How many unread emails do you have hanging out in your inbox right now? If you’re like most people, the number is pretty high. There is information you need or signed up for, but also businesses sending you content you delete. It can be easy to skip over most emails – so how can you create an email campaign that gets opened and gets results? Last week, we talked about how important email marketing is to build your business and gain customers. But how do you stand out from the noise of a busy email inbox and create winning marketing emails? Read on to find out how to craft a winning email marketing strategy.
What is an Email Marketing Strategy?
An email marketing strategy is your complete plan to develop and execute a thoughtful, effective email marketing campaign. Just leaping blindly into the world of email marketing is common. It’s pretty easy to set up any kind of email you want to send to customers with the latest email marketing software. However this is not the best way to get results.
A good email marketing strategy should align to your business goals and have a clear plan to follow. It’s essentially a roadmap to success that gives you directions to get where you want to go.
Why Do You Need an Email Marketing Strategy?
While it’s easy to send emails out whenever you decide you have an idea for a promotion, it’s not the approach that’s going to get you the best ROI. And while email marketing is incredibly effective, it’s also used by almost every business.
Thus, you need to cut through the noise and get your prospects to open and engage with your emails, which is no small task these days.
If you’re going in without a plan, but hoping for the best, you’re probably not going to get the results you want. But with a strong email marketing strategy, you can speak to your ideal customers’ needs and desires, and convert them into purchasers.
Creating an Effective Email Marketing Strategy
How can you start creating an effective email marketing strategy?
There are just six simple steps to follow to make email marketing work for you.
1. Decide on your goals
Every good email marketing strategy starts with a smart goal.
Do you want to:
- increase sales
- promote a new product
- increase existing customer loyalty
- keep your audience informed
- build brand awareness
Email marketing can do all of these things – but you need to zero in on one or two to have a successful campaign.
Which one aligns best with your current business goals?
2. Determine your target audience
Get specific about who you’re sending this email campaign to – are they already customers or new prospects?
What are their needs, their fears, their desires that your products or services will address?
What tone and content are they interested in?
Get into their heads before you get into their inboxes.
3. Segment your mailing list
There are some times it’s ok to send an email to your whole email list – if you’re doing a big sale, or have a big update to share.
But it’s usually a good practice to segment your list so you can target your campaign to the people who are most likely to be interested in your offer or content. Your email service should make this easy to accomplish.
4. Create your emails
Whether you’re creating your emails yourself in an email builder or hiring a digital marketing agency to do it for you, you want your emails to look clean, clear, and professional.
Keep your tone conversational but appropriate, add in one or two attractive and relevant graphics, and make sure you have a clear call-to-action in there somewhere. Personalized messages are a must-have – be sure you’re collecting at least first names in your lead generators.
5. Send them out
Make sure you’re sending to the right subscriber list, and hit send (or schedule them) at a time when your audience is likely to see and open your emails. If your subject lines are enticing and your content relevant, you should see results soon.
6. Measure your results
Of course, no digital marketing tactic is complete without this step. Be sure to check essential metrics like your open rate, click-through rate, and the number of unsubscribes to gauge how effective and compelling your content is for your readers.
If you’re trying to increase sales, how is your conversion rate looking via email? If you’re trying just to gauge engagement, CTR is a good metric to observe.
Only looking at how many people open your emails isn’t a great measure of effectiveness – you want to see who is moved enough to take an action. If you can’t quite figure out what isn’t working, doing some split testing with different headlines, CTAs, or send times can help you pinpoint the issue and correct it.
And just like that, you have a solid strategy for your next email marketing campaign.
Common Ways to Form an Email Marketing Strategy
Now that you know the essential steps of creating any kind of email campaign, what kinds of campaigns should you create?
There are many options out there, and you can choose just one or many types to focus on. To get started, it’s best to pick just one and see how it goes and what results you get before launching more. This way, you can focus your efforts on doing it correctly instead of spreading yourself thin.
Let’s take a look at a few of the most common types of email marketing campaigns.
This is an under-used but incredibly powerful email marketing strategy. Nurture campaigns help people who show an interest in your products, but don’t immediately make a purchase, move at their own pace through your thoughtful marketing funnel.
Let’s use a luxury pajama company as an example. They have a great website with beautiful images of their products, but they have a high price point and so their website visitors often don’t make an immediate purchase. But this doesn’t mean they have given up – they just need more time to make their decision.
So the pajama company has lead generators to collect those email addresses, and then sends a series of automated emails to anyone who signs up. Those emails introduce them to the company, share relevant and valuable information, and then eventually make a soft sell for the product. The prospect, by the end of the email series, has gotten to know and trust the company, and has had their products top-of-mind for a while. They’re now ready to pull the trigger.
Email marketing isn’t just about converting new customers – it can also be a valuable tool for rewarding and engaging current, loyal ones. Sending out a referral campaign, where you offer your customers a discount when their friends and family make a purchase, can be a very low-cost and highly-effective way of gaining new customers and delighting your current ones at the same time.
How many of us have gone to a shopping website, added several products to a virtual shopping cart, and then abandoned those carts because we got distracted, or busy, or wanted to do research?
Those customers might not have pulled the trigger, but you know they’re quite interested. Setting up marketing automation that is triggered when a shopping cart is abandoned to remind the prospect of what they left behind with a swift email is very effective.
All that great content you’re creating on your marketing channels to bring in prospects? It’s also a good tool for an email marketing campaign. Sharing your latest blog posts, videos, social media posts, or other content is a good way to increase the reach of that content and continue engaging your email subscribers.
You don’t need to email them every time you have a single piece of new content, but an email newsletter that is a wrap-up of the month’s best items is perfect here.
Everybody loves a sale, so let your customers know when one is happening with a promotional email. Or introduce your latest and greatest new products or services with a catchy email.
Just make sure when you’re creating these kinds of emails that you make it very easy for customers to actually make a purchase – clear CTAs are your friend when driving sales.
Need Help Creating Your Email Marketing Strategy?
Nailing down a solid, strategic plan for your next email marketing campaign isn’t easy – but it’s vital to your success. It should fit seamlessly into your overall digital marketing strategy, and target goals that help you build and grow your business. But all of this takes time, effort, and expertise – and you’ve got enough on your plate already running your business.
You can’t afford to miss out on the benefits of email marketing, and this is where Content First Marketing comes in. We help you create the perfect email marketing strategy that brings in prospects and converts them to customers.
Schedule a free business review here to find out how we help businesses grow. You can use these insights for inspiration, and let us do the marketing for you.