Is email marketing really outdated?
With all this talk about video, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and chat bots, it seems more and more often that email as such is no longer relevant.
And if you also think that the email service is an obsolete resource, then you are very far from the truth. Email marketing is not just relevant, it is gaining momentum and may be the best strategy for your business in the coming years.
Want proof? They will.
According to data from 2018, email marketing is still considered the most effective marketing channel. He is still ahead of social networks, many advertising channels, SEO and affiliate marketing.
What is the reason? Why can not the sensational new channels for marketing not get ahead of the technology created several decades ago? Why is email marketing still one of the most effective marketing strategies?
In fact, the answer lies on the surface. The fact is that people use e-mail much more often than other platforms. And besides this, trust in this channel has developed historically, because people are simply used to using it. And habits, as we know, play a very large role in the decision-making process.
Therefore, despite the large number of communication channels with the target audience that the Internet offers today, email is still verified and effective.
Email marketing in terms of conversion rates is 15% ahead of SEO and 22% ahead of social networks. You must admit that this is a great achievement in the field where the increase in conversion by only one percent causes a storm of excitement.
That’s why building a successful email campaign is now more important than ever for the success of your business.
But there is one problem – most entrepreneurs do not know how to do it right.
Therefore, I will tell you how to start an email marketing campaign from scratch.
Where to begin
First you need to get “permission” to send letters to your subscribers. If they do not confirm the subscription to your newsletter, most likely all your subsequent emails will be sent to spam. That is why I never recommend buying a database of email addresses for mailing.
I also do not recommend updating your email list with email addresses taken from business cards that you received somewhere, say, at a conference.
Unless you have explicit permission to send people your email newsletters, your emails are technically spam. It will do your business a disservice.
What is meant by permission?
Permission is the fact of a voluntary subscription to your newsletter and confirmation of this very subscription (some email newsletter services have functionality that asks for double confirmation of subscription after registration – this is the very permission).
People who do not voluntarily subscribe to you will not buy anything from you. Moreover, your letters will almost certainly be spam.
Therefore, sending them anything will be a waste of your time and money. In addition, the absence of the same permission often leads to the fact that your letters fall into spam and worsen the overall performance of your email campaigns.
For a successful start you need:
- Subscription form.
- Email newsletter service.
Both can be created very simply using the guide for beginners, if you have an account in one of the email newsletter services.
We increase the base of email addresses for mailing
Often, if necessary, create a subscriber base, a subscription form is placed on the site in the hope that people will use it. Unfortunately, this strategy is far from effective.
To replenish your list of email addresses, you need to interest people in some attractive offer. You need a kind of magnet, a lead magnet.
What is a Lead Magnet?
A lead magnet (also called a “bribe”) is a valuable offer to a potential client, which he can receive for free in exchange for his email address.
You also do not need to spend money on it. Most lead magnets are digital materials (PDFs, videos) that you can easily create on your own and for free.
In fact, it can be anything, provided that this offer is valuable to your visitors and will be given to them for free.
Here are some examples of popular lead magnets:
- electronic book;
- list of tips or checklist;
- topical research;
- list of useful resources
- free version of the product;
- free specialist consultation;
- quiz or passing the test;
There may be plenty of options!
How to create a high conversion conversion form
The purpose of your subscription form is to talk about the advantages of your lead magnet and to encourage a visitor to leave your contact information in exchange for a lead magnet.
In order for the subscription form to have a good conversion, it must include the following components:
- attractive headline. You must be sure that it clearly describes the compelling benefits of your lead magnet;
- useful description. Is your description concise, readable and understandable? Use bulleted lists so that the reader can quickly and easily scan the text with his eyes and, accordingly, understand the value of your proposal;
- beautiful visual effects. If possible, add an image of your lead magnet (for example, an e-book layout). The photo of the person looking at the subscription form also improves conversion;
- simple form. Do not try to claim more than a name and email address. No need to ask more than you need. No one will want to indicate the date of birth, city of residence and place of work, if this does not at all fit with your proposal. Your request for a large amount of information will kill your conversions;
- catchy STA-button. I advise you to resort to bright colors, designing a subscription button so that it really stands out on the page. Also use unusual structures in a call to action such as “Send me 7 steps to improve the conversion on the site!” instead of the banal “Download”.
Once you have created your subscription form, you will need to install it on your website. There are 14 places to accommodate your form with a high conversion rate:
- On the home page
- On a floating window
- On popup
- In the sidebar
- In footer
- On the About Us page
- On the blog page
- On a separate landing page created under the lead magnet
And one of these places is rightfully considered the most effective for getting as many subscribers as possible – this is a pop-up, pop-up. Especially the pop-up that pops up when the user is about to leave your site.
Despite the fact that pop-ups are considered annoying, this species is the least bad. It does not interrupt the reading process and only works when a visitor tries to leave the site.
Personalized Marketing with Subscriber Base Segmentation
Most experts will say that you need a subscriber base for email newsletters. However, they will not tell you that this list will be far less effective without proper segmentation.
What is email subscriber database segmentation?
Email database segmentation is the process of dividing your subscribers into subgroups. This differentiation is based on certain criteria that allow you to send users more personalized and more relevant letters.
Mass mailing to all users in a row is inefficient, because despite the fact that most people subscribe to your mailing list in the same way, your subscribers can have different goals and have different expectations from interacting with your business.
Segmentation allows you to send each email only to those subscribers who, in your opinion, will be most interested in its content. This, in turn, will lead to an increase in conversion.
Why segment email base
In practice, it has been proven that segmentation increases the rate of open letters and click-through rate, reduces the response rate.
That is why good marketers resort to segmentation. It greatly improves the effectiveness of email marketing campaigns.
Because your subscribers receive more personalized and relevant emails from which they can extract more value.
Once you have divided your subscribers into the appropriate segments, you can carry out a really powerful newsletter. Using the distribution service, you can automate the sending of letters based on the parameters of each of the segments of your database. This will allow you to keep in touch with subscribers more efficiently and stimulate sales.
Segments help identify topics and message formats that encourage users to open an email and interact with its content.
How to segment email base
Most services for email newsletters have simple and intuitive functionality for segmenting the subscriber base. Therefore, to do this is not difficult for you. The main thing is to determine on the basis of what you will divide your subscribers into groups, segments.
There are several criteria by which you can divide your email distribution base into segments.
Here are some of them:
- Preferences : subscribers who want to know about the appearance of new blog posts or those who are only interested in discount notifications;
- Interests : subscribers who prefer classical music or fans of pop culture;
- Location : notify subscribers who live in a specific area of an upcoming event;
- Percentage of open letters (Open Rate) : segment the base based on the activity and involvement of subscribers. Encourage your most active subscribers. Send a special offer only to those who are most involved in communicating with your brand;
- Inaction : Remind subscribers who have not been active for some time about the next step they should take;
- Lead Magnet : Send targeted emails about the lead magnet they previously downloaded.
These are just a few examples of what you can do with the segmentation of your email database. In fact, its possibilities are endless.
How to increase the percentage of opening letters in your mailing list (Email Open Rate)
No matter how hard you work to expand the mailing list, no matter how meticulously you segment it, it won’t help if users don’t open your letters.
There are several factors that determine whether your emails will be open. And we will consider each of them.
Avoiding Spam Filters
The first and most obvious problem is getting your spam emails. However, this can happen even if you have already received permission to send emails to a person and have chosen a reliable service for distribution.
I give a few recommendations on circumventing spam filters:
- First, make sure that all recipients have agreed to receive your newsletter;
- Use a clean IP address to send. That is, one that has not previously been caught in spam;
- do mailing only through trusted domains;
- keep your letter template code clean;
- show subscribers how to whiten your letters. When sending the very first letter, the recipient can move your letter to the inbox and note how important it is for his mail service to deliver your letters in the future without any problems.
- Avoid excessive use of “trade language” (do not often use spam words such as “buy”, “sale”, “discount”, “cash”, etc.);
- do not use deceptive headings as bait;
- give your subscribers an easy way to unsubscribe from your newsletter (the absence of such a button is an excuse to send your letters to spam).
Maintaining the relevance of the email database
It is important to regularly send letters to your subscribers in order to keep in touch with your email database. But over time, your list is all out of date is not out of date. Over time, some of the contacts may still become irrelevant.
Someone may have changed their account, and someone just lost interest in your brand.
Therefore, in order to maintain the relevance of my database, I recommend that you periodically clean up – delete inactive subscribers. Those are considered those who have not been active for the past six months or more.
However, before taking drastic measures, try sending the last letter with an attempt to restore passive users to the system.
There is another way to keep your mailing list fresh. Periodically send your subscribers a letter asking them to update personal information and a list of preferences. Thus, you remind people that they have the right to choose.
Choose the best time to send
Timing is of great importance in email marketing and can greatly affect whether subscribers open your letters. So think carefully about what time and day of the week to do the newsletter.
Of course, you cannot immediately determine that ideal time. Carry out several A / B tests to help you determine the optimal time intervals for sending letters. This data will also be useful to you in future campaigns.
You can quite logically ask yourself: did anyone conduct tests, the results of which may be useful to me? Yes, I did.
According to Mailchimp, the best days to send emails are weekdays, but not weekends. However, not only day matters.
The time of day is also important. The optimal period for sending emails is 10 in the morning (consider the time zone of the recipient when sending).
But, as the authors of the study themselves say, the numbers vary depending on the scope of the business and the distribution format. Therefore, in fact, you need to personally check how your audience reacts to your newsletter depending on the time of sending.
Pay special attention to the title (subject line)
In order for users to open your letters, the headers of your letters should interest them, intrigue and hook them. Therefore, your task is to make them as interesting and useful as possible for the reader.
I’ll give you some tips for creating creative headlines:
- be interested, but do not be too abstruse. It is enough to arouse curiosity – and people will open the letter;
- use numbers. Somehow the numbers are catching the attention of users;
- Use a cheerful, humorous, or conversational tone of speech;
- speak the client’s language – use the style and figures of speech that are close and understandable to them.
In any case, everything should come from the characteristics of your audience.
Keep in mind that a business audience may prefer a more formal style of communication, while students will prefer memes, emojis, and youth slang. Examine the features of your audience and draw a portrait of the client to know for sure what people will like and what they prefer to ignore.
Address one person
In the process of writing a message, it is natural to think about the thousands of people who will receive it.
However, it is much more effective to contact one person, thereby personalizing your appeal.
And in order to write this way, you must know the portrait of your client. Understand his problems, desires, values, likes and dislikes.
Write as a friend
When embarking on a letter, forget all this corporate ethics and write as a friend. This is the only way if you want to be heard and the letter opened.
For example, the corporate phrase “We offer great discounts to our customers!” sounds boring and distances the client from you.
In contrast, the friendly “Look what we have prepared for you …” makes the letter more personal, reducing the likelihood that your e-mail will go straight to the basket, even without being open.
Create quality content. Is always
It is a mistake to think that the mere fact that a subscriber opens your email makes you a winner. In fact, it is the actual content of the email that determines your Open Rate.
And here’s why: if your subscribers like your content today, they are likely to open your letters tomorrow too. It is possible they will even look forward to them.
Conversely, if your content is not to your liking, the subscriber will most likely not open your letters anymore, or even completely unsubscribe.
But how to make sure that your subscribers like the content of your email newsletters? Very simple – make them really cool.
The main thing to remember is that doing newsletters for the sake of newsletters is pointless. Each time you prepare a letter, you must offer people something really useful for them. The higher the value of each of your letters, the more loyal your subscribers will be. Accordingly, the opening ratio of your letters will only grow.
Today, 15 to 70% of emails are opened from mobile devices. Such a wide range is due to the characteristics of the target audience, the product itself, as well as the type of email.
According to BlueHornet, 67.2% of consumers use a smartphone to check their email.
As you can see, statistics simply do not allow you to ignore mobile device users. You must consider this feature of today’s user.
Make sure that the letters in your newsletters are easy to read on mobile devices. They should be in an adaptive format and not cause difficulties when downloading media files. Also take into account the fact that the screens of mobile devices are smaller, so long message headers will not be displayed completely.
All of these guidelines will help your email campaigns increase your open emails. However, do not be discouraged if you do not see an instant result.
Email marketing is an art and, at the same time, a science. Allow yourself to experiment and find the very tactics that are best suited for your business and will appeal to your subscribers.
Automate email marketing with an answering machine
You already know how to expand your email list to a truly epic scale. You also already know how to segment the database so that your letters are relevant for each subscriber individually. We also figured out how to compose really effective emails with a high open rate.
Now you are ready to automate the whole process that will turn your campaign into a real machine for generating profit!
An automatic series of letters or an answering machine or an autoresponder is a powerful online marketing tool for sales. It will help you successfully use your database of email addresses, build relationships with subscribers, and also turn potential customers into buyers.
And the biggest plus of automatic mailing is that once you create it, you can focus on other important aspects of your business. Because everything is automated.
Practice shows that the answering machine works great, because, despite the large number of customers in your business, all interaction with the brand and the process of choosing a product and buying are fairly standardized. They all occur in a very similar scenario.
So why do everything individually if you can prescribe these scenarios and make the system execute them? This is what the autoresponder in email marketing is for.
What is an answering machine?
An answering machine or an autoresponder is a sequential series of emails that are automatically sent to a segment from your list of subscribers. A trigger for sending a series of letters is always an action or event:
- newsletter subscription;
- specific user behavior when interacting with the brand or content of your site;
- abandoned basket;
- PDF file upload;
- product purchase;
The autoresponder is configured using the service for email marketing, and is always programmed for the time of sending letters, depending on the type and type of event that has become a trigger for sending.
Every online business needs automatic mailing for two main reasons:
- The autoresponder builds relationships with your leads, providing them with valuable information and ideas. In this way, an answering machine helps you keep in touch with leads.
- An automatic series of letters turns potential customers into buyers. This approach helps leads to make the best decisions for them and easier to go the way of the client – from a stranger to a happy buyer.
How to create an automated series of letters?
I will give you four basic steps that you should take to start an effective autoresponder and give a detailed explanation of each of them.
Step 1: Define the Goal
For the same auto-link, the goals can be different. But there are basic ones, there are four of them. Select one (or combine a pair) from this list:
- Send a “welcome” series of letters to new subscribers.
These messages are sent immediately after subscribing to your newsletter. They may contain a link to your lead magnet for instant download, thanks for subscribing or a call to action. A welcome series is required, with its help you can quickly “win” the loyalty of your new subscribers and even turn them into loyal fans!
- Use automatic mailing as a lead magnet .
Offer a free mini-course via email. Used in the auto-link, the lead magnet can attract new subscribers. The offer of a free mini-course or assignment that will arrive in the mail for several days (weeks) works great. Such letters contain lessons (or other valuable information) and are well received by the audience. This tactic significantly increases the effectiveness of the lead magnet.
- Automate the sales process.
Creating a sales funnel from an automatic series of letters is a common practice in the information business. But it has also been successfully used by companies that sell software in the ecommerce business and service providers.
For example, an auto-link can be a series of training videos that sell and call action videos. It promotes the sale of your products.
You can also create a series of free educational emails to then invite potential customers to a live or recorded webinar where you will voice your offer to them.
For online stores, automatic mailing may include product promotions that a subscriber has just viewed on your website.
- Promote up-sells and cross-sells.
You can also set up an automatic series of letters for those who have already made their first purchase and thus transfer them to the category of regular customers.
Depending on the type of your product, you can offer goods on the basis of up-sell (raising the sale amount by adding options to the product), or cross-sell (adding related products to the check).
For example, if someone is buying a digital camera, you can offer to purchase another lens, tripod and other accessories. This is important to do at the stage of order confirmation, even before shipment.
If you sell daily goods (food, diapers, etc.), you can start the automatic mailing of new offers a couple of days before the customer usually places an order with you.
Step 2. Develop a plan for the automatic series of letters
At this stage, you plan (script) for your series of letters. To begin, decide:
- how many days will it last?
- how many letters do you plan to send?
There is no universal rule about exactly how many emails should be in the series.
The only thing you need to know is that your series should have enough volume to achieve your goal. No more, no less.
Therefore, calculate the scale of an automatic series of letters depending on their purpose, taking into account the features of your segments, the preferences of subscribers, and more.
The next thing you will need to consider is the time interval between letters. You can send an email once every two days if your letters are educational in nature, and even three or four a day if you have a large-scale sale that is about to end. The frequency of the newsletter depends on its purpose (what we decided on in Step 1).
You will also need to find a healthy balance between your “valuable” letters and your “offers” (calls to buy).
The exact number of letters you sent does not matter if the lion’s share of them is precisely “valuable” messages. They help keep your list up to date and up to date. People do not like it when they try to vparit something. Therefore, do not give them a reason to avoid your letters.
In practice, try to comply with the 80/20 rule. Where 80 is the percentage of emails that give subscribers value, and 20 is the percentage of sales messages dedicated specifically to promoting your product.
Now you can proceed directly to the preparation of the distribution plan. From start to finish, write down the topics that will be discussed in each letter, and, of course, do not forget about the call to action (CTA).
Your call to action may be to:
- follow the specified link;
- share an article from a blog on social networks;
- reply to this e-mail;
- make a purchase.
Step 3. Create an automated high conversion email series
Writing these very letters can be the most difficult part of the whole process. It is possible you might even want to delegate this to a professional copywriter.
But if you still want to master this science yourself, here’s what you need to keep in mind:
- Focus on the reader.
Your letters should satisfy the needs of your subscribers, not yours.
Instead of singing enthusiastic odes to your product, educate your audience, share valuable knowledge that will offer subscribers ways to solve their problems. Ask yourself what problems (pain points) your subscribers have. How can you resolve them with this letter?
- Remember to personalize.
It will make the contents of your e-mail much more relevant and valuable to customers.
But personalization is not limited to simply indicating the name of the subscriber in the letter. You need to adapt the content in such a way as to satisfy its needs.
For example, an online retailer would rather be interested in an email with the subject “7 Easy Ways to Get Backlinks for an Online Store.” The general heading “7 Easy Ways to Get Backlinks” is unlikely to interest him.
- Come up with strong message headers.
Copywriting guru David Ogilvy once said that 80 cents of every dollar that you spend on writing text should be spent on writing headings. With emails too. If the subject of the letter does not attract the attention of the reader, he will open them.
So spend most of your time writing and perfecting your thematic headline. A “catchy” topic arouses interest in the content of the letter. Accordingly, you get the personal interest of the subscriber.
Step 4. Monitor and improve
Despite the fact that the automatic series of letters literally unties your hands, this does not mean at all that by creating it, you can completely forget about it.
To get the best results, you should monitor the effectiveness of your emails to identify areas for improvement.
Then conduct A / B testing in order to make these same improvements.
Here are the key performance indicators and metrics that you should look for when analyzing the effectiveness of an answering machine:
- Open rate .
Analyze the following points: how relevant is your auto-link to your list? How good are the topics / headings of your letters? How correctly selected time for sending?
- Clickthrough rate (CTR).
After your subscribers open your letters, do they take the actions you expect from them? If you’re unsatisfied with your clickthrough rates, maybe the content of your email is not as effective as you think?
Think about whether the content of your letter matches its subject? Did you offer something truly valuable to your subscribers? Have you given sufficient reason and motivation to follow the link?
Is your call to action clear enough? Is it easy to find your link?
- Unsubscribe rate.
Unsubscribing is normal and will happen despite all your efforts. These people would most likely never make a purchase, so don’t worry that someone has ceased to be part of your base.
However, a high level of unsubscription may indicate that you are losing potential customers.
Evaluate the following points: why did people follow you and do you live up to your expectations?
How relevant is the content of your letters for a particular segment?
Are you trying to sell something in your letters too often? Do not forget the rule “80% newsletters and only 20% transactional letters.”
I told you how you can use email marketing in your business.
Modern email newsletter services provide a large number of opportunities to automate and personalize your campaigns.
Armed with knowledge and strong service, you can build a real sales machine yourself! Moreover, understanding the basics, you can subscribe to your competitors’ mailings to better understand what their email marketing strategy is about.
I hope my guide has helped you learn how to create an effective email marketing campaign and integrate email marketing into your marketing mix.