Everything You Need To Know About Email Marketing

Email marketing campaigns are one of the cheapest ways to advertise your business, but emails can easily get lost in your customer’s inbox. This guide will take you through the basics, from how to set goals and create campaign ideas, to the nitty-gritty details like crafting a subject line and choosing images that best represent your business.

What is the first step in any successful email campaign?

The first step in creating a successful email marketing campaign is outlining a clear goal. These are some questions to ask your team to figure out your first email campaign. The answers to these questions will help you determine the type of campaign that best suits your needs.

  • What is our primary goal with this email campaign?

  • Who is our target audience?

  • What types of language, offers, and information does the target audience care about?

  • Is the goal set a measurable one? If not, how will the campaign’s success or failure be determined?

  • What action must the prospective clients take when viewing the email?

  • What will the duration of the campaign be before looking at results and reevaluating?

Types of email marketing campaigns

There are several types of email campaigns you can use at the same time, depending on the nature of your business and the goal of your marketing campaign. These are the most common types:

1. Sale or promotion

A sale or promotional email campaign alerts current or new customers of a time-limited offer. They’re also used for businesses that are highly seasonal and run regular sales during certain times of the year.

2. Newsletter

Newsletters aren’t appropriate for all businesses as they tend not to include a call to action (or CTA) aimed at the reader, except directing them toward more online involvement in the form of communities. The newsletter campaign’s main goal is to become a source of trusted information for readers and raise the overall profile of the business.

3. Re-engagement email

When an existing customer stops patronising your business, you should deploy a re-engagement email to win them back. They can help you increase brand awareness and remind former customers of what you do, especially if your business is seasonal.

4. Transactional email

Transactional emails are quite important, especially in online businesses. Also called a trigger or behavioural email, the transactional email is any email sent to a customer in response to a transaction. It may be a confirmation of an order, a response to a specific question, or a confirmation of a refund in progress. Another common scenario is an abandoned cart email, which can be helpful for online retailers looking to reduce the number of abandoned carts at checkout.

5. Lead nurturing email

A lead nurturing email can be a transactional or promotional email. However, lead nurturing emails are usually typed individually by salespeople who are attempting to move leads through the customer journey, rather than being sent en masse as promotional and transactional emails often are. Many companies use sets of customisable form emails for lead nurturing scenarios to ensure consistency and streamline of the communication process for sales staff.

Compiling a mailing list

For transactional and re-engagement emails, your mailing list will be self-generated from existing customer contact information. New email campaigns intended to target a potential customer will require a fresh list. Mailing lists can be obtained in several ways:

1. Buying a mailing list

Lots of companies sell mailing lists, which offer somewhat customisable lists. So you can choose between targeting individuals and targeting businesses, specifying ZIP codes, ages, industries, sales volume, and gender.

If your business is well suited to cold emailing, these big-box lists are not the worst place to start, but you get what you pay for. High-end email marketing and mailing list firms can offer more tailored lists that fit your business more closely.

2. Gathering leads online

If your business’s website gets decent traffic, you can gather leads directly online by asking for users’ email addresses. Many businesses do this by offering a newsletter or a discount for new customers.

To create a web form that can capture contact information without any coding, you can use a drag-and-drop style builder. If you use an easily shareable form, you can link to it in online advertisements, casting a wider net for leads than you would typically get directly from your business’s website.

3. Creating your mailing list

Some businesses are better suited to smaller and more focused mailing lists for their email campaigns, and such lists can be partially or fully self-compiled. Networking events and trade shows are excellent opportunities to make contacts for your mailing list.

Market segmentation is the first stop on the path of creating your mailing list. Many marketing departments begin the process of creating a campaign by identifying one or several profiles of the ideal customer. If you cannot describe your potential customer in detail, then you cannot sell to them or identify them.

Identifying your ideal customers

Your profiles of potential customers should be specific enough to do your market segmentation for you. For example, a lawn company called Great Greens would be hired by homeowners or property managers with lawns to maintain. Since one of these groups is B2C and the other is B2B, two profiles will be necessary.

Another segmentation is location. For example, Great Greens would operate within a certain radius, so collect the applicable ZIP codes and forget everything else. The profile of your B2C customer is dependent on the service or product you offer and who you want to offer it to. For example, if Great Greens is to be a high-end landscaping service, then it makes sense to include that in your customer profile. Then you need to identify how that type of person makes buying decisions.

Using market segmentation like a marketer

As an example, Great Greens’ ideal client is easy to picture. The information should provide clear guidelines for gathering leads based on home type and proximity to the company. The ideal client would also have a high income and therefore you should market in the relevant neighbourhoods.

A broad email marketing campaign that targets high-income homeowners with lawns in your area is a good way to start your advertising campaign. You can either purchase email addresses, do online research, or consider a well-placed local advertisement.

Using market segmentation to determine your marketing strategy

A client profile not only helps you to determine who to target with your email campaign, but also determine your marketing strategy. The profile features can and should impact the graphic design and images you use in your email campaign as well.

How to write marketing emails that get results

An email is an opportunity to connect so you should know the best practices for email marketing.

1. Craft a great subject line

Emails with attention-catching subject lines are more likely to be opened so it’s best to keep them short and to the point. Think about what your customers want to hear from you, instead of what you want to say.

Remember than most of your potential customers will read the subject line and nothing else. Always focus on what you can do for the potential customer, not how you want your brand to be seen. 

2. Maintain focused clarity

Focus is key when it comes to building a workable email marketing strategy. Each email should only have one purpose - don’t try to make your customers aware of every service or promotion you offer. 

If you have a lot of ground to cover then consider doing a full email series with targeted emails covering different topics. Map out your customer’s journey and plan out your email series accordingly. Targeted emails should be brief and contain important information. 

3. Include a call to action

A common mistake that people make is not including a call to action or a CTA. This is a staple of copywriting and exactly what it sounds like: a call for the reader to take an action. Keep your CTA short and clear - which reflects directly on your marketing strategy. 

When should you hire a copywriter?

If you only intend on sending transactional emails, then you can handle this yourself. However, copywriters are more skilled in writing and are aware of branding and marketing best practices. The more marketing you intend to include via email and newsletter, the more sophisticated your audience, and the more strongly you should consider hiring a copywriter.

Choosing images for marketing emails

Effective images for email campaigns can be simple or sophisticated, original, or available through a paid image service. You must make sure that the images you use don’t violate any copyright laws and are of high quality. These are the main ways to get images to support your email campaign, as well as their pros and cons:

  • Hire a graphic designer: A professional graphic designer can create a beautiful finished product and they can do anything from marketing email layout to logo design. They can work with you to create a consistent image across your brand.

  • Hire a photographer: Hiring a photographer to take pictures of your product allows you to get original images for your company. If you need a photographer regularly then it may be best to hire an in-house photographer to create new images for you.

  • Do it yourself: If you have a creative and skilled workforce at your disposal then you’ve got all you need. Unless you’re marketing your services exclusively to creative professionals or a high-end clientele, then DIY marketing design will work for you.

  • Buy a subscription to an image or service: A great in-between option, if you want to partially DIY your marketing email design work, buying a subscription to an image service, is affordable and simple.

Email marketing automation 101

Once your marketing strategy is established and your first email is complete, you may want to consider using marketing automation software to streamline your future email campaigns. Email templates, including design templates, are a staple in any company. A useful feature is the ability to schedule customise emails, track click-through rates, and automatically send trigger emails for you. Some email marketing automation tools are also linked to larger CRM systems, which can be helpful when tracking the customer journey through your sales pipeline.

  • email marketing
  • digital marketing
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