This involves collecting customer emails and then sending them sequences of email newsletters or messages designed to encourage further engagement.
Email marketing is still one the most powerful methods of marketing. Compared to social media marketing, email gets you nearly five times more buyers than other marketing channels. Plus, email marketing generates a $42 return on investment (ROI) for each dollar spent.
This guide will teach you the basics of email marketing, and it also contains nine tips to improve the effectiveness of your campaigns.
1. Select the right email marketing software
Let’s start with email service providers (ESPs). It is crucial to choose the right email software because there are often specialties or unique selling points. You also want to ensure that your investment is worthwhile.
For example, many customer relationship management (CRM) software have built-in email marketing tools if you prefer an all-in-one solution. However, you might want to use software dedicated to email marketing with specific email tools and features to help you grow and manage your subscriber list.
These email-specific software options, such as Constant Contact, often offer similar features at a cheaper rate than full CRM solutions and use tiered pricing based on how many email subscribers you have. The key to choosing the best email marketing software is answering two questions.
- Is it necessary to have a complete CRM system for my business or can we use an ESP instead?
- Is it more cost-effective to use subscriber-based pricing?
These questions will help you narrow down your options for software providers.
2. Always build your list
It is important to build your email marketing list. Without people on your email list, who are you going with? The more people you sign up for email, the more sales opportunities you will have.
Let’s now take a look at how you can create your list.
- You can use email capture or a signup page on your website.. Pop-up windows, static pages and blog posts can all be used to place sign-up forms.
Example from Fit Small Business’s website
- Use the followingPOS systemThis captures email. Even if your brick-and-mortar shop isn’t in demand, digital receipts are on the rise.89% of respondentsOne survey indicated that they would like this option. POS systems likeSquareOffer the digital receipt feature.
- At checkout, ask for emails.You can ask customers to join your email mailing list by simply asking them.Point of purchaseBoth in-store as well as online, opt-in checkboxes.
What next? Here are some tips to help you get through these first steps.
Manual email management can be cumbersome, and near impossible if your growth goals are being met. Marketing automation is the solution.
Automating various email processes can help you save both time and money, as well as increase email effectiveness–single message autoresponder emails have seen just over 98% open rates and 37% click-through rates.
To build customer relationships and generate leads for your small business, you can automate a few emails:
- A post-purchase email sequenceTo help you upsell, cross-sell or collect feedback. This email is fromBellroyFor example,
(Image source: Really Good Emails)
- Transactional emailsTo help you recover abandoned carts and re-invite inactive customers, you can use the order confirmation and shipping details. Automated transactional emails are available on most ecommerce platforms, but not all.
- Welcome emailsTo encourage brand or product engagement On average, welcome emails receive an average of one86% open rate, around 25% click through rate. This is an example.Cat Caboodle:
(Image source: Really Good Emails)
Segmentation is another part of your email marketing strategy that you can automate.
4. Segment Your Email List Subscribers
You might think that a small business would be fine with one large list and the same email messages to everyone. Segmentation is a must if you want to increase your conversion rates. Segmentation refers to the grouping of your list based upon shared attributes.
There are two main methods to segment your email list:
- Creating customer profiles and templates and manually organizing your lists
- Segmentation using behavior-based automatic segmentation
You can have greater control over who and when you send emails to by creating customer profiles. Automated segmentation, like that offered by Sendinblue, can create lists based on which landing page or call-to-action (CTA) new subscribers used, which product category they purchased, etc. Here is an example of an automated segmentation flow.
In the above example, when people sign up through a specific form, they’re added to a list—this enables the marketer to send relevant messages to various groups of subscribers.
5. Personalize your messages
Personalization is an important part of your marketing strategy. Segmenting your lists is only one aspect. In fact, almost three-fourths of marketers say personalization in emails has helped them increase engagement–generating a median ROI of 122%.
There are many ways to personalize, and the approach you take will vary depending on what industry you’re in. However, it is especially important for retail. While many businesses will simply replace the “Hello there!” or “Dear Customer!” with the customer’s name and address, effective personalization goes beyond that.
Although it is a good idea to address customers by name, it can also help to increase customer loyalty. One way to improve retention is to include purchase behaviour personalization such as recommendations for products in your email design. Take Crate and Barrel for example:
(Source: Really Good Emails)
The “based on your recent purchase” block is one type of personalization that has increased by 60% in 2020, compared to 38% in 2019. It works, and it is well-respected.
6. Optimize your Subject Lines
Personalizing the body of an email is not enough. The subject line and, by extension, its subject description are also important. Optimizing your subject line is so important because it can often make or break your open rates, and with nearly 320 billion emails projected to be sent and received in 2021, it’s more important than ever to stand out.
There is much speculation as to how many characters you should use in your subject line and whether or not you should capitalize words. However, research by GetResponse shows those things don’t matter. It is all about knowing your customers so you can make them open your emails.
These subject lines are an example of what you can do:
The above subject lines are a mix of behavior-based personalization and general discount announcements, as well as knowing the language of their (younger demographic) subscribers.
7. Incorporate other platforms and marketing channels
Email is an important piece of marketing, but it should not be considered the only part. While marketing used to be done in silos, channel-based silos, modern retailers have a holistic approach that is more integrated. Your customers don’t separate their interactions with your brand by channel.
According to research from Catalyst Digital, 66% of online purchasers’ pre-purchase touchpoints were online (spread across different channels) and 31% were offline.
(Source: Catalyst Digital)
- Connect your POS. We mentioned earlier that POS systems can capture emails. This method can be used to register customers.Loyalty programs.
- Synchronize with other advertising initiatives. Your business might not be promoting your products or services but could instead champion a non-profit cause (or other types partnership) that you can cross-promote to capture new subscribers.
- Your email list can be used to create lookalike audiences for social media.. To increase your chances of finding new customers, you can refine your target audience by using your email list when you place ads on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
It is best to adopt an omnichannel approach and consider all channels and platforms. This will ensure that you are able to meet customers wherever they wish to meet you.
While you are focusing on new subscribers, remember to keep your existing subscribers in mind. You must make sure they are receiving valuable content and not only endless promotional emails. This will keep them from unsubscribing.
Value is subjective. Some audiences may prefer humor or entertainment as a value-add. Others might prefer educational content. Check out this example from Judy:
(Source: Really Good Emails)
Knowing your audience is key to ensuring your content adds value. This means going beyond what you know to find out what they want. You can ask your audience for feedback in emails or use social media polls to help you get started. Send an email survey to your subscribers.
9. Make adjustments to your analytics and review them
Last but not least, be open to changing your email strategy by reviewing your analytics and testing. It is vital to analyze your email performance. Otherwise, you will end up blindly following your strategy and making poor data-informed decisions.
An example of overall performance analytics on an individual email send
You can then use metrics like open rate, clicks and opt-outs to understand which emails customers are most interested in and create new versions.
Email marketing remains one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways to engage customers and increase revenue. It is just one channel of many marketing channels that you need to use for an omnichannel, holistic presence.
These tips, which cover everything from selecting the right platform to reviewing your performance to evaluating your results, will help you not only get started with your email marketing strategy, but also allow you to thrive.