It would be no surprise to my clients, colleagues or industry peers that email marketing is one of my favourite strategies for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) to get their message out.
Why? Because email marketing is direct, low cost, timely, quickly implemented and solicits immediate action. It’s a strategy that ticks most of the boxes for small to medium business owners. Below are my tips for getting more impact from email marketing and in turn generating more leads for your business.
Which came first: the chicken or the egg?
Before you begin your email marketing, you’ll need subscribers. Build a database using customer information sourced from your website or purchase lists, or record your customers' details when they make a purchase. A good customer relationship manager (CRM) and/or email marketing program can help you manage this process. Having a healthy list of opted in recipients is your first step to successful email marketing, so make sure your subscription process is easy and takes no more than a few seconds.
Frequency vs. value
While it's always good to keep the flow of communication alive, it's also important that you endeavour to provide high value content to your readers.
By all means send a weekly email to your customers, but ensure that it doesn't cross the line into ‘spam’ territory. Too many sales-like emails can become ‘spam’ in the eyes of your readers so balance these with emails that simply provide your readers with something of value; be it information, giveaways or something they are genuinely interested in. For example, you might giveaway a free eBook, free tickets to an event, or simply impart on some information that you know they're going to value.
The best way to test this is to ask yourself a simple question: "As a reader, why does this matter to me?" If you're stuck for an answer, then maybe you should go back to the drawing board and rethink your content strategy.
Don’t underestimate the power of a killer subject line
At the end of the day, without a subject line line that provides a clear indication of what the email contains, it's unlikely that your readers will even open the email, let alone read your carefully crafted content.
‘September Newsletter’ as a subject line does nothing but lead me to believe that the content of the email is going to be as boring as the subject line.
The solution? Keep your subject line to-the-point and make sure that even on face value, it's easy to understand what your email is all about. Alternatively, and depending on your content, you might also consider a ‘hook’ subject line that creates curiosity to encourage your reader to open your email. For example, ‘Just a reminder about the invitation I sent you last week’.
If your campaign is part of a series, it's a good idea to include the series name and issue number in the subject line as well, so the reader has an idea of its context.
Every email campaign should have a call to action
Every email marketing campaign that you send out, no matter what the content, should have a call to action; an action that you would like the reader to take. This might be downloading an eBook, visiting your website, registering for an event or simply contacting you. An email without a call to action is a potential lost lead!
Split test campaigns to see which content works best
If you have a customer database of a reasonable size, you may like to try your hand at ‘split testing’. Simply slice your list down the middle, then send one version of your campaign to half of your customers, and another version of your campaign to the other half. Experiment with subject lines, content layout or calls to action to help determine what’s more effective.
Monitor, review, repeat
Your best friend in improving the effectiveness of your email campaigns is performance monitoring. Watch your click-through rate, open rate and ‘unsubscribe’ figures.
If you're aiming for increased visits to a page on your website, but are seeing poor click-through rates, perhaps rethink the placing of your calls to action. Again, split testing is a great way to test what works and what doesn't.
For more tips on your email marketing, advice on how to get started with email marketing or a complimentary email marketing analysis, contact Katrina Lees from The Creative Collective Newcastle on 02 4957 3238 or email email@example.com.