Barely a week goes by without someone proclaiming that email marketing is dead, but we can only assume that they’re not doing it correctly! The most successful sites of all sizes continue to build their email lists and maintain regular contact with interested parties. While there may be more online marketing opportunities today than ever before, nothing gets your site, products, and services in front of your audience, like landing quality content in their inbox.
Much like any marketing activity, the return on investment is a critical measurement point. A robust campaign requires time, effort, and expertise, and for any business to be successful, it’s essential to come out ahead financially. Awareness and interactivity are great, but revenue is king, and the majority of emails sent to any list should focus on conversions.
If you want your next email campaign to be wildly successful, consider the following steps before you hit ‘send’.
1. Build Around All the Data You Have At Your Disposal
No two email lists are ever the same. You might have been building for years and boast tens of thousands of subscribers or might have bought in a fresh list with which you have no existing relationship. The amount of data and email analytics you have on hand is not massively significant. What matters is how you use it.
Your list represents a great way to profile your target audience, primarily if you built it yourself. Depending on how much data you collect during the signup process, you might be able to spot patterns in the kinds of people that want to know more about your product or service.
Spending time on building these profiles can be hugely beneficial to the next campaign. At the most basic level, design it with that audience in mind.
On more extensive lists, you might notice subscriber groups. They are unrelated to each other, but various people fit the different profiles. In these cases, consider either split testing your emails or segmenting your audience with alternative emails for each.
2. Do the Parts You Can Do Well – Use Experts for the Rest
If you have an impressive email list, you already know a thing or two about online marketing and capturing attention. However, if you have a budget to spend and the humility to accept that you’re not an expert at everything, you can work out what to do yourself and what to delegate.
If you’re great at design, focus on making your emails pop when they open. Then, let someone else take care of the content – mistakes in body copy can kill a sale.
If you prefer to analyze data and make informed decisions, stick to monitoring conversions and reports and let specialists take care of the look and feel of the email and the technology behind it.
This is not to say that one person cannot create, send and manage an entire email campaign – thousands do every day. However, for the very best results, it is essential to remember that experts are referred to as such for a reason.
3. Don’t Let Your Landing Page Let You Down
In most cases, it is close to impossible to close a sale within the email itself. You might pique someone’s interest, but they will want further information before committing. Essentially, a fantastic email will encourage people to visit another page, and that’s your opportunity to seal the deal.
It would be best if you resisted any temptation to link to your homepage. A direct link to a product page is not always the best idea unless it is packed with everything a potential customer needs to know and plenty of social proof.
Take the time to think about what kind of destination would convert a passing interest into a sale or get someone to do that for you in line with the previous tip. This could involve the famously extensive sales letters that have been around since the dawn of the internet, or it might be an interactive tool.
You have already done the hard part by getting someone to click through from your email. It would be regrettable to let them slip through the cracks on one of the more straightforward steps!
4. Test Everything About Your Campaign Before Hitting Send
A botched email campaign can often be worse than no campaign at all, depending on the severity of the mistake. Even if you’re a reasonably established brand, you should operate on the policy that you have one chance to make a good impression. Mess up the first email, and the chances of anyone opening the apologetic follow-up decrease massively.
Some recommend having an ‘oops’ email template on hand. We would recommend testing your email campaigns in advance to ensure that these mistakes don’t happen. An excellent testing service will replicate your audience, regardless of size, and reassure everyone in your organization that what you expect to happen when you start the campaign comes off as agreed.
Things can quickly go wrong, and they’re not always a disaster, but it is always nice to get things right the first time at this stage in the process.
5. Don’t Underestimate the Influx of Interest
This final step, just as with the last, involves planning ahead and, more specifically, planning for the worst. It’s usually time to panic if your website goes down, but that’s magnified when you’re actively trying to encourage people to visit.
If you have gone all out on creating a highly converting email campaign, you can expect large swathes of traffic within a specific period. Around a quarter of emails are opened within an hour of receipt, with over half-opened within five hours. If they have not been read by then, the chances are that they never will be.
Depending on the size of your list, these traffic levels could be overwhelming compared to any other day. Ensure your hosting is up to par and, just as importantly, check that your payment processing and customer service response times can cope with the short-term traffic boost.
It is always a good idea to operate under the assumption that you have just one chance to impress per email. If someone opens, clicks, and receives an error, then chances are they will not try again later.
An outstanding email campaign can take plenty of time and effort. However, if you have a great product or service and just need to alert subscribers about something interesting, they remain incredibly viable. Results are often commensurate with effort, so ensure you take the proper steps to make the biggest impression.