Getting the basics right for email marketing

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Email marketing can be a great marketing tool for small-to-medium (SME) businesses – but only if done correctly.

I speak to a lot of organisations who are already using email marketing but they feel, often correctly, that they’re not doing it right and that there are so many ways they could improve their approach.

I’ve got a few tips to help you get the basics right for email marketing.

 Create a targeted and appreciative audience

If you have built your list organically and via direct call-to-action signups, as a general rule you have a captive and interested audience.

If you have built your list via purchased lists or adding people manually who have not signed up, you’re not going to see the same sort of success.

As such, try using lead magnets on your websites. Lead magnets are free offerings you can give to your visitors in exchange for their contact information. They usually come in forms of eBook, Discount, Free eCourse, Template, White Paper, Gift Voucher, or Checklist.

 Divvy your list up into segments

List management can be very powerful if done right.  Instead of having a huge bulk of list, try splitting up your email database into various segments.

Segmentation is about grouping people together based on their characteristics, demographics, geographics, interests, engagement type – or whatever works for your business!

If done properly, segmentation allows you to deliver the right message to the right audience, and this in return can create a positive impact on your email marketing campaigns.

 Use the right tools

Gone are the days of manually sending emails to your contacts day by day. There are a variety of tools you can use these days to segment and reach your subscribers effectively. These tools should not only be the right fit for your organisation but MUST have analytics within them too.

Examples of some of the best email marketing tools today are Mailchimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot, Campaign Monitor, Ontraport, and Infusionsoft.

 Tell them what to do

When creating your email content, have a clear goal in mind. Your emails should tell your readers what you want them to do. That is exactly why you need to have a call-to-action.

Using calls-to-action encourages people to take the next step. But you need to specify what you want them to do so they know what their next actions are. Should they call or email you? Do you want them to purchase your product, make an appointment, or download a freebie?

If you are running a competition, ask them to participate. If you are hosting a free webinar, tell them to join.

Of course, you will want to grab your subscribers’ attention and let them stay on the page, so don’t miss out on using high quality images. Graphics are perfect for your CTA buttons. So use them wisely and don’t forget to put in links behind them.

 It’s all about timing

Consider your target audience and consider what time they would be most receptive to an email. Then test your theory. You may also want to use your analytics, they are your friend.

For instance, Hunter Headline sends their emails out at 8am or 10am for optimal open rates. For B2B companies, the best time is on Tuesday through Thursday before 10am, whereas for retail sectors it falls in the evening or on the weekend.

Keep in mind though that there is no straightforward answer for every sector or organisation. And there is no one time that suits everyone! So do your research, consider your target audience, and TEST TEST TEST!

 Use the analytics

Ask yourself what is the goal of your campaign. Is it to grow your subscriber database, generate more leads, or to convert more existing leads into customers? Whatever it is you want to achieve, your analytics will show you which works from not.

Below are some terminologies you need to know and their corresponding formula:

1) Clickthrough Rate

What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on one or more links contained in a given email.

How to Calculate It: (Total clicks OR unique clicks ÷ Number of delivered emails) * 100

Example: 500 total clicks ÷ 10,000 delivered emails * 100 = 5% clickthrough rate

2) Conversion Rate

What It Is: The percentage of email recipients who clicked on a link within an email and completed a desired action

How to Calculate It: (Number of people who completed the desired action ÷ Number of total emails delivered) * 100

Example: 400 people who completed the desired action ÷ 10,000 total email delivered * 100 = 4% conversion rate

3) Bounce Rate

What It Is: The percentage of your total emails sent that could not be successfully delivered to the recipient’s inbox.

How to Calculate It: (Total number of bounced emails ÷ Number of emails sent) * 100

Example: 75 bounced emails ÷ 10,000 total emails sent * 100 = 0.75% bounce rate

There are two kinds of bounces to track: “hard” bounces and “soft” bounces.

4) List Growth Rate

What It Is: The percentage at which your list size is growing.

How to Calculate It: (Number of new subscribers – Total number of unsubscribers – Number of hard bounces) ÷ List size * 100

Example: 100 new subscribers – 20 unsubscribers – 10 hard bounces ÷ 500 * 100 = 14% list growth rate

5) Overall ROI

What It Is: The overall return on investment for your email campaigns. In other words, total revenue divided by total spend.

How to Calculate It: [($ in additional sales made minus $ invested in the campaign) ÷ $ invested in the campaign] * 100

Example: ($1,000 in additional sales – $100 invested in the campaign / $100 invested in the campaign) * 100 = a 900% return on investment for the campaign

Build relationships with automation                    

Seems strange to say that automation can help you build personal relationships – but it can!

Based on actions or preset timings you can have ongoing contact with your prospects or clients/customers – much more effectively than if you did things manually.

Whether it is a welcome email, a freebie, or a new blog post you wish to share, automation should align with your goals and fit in with your marketing plan.

So there you go – a few quick tips to get the most of your email marketing!

If this has inspired you to take control of your email marketing, I encourage you to sign up for my 6-week Marketing Workshops so you can be sure which step to take next.

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