Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Email marketing remains the most direct and effective way to communicate with leads and convert them into customers. If you manage to get a prospect to hand over their email address, you have a warmer lead than someone who has liked your Facebook page or followed you on Instagram. In fact, email marketing beats out any form of social media when it comes to conversions.
Getting new subscribers and building an email list is important, but many small businesses and eCommerce companies have no idea how to use email marketing to send leads along the marketing funnel and secure customer loyalty.
Read on to learn how you can send emails that convert subscribers into repeat customers.
A GUIDE TO EMAIL MARKETING TERMS
Before we get started with email marketing, here are some terms that you ought to familiarize yourself with.
Call to action: Something that prompts readers to take action e.g. find out more.
Click through rate: The number of people who click on a link featured in the body of your email.
Email list: An email list is a list of people who have handed over their email address to receive email campaigns from your business.
Email marketing automation: An email marketing automation is a process of utilizing technology to improve the effectiveness of your marketing. Email automation allows you to send time or action triggered emails to your email list.
Email service provider: An email service provider allows businesses to send email marketing campaigns to their email list.
Email Subject line: The email subject line is the text that people see before they open your email campaign.
Landing page: A landing page is a page designed to convert visitors into leads or customers.
Marketing channels: There are four types of marketing channels: direct selling; selling through intermediaries; dual distribution; reverse channels. Email marketing is ranked as the most effective marketing channel.
Open rate: The open rate is the percentage of people who receive your email and open it. The higher the open rate, the better.
Unsubscribe rate: The unsubscribe rate is the percentage of people who drop off your email list after receiving an email campaign.
HOW TO GET STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING WHEN ALL YOU HAVE IS AN EMAIL LIST
Clients often approach me asking me for tips on how to expand their email subscription list. The question I usually throw back at them is “well, what do you want to use your email subscription list for?” Surprisingly, most of them come back with a response that loosely translates to “errr… I don’t know. But it’s good to have subscribers right?”
Yes, it is good to have subscribers but the purpose of growing your email list is not just for the sake of boasting sign-ups. The whole point of having subscribers is so that there are people on the other end of your powerful email marketing strategy. Realistically, it is far more valuable to have 100 people receiving fantastic email campaigns each month than it is to have 1,000 people receiving nothing. If your new subscribers aren't receiving email campaigns that nurture the final stages of the marketing funnel, you might as well not have them.
At the end of the day, getting people to sign up to your email list is not a major challenge. All you have to do is offer people a free e-book or a discount code and they are willing to hand over their email address. The challenge is to continue to engage these subscribers by giving them something valuable that they only received because they signed up. If you can make email subscribers feel like they are part of an exclusive club that gets exclusive rewards, you will maximize your open rates, which in turn, will lead to higher conversion rates and more sales.
Here are some ideas on how you can use email marketing to transform your email list into loyal customers.
A Great Email Campaign Starts With An Enticing Subject Line. Without one, your open rates are bound to suffer.
The first challenge of marketing by email is to tempt your subscribers to open your email. Most people are subscribed to multiple mailing lists and have learned to automatically filter out anything that can be interpreted as spam. And that's only if their spam filters haven't already sent your campaign to the dreaded junk folder.
In many ways, subject lines are the most important part of an email campaign. If your subject line is spammy or boring, your open rate will suffer. No matter how great your campaign content is, if people aren't reading it, they aren't being persuaded to purchase from your brand.
There are multiple routes you can go down when thinking up subject lines. Some of the most popular approaches include:
FOMO (Fear of Missing Out)
(Check out the comprehensive list at Optinmonster.)
I have put FOMO at the top of the list as it is one of the most powerful psychological principals in marketing. If you are promoting a discount on a product, don't just let subscribers know that you are offering a discount. Instead, create a sense of urgency in the subject line. Use words like “exclusive” and “limited time only” to encourage your potential customers to act fast or risk missing out. Use your subject line to help your email subscribers feel like they are part of an exclusive group that has access to exclusive benefits. If they don't open your email, they aren't part of the club.
You might have noticed that all of the approaches I have chosen tap into emotions that drives behavior. Curiosity provoking subject lines hint as to what the email might be about without giving too much away. Personal subject lines make subscribers feel special, humor makes people laugh, greed encourages purchase, and vanity makes people want to be more successful than their peers.
If I were to create an email marketing campaign to promote this blog post, I might test the following subject lines:
Hi John, I thought you might find my post on email marketing useful...
Relying on social media for marketing is so 2019.
Uh-oh. Your exclusive access to my email marketing guide expires at midnight
Is this the answer to your marketing challenges?
My new blog post is so cool, ice cubes are jealous
Let me help you make more money with email marketing
Can you work out which subject line matches with which approach? Let me know which is your favorite in the comments.
Send Your Email List Exclusive Content That Rewards Them For Subscribing. If you don't do this, you'll lose them.
Email marketing campaigns should provide something of true value to your email list. If your campaign offers something exclusive, this is even better. People are far more interested in opening an email that offers something they cannot receive elsewhere.
If you are on a budget, it might seem like a good idea to reduce content costs by emailing out pre-made links to the same blogs you have posted about on social media. Keep in mind that by doing this, you waste an opportunity to bring your subscribers something exclusive. Recycling content is likely to increase your unsubscribe rate and gives people no reason to prompt their friends to join your email list.
What's more, by offering something that is not available to the public, you make your customers feel valued. When customers feel valued, they will be loyal to your brand. Offering valuable and exclusive content is one of the best practices when it comes to a successful email marketing strategy.
Exclusive content doesn't just have to be blog posts. It can be anything from a sneak-peek into life behind the scenes of your office or a newsletter with content curated especially for them. If your brand is committed to a cause, why not update your subscribers at the end of the month with a progress report telling them what they have helped you achieve? Use your email marketing campaigns as a chance to get creative and remind people why they subscribed to your email list in the first place.
Increase Your Email Marketing Efforts Around Public Holidays. When you are marketing your business, Christmas really does come early.
A great way to keep your email subscribers happy is to send them the odd discount code. After all, everybody loves a discount. If you are willing to get creative, you can use a promotional email marketing campaign to simultaneously share your brand values and put your business on people's minds.
I've already mentioned that open rates tend to be higher when you use a subject line that induces the feeling of FOMO. This effect can be maximized around public holidays when people are in a rush to get cards and gifts before the special occasion arrives.
In the months leading up to Christmas, start sending special holiday discounts to your email list. If you get started in November, you can send emails that offer something special for mom, something special for dad, followed by a "Last chance for Delivery in Time for Christmas!" email. If you want to start sending Christmas emails before October, however, a playful email like "Is it bad we are already thinking about Christmas?" will put your brand on people's minds in a way that shows them you are aware of how the public responds to early Christmas ads.
Make Sure Your Call To Action Redirects People To Your Landing Page. If you don't do this, how will your subscribers know how to follow up?
The number one rule of email marketing is to finish every email you send with a call to action. Using email for marketing is the same as any other form of marketing in the sense that if you don't tell your readers how to follow up on the information you give them, they are unlikely to take action.
This may seem obvious but when it comes to promotional email marketing, people often forget to finish the email with a strong call to action that redirects subscribers to their website. Like the customer loyalty cards in the back of our wallets, people will probably forget about the promo code until they are actually on your website.
This is why it's important to send people from your email to the place where they can actually buy your products or your services. Instead of including the discount code in the main body of the email, make sure you ask them to click on a link that redirects them to your site. Once they’re on your website, they can browse through your products and your services with the knowledge that if they like what they see, they have a limited-time promo in their hands.
If you are to take away one piece of advice from this article, the importance of including a call to action in your email campaigns should be it. A call to action won't impact your open rates, but it will improve your click through rate and get people closer to purchasing from your brand.
10 QUICK TIPS TO HELP YOU GET STARTED WITH EMAIL MARKETING SO YOU CAN START SENDING YOUR SUBSCRIBERS UNIQUE CONTENT
If you are just getting started with email marketing, take a look at these quick tips to help you get more subscribers and send emails that convert leads into loyal customers.
Create a lead magnet like an ebook or PDF that people can access for free in exchange for their email address.
Do not buy emails to build your email list and do not add emails from business cards. This is considered spam and will harm your marketing efforts.
Send new subscribers a welcome email telling them what they can expect from email marketing they will receive from you.
Make sure you localize your emails when you are promoting events so that your open rate is not impacted by people who live outside your business area.
Send an email to subscribers who put items in their cart that they haven’t checked out yet. Make sure you send them back to your site to close the deal.
Do not send your email subscribers content that they can find if they follow you on social media. You should send your subscriber content they exclusively benefit from.
Avoid overusing capslock as this is something spam filters pick up on and might send your email to junk.
Research the best time of day to send emails to your target audience. If you are targeting business people, send emails in-office hours. If you are selling products, send emails outside of offers hours.
Don't sound too corporate when you use email marketing to connect with customers. When getting started with email marketing, you should find a voice that is friendly and personable. Write like a friend.
Before you get started with email marketing, make sure the marketing automaton you are using is optimized for mobile. More than half of subscribers will be opening your marketing campaign on their phones. Make sure the email is suitable for mobile, desktop, and tablet.
Get Started With Email Marketing Today!
If you have made it this far, by now you will be familiar with some of the best practices for email marketing. You should now understand the importance of sending your subscribers valuable content and using email campaigns to send people on your email list back to your site.
Before you get started with your first campaign, decide what type of content you are going to reward your subscribers with. Will you be sending a promo or will you send out an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at your latest event?
Email marketing might not boast all the fancy features of Facebook, but unlike social media, you know there are also people on the receiving end.