Email Marketing (Still) Works
10 tips for effective email marketing
A recent study from DMA reported that 75.8% of marketers are using more promotional emails to market their business than they were just three years prior. In fact, Forrester Research predicts that “email marketing spending will balloon to $2 billion in 2014 with retention email, services, and ad-sponsored acquisition newsletters all representing a bright spot.”
The fact is that new innovations will continue to flood the world of online marketing. The trick lies in knowing which “new” products are best for your business and which “old” tactics can still prove to be effective for your business. Here are 10 tips to help determine which are the best fit for your email marketing efforts.
1. Ongoing list generation
List generation is an ongoing process. HubSpot reports that the average email marketing list expires at 25% per year. Effective email marketing programs use an ongoing list-generation strategy.
2. Smart list sourcing
Sourcing lists can be tricky. While buying lists seems like the easiest and quickest way, it's also one that will get you blacklisted the fastest. Creating your own list may take a little time and effort, but it's the most effective way to get the best response.
Here are two ways to get started:
-Reach out to existing clients with an email opt in request
-Launch an inbound marketing campaign
3. Simple steps to inbound marketing
Inbound marketing programs can be robust, but there one simple things that you can do to get started is get customers and prospect to opt in to hear from you. For example, put a sign-up form on your website, in your newsletter, and on your blog; if you have a brick–and-mortar store, either put out a sign-up sheet or use your POS system to collect opt-ins.
4. Social sourcing
Social media and email marketing don't have to be separate efforts. Over 51% of marketers integrate email and social media efforts. Start by sending direct, targeted email offerings to customers who have sent you direct messages and have followed you. Create a post or a tweet that invites them to sign up for email communications and include your social icons in your email campaigns.
5. Understanding unsubscribes
People unsubscribe from emails for a variety of reasons. Research firm Chadwick Martin Bailey reported that 65% of users unsubscribe because of too many emails (the second reason is irrelevant content). So, it's important to give users another option before they go. For instance, send them to your social channels or ask if they want to receive less-frequent emails.
6. Relevant content
If the content of your email isn't relevant to your customers, then you'll most likely lose them. Consumer connections are a must for any marketing program and email marketing is no different. Tailor your messages for your target audience.
More people than ever before are checking email via their mobile device. In fact, more than 43% of email is now opened on a mobile device, according to the March 2013 Litmus report “Email Analytics.” Mobile-friendly versions of your emails aren't just an option, they're a must. When considering mobile marketing you need to keep in mind two things: simple and short. Why? Consumers are unlikely to read a long email on their mobile devices. To be effective, you'll have to adapt your strategy.
8. Third-party integration for easy import and tracking
Coordinating your email marketing efforts with existing CRM software can help save you time. You'll be able to easily create lists from your existing database for new and existing clients that can then be uploaded to your email marketing provider. Doing this also allows you to track responses and easily change account status (from lead to prospect, from prospect to account).
9. Know the sender score
Did you know that the IP address of your mail server has a reputation? Your ability to send emails and penetrate inboxes is affected by your sender score. In a recent report, IBM reported that over 17% of emails never reach an inbox because of poor sender scores. Each email server has a score from 0–100 and can be affected by the number of unsubscribes and spam alerts, as well as by bounce rates. This can affect your ability to penetrate inboxes and email marketing providers' willingness to work with you.
What can you do to stay on top of your score?
-Use inbound marketing to get qualified leads
-Work with email marketing lists that are clean (users who have opted in to hear from you)
-Make sure you have an unsubscribe option in your emails
10. Measurement and analytics
Tracking and measuring each email marketing campaign you run is essential to crafting an effective email marketing campaign. Your email provider should give you the option to track the following: total number of opens and clicks per link, bounce rates, unsubscribe rates, and date and time sent. There are multichannel analytics tools that can help give you a more holistic analytics view by tracking email, social, online advertising, and SEO in one place.
What's great about email marketing is its versatility; it provides both inbound and outbound marketing opportunities. The secret to success lies in understanding email optimization.
Colin Jeavons is CEO, and Kerstin Recker is head of marketing and communications for Vertical Search Works