The first email was sent and credited by Ray Tomlinson in 1971. The message, although looking a lot like a munged password, served as the beginning of modern communication. Years later, the first email chain was sent to a list of email addresses by Gary Thuerk, also known as “Father of Spam,” which marked the birth of email marketing.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is one of many ways a business can interact with their customers and increase sales. Email is used as an inbound marketing strategy to promote products and services, share company updates and news, and even to tell a story. While emails can sometimes be “spammy,” the primary use of email is to help the customer and nurture relationships.
Why is email marketing important?
Email marketing aims to send the right message to the right people at the right time. We can do this by segmenting messages to create a highly personalized experience with content that people can relate to. Nowadays, reaching the inbox simply isn’t enough. A successful email engages the reader. Metrics analyze the effectiveness of a message and guide our strategy.
Billions of emails are sent every day and it's a strategy used worldwide. For every $1 spent on email, there is a $48 return on investment. We'll let you do the math there.
Statistics also show that consumers are 60% more likely to make a purchase as a result of an email they received compared to the 12.5% of consumers who say they would hit the "buy" button from an ad running on social media.
Lastly, email is a quick and effective way to reach your audience. 21% of emails are opened within the first hour of the email being sent and that number doubles by hour three. If you're not optimizing email, you're missing out on connecting with your audience.
Do I need an Email Marketing strategy?
The short answer? Yes, you do need an email marketing strategy.
Email marketing strategies should be clear and defined. About 20% of emails are read in the morning in the United States and over the last five years, read-time has gone up by 21%. Industry leaders are estimating 347 billion emails will be sent daily by 2021. If your strategy starts by sending email updates on Tuesdays because that's when emails are said to have the highest opening rates, you're off to a good start.
A successful email marketing strategy revisits the inbound methodology of the flywheel: attract, engage, and delight.
We attract customers by providing helpful content and experiences, being available to the customer when they run into a problem, have a question, or share their success. We build lasting relationships with customers by engaging them and providing the correct information and insights. Lastly, customers are your best marketers. If they have had a positive experience with your brand, they will be more likely to open the news you’ve sent to their inbox.
The bottom line is, if you don’t understand the goals of sending your email, the receiver isn’t going to know why they're getting the email either.
Contact Management and Segmentation
Before we break down the best practices of contact management and segmentation strategy, let’s explore the definition of both:
Contact Management: A strategy that focuses on using a software program to easily store and source a contact’s information such as their name, contact history, email address, and other factors that define a contact, including who they are and where they came from.
Contact management is vital to see the whole picture, keep a healthy database, and integrate contact information with other tools. HubSpot has a great contact management tool to keep your lists organized and updated.
Segmentation:The dividing of contacts into smaller groups based on similarities. Creators can tailor messages to be more relevant and engaging to different groups.
Email Marketing Best Practices
Have a clean and organized database. When you keep up with your database, it will work with you and not against you. Some critical pieces of data in a database are the contact, contact properties, and company properties.
Contact: Anyone your company communicates within the course of doing business. This can be a subscriber, a lead, or a customer. A contact can also include partners, competitors, employees, and freelancers.
Contact Properties: A storage area for information about each individual contact. This includes data like their first name, last name, email address, address, phone number, and lead score,
Company Properties: Store information about a group of contacts from a single company like the company name, size, location, and URL.
2. Collect the right information: While there is obvious information you'll need about a customer to get them on your email list, like their name and email address, there's more data that can help you send them the right message. Valuable information like their location and lead status help to create contextual conversations through email. Submission forms on landing pages or chatbots can help determine where a customer is in their buyer’s journey by analyzing the content they interact with by using explicit and implicit data.
Explicit data: Information that’s intentionally shared between a contact and a company through landing pages, survey responses, etc.
Implicit data: Information gathered from user behavior such as social media, email engagement, analytic web history, and conversion data.
Having a segmentation strategy will help you know who to email vs. who not to email and track where they are in the funnel.
Sending the Right Email
It's important that the right information gets to who you want it to, but what exactly does that look like? The right email will provide value to your contacts while also guiding them to actions that help your business. Here are steps to follow to be sure you are sending the right email:
Set Expectations: Think critically about the people receiving emails and how often they should expect to hear from you.
Create an Email Layout: Create an inviting subject line, use an appropriate email address, and include preview text that encourages people to click. Design templates for newsletters, announcements, and promotions that you can update with images and copy as needed.
AIDA: Attention, invest, desire, action. The layout of the email should funnel attention down to a goal or call-to-action.
Personalize the Experience: Serve up information they want with the context of what they are experiencing right now. If they recently abandoned their cart, follow up with an email to remind them to purchase.
There is a better chance of converting leads into customers by treating them as the humans they are. Although easier said than done, high-performing emails will ultimately increase ROI. High-performing emails can serve as a vehicle for growth and drive engagement toward a specific goal by following the “Five Ws”.
The Five W's
Who: The right person for this specific content.
What: What do you want contacts to do with this email?
When: When will content be most relevant at different stages of the buyer’s journey?
Where: Mobile or desktop? Keep the size of devices in mind when drafting an email.
Why: What is the desired outcome? What is the value? Who is benefiting? How does this email fit into other conversations with your contacts?
High-performance emails should be on-brand with your website, including company colors, fonts, and images. Keep the subject line short and sweet; avoid any language that doesn't capture urgency and attention.
By writing with clarity and purpose, contacts will be more convinced to download your free guide, sign up for your webinar, and maybe even subscribe to your blog.
The Power of Personalization
In order to convert leads into customers and increase clicks, personalization is the key to success. People expect the same personalized experiences they receive in-person, offline. It’s no secret that personalized and targeted marketing increases engagement.
Advanced tactics can include using a contact’s name in the subject line. Studies have shown that emails with personalized subject lines are 26% more likely to be opened.
The more information you have in your database about a contact, the better. From their t-shirt size to the day they went to their senior prom, marketers can use any and all information to personalize every experience from the moment you begin to write the email copy.
Where do I Start?
Relevant, timely, human-based content is the new wave for email marketers to get more clicks. Start with the basics, define your goal, build a contact base, and target content based on those contacts.
If you are looking for ways to revamp your email marketing strategy, contact us to see how we can help.
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