According to KissMetrics, a customer intelligence and web analytics company, "Email has nearly three times as many user accounts as Facebook and Twitter combined." In fact, it reaches 2.9 billion people. Email marketing isn't just important, it should be a key tactic built into every organization's marketing plan. When it comes to both customer retention and customer acquisition, email can be instrumental. In this article I am going to discuss 11 great tips you should think about and implement right away.
1. Send the right message to the right people at the right time
Not every email is going to be relevant to everyone in your database. Be sure you have properly segmented your database into various groups or categories. Then, design custom email campaigns for each group. Also, experiment with sending email on different days and times and then see which ones work best for you. Optimal send times vary based on your customers and the industry you're in.
2. Know your goals
Understand the goal of your email or campaign and make certain it's specific and measurable. And whichever goal you decide on, your call-to-action should be in alignment with it.
3. Make sure your email provides information of value
Answer the "What's in it for me?" (WIIFM) question. What you're really asking is "What do my contacts have to gain by receiving this email?" You need to ensure your email is positioned to help you achieve your goal and that the content is of value to your recipients. The WIIFM should be loud and clear.
4. Include a call-to-action (CTA)
Verify that your email has a clear and persuasive CTA. Make it easy for people to take the action you'd like them to take, such as to sign up for a free trial, fill out a form to get a complementary guide or call a specific number.
5. Have a compelling subject line
Many people will decide whether or not to open an email simply by looking at the subject line. Because it's the first thing people see, it's evidently very important. Be sure to make your subject line compelling and keep it short and sweet (under 50 characters). An effective subject line offers something of value to your recipients and invokes a sense of curiosity, urgency or excitement.
6. Avoid spam-trigger words
Avoid words that will likely cause your email to be picked up by spam filters, such as these 100 spam trigger words and phrases to avoid. Also, don't use exclamation marks and all CAPS in the email subject line, as these have a good chance of getting flagged.
7. Include social media share buttons
If you're not giving your contacts the ability to share your email on their social media sites, you're missing out on valuable opportunities for potential new business. You may have an enticing offer that one of your leads thinks would be great for many of her friends. So your lead, Christina, shares it with her LinkedIn connections. And then Christina's friend Jason sees it and shares it with his connections. You get the point - social share buttons give your email the potential to be seen by thousands of people you normally wouldn't have direct access to. A good CRM lets you easily add these buttons into your email templates.
8. Make sure your email is eye-catching
It's crucial that your email is nicely formatted and eye-catching. This involves using bullet points where necessary, incorporating images (but sparingly) and breaking text into short lines or paragraphs. If the email looks boring, your contacts will likely gloss over it and quickly hit the delete button.
9. Make sure the email is mobile-friendly
Be aware of how your email is displayed on smartphones and tablets and make certain it's optimized for these devices. Tips for creating a mobile-friendly email include using a single column template, having one call-to-action, using larger text and being as succinct as possible, both in the body of the email and in the subject line.
10. Track and analyze your results
Pay attention to metrics like open rate and click-through rate to get a sense of how successful your email was. With a robust CRM, you can view campaign reports that provide you with key data. If your email was sent to a group of prospects, view who opened and clicked on your links (or who has done so multiple times). This can indicate that these people are particularly interested in your message and may be hot leads - contacts you'll want to further engage with. Also consider using Google URL builder to insert trackable links within your email so you can view clicks and conversions with Google Analytics.
11. Optimize your campaigns with A/B split testing
With A/B split tests, you send a variation of an email to half of your distribution list and another variation of the email to the other half. Split test the subject line of your email, the day or time of the week it's sent out, the email headline and/ or any other aspect of the email to see what performs best. A/B split testing is a great way to improve the performance and success of your campaigns moving forward.
If you're not taking advantage of email to give your business a boost, you're missing the boat. Use these tips to create fruitful email marketing campaigns that will help you drive key business results. Good luck!
Matthew Collis is a marketing specialist with expertise in digital marketing and communications. He currently works for IXACT Contact Solutions Inc., a leading real estate CRM firm, where he plays a key role in overseeing marketing and communications programs as well as planning and implementing strategic marketing campaigns. Matthew has published articles in AGBeat, Inman News and BusinessSoftware.com, among others. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with him on LinkedIn here.