What is email marketing?
Emails, we get them every day. You can thank Ray Tomlinson, who is widely credited with inventing email back in 1971, for that. While it would be years before the phrase “you’ve got mail” would be hitting AOL inboxes around the world. According to a report from DMR (Formerly Digital Marketing Ramblings), the average office worker receives 121 emails per day.
It is estimated there will be more than 306 billion emails sent in 2020. By 2024 it will be 361 billion! In case you were wondering, that will average out to almost 45 emails per person worldwide by 2024.
Enough about email - what exactly is “email marketing?” It is using email to promote services or products, reach out to potential customers, and/or develop and further relationships with current customers. It allows you to keep your customers informed and to customize your marketing messages accordingly.
Email marketing is the practice of sending various types of content to a list of subscribers via email. This content can serve to generate website traffic, leads, or even product signups for a business. It's vital that an email campaign's recipients have personally opted in to receive this content, and that each newsletter offers something of value to them.
Is email marketing effective and is it worth it?
The short answer is "you betcha?" When you are a small business and times are rough and budgets are tight, maximizing your money spent is crucial!
HubSpot released a comprehensive list of statistics, one of which says, “email generates $38 for every $1 spent, which is an astounding 3,800% ROI." This makes it one of the most cost-effective options available.
Why is email marketing important?
Nowadays, marketers put a lot of emphasis on social media, and likes, shares, chatbots, influencers, and the latest shiny new marketing method out there. While you may need to embrace the latest marketing method, you shouldn't abandon one of the oldest and still most effective messaging channels.
According to a joint report by Emarsys and WBR Digital in 2018, nearly 4 out of 5 of small to medium businesses still rely on email as their primary customer acquisition channel and for retention.
In addition to that study, other findings have come to similar conclusions that email marketing tops the chart in comparison to organic search, paid search, and social media when it comes to customers' acquisition & retention. Not to say that those aren't important for your business, but if you're looking for direct impact and reach, there's no competition with email marketing.
When should you use email marketing?
Simply put, you should use email marketing when you can provide value in the inbox. Things such as offers or images that make emails feel relevant. An example may be reminding your customers that they may be due for an oil change or a tire rotation.
You need to make sure you have a strategy. In years past, it was much easier to land your email in a user's inbox. All you had to do was simply create valuable, non-spammy content. Today, those are just as crucial, but email providers have gotten a lot smarter.
They have implemented engagement factors (like opens, replies, etc.) to determine whether your email makes the inbox or not.
How to do email marketing right
If I have said it once I have said it a thousand times, you have to provide value! Here are a few tips:
1. Use personalization
The average email open rate for most industries is around 21%. However, if you use personalized subject lines, they can generate 50% higher open rates, according to Yes Lifecycle Marketing.
Also, don't forget to use personalization in the body of the email. Nothing can make a user hit “unsubscribe” faster than if the subject is personal and the body isn't. Think of it like this; you wouldn't want to personalize an email to someone about getting an oil change in their Chevy Truck and have a picture of a Ford in the body or vice versus.
Also, we know that it is cheaper to keep a client rather than acquiring one. Personalization will help to nurture your customers or clients. If you can keep them engaged, interested, and happy by staying relevant, specific to their needs and providing value.
2. Use ‘welcome’ emails to your advantage
You’ve done the hard work and gotten the prospect’s (or hopefully your customer's) email. Now, you have the perfect opportunity to nurture and provide even more value to them.
According to GetResponse, eight out of ten people will open your welcome email. Of those, more than 25% will click through to your site. That equates to nearly 4x as many opens and 7x as many clicks as other emails.
You will also want to make sure that an email goes out within 24 hours of collecting an email address. If they submit one online, then it is easy to send the welcome email automatically. If you collect them in an offline way, this still applies.
3. Videos in email
Playing a video in an email is one of the best ways to boost your marketing conversions. Video gives you the best possible chance of breaking through in the inbox. It makes audiences crave it, and it builds a connection that fosters long-term loyalty, and best of all, it can help you break down complex topics. A video in an email helps to capture people's imagination in a way that text just can't.
While The average email open rate for most industries is around 21%. According to Vidyard, “Open-to-reply rates have been seen to increase 8x in emails that contain a video.”
HighQ said, if you want to increase your open rate by nearly 20%, include the word video in the subject. According to Campaign Monitor, if you were to add a video to an email, it can increase click-through rates by up to 50%!
4. Interactive Emails
Your emails should create user engagement. Gone are the days where your email marketing campaign needs to be limited to a newsletter format. Marketers are looking for better engagement in the form of interactive content.
Reports have shown that adding videos to your email can increase click rates by 300% (Martech Advisor’s 2017 data). That’s a shocking number. Marketers also tend to include sliders, collapsible menus, and GIFs to make their emails look better to customers. Also, don’t forget to make sure that all of your interactive emails are optimized for mobile devices.
When looking at the frequency with which consumers would like to receive brand emails, 49% (Statista, 2017) of consumers said that they would like to receive promotional emails from their favorite brands weekly. This email marketing statistic is especially handy when you're worrying about sending emails to your customers too often. Your audience likes to hear from you, and apparently, they're happy to hear from you via email.
6. Mobile Email
A study performed by Litmus in the first quarter of 2019, email opened on a mobile device, accounted for 41.9% up .5% from the second quarter of 2018. Also, from the same study, webmail (such as logging into Gmail through a browser) accounted for 39.9%, while desktop clients (such as Outlook or Apple Mail) accounted for 18.2% of email opens.
With mobile, open rates being so high, be sure to make sure your emails look good on mobile as well as the desktop.
7. Subject Lines
While you may not think that much about your subject lines, they are one of the most important things about your email. They determine if your email will get open or not.
HubSpot provides some great tips and tricks to help your subjects stand out, such as being sure your subject lines:
- Are super clear and understandable.
- Are fewer than 50 characters, so they don't get cut off, particularly by mobile devices.
- Include verbs and action-oriented language to create a sense of urgency and excitement.
- Include an exclusive value proposition (like 20% off an item or a free ebook), so people know what they're getting.
- Avoid spam triggers like “Cash,” “Quote,” and “Save."
- Include their first names sometimes (it could increase click-through rates), or even add something about their specific location. (You'll want to do this sparingly, like for your most important offers, rather than over-doing it and being repetitive or intrusive.)
While I am not a huge fan of emojis in general (rant retracted), I do understand that I am in the minority. Regardless of my thoughts on the subject, adding them to your subject lines can lead to higher response rates than traditional email.
8. Body Content: Keep It Short & Sweet
With the average worker getting 121 emails a day, we have really gotten good at culling, processing, and skimming email. While a more extended landing page or blog post may be adequate. You want to keep your emails short and sweet. Also, if your email is your massive missive, it could potentially be a red flag for spam filters!
Forget what you have been told about being corporate sounding and uber professional in your emails. Write your email like you were talking to a real person, if you can read your email and say “That sounds like something I would send to my friend, Chad on Linked In, then chances are you are in good shape.
9. What to include in your body text
With all things on the internet, if your content can't be condensed, then it needs to be at least skimmable. Use multiple paragraphs and ordered lists and bulleted lists to help break up the text.
No matter if you are a B2B or a B2C business, everyone loves something free. Bluewire Media conducted a test of various types of content to see what led to the highest rates for opens and clicks. The winner was templates and tools. But as Ian Jacob says, "you should test and measure" with your own list.
10. Social Sharing and Social Promotion
You will want to promote the newsletter as part of your social sharing media sharing strategy. If you recall from the earlier post on social media, this will fall into promotional content.
You will also want to encourage those who read your newsletter to follow you on your social media accounts. The more touches you can have with your prospects, clients, or customers, the better off you are.
11. Abide by CAN-SPAM, GDPR, and CCPA
There are a ton of regulations out there surrounding email; with all the acronyms, it begins to feel a little bit like alphabet soup.
As of right now, there are three big ones you need to be at least aware of and implement if your business is large enough.
- CAN-SPAM (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing)
The CAN-SPAM Act was passed by the United States Federal government back in 2003. It is essentially a law that establishes the rules for commercial email and commercial messages. It gives recipients the right to have a business stop emailing them, and outlines the penalties incurred for those who violate the law.
No matter the size of your business, you have to abide by this one. While it may seeming daunting, most of the email newsletter providers, HubSpot, MailChimp, Constant Contact, have the guidelines in place to help protect you from yourself.
- GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)
While you may or may not have heard about GPDR, it was the law enacted across Europe in May 2018 to better protect internet users' personal data. Over the past several years, you may have visited a website and had to "accept cookies," this was a by-product of this law. If you are doing anything in the European market or plan to, then you need to make sure you understand and follow the GDPR Guidelines.
- CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act)
The CCPA is the California law that, much like the GDPR helps to protect internet users' personal data. If you are doing business in the state of California, have more than $25 million in revenue, receive information from over 50,000 consumers, or derive 50% or more of your revenue from selling consumers' personal information.
12. Send your emails from a real person
If you want to try to land in the inbox and get a higher open rate, make your emails feel more human by sending them from a real person. According to HubSpot, “When you send email from a real person, your email open rate increases.”
13. Always have a call to action
If you recall, I have said throughout this post that people skim and scan emails. You need to ensure that you have a clear CTA on each email. This should be a button or a link to something on your website. Make it clear and obvious what you are asking them to do.
14. Preview and test
I can’t stress enough how important it is to preview and test your emails, especially when you are first setting them up. You invest good time and money on crafting your email, why would you fire it off without making sure it works correctly?
15. Monitor performance and opening times
The beauty of the internet is that we can get real-time data on how something is performing. An email campaign is no different.
Always keep a close eye on what worked in the last few emails, were there extenuating circumstances that possibly lead to a higher increase in open rates, or maybe it was the opposite. Was your message on point or a little off?
Monitor when your emails were most likely opened. If you search for the best time to send emails, you will get a variety of results when compiled will basically say every day of the week at all times of the day. The bottom line is that you have to determine when your audience is most likely to be checking their email and try to send it as close to that time as possible.
There are a handful of things I would like for you to walk away with after reading this, those being, next to your website email can be one of the cheapest and most effective ways of communicating with your audience. Just like my thoughts on emoji's, I can't discount that most people like them and they work. Ultimately, you have to test and measure everything.
If you find yourself being overwhelmed and in need of help, feel free to contact us and we will be glad to help you better understand your content strategy and how email newsletter and email marketing can be incorporated.