Do you know how to create and execute an effective marketing strategy? With an estimated 270 billion emails being sent daily around the world, there is a lot of competition for people’s attention. There are only so many emails a person can read during a day. In fact, most emails stay unread and ignored, so knowing, how to effectively reach your customers through emails is a valuable marketing knowledge.
But is it right for you? If you are promoting a product or service online, or even operating an online store, then email marketing is something that you should definitely start looking into. Not only can email marketing help you increase your sales, but it can help you connect with your customer base in a way that is not possible by any other means.
Email Marketing Strategy Definition
Simply speaking, email marketing strategy is any procedure, device or method that a promoter creates and follows in order to achieve their email marketing goals. This covers a wide variety of methods used by marketers in order to generate additional sales and revenue, all via email. This is a very popular technique used by a number of companies and individuals, ranging from multi-million dollar organizations such as Amazon, to solo entrepreneurs.
Whilst this may sound pretty technical, it is actually pretty simple. A marketer will simply identify what he or she wants to gain from their email marketing campaign and design a strategy to get them there.
This generally involves the collection and curation of multiple customer emails, organized into a mailing list. This mailing list then becomes the focus of the marketer's email marketing strategy; they can now send promotional emails advertising their products or services to these customers in the future.
Why Email Marketing
Email marketing is a low-cost way to increase sales or client engagement. Think of it as a gentle reminder to potential clients that your product or service exists. A great example of this is Argos, who regularly send emails to everyone in their database informing them of new sales and promotions on offer. This lets the customers see what Argos has to offer, thereby increasing the likelihood of them completing a purchase. Email marketing allows companies to reach millions almost instantaneously, making it a valuable tool in terms of making profit.
Having a solid email marketing strategy also serves the dual function as acting as a sort of business plan, whereby a marketer has a clear stage by stage goal to follow with regards to generating additional revenue. This is essential as any small business owner knows; having a plan and sticking to it is the best way for any enterprise to succeed. The same is true for an email marketing strategy.
It has been shown that companies that regularly send out newsletter or promotional material to their mailing lists, see on average a 40% increase in return traffic. When scaled up to include the hundreds of thousands of people in some mailing lists, this can lead to a tremendous increase in revenue. For these reasons, learning how to effectively employ email marketing in your business is an essential step to take towards increased profit.
How Does Email Marketing Work
Email marketing, as has been stated previously, is really not that hard a concept to grasp. In theory, it is extremely simple, but executing it properly can be trick at times. The easiest way to explain how email marketing actually works is with a little example scenario.
Say you own an online store. Customers who arrive at your page are presented with a discreet popup inviting them to share their email information in return for knowledge of upcoming deals or new arrivals in the store.
These emails are kept in a database by you, the marketer, and every few days or weeks you produce new, engaging content or set up a new, exciting deal. This is then sent out to everyone on your mailing list, allowing you to reach people. Who have already shown previous interest in whatever you are selling, increasing the likelihood of them returning to your page and making you money.
Used like this, email marketing can be a very powerful tool when it comes to keeping customers interested in your service, and in getting repeat service. What is sent out through email campaigns is completely at the marketer's discretion, but is usually content or offers specifically designed to pique a potential customer's interest, content designed for one purpose only; the end result of getting a sale.
Types Of Email Marketing Campaigns
There are quite a few different types of campaigns one can employ when it comes to email marketing. I will list the main, broad types and give a brief explanation of each.
- Welcome Emails: These are the standard set of emails that newly registered customers should receive. Standard format for these emails is to greet the customer, reaffirming their choice to have signed up for your email marketing in the first place. The key to welcome emails is to sell your service to the customer without being too pushy, a balance which is sometimes hard to find.
- Re-Engagement Emails: Another common campaign employed, these are usually something that is beneficial to the customer, whether it be a short tutorial, or a motivational quote. The purpose of this type of email is to reconnect with the customers, to remind them that your product or service is still there, to remind them why they visited your web page in the first place. The ultimate goal here is to have the customer return to the website.
- Promotional Emails: As the name suggests, these are campaigns that are promoting something, either a new product, service or a time-sensitive offer. The idea here is clear; show someone something in the hopes that they will be inclined to purchase. Simple and effective.
- Customer Reviews: It is common for some companies that are advertising a service to send positive reviews written by previous customers, in the hope that this will attract people back. Whilst not as effective as the above mentioned campaigns, this is a strategy employed by numerous marketers across the world.
There are countless variations on these four major themes. Marketers are encouraged to be as creative as possible with their email marketing strategies, as the more innovative they are, the more likely they are to stand out from the crowd. Each marketing campaign should be meticulously planned out in order to maximize its effectiveness.
How To Do Email Marketing Yourself
Surprisingly, email marketing is pretty straightforward to set up, in theory at least. Simply set your goals (what you want to achieve through your marketing strategy) and choose a campaign type that fits this. Goals for email marketing would include what you want your email campaigns to say, what you are producing, how you are going to go around collecting emails in the first place.
Next you must create an effective lead capture page - the page that will convince people to actually sign up for whatever you are offering. If this sounds daunting, do not worry - there are plenty of email marketing tutorials out there and a number of helpful email marketing software available that can be used to keep track of mailing lists.
Landing pages are the page that will initially convince someone to hand over their precious email information in the first place. This is usually done by promising additional information or value. An example of this would be a popup that offers a free e-book or tutorial in exchange for the customer's email.
Offering something of extra value such as a tutorial or e-book is a good way to provide additional value for anyone who is browsing your page. If you were a potential customer who had clicked on a page looking for information on 'how to make money online' and you were offered a free e-book on top of the information already available on the page in exchange for your email address - how would that sound to you? Tempting?
That is what a good landing page should do. In that scenario, the customer would be happy to provide their details in exchange for the book, thus being added to your mailing list to be contacted in the future with any future offers you can provide.
Make sure you track everything as much as possible, I use ClickMagick to do so.
Email Marketing Strategy Plan
A strategy plan is the pre-planning phase that all good email marketing campaigns should go through. Developing a solid plan will greatly increase the effectiveness of your email marketing. Important steps to consider carefully when in the planning phase are:
- Creating your lead page: This is the most important step. Without a good leading page, you have no good way in which to convince people to sign up for your email service. These pages should be carefully constructed to lure in as many prospective customers as possible. I suggest to use ClickFunnels to create high converting landing pages.
- Choosing your mailing provider: It goes without saying that choosing a reliable mailing provider is of the utmost importance. This will be the program that allows you to manage and store your mailing lists which can potentially reach the hundreds of thousands. Trying to manage larger mailing lists on your own is not feasible long-term, therefore making sure you have a mailing provider that works for you is an important second step. I use and recommend to use GetResponse.
- Do your customer research: When you post something is just as crucial as what you post. The best time to reach people is when they are relaxing, generally not when they are otherwise occupied. This means it is important to know when your customer base is most likely to be in this state. For example, it makes no sense to send out mailing lists at 3 a.m. if your primary reader base are farmers.
- Curate your mailing lists: Organize your mailing lists into different categories. This makes it easier for you to reach out to people with similar characteristics, allowing you to write targeted content just for them.
5 Strategies For Effective Email Campaigns
There are numerous techniques that a skillful marketer may employ in order for their email marketing campaigns to be effective. The 5 main ways that this can be accomplished are listed below:
- Personalize Emails. Personalizing emails to each individual customer adds another level to the customer experience. It involves using previously gathered customer data to create customized emails, tailor-made for each person in the mailing list. Studies have been shown that companies that do use personalized emails, such as Amazon, see 6 times the normal transaction rates compared to companies that use a generic email format.
- Organize Your Lists - As previously mentioned, organizing your email lists based on user data is a great way to increase the effectiveness of your email marketing strategy. Doing this allows you to focus specific groups with specifically created content. This leads to higher generation of potential sales without subjecting people who might not otherwise be interested in that specific product to an unwelcome email.
- Make It Mobile Friendly - Creating content that is tailored only to be viewed on a laptop or desktop is a classic mistake that many make. With more and more people using smartphones as their primary means of accessing the internet, it is extremely important to make sure whatever you publish looks just as good on a phone's screen. This increases the number of people who will be able to view your content.
- Test Before You Send - Always, always, always test new email campaigns before you send them. There is nothing more off-putting and embarrassing than an unfinished or badly created campaign going out live. This is a mistake that can easily be avoided.
- Make Sure It Is Automated - Unless you are managing an email list of under 10 people, you need that list to be automated as much as possible. This means that pre-written messages will be sent to individual users based on their past behavior. For example, new arrivals would receive a welcome email, people who haven't visited the page in over 2 weeks would be a sent a re-connecting email etc.
As you can see, most of these focus around providing an enhanced customer experience, and this will always be the key focal point of any email marketing campaign. The customer must feel pampered, whilst you are subtly trying to sell them a product or service.
The customer must never feel pushed or bombarded with repetitive notices or things that they have no interest in. Providing this level of customer care will not only endear your customers to you, but will make them more likely to respond positively to any future email campaigns you send their way.
What Is The Best Time To Send An Email Campaign?
This is a tricky question, as the answer lies solely with the segment of the population you are trying to reach. It will differ depending on who you are trying to target with your email campaigns. The best solution is to do client research, using both the tools available online and a good deal of common sense. If you are trying to target 20-25 year old people, a good time would not be 6-7 p.m. on a Monday to Friday night as they are most likely to be engaged in other social activities.
BTW have you noticed, there are companies and marketers, who does not send emails on weekend time. The time between Monday and Thursday and maybe on Friday, yet Saturday and Sunday is like day off for everyone.
Having said that, there are numerous studies that have been conducted on a staggering amount of email campaigns and their success rates, and the general best times to conduct email campaigns are midweek, between the hours of 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.
What that means is Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday mornings have been shown to be the times when email campaigns gain the most amount of attention. The general reason for this is that the vast majority of emails are opened as people get to work and sit down at their desks.
Again, these are just general results and obviously only apply to those segments of society that would actually be sitting at desks to work. Lumberjacks, for instance, would not fit into this category.
In short, whilst there are general times that have been identified as being more successful than others, it all comes down to your target audience and when they are most likely to be opening their inboxes. For this reason, customer research and gathered data is always an important part of the process.
Email Marketing Strategy Examples
There are many examples online of successful email marketing strategies that have been, or are being used by companies to drive sales. Notable examples used in this article have been Argos, that regularly sends out newsletters showing off new deals, new products and ways customers can save money whilst at the same time benefiting from the increased revenue that this form of marketing brings in.
Another great example of a company with a powerful marketing strategy is Netflix, the entertainment giant. They reliably update their customer base on new show and film arrivals, tailor made emails that are using your past browsing data in order to generate suggestions that you are more likely to be interested in.
I remember myself watching video with Jimmy Kim (now CEO of Sendlane). He was talking about email series. So every time you send value type email- it’s like giving a cookie and every time you send promotional email- it is like taking that cookie back. So if you only send promo type emails, then you are just taking cookies and people on your list becomes not happy, that may lead to unsubscribe. That being said, give enough cookies for people to stay happy.
Soap opera email sequence
I’ve stumbled on soap opera sequence video and was interested, what on earth is this. In soap opera sequence you have to tell some sort of story and I could compare this to a movie. You know when you are watching movie on Tv and on the best part it stops to show you advertisement. Or Tv series, when at the end you are left with emotional state: intrigued, interested to see what’s next- now you have to wait a week to see another episode.
Same applies to email series and it can help you to increase open rates, click through rates also build better relationship with people on your email list. This can be used in any niche and the sequence may look like this, 5 emails in 5 days:
#1 Set the stage and introduce yourself (deliver what was promised via opt-in form or landing page)
#2 High drama -> backstory -> Wall
#3 Epiphany -> the one thing
#4 Hidden benefits
#5 Urgency C.T.A.
You can learn more about soap opera sequence in DotComSecrets book.
Another email marketing legend Igor Kheifets. This guy literally trains subscribers to open and click every email of his. Writes incredible good stories, connecting his own life, world events to a products or services. His copy is usually long form, but it does not matter: if people are interested in something, they can talk, read, listed about it all day long. There are no limits of which day of the week or time to send a message and he’s right in my opinion.