6 tips to create the best email marketing strategy
They keep landing in your inbox from morning until night. Both from known and unknown senders. In addition to your own contacts, they are likely from brands you've been in contact with online or from companies you've never heard of (at least not memorized). Despite all these mass mailings, email marketing is the most effective communication channel for many brands.
But how do you spark interest and engagement instead of annoyance? How do you stand out from everyone else in the subject line? And what technical features can both facilitate and optimise your communication? In this guide, we'll give you 6 tips you need to get started. Let's go!
1. Production plan
As with any other form of marketing activity, you need to set a clear plan and structure for what your email marketing will contain, what the purpose is and what your goals are for the channel. A long-term production plan will help you produce relevant content month after month or even week after week. Regardless of how frequently you want to communicate, a publishing schedule should also be included. Get started with your production plan by answering the following questions:
- What is the goal of the channel?
- What is the format of the mailing? E.g. newsletters, campaigns, recommendations.
- What is the target audience?
- How often should we send out emails?
- Which content categories should we highlight?
- What do we want recipients to do after reading the email (CTA)?
- How should I measure the results?
The most important thing to remember is that your communication should create added value for subscribers. You can do this through, for example, news, tips, personalised offers, reminders or recommendations. Think about what is important to communicate about your company - and what is important for recipients to know.
2. Layout and design
Creating a common thread in your communications is crucial for both profiling, brand awareness and loyalty. Recipients should know you're you through your font, colour choice, logo and tone of voice. In other words, it's important that your brand image is also reflected in your mailing. Small details such as word choice or image selection may not seem so crucial, but they can affect both the click-through rate and the recipient's image of your brand.
So spend time creating an aesthetic design that captures the reader's interest and makes them stay. Work on the visuals in the form of images, videos, headlines and infographics until you have found a layout that symbolises your brand.
There are several ways to attract subscribers today. The most common method is through sign-up forms on the website. You can create a pop-up box that is presented every time someone visits your site. You can also remind users of your newsletter, for example, after a purchase or contact request. If you offer downloadable material on your site such as guides, whitepapers or discount codes, you can collect email addresses in exchange for more information.
To avoid any misunderstandings or question marks, we recommend that you always include a box at the bottom of your email telling them why they received the message and how your brand received the information.
4. Capture the recipient in the subject line
A large percentage of recipients read their emails on mobile, depending on the audience, it's up to 78%. This means your recipients aren't just on the go, distracted at work or taking a break at the gym. You're also competing with social media, calls and texts. That's why you need to capture the recipient's interest right from the subject line. Your email needs to be the most interesting thing that the user in question can spend their time on - regardless of all the other exciting options that mobile offers.
To gain insights into which headline will convince recipients all the way to clicking through and reading your entire message, you can A/B test which message suits your target audience. This allows you to send out two different versions of your newsletter, to analyse which version works best. We recommend creating short subject lines of around five to seven words, to ensure the full message is visible - regardless of device.
5. Quality over quantity
Looking at social media or blog posts, there is a clear trend when it comes to content length, regardless of format. If we look at emails, it's not as obvious. However, you want to avoid both boring and scaring readers away with long, drawn-out mailings. We recommend a maximum of 1200 words, this performs best for web content. On mobile, however, most people prefer shorter communications, so keep that in mind when designing your newsletters. Again, a full 78% should be able to read through the entire message from mobile.
Users prefer content that is easy to consume and doesn't take up too much time or focus. If your newsletter is perceived as long and time-consuming, many will likely click through after the first line. So create simple, relevant and engaging content that leads them to your website, for example, to a product or offer. Work with clear CTAs (call to actions) that match your content, at an early stage of the newsletter. This way, you can naturally direct the reader onwards, even if they just open the email and look through it quickly.
6. Optimize and automate
The advantage of email marketing, is that all activities surrounding the mailing can be measured in one way or another. This gives you a clear basis and direction for your future work going forward. Focusing on the content that generates in results and optimising what doesn't, helps you improve your ROI (return of investment).
Data about your subscribers can also help you create personalised messages for each contact. You can recommend similar products they've browsed in the past, or create offers of a service they've read more about.
By segmenting your contact list, you can target custom messages to recipients who meet specific criteria. You can categorise based on previous activity such as a purchase, or using demographic factors such as location, age and interest. Learn more about email marketing analytics here.
You can also use the data to create automated mailings, which is a strength when it comes to email marketing. Through settings, you can trigger an automated mailing, for example to recipients who have left products in a shopping basket, a thank you letter after a purchase or a review request after a hotel visit or webinar. The possibilities are endless. Through data, messages can be sent at the optimal time, to the right person, all based on behavioural patterns and recipient preferences. Read more about automated mailings here.
After all, it's no wonder that email marketing is a successful channel for many brands. The method not only strengthens your brand, but also allows you to create a deeper relationship with your customers, through personalised messages and customised offers. You have the opportunity to reach the right person at the right time to generate additional sales. Now it's time for you to set a plan and sharpen your pencil!
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