E-mail marketing is a vibrant and powerful way to connect with people. It can be utilized in a personal manner to reach target customers and maintain current customers. The possibilities are virtually endless. With 2.5 billion users, e-mail isn’t going anywhere. So, how can you take advantage of e-mail marketing to grow your business?
Develop Your E-Mail Template
An e-mail template is a pre-formatted or pre-written email that can be edited and revised to match the topic of your latest content. This allows you to conveniently share content without having to start from scratch. There are a couple different ways you can go about creating an e-mail template. The first and most complex way is to design your own. If you have experience with coding and graphic design, then this could be the route you might consider. The more convenient and quickest method is to use a template from your e-mail service provider. Most reputable e-mail providers offer a vast library of ready-made templates designed for a variety of industries and niches. You could also have your design and marketing firm create you a custom template for your organization.
E-mail templates can be utilized when sending weekly messages to clients and subscribers. Using a template has advantages: it creates a consistent feel to your e-mails that reinforces your brand message. It’s also faster and easier to create a weekly e-mail using a template that is already created. We recommend using consistent, quality graphics and images to help build your brand and maintain consistency.
Writing Content For Your E-Mail
In addition to being effective, e-mail marketing is personal and accessible for many different companies. The first step of writing a quality e-mail is to write a good subject line. A good subject line ultimately determines whether people are going to open your e-mail or not. A subject line should be short, unique and include action words to get the reader’s attention. You can personalize the e-mail by using the customer’s name in the subject line using personalization tokens.
If you’re making an offer via e-mail, it’s important to showcase the benefits of the offer rather than the features. Be clear on the value of the offer and make sure the customer understands what’s in it for them. To be more effective, use a call-to-action at the end of your e-mail. You don’t want to oversell your product/service, but clarify the next step.
When writing an e-mail, you want to keep it short. This increases the likelihood of keeping your audience’s interest and also serves to keep you on topic throughout the duration of your campaign. While you always want to be professional, make sure you let your personality shine in the e-mail. Add a little bit of emotion to differentiate yourself from the crowd. This will have a positive impact for your company and personal brand. One last thing is don’t spam. Only send e-mails that are relevant to your audience.
Before you look at anything, you should ask yourself: what is the goal of my e-mail marketing? Is it to increase subscribers? Generate more leads? To convert existing leads into customers? Whatever your goal may be, the next step is to determine which metrics to track in order to reach that goal. We’ll briefly touch on the three most important metrics when analyzing an e-mail campaign.
The best way to achieve success in e-mail marketing is to test what works and what doesn’t. This is formally known as A/B testing. While you may want to test more than one thing, it’s important to only test one thing at a time to get accurate results. You might consider testing the following:
- Subject line
- Body text
Each one of these has a different effect on the conversion process. For example, if your open-rate is low, then you’ll likely want to start testing for the subject line. According to our partners at Constant Contact, you should use a sample size of at least 1,000 contacts if possible. This should be enough people to get accurate results. It’s also important to only test ONE element at a time. Keep every other element the same except for the one you’re testing. If you change multiple elements at once, it’s very hard to know which variable affected your results. We recommend using a different sample for each individual element you test.
Most e-mail campaign software has built in tools for A/B testing. If not, you can set one up manually. Simply split your current list into two separate lists and then send one version of your e-mail to half and the other version to the second half. You’ll then need to compare results. The most effective way to record results is by tracking them in a data spreadsheet such as Excel or use your e-mail marketing software.
Analyze the Results
The first and most frequent metric to track is the clickthrough rate (CTR). This is the percentage of e-mail recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in an e-mail. For example, let’s say you sent 10,000 e-mails and had 1,000 total clicks. You do 1,000 clicks divided by 10,000 delivered e-mails to get a 10% clickthrough rate. You can easily calculate the performance for each individual e-mail you send using CTR data. CTR is also frequently used for determining the sucess of A/B tests.
The next metric to measure is the conversion rate. This is the percentage of e-mail recipients who clicked on a link and completed a desired action, such as filling out a form or purchasing a product. This is calculated the same as CTR except clicks is replaced with the number of people who completed the desired action. In order to measure the conversion rate on your e-mails, you’ll need to integrate your e-mail platform and your web analytics. This is done by creating unique tracking URLs for your email links so you can identify the source of the click coming from a specific e-mail campaign. Not all platforms integrate together, so talk with your marketing firm about your e-mail marketing and web commerce or website platform for making these connections work for you.
E-mail marketing is still the most effective form of direct marketing for most small businesses. Increasing subscriber numbers, and improving CTR and conversion rates will have a significant and immediate impact on sales. It’s the best place to invest some time – both in improving the quality of your email’s look, feel and content and in its effectiveness.