Email is a complex beast. It’s a staple of digital marketing, but it’s not as straightforward to succeed with it as you think. The process is fairly standard: build your email list, do timed email blasts, nurture leads, win. Except every single part of that “fairly standard” process can be tricky.
Email blasts are especially challenging.
After all, each blast will either help nurture your leads or cause your prospects to unsubscribe, or worse, mark you as spam. Luckily, you probably already have the basic ingredients you need to cook up awesome email blasts.
It’s time to revisit the basics: email etiquette, audience segmentation, and multi-channel marketing.
Embrace this simple truth: everyone’s busy. Make sure your email etiquette shows that you respect your leads’ time. Consider this: according to tech market research firm Radicati Group, in 2015 there were over 2.6 billion email users worldwide, and an average of 112 business emails sent and received, per user, daily. Email is central to the modern workplace.
Now, since the modern user is inundated with content -- 4.6 billion pieces of content daily, to be specific -- he really needs to be selective when it comes to content consumption. Every list he opts into, every email he opens, every link he clicks; he needs to be selective with his time simply because there’s so much content out there.
This is where email blast etiquette comes in: treat every blast as if you’re sending it to a busy, high-level exec:
Get to the point: quickly introduce or preferably, lead with the value proposition of the email you’re sending. This is especially true for blasts directed at lead nurturing, because your email list probably already know they’re in a list and will receive some potentially unwanted material if only to help with brand recall for the companies they subscribed to.
Make it easy to take action: Put as few clicks, forms, and page loads as possible between the email you sent and the action you want accomplished. If you require your recipient to sign up for something, for instance, offer one-click signup integration with existing accounts such as Google or LinkedIn to make it easier for them.
Give multiple options for maximum convenience: Sometimes what you want to achieve can be done through multiple ways -- want them to contact you back if they show interest? Allow them all the available options: they can reply to your email blast, make a phone call then and there (so add your number and / or VoIP options such as Skype), and link your contact page with options pre-populated when they click through.
All of these show that you care about your recipient's’ time and actually helps you achieve your goals faster.
Segmenting Target Audiences
Segmenting your email list isn’t really a big mystery -- your email marketing client of choice probably already offers multiple tools to do just that, as well as some recommended segments to start. Effective, actionable segmenting, on the other hand, is something of an art.
It’s easy to segment a list based on demographics and other immediately available information, such as:
- Date of subscription
- Postal code
You can take it a step further though and add a touch of actionable personalization to the segments. It’s the recipient’s birth month? Offer a month-long promo or discount code, or offer something truly valuable as a free gift. The same goes for subscription anniversaries; the easiest to do is re-offer free trials. If your business has physical locations, highlight the ones closest to your recipients based on post codes.
Don’t just segment; think of what actions you can take based on the segments you create.
Finally, two quick words on multi-channel marketing involving email: do it.
Often marketers use email as its own channel, but not much else. It sounds pretentiously complicated, but all "multi-channel marketing" means is using parallel channels to reach your audiences. Promoting an email blast through social media, for instance, or posting about an email list-only promotion to your LinkedIn updates and Twitter followers. That's also a way to bolster subscriber numbers as you're giving them incentive to join your list.
Email shouldn’t be the lone wolf of your marketing channels.
It’s true that email may be the most effective direct marketing tool in your set, but it can get a boost if you use it in cross-channel marketing campaigns. Vice versa also applies: actively engage your email list and give them the option to follow you on social channels, for instance.
Always think of ways and opportunities for your marketing channels to work hand-in-hand towards shared goals.
Now, drill into these basics -- from email etiquette to segmentation to multi-channel efforts -- and you’ll realize you already have what it takes for a successful email blast.