Done right, email can be one of the most effective marketing channels – in fact, you are six times more likely to get a click-through from an email campaign than you are from a tweet.
Which is probably why email is the preferred channel amongst marketers for sourcing high-value leads, according to Ifbyphone’s 2014 Marketing Measurement Report.
So how do you ensure you hit gold and put together a killer email campaign that’ll really deliver? You need to start by having a strategy in place that focuses on providing content that your buyers really need, delivered when they really need it. This email marketing cheat sheet will help you ensure you are maximising your results and chance of conversions, by making sure every element of your campaign is spot on.
The first step in running an email campaign, as with any marketing campaign, is to define your goals. Here’s a few examples of what your goals might be:
· To understand who your buyers are and what they need, by looking at how they interact with your content
· To nurture your buyers along the buying journey
· To raise awareness and promote new products or services
· To share valuable information that your buyers will appreciate
Using these goals, now set yourself some targets for your campaign. Make sure they are ‘SMART’ so you can measure your success.
Based on your specific goals, you then need to decide what types of email you’re going to send:
· Newsletter: regular interval, summary of news of company and/or curated articles
· Topic specific periodic: regular interval emails, focusing on a specific topic of interest
· Transactional emails: most commonly e-commerce information (order confirmations, delivery information, etc.)
· Nurturing email: automated emails according to a predefined schedule triggered by a specific action (e.g. A download of a PDF triggers four emails over the course of three weeks)
Next comes the copy, images and layout of your emails. Create a uniform design which is responsive and optimised for mobile screens – so you know it will look great no matter what type of device it’s viewed on.
Here are some key things to consider including:
· Clear, appealing subject line
· Sender’s name
· Branding (logo and colours)
· Personalised address (‘Hi, (name)’)
· Compelling copy about the purpose of your email (e.g. news, or a content offer)
· A call to action
· Persuasive copy about why your recipient should take action – e.g. what will the benefit be
· Social media sharing buttons
· Additional product-based CTA (e.g. fancy a free trial or free consultation, click here)
· Unsubscribe link
4. Segmentation and targeting
The key to successful email marketing campaigns is to be relevant. If people want to receive and read your email, you’re winning. Otherwise, you’re spam.
Using email marketing software, you can split up your mailing list into groups or segments, based on things like their buyer persona and what stage of the buyer’s journey they’re at. The way you break your list should be based on the info you collect about them from your website’s forms, and how they’ve previously interacted with your content. Once you have your different groups, you can decide which content to send to which recipients, and when.
In order to keep your email marketing campaigns running like clockwork, try automating them. Your emails can be set to go out to buyers automatically after they do something specific – for example, after they’ve downloaded or purchased something from your website, and then on the days following. For example, on day 3 you may want to offer a follow-up piece of content, ask for feedback or invite them to join you on a webinar or phone call.
The important thing is that while you automate your processes, don’t just sit back and forget about them. Watch your stats, try out new things to see if you can improve engagement levels and listen to what recipients are saying, via their feedback and behaviour.
6. A/B testing
The trick to learning about what makes your recipients tick is to A/B test – in simple terms this means try version A and then try version B and see which one gets the better results. Email marketing software makes it simple to send out the same email to a segment but with two different subject lines (so half gets one and the other half gets the other). You can also A/B test a subject line with a small proportion of your segment. These tests are really helpful in helping you see which performs best in terms of open rates and subsequent conversions. You can then send the strongest subject line to the rest of your segment.
It works for other things too, not just subject lines. You can A/B test your copy, calls to actions and content offers, to identify what works and use it to strengthen your strategy moving forward.
Create reporting templates for regular tracking of each of your campaigns and A/B tests. Include important metrics such as the number of sends, open rate, clickthrough rate and unsubscribe rate, as well as producing graphs to illustrate your growth or change over time.
By monitoring your performance against KPIs, you can measure how you’re doing in relation to achieving your goals. Look closely at all the data you collect and constantly tweak and optimise your campaigns.
You may also be intereted in reading The Key Challenges for B2B content marketers in 2016.