Sometimes, the old ways are the best. This phrase, borrowed from the James Bond classic Skyfall, seems an apt description for the email marketing concept. As companies scramble to engage their customers through new and innovative marketing strategies, email marketing continues to stand the test of time. From its global reach (roughly 293 billion emails were sent and received in 2019) to its return on investment (latest stats reveal a $42 ROI for every $1 spent, an increase in recent years), the vast benefits of email marketing cannot be overstated. It’s no wonder that this strategy consistently ranks among the top five marketing methods in the world.
Hopefully, the above-mentioned stats are enough to get you leaping into your next email campaign. Or maybe, you have a few more questions that need answering before you step into the arena. It might even be that your company is eager to ‘click send’ but not sure where to begin. Whatever the case, you’ve come to the right place. Here, we will provide answers to some of your most burning email marketing questions. So keep on reading, and get acquainted with the ‘old ways’.
Email Marketing Lists – Yay or Nay?
This question can be tricky. Many people are dead set against buying email marketing lists, while others will quickly espouse the virtues of the strategy. The truth of the matter is that the success or failure of buying email lists largely depends on the type of business. What works for some, may not work for others.
Whichever side of the fence you come down on, it is important to note that buying email marketing lists does carry several challenges. One such challenge is the accuracy of the data provided. An email marketing list can quickly become outdated, as addresses change, or become redundant due to people switching jobs and companies. With numerous businesses closing during the current pandemic, many email addresses are now invalid. Another risk pertains to personal information. Many countries have a legislation specifically relating to the selling and buying of individuals’ personal information. Purchasing email marketing lists, especially from less reputable institutions, may land you in hot water, legally speaking.
For smaller businesses, buying email marketing lists may not be the best solution, as it may prove a waste in time and resources. Also, the blowback that small businesses may receive from sending out unsolicited emails could prove detrimental. For these reasons, it makes sense for SMEs to rather focus on building their email lists organically.
Should I Bother With An Email Newsletter?
Email newsletters form one of the components of an email marketing strategy. Newsletters typically cover several pieces of content, on a general basis. Ads and other marketing items are sometimes included but are rarely the focus of the newsletter.
While newsletters do carry plenty of relevant content, it doesn’t represent an incredibly effective marketing approach.
Experience reveals that segmenting your client list and mailing a specific piece of content to that segmented list makes a greater impact than the generalized nature of the newsletter. Your business is far more likely to see results with targeted content.
How Can I Dodge the Spam Folder?
Let’s face it: we all have those emails that automatically bypass our inbox and move straight to the dreaded spam graveyard. Emails randomly showing up from companies you’ve never heard of, or have zero connection with tend to suffer this fate.
So, how can your business avoid spamming customers? Well, the first step is to segment your customer list and provide targeted content to those segments. Remember, not every one of your customers wants to hear about the latest coffee brewing techniques. Secondly, make sure that you give your customers clear information about the sender – individuals are less likely to hit delete if they know exactly who is mailing them. Thirdly, develop an opt-in email list. Give your customers (and potential customers) the option of saying yes or no. Many small businesses can benefit from providing quality content behind an opt-in wall. Doing so places your content with people who want it and avoids those who aren’t interested.
What Makes A Great Subject Line?
A great subject line is like a great pickup line: it opens the door for further interaction. Some subject lines make you want to read further, others make you want to delete that mail with immediate effect.
To make sure that your subject line does the former and not the latter, it needs to embody certain characteristics. Studies show that the best subject lines are short, to the point and action-orientated. They can create a sense of urgency or interest among customers, compelling them to read further, to find out more. Imagine, for a second, that your local coffee supplier was running an email marketing campaign. There are tons of subject lines that they could use to generate interest among coffee lovers. Who wouldn’t be interested in content with the subject line “How to create latte art”, or “Explaining the difference between Iced Coffee and Cold Brew”? Subject lines are important for opening the door to increased communication, so make sure that yours stand out. They also play a huge role in improving your email click-through rates.
What Does Layout Have to Do with It?
When it comes to email marketing, presentation is as important as content. No customer will take the time to consider the content of your email if the layout makes it difficult to read. Creating a great email marketing layout can be a challenge, primarily because each email service provider often renders the HTML differently. So, the email marketing you create and send may look very different when your client clicks on the link.
To overcome this issue, it is important to find a layout that works for all email providers. This will require first testing the email marketing with different providers to see how it renders. If your company uses an email marketing provider, they generally have software tools to help you test your emails before you send them out. If you don’t make use of a marketing provider, it is advisable to set up dummy email accounts with each of the email providers and manually test the email marketing on each of these accounts. The process may be time-consuming but will save you loads of hassle in the long run.
These are some of the most popular questions regarding email marketing. It is not as straightforward as click and send. A lot of work needs to be done to ensure that the layout, subject line and content will resonate with customers. Small businesses also need to make sure to properly segment their customer base to effectively target customers with the right kind of content. Do this accurately and your email marketing strategy will be richly rewarding.
Want to learn more? Read our recent article: Top 7 Email Marketing Tips to Ensure Your Business Gets Noticed. Quick and easy tips to ensure your email marketing hits the spot!