With the growing popularity of mobile business, email marketing has become one of the most important tools in getting fresh new eyes on your content. As more people use their phones and tablets to check email more frequently, savvy sales professionals are developing and fine-tuning the best practices for making their email marketing strategies both leaner and more productive. Though there are many resources available designed to improve your sales and marketing, this article focuses on marketing specifically with emails so that you can garner the best return on your digital marketing portfolio.
Why Email Marketing Works
For a long time email has been the closet stepchild of the digital world. Not as slick as social media, but more invasive than blogging, emails were shuffled to the marketing graveyard almost a decade ago due to saturation.
However, marketing and developing communities through email has increased significantly over the last five years. The increasing proliferation of mobile phone and tablet use has turned email into a virtual goldmine. As of December 2013, mobile email opens accounted for more than half of all email activity, a growth of 180% over the last three years. And consumers aren’t just reading emails, either: over 70% of mobile purchasing decisions are influenced by promotional emails, according to the 2013 Consumer Online Behavior Report: Digital Marketing Strategies.
Even though the popularity of the smartphone has increased the visibility of the power of email marketing, there are many other reasons why email is the carthorse that keeps bringing home the sales bacon.
EMAIL WORKS BECAUSE:
- It keeps your brand fresh – A targeted campaign of carefully designed emails gently leads potential customers down the sales funnel with low stress and pressure. Regular reminders keep your brand in their mind so that they know who to call when they’re ready to buy.
- It’s personal – Email is one of the easiest content marketing tools to personalize. Unlike blogs and social media posts which are only generally targeted, email marketing can be individually personalized so that customers feel they have a close connection with your brand.
- It has better ROI than social media – Of all the types of digital marketing, email campaigns have the best ROI. According to Experian, for every dollar spent on email marketing, the return is over $44. Compare that with the $3.34 generated by $1 of social media expenditure, according to the Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB).
- It makes you an authority – By providing fresh, regular content directly to prospects’ inboxes, you have an opportunity to become an intellectual asset. Giving excellent advice, providing resource curation, and customer testimonials lends you credibility over time.
Classifying Your Email Type
The goal of a promotional email is to get potential customers to act. The best way to do that is by showing the reader upfront what you have to offer. In a survey from DigitalRiver, over 45% of consumers said that they were most likely to open and read an email based on a headline that mentioned a special offer or discount.
Once a prospective customer has opened an email, you don’t have a lot of time to make a good impression, either. EmailLabs reported that the average email reader only spends 15-20 seconds reading an email (or about 50 words of text). So, it’s your job to make a compelling, concise argument for your product that leaves readers with a sense of urgency about taking action in as few words as possible.
With an email newsletter, your prospect has voluntarily signed up to receive information, so there is less of a need to sell them right away. Instead, focus on creating a resource that is helpful and worthwhile to readers. The more value you provide in a newsletter, the more likely your prospects are to read, re-read, and ultimately share your content with others. Also, make sure you include contact information and a link to a specially designed landing webpage so that you can start generating leads when your content is shared, liked, and clicked.
Since newsletters are some of the most shared email marketing that you will create, it is also vital to design them for success. Litmus shared research that shows almost 70% of Yahoo and Gmail users open emails from a smartphone or tablet. That makes it imperative to choose an email design that is optimized to be viewed on the smaller screens of mobile and tablet browsers.
People expect to be welcomed to your mailing list, and failing to do so can create a very negative first impression. In the Ciceron First Impressions Email Marketing Survey, they found that 55% of brands surveyed did not send any welcome emails at all, correlating with a negative first impression.
Avoid the fallout from an unresponsive email sign-up process. Instead, make sure you create a welcome email that reassures your prospects that they’ve made a wise choice in subscribing. Write in a relaxed, conversational tone that highlights the “human element” of your business. It’s also wise to make sure you have included contact information, pertinent links (like an FAQ section, or to customer support), and an overview of the benefits of working with your company. This helps keep your new prospects warm and in a good mood with what your brand has to offer.
Customers are heavily influenced by consumer reviews. In fact, Forrester research shows that professionally written online reviews are the most successful type of sales referral after direct recommendations from family and friends. This marks a new trend of consumers to trust brand-generated reviews more than consumer reviews, and it should be used to your business’s advantage. Still, rave reviews will only be effective if they are trustworthy and well written. MarketingSherpa reported that a credible-looking testimonial has a significantly higher rate of success than one with poor design or graphics.
In order to make the most of the new-found trust of consumers in brand-driven reviews, make sure you have a clean, attractive email design. Include an image of the person giving the testimonial, along with their brand logo (especially if it’s easily recognizable). These “credibility indicators” subconsciously give more credence to your testimonials, and increase the efficacy of your email to generate leads.
With a reorder email, the goal is to quickly remind a customer about your company’s value and their prior buying experience. As with other sales emails, it is vital to catch their attention within that 15-20 second window and provide them an immediate value in reordering your product. Create a clear call to action that is easy to see on both desktop and mobile browsers. Then, remind customers of their prior buying experience and the value of your product.
Remember: with a reordering email, the easier the process, the more likely you are to make the sale. Consider including a direct link to a shopping cart with prior products purchased. You can even make this an easy process on the back end by simply including a CRM for marketing and sales, shown to improve conversion rates by 10%.
Sending new arrival emails is a great way to get your brand back into the minds of clients and prospects. With this type of email, timing and design are especially crucial. As soon as your new inventory arrives, take a series of high-quality pictures that highlight its unique features. Sixty-four percent of people say that they open an email solely based on the subject line, so make sure to clearly state the new product in the email headline quickly and accurately. Then, send out your email as soon as possible. That way, your customers know that they are getting the first look at the new product, and an exclusive opportunity to buy first.
Since information is the goal, a survey email should be one of the most transparent, information-based emails you ever send. From the subject line to the submit button, participants see the value in every element of the survey email. State the objectives in the first paragraph, and provide some kind of value to the customer. Perhaps provide an additional discount for sharing their thoughts with your company.
Also, you must remember that time is the most important commodity that your email recipients have. Make your survey easy to complete and understand, and give an approximate time that it will take to complete. In addition, consider putting a progress monitor on the survey so that participants know when they are close to being finished.
How to get started
Define your readers
Who are you selling to? Even though this seems like one of the most intuitive questions, it is one that is often overlooked. Decide who your perfect reader would be – from the car they drive to their favorite pastimes – and create an email that connects with that reader personally. Aberdeen found that personalized emails improve clickthrough rates by 14% and conversions by 10%. It’s in your best interest to make your email interesting to your prime demographic.
Be clear on the purpose of each email
Before you even begin writing your email, make sure you know what the end goal is for your potential customer. Are you looking to make a sale? Do you want to increase your readership? Do you want readers to share their experiences with your organization? Once you know you want from your email campaign, you’ll be able to choose an email type that meets that goal without extra filler or mixed messages.
Define the style of the email to match the audience
Once you know what the goal is, it’s a matter of choosing the type and style of email to send. For example, a cell phone retailer would send a different email to an 18-25 demographic than to their 35-45 demographic. Although you might send a new arrival email to each group of potential buyers, each would have a much different tone, layout, and sales pitch.
Plan your content schedule
Content marketing it all about consistency, and email is no exception. By planning your content schedule well in advance, you can make sure you’re not deluging your prospects and customers with unwanted spam. In addition, a good content plan can build on itself, gradually leading prospects through the sales funnel without overwhelming them. In fact, you can even make it easy on yourself by completely automating your content schedule through a CRM for email marketing and sales.
What Do You Think?
Email marketing is a proven way to increase sales and get better leads. With a little foresight and an understanding of your target demographic, you can utilize the resurgence in email efficacy to build your sales business.
How are you managing your email marketing strategy? What is working for you and what isn’t? We’d love to hear your comments! And, you can also check out our other email marketing posts for great tips on making email work for you.