As the saying goes, if you want something done right, do it yourself! But that saying comes with a very big asterisk. There are a lot of things you can’t or shouldn’t do yourself without training. If you want to wire your house correctly without getting zapped like a Wet Bandit, hire an electrician. When it comes to digital marketing, though, there’s an effective way to do it yourself and do it right: email marketing! We have the email marketing basics to help you get your campaign off the ground.
A good email marketing campaign is something to center an entire online presence around. It’s an owned medium, meaning you have full creative control over the campaign and who sees it. That makes it different from other kinds of marketing like social media promotions, where paid promotions are still subject to the platform’s algorithms and the number of people who see the ad isn’t always guaranteed.
According to The Drum, email is how people prefer to be contacted by companies, rather than by phone, text, social media, or some other channel. It’s informative, cordial, unintrusive, and most importantly it pays off. Email marketing specialist Jordie van Rijn found that email returns about $38 for every $1 spent… which is an impressive 3800 percent return on investment!
Ready to get started? Let’s cover the email marketing basics:
1. Choose a Provider
The first step to starting an email marketing campaign is to choose the platform you’ll use. At Punch Bug, we use MailChimp, one of our favorite free marketing tools. MailChimp offers a free level of service, but you can pay for more functionality to meet the needs of your campaign. If you’re a small business with a new web presence, we recommend using the free version to get your feet wet, then paying for premium services when you need them.
Of course, MailChimp isn’t the only email marketing game in town. Other email services you could use include HubSpot, GetResponse, SendInBlue. These easy-to-use services can help you manage large email lists and bring structure to your campaign. You’ll still have to write the emails themselves, of course. That’s probably for the best, considering that none of these email services seem to know where the spacebar is on the keyboard.
Many services offer both free and paid levels of functionality, but each has different advantages. Decide which one best fits your needs before committing.
2. Build Up Your Contact List
The most important part of an email campaign is the people you’re sending it to. That means you’ll need to build a contact list.
The key to convincing people to sign up for your emails is to offer something of value in return. Yes, we basically just told you to bribe them, but that can be a good thing. You can make what’s called a lead magnet to give to new recipients as a gift. These are things that have value to customers, even if they cost you little or nothing to create. Ebooks, webinars, case studies, free trials, coupons, or even quizzes are good incentives to capture new emails.
3. Design an Email Template
Every email you send should be different. But that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch every time! Put together an email format that can easily be recycled. The email service you chose will likely allow you to make copies of existing email campaigns. We recommend creating a master template first, then creating copies of it for each email you make.
An email template should be clean, functional, and informative. Start by placing your brand front and center, with your logo at the top of the email. Link the image back to your site’s homepage. Use your brand colors and even any fonts you regularly use on your site to give your emails brand recognition. Finally, create a footer in the email that includes your business name, contact information, and social media links.
4. Learn How To Write Good Emails
Creating effective emails takes planning and practice. The most important thing to remember is that your messaging needs to be persuasive. Don’t be pushy, but do be convincing. Your customers need to know why they should care what you have to say.
Start by crafting the email itself. Every email should consist of three parts: the headline, the body, and the call to action. The headline should state simply what the email is about – a sale or a new product, for example. Give your recipients more information in the body of the email, but keep it concise and to the point! The body of your email should lead readers into the call to action. Usually, this is a link that leads back to the most relevant part of your website. This is where your email pays off, where customers take action and you can make a sale.
Once you’ve written your email, summarize it in the subject line. This is your email’s first impression on recipients. It needs to pique their interest enough for them to open the email. Make is short and snappy; under 40 characters is usually ideal.
Here’s one of the most important email marketing basics: anytime you write an email, test it before you send it! The email service you chose will give you the option to send a test email to yourself. Make sure it looks the way you want it to and make any necessary adjustments. Don’t forget to see how it looks on your phone, too. According to GetResponse Email Marketing Benchmarks, almost 35 percent of email opens are on mobile devices.
5. Set Up Your Welcome Email
This is the email that is automatically sent to anyone who signs up. Potential customers will receive your welcome email at a time when they’re especially engaged with your brand. After all, they did just sign up for it!
Welcome emails generally have a higher-than-average open rate, so use this opportunity to make a good first impression. Greet your customers and let them know what kinds of emails they should expect to see from you. This may also be where you’ll include your lead magnet. If not, you can also include a call to action here, such as directing them toward current promotions or top-selling products.
6. Create an Informed Schedule
Sending emails that convert isn’t just a question of what, but when. People are more likely to open emails at certain times. You’ll want to try to catch them at their most receptive. Constant Contact put together a list of the best times to send marketing emails by industry.
Use this information to create a schedule for sending out your emails. Finish your email before it’s time to send, then schedule it so you know it goes out precisely when it should.
7. Track Your Performance
Building email campaigns will get easier the more you do it. With some effort, you can be whipping up amazing emails with high open rates that convert customers in droves. But to get there, you’ll need to track your progress. Your email marketing service will show you the open rates of each email and give you an indication of how every campaign has performed. Use this information to adapt your strategy. Improve upon what’s working and change what isn’t.
Email is a direct line of communication with customers. A good email marketing campaign can turn both first-time buyers and repeat customers into fans. It can help you spread news about your brand and give your customers access to promotions they won’t want to miss. Keep these email marketing basics in mind and make your emails a welcome addition to your customers’ inboxes.