When it comes to ROI on your marketing spend, few methods are more rewarding than a well-run email campaign. Though the technology is now an honorable three decades old, email is still an essential part of modern personal and business life. A customer’s email address is now more consistent than their home address and the right email at the right time is key to winning conversions from both new leads and return customers.
Of course, not every email campaign is successful right off the bat. Even with a good strategy and top-of-the-line automation software, emails are about connecting at the right moment with the right content. So today, we’re here with a fun crash-course in not just how email marketing works, but how to run a successful email marketing campaign with the tools at hand and your own native understanding of your audience.
Provide Purpose-Built Mailing Lists
The first thing that every email campaign needs is separate mailing lists. It’s a simple matter of fact that not every customer, lead, or business partner will want the same set of emails. Especially if your company is fairly diverse in your offerings or the types of clients you serve.
Functional and Transactional Emails
To start with, separate out your functional and transactional emails. Functional emails are like password resets and purchase receipts. They are emails you must send to provide service to clients, campaign or no campaign. Transactional emails are similar, like welcome emails and automatic ‘we’ll get back to you soon’ messages in response to a contact form. These are usually considered necessary courtesies.
The next type of email campaign category to define is your newsletters. Some brands have one newsletter, some have dozens. Newsletters are content-rich email marketing. They are meant to inform, engage, and entertain. And you can have as many newsletters as you have types of client, allowing your clients to sign up for each newsletter individually.
Promotional Mailing Lists
Finally, there are pure promotional emails. You might send these out en-masse sometimes, but you can also offer them as mailing lists. Some people, deal-shoppers and fans of the brand, want to hear about your discounts and upcoming sales on a regular basis. Let your subscribers choose just how often they want to hear about your promotions and possibly even offer category-based promotional sign-ups for a newsletter-style twist.
Target Email Style to Your Audience
Now that your campaign emails are sorted into categories, it’s time to target. Use your native brand and brand-personality for functional and transactional emails. But for both newsletters and promotional emails, delve into the buyer personas who are most likely signing up for each type of list.
Adapt your style, phrasing, imagery, and content to what your email recipients want to see. Use buyer personas to help inform your email creation and constantly update those personas or even develop a group of personas per email category to make sure you’re touching all the important bases with your audience.
Custom newsletters and promotional lists, in particular, should be finely tailored to the tastes, interests, and style of the readers who sign up. If you only have one unified newsletter or mailing list, be sure you are speaking to your audience, not just from your brand.
Provide Useful, Compelling Content Every Time
Never send a bland email. There are too many bland emails in the world and, quite frankly, we as a culture have become very good at ignoring them. Bland emails are quickly lost or unsubscribed. If you want your email campaign to pack a punch, make sure that every single email you send is both useful and compelling. Even your receipts and password reset emails should find a way to win a laugh.
Newsletters, whether you have one or a dozen, need to fascinate and inform. You want your readers curiously clicking those titles headers and then drawn into your content, letter after letter. That is, after all, the definition of engagement. Inform about the industry, find fun facts, tell interesting related stories from history. Keep them eager to see what the next email has in store.
For promotionals, be sure not to send the same deals every time. Keep it relevant and throw in some fun surprise items each time. If your inventory doesn’t change much but you have promotion subscribers, then spice up your emails with design and content-blurbs.
Start Beginners At the Beginning
One of the classic challenges with a great newsletter is that it takes something different to engage first-time subscribers as it does to keep long-time readers interested. So don’t drop your first-time subscribers into the middle of an ongoing series. Designate a handful of softball introductory emails to onboard new subscribers to your newsletter before integrating them with the ongoing newsletter of hard-hitting or deep-delving content.
A sequence of onboarding emails is also a good idea for any new lead or customer, whether or not they sign up for newsletters. This allows you to help craft their introduction to your brand and guide them through that crucial process from one-time shopper to return customer.
When You Send Promos, Make Them Personal
As for your promotional emails, there will be some universal announcements you send, as for holiday sales and announcing special events. But technology today has moved us so far past generic coupon pages that there’s no need to be generic. Use your CRM and your automated marketing engine to generate personalized promotional emails. Send each customer deals that they are most likely to take you up on.
Send them items in their favorite colors, or items that fall into favorite categories. A particularly powerful method is to let customers know when a wishlist item has gone on sale. That’s what wishlists are for, after all. You can also custom-craft discounts just for each customer based on their shopping habits and wishlists.
Ask For and Adapt to Feedback
Finally, don’t forget to ask for feedback. Your readers are engaged in the content by signing up and reading every week. Engage them back by inviting their thoughts, comments, and even criticisms at the bottom of each and every email. Want to make feedback more likely? Feature your favorite feedback comments and perhaps your editorial answers to them in a special section. Readers will find these interesting and realize that you really do read feedback when given.
Then, when you get feedback, adapt. If you’re getting lots of requests that you spell out industry acronyms, spell out those acronyms. If there’s a great idea in there, try it out and credit it. The whole purpose of feedback is to help you perfect your email campaign to better earn, please, and keep our subscribers.
Building a Successful Email Campaign
No matter what industry you’re in, no matter if you serve businesses, consumers, or both; you can always hone your email marketing campaigns. There is always new interesting content to share. You can always further personalize promotions or even develop a new newsletter. A successful email marketing campaign is whatever engages your audience and inspires them to come back and patronize your brand again and again.
Contact us to talk to our experts about crafting your own engaging email marketing campaign.