Updated December 2017
Have you determined all the priorities for your email marketing strategy for the year ahead? Now is a good time to review the success of past marketing efforts and look for areas that need to be improved. Here are some tips and great marketing strategies for developing effective email marketing campaigns.
How to Market with Email and Implement an Effective Email Marketing Strategy—Begin by Setting Goals
How effective is your email marketing program? To answer that question, you would need to evaluate your email campaign performance metrics that indicate subscriber engagement, such as open and click rates, conversion rates, revenue generated from your email marketing campaigns, and unsubscribe rates. This will then help you establish where you are today and where you want to be within a certain period time (e.g., within one year).
Then, determine your email marketing goals. To help you do this, be sure to check out FulcrumTech’s ROI Goalsetter® — a great tool for seeing the impact such improvements as higher email open and click-through rates, list growth, and increased landing-page conversion rates can have on the success of your email marketing planning. As you plan your email marketing strategy, you’ll find this financial-modeling calculator is a quick, easy, and free way to discover opportunities for increasing your email marketing return on investment (ROI) and set email marketing goals.
You simply enter information that you already know about your email program and ROI Goalsetter will let you see where your program is today and what results are possible in the future. Then, you can adjust key metrics with easy-to-use sliders to quickly test different initiatives and determine which changes in your email marketing strategies will have the biggest positive impact on your sales and return on investment (ROI).
12 Tips for Developing Effective Email Marketing Strategies
Once you’ve established your email marketing goals, determining where you should focus your time and resources is the next step. Taking into account current industry trends, here are some prime tips and marketing tactics examples for developing your email strategy:
- Make mobile a top priority in your email strategy. Considering the already large and rapidly growing number of people using mobile devices, a significant portion of your prospects and customers are likely using smartphones and tablets to read your emails. A recent study by Litmus, for example, looked at more 17 billion emails opened during 2016 and found that mobile devices accounted for more than half of the opens. And if your emails aren’t mobile-friendly, you’re likely frustrating your mobile subscribers and at risk of losing their business. In fact, in another study more than 70% of respondents reported that they would delete an email if it didn’t render well and look good on their mobile device.
So to make sure your emails both look great and are easy to interact with – whether your subscribers are using desktops, laptops, or mobile devices to read your emails – use responsive design. This dynamic display technology automatically adjusts content and image sizes based on a user’s screen. Check out this previous NewsLever article for best practices and other key ways to help ensure your emails are mobile-friendly.
- Use automation to create an email campaign strategy that nurtures prospects and customers. Marketing automation is a combination of strategy and software that work together to create the most effective email campaigns that are both personalized and relevant. With the availability of today’s automation tools, setting up email drip campaigns is an easy and highly efficient way to nurture prospects and customers, build customer relationships and loyalty, increase subscriber engagement, and ultimately drive more sales. When done right, automatic drip email campaigns send the right offers and content at the right time to effectively convert prospects to leads and leads to customers. If you’re not already using drip marketing, be sure to read our series of automation and drip-marketing articles:
- Combine content marketing with strong lead-generation tactics. Each year, typical email lists experience attrition as high as 25% due to bounces, unsubscribes, and inactive users. That’s why it’s essential to counter attrition with a strong lead-generation program and a compelling content marketing strategy. Begin by using demographic data and market research collected on your current customers to create marketing personas, which show the character attributes of your company’s ideal customers. Then, based on these personas, craft content that can be used to effectively capture new leads (content provided in return for contact information), as well as nurture prospects through the sales funnel. For example, this content can include email newsletters, blog posts, videos, webinars, and white papers.
- Be sure to get explicit permission from new email marketing subscribers and make it easy to unsubscribe. Begin by creating opt-in forms that make it clear to prospects that they’re signing up for your email list. Then, help let them know what to expect from you with a confirmation page and welcome email series that inform new subscribers about what they’ll be getting (discount coupons, product information, sales announcements, etc.) and how often they’ll be seeing your email campaigns in their inboxes. For information on how to craft opt-in forms that build an email list of engaged and loyal customers, read the recent FulcrumTech NewsLever feature: “Email List-Building Best Practices—How to Create E-Commerce Opt-in Forms That Convert.”
Making it easy for your subscribers to unsubscribe from your email list is also an essential email marketing strategy. According to a recent survey, 50% of consumers reported that they marked an email as spam because they couldn’t easily figure out how to unsubscribe. So, in addition to including a prominent unsubscribe link in the footers of all your email marketing campaigns, be sure to promptly process unsubscribe requests. In this way, people who unsubscribe from your email list won’t get annoyed by continuing to receive your company’s email campaigns and, in turn, mark your emails as spam.
- Personalize your email subject lines to increase engagement. Personalized subject lines have 50% higher open rates, 58% higher click-to-open rates, and more than twice the unique click rates, when compared with subject lines that were not personalized, according to a recent study by Yes Lifecycle Marketing. In addition to using the recipient’s name in the subject line, types of personalization also included items abandoned in online shopping carts, loyalty program details, membership milestones, and products that were previously purchased or browsed online. Be sure to test various types of personalization to see what works best with your specific audience.
- Make optimizing your email preheaders one of your email marketing strategies.Preheaders—that snippet of text that appears below or next to the subject line on most mobile devices and email clients—can have a huge impact on whether or not a subscriber opens your emails. Yet, many emails still display a default preheader that includes the first readable text in the HTML email (e.g., “If you are unable to see the message below, click here to view.”). This is a waste of that valuable piece of real estate in the inbox and does nothing to motivate a recipient to open the email.
What should you include in an email preheader to make the most effective email campaigns? A few marketing strategy examples include: more information to expand on the email’s primary benefit to supplement what’s already been presented in the subject line, a coupon code, a deadline to create a sense of urgency, a call to action, and your company’s value proposition. For more information about how to create strong preheaders that help drive up your email open rates, check out the following NewsLever feature article: “Email Preheader Best Practices.”
- Use a strong email segmentation strategy to help personalize your email content. Segmentation is one of the most important email marketing success factors that result in the best email campaigns. In other words, use micro-targeting to 1) identify smaller segments of your subscriber list, and 2) use personalization and customization tactics to provide highly relevant marketing communications to each segment. As we pointed out in a previous article, personalization pays off – generating as much as six times higher transaction rates.
In addition, email list segmentation increased email opens by 14.31%, increased clicks by 100.95%, decreased bounces by 4.65%, and decreased unsubscribes by 9.37%, according to a recent study by MailChimp. How does email marketing segmentation impact revenue? Compared to sending one-size-fits all email marketing campaigns, for example, the Direct Marketing Association found that segmentation increased email campaign revenue by 760%!
Email marketing segmentation can be based on various data; however, some major segmentation data categories include demographic, geographic, and behavioral. So for a smarter, more effective spend on email marketing, email list segmentation combined with content that is both personalized and customized for the different segments should be a high priority in your email strategy. For some email segmentation tips and best practices, check out the following NewsLever article: “Email-Marketing List Segmentation—Give a Lift to Your ROI With These 5 Best Practices.”
- Integrate your website with email campaign strategies. If customers begin shopping at your website but abandon their shopping carts, do you have a triggered email campaign in place to reach out and reengage them? If not, you’re missing a huge opportunity to recover the sale. The shopping-cart recovery email is just one example of how you can integrate your website with email marketing to help drive conversions. You can also set up triggered emails based on website visits and browsing activity. For additional examples, check out this NewsLever article on triggered emails.
- Integrate your email strategies with your social media marketing.This is an important way to help grow your email list, extend the reach of your email marketing campaigns, and strengthen your brand. Including “connect with” social media icons in the email campaigns you send, promoting your email marketing newsletter on your social media networks, and offering an option to follow your company on social networking sites (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram) on your unsubscribe page are just a few great ways you can harness the power of cross channel marketing. For more social media and email marketing strategies, see the previous FulcrumTech NewsLever article: “7 Tips for Integrating Email and Social Media Marketing.”
- Implement an email-optimization process. To drive great results from each of your email campaigns requires continuous improvement of all email elements, such as copy, design, calls to action, subject lines, headlines, landing pages, frequency, and time sent. So set up and analyze email optimization tests for each campaign to determine what works best for your target audience. And then be prepared to implement appropriate changes for future email campaigns to help increase the overall performance of your email marketing program.
Email send frequency and cadence (i.e., the timing and patterns of emails sent) are two important email marketing success factors that you should optimize. Often brands will continue to increase their send volume in attempt to increase revenue. However, that practice often backfires with customers unsubscribing, or possibly even marking your emails as spam. In fact, getting too many emails from a company is the top reason why subscribers both unsubscribe and mark their emails as spam. Although you don’t want to miss an opportunity of increasing your sales and revenue by sending too few emails, you also don’t want to hurt your email deliverability by getting too many emails marked as spam.
How can you determine the “sweet spot” for both your email marketing send frequency and cadence? Here are two articles to help you do just that:
- Optimize the calls to action in your email marketing campaigns. The calls to action in your emails are the entrance to your sales funnel. Can your recipients find them easily? Does the text motivate them to click? Do you design your emails to include one primary call to action? If the marketing strategy for your email campaigns includes providing too many calls to action, you are likely distracting and confusing recipients, which may result in them taking no action at all. Click here for eight best practices to help you design powerful calls to action that convert.
- Develop an effective quality assurance process as part of your email marketing strategy to avoid sending email campaigns with mistakes.</strong> Grammatical errors, typos, and broken links can look spammy and unprofessional to your subscribers. So be sure take the time and have a process in place to proofread every email before you hit send. For quality assurance insights and best practices that can help you develop an effective email marketing quality assurance process, be sure to read this previous FulcrumTech NewsLever article: “Quality Assurance—Does Your QA Process Empower Email-Marketing Success?”
Where to Find Some of the Best Marketing Strategy Examples
For some of the best marketing strategies examples and sample email campaigns, as well as for email campaign ideas and inspiration, be sure to check out our Get the Click series where FulcrumTech’s email experts review real emails from real marketers.
Feeling overwhelmed with trying to figure out how to do email marketing right and creating a great email marketing campaign strategy? FulcrumTech can help. We’re a data-driven email marketing firm with a proven process for and implementing winning email campaign strategies. Email us or give us a call at 215-489-9336 and learn more about how our award-winning team of certified email marketing specialists will help get your company off to a strong, successful start in the year ahead.