Email marketing is one of the most cost-effective forms of digital marketing around, and it delivers spectacular ROI. Yet, it’s still underestimated by many businesses, especially small businesses. Or, perhaps many businesses have tried it, bombed and given up. It’s easy to bomb because if it’s done incorrectly it looks very much like spam. In fact, it is spam. The problem is that it takes time and effort to get it right; time and effort which many business owners don’t think they can afford.
What makes a good email marketing strategy?
- Good copy
The world doesn’t revolve around good copy, but your email marketing strategy sure does. It starts with an attention-grabbing subject line; the rest of the copy has to justify that attention. It’s a good idea to start the body of the email with copy that follows on from the subject line. There are plenty of email newsletters that have a smashing subject line and then bury the story near the bottom of the page.
The idea, one supposes, is to encourage readers to scroll through all the other news snippets and tempt with other stories before they get to the one they really want. It tends to have the opposite effect. If the lead story isn’t at the top, or can’t be seen at first glance, readers are likely to dump the email – or archive it, never to look at it again.
If your subject contains news of a massive spring sale with savings of up to 50%, you better make sure that your opening copy gives some more details, and is followed with some super good pictures of the items available.
- Good timing
Good timing occurs on two levels:
1) The time of day.
2) The times per week or month.
There is a certain deal-of-the-day website that inundates subscribers with emails. We’re talking several emails per day – any time of day. It’s enough to make even the most zealous of online shoppers get fed up.
One email per day is also pushing it, as is two emails a week.
Once a week is recommended because it’s not enough to be annoying, but is just long enough for readers to begin to wonder what you have in store for them.
Time of day is also important, and it depends on your industry and product. Supermarkets might do well to send out their emails just before lunch or close to home time, when people are likely to pop to the shops. It’s the kind of thing that takes research and trial and error.
- Honest policies
Some customers are unpleasantly surprised when they find your emails popping up in their inbox. They distinctly remember not opting in to your email campaigns and newsletters. So don’t make opt-in the automatic, tacit default. Explain why you would like your customers’ email addresses, and let them know that they will be getting promotional emails once a week and a newsletter once a month. Then let them decide.
More often than not, if they’ve had a positive experience with your brand, they will tick the opt-in box.
It’s also a good idea to occasionally (once a quarter, or so) send out feedback emails, inviting your subscribers to give you feedback regarding your email campaigns. Take them seriously and announce any changes you make as a result of the feedback, so that subscribers know that their opinions count.
Bear in mind that people’s tastes and opinions change, sometimes within a short space of time, so you need to constantly monitor, measure and adapt your email marketing strategies.
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