What Is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the highly effective digital marketing strategy of sending emails to prospects and customers. Effective marketing emails convert prospects into customers, and turn one-time buyers into loyal, raving fans.
The Importance of Email Marketing
We’ve covered the biggest question, what is email marketing, but haven’t gotten into why email marketing is so very important for your business. Let’s talk about that now.
Despite the rise of social media and unsolicited spam email (which is never a good marketing strategy, by the way), email remains the most effective way to nurture leads and boost customer loyalty.
There are many reasons you should make email marketing one of your top priorities, but here are the top 3:
1. Email is the #1 communication channel
Did you know that at least 99% of consumers check their email on a daily basis? That can’t be said of any other communication channel.
2. You own your list.
On any social media platform, your account (along with all your fans and posts) could be suspended or deleted at any time, for any reason, without notice. However, you own your email list. No one can take those leads away from you.
3. Email just converts better.
People who buy products marketed through email spend 138% more than those who do not receive email offers. In fact, email marketing has an ROI (returns on investment) of 4400%. That’s huge! And if you are wondering if social media converts even better, think again: the average order value of an email is at least three times higher than that of social media.
Email is simply the best way to make sales online. Now that you know the importance of email marketing, let’s learn the best ways to go about it.
How-To: Email Marketing
Wondering how to get started with email marketing? Email marketing is made up of several moving pieces, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Here’s how it breaks down…
1. Start With Your List:
The bottom line is that you can’t send out email marketing campaigns if you have no one to send them to. And the other thing to remember is that email marketing won’t work if you don’t have the right people on your list.
That means you need to capture leads to grow your email list with your target audience. For that, there’s no better tool than OptinMonster.
OptinMonster is the world’s #1 lead generation software. We empower businesses to create stunning optin campaigns in a matter of minutes with zero coding skills required.
Then, using our highly advanced targeting rules, you can display these campaigns to the right people at just the right time in their customer journey.
As a result, you can drastically grow your list with quality leads and see huge increases in your company’s profits. Plus, OptinMonster integrates with over 30 of the most popular email service providers.
2. Add an Email Service Provider:
An email service provider (ESP) lets you segment your audience, organize your list, and distribute email campaigns to your audience. You can also track the results to improve future campaigns.
A good ESP should integrate with your other marketing tools so you can turn everything on autopilot as you grow your leads.
There are a ton of email service providers out there, but we take the guesswork out and make it really easy to choose the right one for you and your goals. A big later in this guide, we’ll list out our favorite ESPs that you can choose from.
After those two steps, it’s just a matter of refining your lists and your messaging so you’re reaching your audience and really connecting with them. Plus, you’ll be able to set up some automation in your email service which will make things much easier for you.
Improving Your Email Open Rates
This section is super important because even with all of the hard work you’ve done to grow your email list and segment it, you won’t benefit from any of it unless your emails actually get opened.
There are several factors that play a role in whether or not your emails get opened. Let’s explore each of them.
1. Avoid Spam Filters
Probably the most obvious problem is when your email gets sent to the subscriber’s spam folder. Since you’ve already gotten permission to send emails, and you’ve chosen one of our recommended email marketing providers, you’re off to a great start.
Here are some email marketing best practices to keep your emails from falling into spam folders:
- Make sure all recipients have actually opted-in to receiving your emails. Seriously. We can’t emphasize this point enough.
- Send your email campaign from a good IP address. That is an IP address that hasn’t been used by someone else who has sent spam in the past.
- Send emails through verified domains.
- Keep your email template code clean.
- Use merge tags to personalize the “To:” field of your email campaign.
- Show subscribers how to whitelist your emails, and ask them to add you to their address book.
- Avoid excessive use of “salesy” language (these are spam trigger words like “buy”, “clearance”, “discount”, or “cash”).
- Don’t “bait-and-switch” by using deceptive subject lines.
- Include your location.
- Include an easy way for subscribers to opt-out of your emails.
Almost all of this is handled when you choose a reputable email marketing service.
2. Remove Inactive Subscribers to Keep Your List Fresh
It’s important to email your subscribers on a consistent basis, so your list doesn’t go stale. Even then, over time, email subscribers still go stale.
Some people may have changed email accounts, or maybe they just aren’t interested in your brand anymore.
So to keep your list fresh and filled with engaged subscribers, it’s a good idea to periodically remove inactive subscribers. An inactive subscriber could be anyone who has not engaged with any email in the past 6 months or more.
But before you get rid of them, try sending one more email campaign to try to re-engage your inactive subscribers. For example, Carol Tice sends a last-ditch-effort email to her inactive subscribers that says, “Do I bore you?” and asks if they still want to stay subscribed. Some people respond, but all others get purged.
Another way to keep your list fresh is by checking in with your subscribers every once in a while to ask if they would like to update their information and their preferences. This way, they are reminded that they can take control of how they want to engage with you.
3. Perfect Your Timing
Timing can have a huge effect on whether or not your subscribers open your emails and on your conversion rate, so think carefully about what time and day you send your emails out.
You won’t be able to figure out the perfect time immediately but perform some A/B tests to identify which timeframes seem to do best and explore those in future campaigns.
But you may be wondering, has anyone else already done some tests that you can benefit from? Yes!
4. Make Your Subject Line Stand Out
When it comes to email open and click rates, your subject lines are everything. Your job is to make your subject lines stand out.
Here are some tips for crafting the best email marketing subject lines:
- Entice curiosity, but don’t be too clever. You want to make them curious enough to open and click, but without being so cryptic that the subscriber hasn’t a clue as to what you’re talking about.
- Include numbers. There is something about numbers that draw the eye.
- Use a friendly and conversational tone.
- Speak in the language and style that your subscribers use themselves, especially when talking with their friends.
For some great subject line examples, we’ve written a whole post on the best converting email subject lines.
5. Write to Just One Person
you draft your subject line and message content, it’s natural to think of the thousands of people who are about to receive it.
However, it’s far more effective to write as if speaking to an individual person, with a personal subject line and a personalized message.
To write this way, you’ll have to really know your buyer persona. You need to understand their problems, their desires, their values, their likes, and their dislikes.
If you are having trouble with this, send out an email asking for a quick five-minute chat. On the call, you can ask questions that will help you understand what your subscribers’ needs are, and how they think.
Spending a day or two talking with your subscribers will be time well spent because it will help you so much: not only with your messaging but also with creating or improving your products and services.