your results is key to refining your email marketing. What was the open rate? How many unsubscribed? What time/day was the most popular for opening? Which links weren’t clicked on? Which links got the most interest? Refining your email strategy is an art – and putting time into the analytical follow up means you will hone your skills and produce far more effective emails in the future.

Finally, don’t send your emails out too often. Nothing annoys folk more, and once they’ve unsubscribed, you’ve probably lost them for good. And if you’re emailing them with irrelevant content, or even worse, without their consent, you could be on the receiving end of a complaint – and that might terminate the relationship with your email provider.

All sound too much for you? Not got the time for any email marketing malarkey? Give me a call. I can do it for you :-)

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