The 5 Steps for a Killer Email Marketing Strategy
You may have heard the saying that ‘email marketing is dead’, however, email marketing — or Electronic Direct Marketing (EDM) has remained one of the most profitable marketing channels for businesses over the last decade.
As a type of online marketing, email marketing involves the direct electronic mailing of a group of people; often subscribers offering a product, discount, incentive, or to raise awareness of a cause. The intention of well-planned, semi-regular emails is to build a relationship with customers or potential clients, whilst nurturing them along different stages of the digital growth marketing funnel.
The advantages of email marketing
Have you ever opened an enticing email from a brand that has prompted you to purchase an early Christmas present or last-minute sale item? That’s email marketing at work and for all types of businesses, email marketing can be an effective marketing channel, generating a $38 return on investment for every $1 spent. Email marketing enables you to:
- Reach users on a direct and personalised level
- Expand capabilities across devices (emails can be accessed on-the-go via mobile or on desktop)
- Reach people, who use email addresses to create accounts all over the web, including social media and websites
- Enjoy a cost-effective and easy way to market to a large customer base in a short amount of time
Create and implement an email marketing strategy
To ensure your email marketing efforts are optimised and aligned with your overall marketing strategy and business goals, it’s important to have a well-planned and executed email marketing strategy. The strategy includes a number of steps, including room to test, iterate, and validate learnings.
Step 1: Create a lead magnet
A lead magnet is an irresistible offer of value that a prospect would receive in exchange for their contact information such as an email address or phone number. The goal of a lead magnet is to maximise the number of targeted leads you are getting for an offer.
Advantages of a lead magnet
- Provides a specific solution (or value) for a specific audience
- Promises one big thing (not a ton of things, or something vague)
- Lends itself to a known, specific end result
- Gives immediate gratification
- Moves your lead down your digital growth marketing funnel
- Has a high perceived value
- Can be consumed in a few minutes
What makes a good lead magnet?
- An idea
- Well-executed content (ie. well written, designed, interesting, useful, etc..)
- A landing page with required form fields
- Landing page copy
- A delivery mechanism for your lead magnet
Common forms of lead magnets include eBooks, infographics, or a discount to a product or service in exchange for a user’s information. The importance of lead magnets is that they cast the net wide with your outreach efforts, effectively helping improve the awareness of your brand and the acquisition of new customers.
Lead magnets help build your email list which is a vital component of your email marketing strategy. While there are many ways you can distribute your lead magnets, one effective way is to create a landing page or share the content on your site in order to build your list.
Step 2: Build your list
After creating your lead magnet, the next step is to work on distributing your content to build your email list. There are a number of tools available to help distribute your lead magnet and capture emails such as:
- Unbounce, Leadpages, Instapage, etc…
Tips for building your list:
List building is a long-distance race, not a sprint so avoid the mistake of cutting corners by buying lists of subscribers. Engage in frequent A/B split tests to discover what components of your email resonate best with your audience. Try testing: headings, call-to-action buttons, copy length, images, time of send etc…
But, as the most important rule of thumb, offer value in your emails to help mitigate being labelled as spam and increasing unsubscribes.
Step 3: Ensure variety and consistency
There are two rules of thumb that are good to follow before crafting that perfect email: variety and consistency.
With variety, it’s about including an interesting mix of content to engage users and have them become loyal advocates for your brand (more on this in step 4). Consistency is also key when it comes to having an ‘online presence’ with users.
Where possible, stick to a schedule if you’re doing a newsletter. Sending email on a regular day or days can help your subscribers know what to expect from you and when. Create variety with your email marketing:
- Create special or one-off campaigns: Utilise events and holidays to offer unique value to your subscribers
- Encourage responses: Enable a two-way communication stream by inviting feedback about the content and offers that users receive
- Have a personality: Adopt a distinctive and entertaining tone that aligns with your brand. Emails are conversational, no one wants a dry slab of text.
- Keep it interesting: A large portion of the content we consume is through visual perception so add a mix of images, videos, and copy to your emails. Include interesting links and calls-to-action (CTA)
- Target your content: Segment users to ensure your messaging is a lot more specific. You can’t be everything to everyone, so don’t try to be.
Step 4: Offer value
Just as you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you when you haven’t even been out on a first date, you can’t establish a loyal customer base without offering something of value first. A good way to offer value in your email marketing is to use variation (step 3) in your messaging. This will not only keep your brand fresh but also keep your subscribers engaged.
Some key tips to offer value in your emails are:
- Don’t just send out ads to buy all the time. Use emails to build rapport with customers by sharing your expertise and/or that of others
- Giving subscribers tips and insights that add value
- Share information for users to know more about you and/or your company if it’s interesting
- Run a competition or special offers exclusively to your subscribers that you wouldn’t offer the general public
- Treat your list well. People sharing their emails require a level of trust, and that trust shouldn’t be abused. To convert subscribers into customers and advocates, you should always consider, “What messaging does this email relay to my audience and does it offer value?”
Step 5: Scheduling and sending
The final step of creating an effective email marketing strategy is to schedule and send your emails. Before constructing and scheduling emails, it’s important to differentiate and create templates for the different types of email interactions you will have with your prospects, subscribers, and customers.
There are a few types of emails that you should have as part of your email marketing strategy:
These emails are necessary to establish and maintain a relationship with your customers. Some examples of transactional emails can include sign-up confirmation emails, order or sales confirmations or booking confirmations.
These emails are sent after users have signed up, but before they’ve been “activated”, to try and convince them to convert. For example, this cart abandonment follow up by Adidas utilises humour and reviews to engage customers that have not converted.
Emails sent to communicate when something notable happens to the user on the platform.
Allow you to keep in touch with users to generate brand awareness and provide value through weekly newsletters, notifications of new posts or weekly digests.
Email marketing platforms
There are a number of different tools you can use to create your EDMs from. Some of the most popular platforms include:
- MailChimp: is one of the most popular email marketing and automation platforms on the market. With MailChimp, you can grow your email list, send weekly newsletters, run A/B tests, distribute product ad campaigns, track leads, and monitor interactions of customers with your brand.
- Drip: is a powerful marketing platform for eCommerce, bloggers, and marketers. With plenty of integration add-ons, Drip is a great tool for setting up email automation, reach specific segments of a list, and for capturing new leads.
- Constant Contact: another popular tool, Constant Contact is easy to use and you can manage lists, contacts, email templates all in one place. With easy built-in tracking and reporting, there is also unmatched support provided by the Constant Contact support team.
Learn how you can adopt a killer email marketing strategy and scale your product or brand to success with our Digital Growth Marketing course.