Email Marketing is essentially a hand-shake agreement between the marketer and the end user/customer that says, “I have a product or service that I would like to you check out, and you have graciously agreed to let me show it to you.” If the end user/customer has not opted-in (i.e. agreed to receive emails from the marketer, and instead receives a flood of unwanted emails (i.e. spam)), then there is no trust whatsoever from the end user/customer of the marketer. With no trust, there is no open rate on the carefully crafted marketing emails, which means it is all just a waste of everyone’s time.
Establishing trust between the two is essential for a successful email marketing campaign. That begins with an easy opt-in process for interested customers (or clientele).
The following is a short list of six best practices in which to build an effective email marketing strategy.
Easy Opt-In for Customers
Your company’s website should have a spot on its homepage that allows interested parties to opt-in (or subscribe) to your monthly newsletter, job search tips, and resources emails. Created with a widget for a website homepage such as MailChimp’s WordPress Widget, this plug-in app allows visitors to a website to effortlessly and legitimately add themselves to your email mailing list. Thereby establishing trust between the potential new clients and your company because now these emails are desired. And by extension, also make it easy for subscribers to opt-out or unsubscribe because it is illegal to keep them on the list if they do not want to be there.
Define Your Customer Base
This may seem obvious but many organizations take a generalized approach to appealing to the lowest common denominator. Collecting random leads from email lists are pointless unless they are specific to your industry and are a high-value opportunity for new business. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Who is my target audience?
- What is my perfect customer?
- Who is most likely to utilize my service?
Content is Key
When creating a successful and effective email marketing campaign, the content of these campaigns must include the following qualities:
- Value-driven information, such as newsletters, case studies, tips & tricks, events, announcements, free resources, and where to learn more, etc.
- Personalized communications, such as a letter addressed to an individual instead of a general “To Whom it May Concern…”
- Provide benefits such as exclusive deals, discounts, VIP access, etc., that non-subscribers are not entitled to.
- Keep it succinct. No one has the time to pour over pages of text—regardless of how valuable the information may be. Saying more with less is always and effective marketing strategy on any platform.
- Always make the content interesting, entertaining, and value-driven.
For an organization, a monthly emailing may be appropriate. However, if a month goes by and there is not much to say, then Content is Key should take precedence and that month should be skipped until a content-rich emailing is produced.
Encourage Subscribers to Follow You on Social Media
Again, another obvious strategy but it is often overlooked by marketers. Monthly emailings may be great for big news; however, social media provides not only near real-time updates on the marketer’s products and services but also allows customers to interact with the marketer directly. Though there are many, many social media networks, the default channels should always Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Also, YouTube if the marketer decides to provide video blogs, pre-recorded programs or promotions, or weekly/bi-weekly/daily shows about the company (but that is a whole other type of marketing campaign).
Establish Brand Identity
Ensuring that all communications via email, social media, or in traditional publications have your company’s branding consistently throughout all marketing platforms is a vital component to a successful email marketing campaign. The company logo should appear on all documents: web, electronic, and print. The company’s tagline, color scheme, and value proposition (e.g. “ABC’s services has provided an increased success rate for its clients of 25% or more than other services…”) must always be reinforced and reiterated in the messaging on every marketing platform.
Done well, an email marketing campaign can bring in huge business with little frustration. However, like with any marketing campaign, the marketer must be committed to producing the content on a regular basis in order to stay relevant and in the public eye.
The dynamic online tools out there for all types of digital, inbound, and content marketing are only as good as the people’s willingness to use them—and use them well.
For more on email marketing, visit MailChimp’s comprehensive blog on the subject.