Spam is dead. Long live email marketing!

Although social media is most definitely a marketing force to be reckoned with, email marketing is also still very much alive and kicking. Yet that doesn’t mean it hasn’t evolved in recent years. Gone are the days of spam messages cluttering inboxes (thank heavens!). Today, it takes a special kind of email for consumers to click and convert. How to go about it, you ask? Discover all the insights and useful tips you need right here.

The many benefits of email marketing

First things first. If you’re not yet entirely convinced of the magical concept that is email marketing, feel free to let the following benefits convince you otherwise:

  • Budget-friendly: email marketing is a very cheap and flexible tool.
  • Personal: email communications are super easy to personalize. You can address each contact by their individual name and add personal touches they are bound to notice (and appreciate).
  • Direct impact: email marketing is a direct form of communication, ideal for drawing attention to your message in a to-the-point and concise manner.
  • Extensive tracking options: emails are fairly easy to monitor continuously. How many times has an e-mail been opened? How often was a link clicked on? You find out in a snap.

Mailings that make a difference

Looking to warm up cold prospects to your products and services? Or to give sleeping customers a little nudge? Email has always been one of the most effective marketing tools, its success only increasing. Still, the majority of e-newsletters are considered spam – when was the last time you actually opened, let alone read one from beginning to end? Well then. That’s why the trick is to distinguish yourself by sticking to a clever strategy and making sure your mailing ticks all the boxes we explain below.

Define your target (audience)

Evidently, sending out newsletters at random is not your most effective approach. What’s your main goal? Do you want your sales to improve? To increase traffic to your website or to raise awareness? Or is it the reader’s engagement you’re after? To be able to determine whether your mailing paid off, defining your objectives and selecting the proper target audience is a must.

Plan your campaigns carefully to allow for smooth editing, and ultimately send your newsletter at exactly the right time. It just takes one click to send your mailing to thousands of recipients all at once, so avoiding mistakes is key. Always create a checklist in advance, so that you can check every step of the process as you go along and won’t forget important elements you need to include or actions you need to take.

Opt for the best possible opt-ins

Getting hold of your target audience’s email addresses is not a given. People will, however, be more inclined to share that information with you if you can give them something interesting in return. Keep it simple, interesting and relevant, but don’t expect massive reactions from the get-go. It’s normal to spend some time planning and experimenting with different options and formats before your content hits the spot. Once you’re done with that, the next step is to create the right opt-ins. Mind you, make sure everything you send out is in line with the GDPR!

Choose the right tool

To achieve optimal results with email marketing, choosing the right workhorse is vital. Opt for a quality tool that meets all your requirements and supports you every step of the emailing process. In addition to looking at its features, make sure the tool fits well within your budget and will offer the level technical support you require. Check whether the user interface is something you can work with, whether you can easily link the tool to other software such as Unbounce and HubSpot, and so on. Having the right tool at your disposal will also enable you to optimize your opt-in and opt-out process, create templates that are also suitable for mobile devices, track open rates and click-through rates, and generate meaningful data about recipients who unsubscribed.

Segment your mailings

The more personal your message, the better the results it will yield. That’s why it pays to divide your mailing list into smaller segments, taking into account different customer types and niches.

With the right tool at hand, segmenting becomes a breeze. Create various groups based on gender, location, previous purchases or other elements in a snap!

Segmentation allows you to communicate in a more targeted manner and, hence, provide potential customers with more relevant offers depending on their specific interests and needs.

The smartest design is mobile responsive

Use a fixed, user-friendly format. A streamlined and well-thought-out design ensures recipients will recognize you instantly and does wonders for your branding. Another must with email marketing is mobile friendliness, as most people open their mails on their smartphone. It is therefore crucial for your e-newsletter to be compatible with every device.

Relevant, bite-size content creates added value

The time when most e-newsletters were long epistles is gone. These days, recipients expect to be fed useful content in bite-size doses. By consistently offering them content that is both comprehensible and relevant, you are bound to catch their attention and eventually earn their trust.

Once you’ve caught your target audience’s eye, high-quality copywriting will ensure you retain their attention for the long haul. Ultimately, creating added value for your reader by offering specific benefits or discounts, or sharing news-worthy material or unique content will even make them look forward to your mailing.

A clever CTA does the trick

Do you want your target group to contact you, fill out a form, make an appointment or purchase a product? No biggie! If you make it as easy as possible to take action, that is. Use clear and convincing calls-to-action and let CTA buttons stand out in terms of design, so that readers can click them without breaking a sweat.

Share the love with stronger content

Chances are your audience is active on social media. Why not, then, create a buzz around your mailings by sharing parts of them via Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn? In addition, make sure the content you mail is easily shareable by providing social widgets. You can also create extra cross traffic by placing relevant links in the copy.

In need of inspiration? Check the competition

There’s no shame in subscribing to your competitors’ newsletters. Plagiarism is, of course, not done (your strategy’s all about original content, right?), so keep your finger on the pulse and don’t hesitate to refocus your goals as you move along.

Adjust, test, adjust. Repeat.

Is your mailing good and ready to go? Leave the scoop to your colleagues by distributing it internally first, ensuring one final editing round and allowing everyone to put in their two cents. Also, don’t forget to thoroughly test all conversions before launching your mailing into the world.

How to analyze your email marketing efforts?

To measure is to know! Especially when it comes to email marketing, knowing how to interpret all the figures is key for success. Are your email campaign’s first results pouring in? Use them to your advantage! Refine your email strategy accordingly and you’ll see: a thorough analysis of those early results combined with advanced reporting will boost your ROI.

There are different ways to measure the results of your most recent newsletter. The most important metrics are open rate, click-through rate, click-to-open rate, conversion rate and bounce rate.

  1. The open rate (or view rate) tells you what percentage of recipients have opened your newsletter.
  2. The click-through rate (CTR) tells you the percentage of readers who clicked on a link in your newsletter to land on, for example, a blog article, a product page or a contact form.
  3. The click-to-open rate (CTO) is based on the number of people who have actually opened your mail.
  4. The conversion rate or conversion percentage is the percentage of successful conversions (a purchase, participation in a promotion, download) relative to the number of clicks.
  5. Finally, the bounce rate shows how many newsletters were not delivered because of an incorrect mail address, full mailbox or another type of error.

Compare your results to what’s typical for your sector

Email marketing figures can be quite confronting, especially if you’ve just sent out your first newsletter. What if only a fraction of the recipients opened the newsletter you worked so hard on? Perhaps your subject line and preheader (also called teaser or snippet) wasn’t appealing enough, or – in case you’ve received only few unsubscriptions – your mailing simply failed to reach (a large part of) your target audience. If people don’t receive your mailing, they cannot unsubscribe to it (duh!). So yes, it’s perfectly possible that your mail wasn’t accepted by the server and/or filtered as spam. Just remember to always compare your figures to what’s average for your sector. Every industry has its own tendencies!

Email marketing is a continuous process. The message (no pun intended) to bear in mind is therefore to continually work on your mailing list, to always deliver high-quality content and to keep focusing on personalized offers.

Evaluate your strategy regularly, study all figures thoroughly, and then test and adjust again.