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What is email marketing and how do you create a successful strategy?

Email marketing may not be new, but it’s still effective, so now is the time to dive into the best ways of mastering it to improve marketing success.

Email marketing is not always a marketer’s first choice when it comes to campaign planning, but it’s still powerful enough to be a significant part of a marketing strategy.

This is an attempt to understand what it is about, how it works and how a brand can embrace its benefits.

Definition

Email marketing is a way to reach consumers through direct electronic mail. It’s a direct method of written communication that aims to reach a targeted audience for the promotion of a campaign, a product, or a service that might be useful for the recipient.

Unlike spam, the context is crucial for every email, as its effectiveness depends on the ability to grab the recipient’s attention. The goal is to add value and convince a consumer to proceed to further actions through the right incentive.

Its low cost compared to other forms of marketing doesn’t make it an easy method of reaching consumers, as it still requires the right strategy to drive the desired results. However, email marketing has the potential to be a key part of a marketing strategy, provided that a business follows all the necessary steps when starting with a new email marketing plan.

Four tips to get started with email marketing

Build a list

The first step for an email marketing campaign is to build a list that will serve as your target audience from now on.

It’s not just about adding email addresses to a list, as it’s important to have the consent of the people you’re adding to your list.

How, then, can you build the email list?

The most popular ways to convince people to join your email list are to add value, or provide an offer.  People are becoming less willing to share their email addresses, as they are already receiving a large number of emails. Thus, you need to provide a solid reason for them to join your email list.

Examples:

  • Free download
  • Exclusive offer
  • Free tool
  • Discounts
  • Free ebook
  • Report

Once they are interested in joining your list, it’s up to you to maintain their interest and be as useful and relevant as possible to them.

Decide on CTA

Email marketing starts by deciding on the call-to-action you want to include and thus, the goals you are setting for each campaign.

It has been observed that a call-to-action button can increase conversion rates by as much as 28%, compared to a text link. This means that a button can increase the chances of turning a recipient into a customer, which is why it requires the right amount of testing until you find the best option

A call-to-action button has to be placed in the most strategic position to make the next step easier for the recipients. Even the choice of colour may affect the conversion rate, depending on the psychology of the user and how they react to each colour.

Moreover, a call-to-action button has to be clear, without confusing the recipients. Each email campaign should have one specific CTA to make sure that it doesn’t divert from the initial plans.

For example, if you want to increase awareness about a product, you should create a call-to-action button that encourages users to learn more about it or even to get a free trial. There’s no need to add more CTAs about an additional announcement, or a new report. These can form part of a different email campaign.

Decide on frequency

It is estimated that sending four emails per month instead of one increases the chances of having consumers open more than one email.

Whether a campaign involves just one message or a series of emails, you need to decide on the frequency you’ll be contacting your audience.

Even if you’re planning to send one email for the promotion of your new product, you need to ensure that you’re not sending any other emails for different campaigns on the same day, or else you risk annoying and losing subscribers from your list.

Start by planning your monthly email campaigns, and be consistent with the frequency. This way your recipients know what to expect from you, which increases the chances of maintaining their interest in your messages.

Measurement

The three most popular metrics for email marketing are:

  • Open rate
  • Click through rate (CTR)
  • Unsubscribes

An analysis of these three can offer useful insights on every email campaign, as they indicate whether a campaign is interesting enough to convince recipients to open an email and most importantly, whether they are also interested in clicking on the CTA.

On the other side of things, if a campaign leads to an increased number of unsubscribes, it means that it lacks the necessary context, which may require further thinking on how to adjust your future email campaigns.

Email analytics can go beyond these three metrics and each platform has its own way of measuring success, but these three can make a great starting point for every campaign, helping you understand your audience and whether your message reaches its recipients.

Moreover, conversion rates make a significant type of measurement, with 60% of marketers considering it the primary method of evaluating an email’s effectiveness.

This is a useful way to link email marketing with your general marketing goals, by finding the best way to track email campaigns and associate them with the way recipients react to them.

Overview

As 92% of online adults use email, with 61% using it on an average day, a business cannot ignore its potential as part of a marketing campaign.

A personalised, targeted and carefully planned email marketing strategy can spark further interest among consumers towards a product, a brand, or a service.

Attention spans are becoming shorter, but this doesn’t mean that a business can’t use its creativity to capture the recipients’ attention with a unique email marketing campaign.

It’s all about understanding the importance of context, and using it accordingly as part of a campaign.

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by Tereza Litsa
source: ClickZ

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