If you have never tried email marketing for your business, this is the perfect moment. If you have clicked all the way to this article, we probably do not need to explain to you why email marketing should be part of your package
We know from experience that actually starting with email marketing is the most difficult part, and so are the first campaigns. To help you in the effort, we list the ten things you need to consider to make a flying start.
1. Which tool are you going to use?
If you want to use email in a clever way, you need an email marketing service provider, or ESP for short. Flexmail is an ESP.
Now you will probably think: ‘But Outlook is free.’ You will not look professional as a company, if your recipients are all listed in a BCC. There are some more serious disadvantages too, however:
- Blacklisting – Email servers and spam filters will recognise you as a ‘bulk sender’ and mark your emails as spam. As a result, your email address, sender domain, and emails may be blocked for the entire email server, and then nothing will get through.
- Analytics – You cannot harness the biggest strength of email marketing: the figures. Consequently, you will not know which emails are received, which are opened, and which links are clicked.
- Design – When Outlook sends or receives an email, the underlying email code is adjusted to be compatible with the Outlook render engine. This could cause your email to look entirely different for your recipient. Outlook also strips the code that is necessary to ensure your email looks attractive on a mobile phone too.
- Opt-outs – Every commercial email has to include a valid unsubscribe link. Via an ESP, the right processes are started automatically.
Only via an ESP, you can easily set up your campaign in compliance with the GDPR provisions as well as set up automation, personalise emails, and generate reports. Additionally, ESP ensures optimum spreading and deliverability, so that your emails are safely received by your recipient.
Furthermore, starting does not need to be expensive. Many ESPs offer entry packages
at lower costs. Do not forget to check if the ESP you have selected is also suitable for any future plans you may have. Ideally, the platform you choose will grow as your requirements develop.
2. Collecting contacts for your mailing list
Most businesses already have a customer base. Think of all customers and people your business has ties with. Make sure you actually have their consent or another valid reason under the GDPR before you import a list of email addresses. As a business you must have a legitimate interest to send information to your customers.
In addition, you want to benefit from a continuous incoming flow of new prospects and email addresses. To this effect, you should place a registration form on your website. In this article, you can read the tips for collecting new email addresses.
3. Choose your objectsThe question is not whether email marketing works but how you let it work for you.
First things first. Before you actually start mailing, you should have decided what you want to achieve with your various marketing channels. Indiscriminately sharing the same message in your emails, on your website, and via your social media is not a good idea.
You can assume that every message you send by email (in contrast to social media) will actually end up in your contact’s inbox, as long as you use a decent platform.So you need to answer the question of why you are going to send an email in the first place.Without a clearly defined object, you cannot measure if your campaigns are doing fine – and if you cannot measure them, you cannot improve them either.
Your objects may include the following:
- Informing colleagues and employees correctly;
- Informing prospects and customers of new products;
- Thanking people on your mailing list for their loyalty and email address by sharing promotions;
- Teaching customers to work with your product or service better;
- Boosting online sales;
- Collecting registrations for your courses or webinars.
These needs are highly specific for your business. Some examples are provided below:
- Bookshop: you have to compete with many other web shops, so you have to ensure you stand out. The price can be a factor, but also personal service, or specially selected lists of new authors. In this way, avid readers can discover new pearls.
- Charities: for them it is very important to find donors. If you make a donation, you want to know if your money is spent well. As an organisation you should keep your readers informed about the special projects you execute. It is an efficient way to create commitment, and in the long term it makes collecting donations easier.
- International organisation: if your business has multiple branches, you need to inform your employees about essential news quickly – and preferably all employees simultaneously. You also want everybody to be able to spread your culture. Without communication this is hardly possible.
4. Make sure it is interesting
You have an object. You are collecting email addresses. Now you are ready for the final step: selling.
But wait! It is not that simple. Patience is a virtue. The people on your mailing list have given you their consent to send them those emails. In that case, you have to make sure your emails are relevant and interesting.
You cannot contact you subscribers only when you need some extra sales. It is about the same as the irritating family member who only calls you when he needs your help.
So do not wonder what you want to send. What does YOUR target group want to receive?
What do they need? And how can you apply this to your objects?
Email marketing is a perfect tool for building relationships
. The stronger the relationship with your subscribers, the more readily they will do business with you. They should consider you a valuable source of information, somebody who really wants to make their life better.
Take the case that you sell make-up. You will have a lot of information to provide. You become a reliable source by discussing skin problems, ingredients, colour matching, tips, etc. Via this content, you can also offer upsell possibilities.
Depending on the content you are going to provide and the time you invest in your email marketing, you have several options:
- Periodical newsletters with your best news;
- Short emails with specific content and links to your website;
- Promotion emails;
- Product emails;
5. Design your templates
Depending on the number of email types you have chosen, you also need templates. A template forces you to stick to the right branding. With a fixed structure your readers recognise you better, and it helps you create emails more quickly and easily in the future.A strong template has the following elements:
At the beginning of your template, readers can see at a glance who the sender is and what the email is about. This means:
- A clear logo;
- A catchy title to draw the readers’ attention;
- If you use a large image at the top, it should be relevant and include interesting information. Make sure you do not place the title too far to the bottom.
The email is optimised for mobile readers. Think of the following:
- A design consisting of a single column for easy readability;
- Short, clear paragraphs. The text is of suitable length, and a good font size improves readability;
- If you use links to your website, use buttons with sufficient blank space around the button and around the button text.
A good balance between text and images.
- If your images are not displayed immediately due to your recipient’s settings, you still want your email to be readable.
- With too many images, the file size is too large to be received. Mobile readers will appreciate if you do not take up too much capacity from their data capacity.
- Your texts should be brief and easy to understand. Avoid long sentences, difficult terms, and words that do not add anything essential.
Include a clear call to action.
- The strength of email marketing is in its measurability. You want to know if your readers click in your email. You can realise this by using clear buttons that indicate exactly where you will take your reader.
Do you need more tips on the perfect email? Here we go into further detail.
6. Carefully consider which groups you want to send a welcome mail
If you can clearly identify the added value for your readers (learning something, an exclusive offer, etc.), do not hesitate to send it.
Segmentation is another way to secure engagement. Classify people with the same needs or characteristics into separate target groups and adjust your content accordingly.
If you write emails for a diverse and wide public, consider segmenting your contacts and sending them tailor-made content. Your results will improve. New subscribers
are a target group that EVERYBODY should subdivide.Registering for a mailing list is a bit like arriving at a party that is in full swing and where you do not know anybody.
The other visitors have information and knowledge you do not have, and they know how everything works. If somebody can take care of you, give you news and essential information, and introduce you to the relevant people, your party will be a success.
The first segmented email you send, therefore, will be a welcome mail
. You can automate this. Here, we share all elements you should include in your welcome mail.
7. Practise with writing convincing emails
This is what many entrepreneurs are most uncertain about. We understand: writer's block
happens to the best of us, but practice makes perfect.
Before you start writing, act as if one of your readers is sitting right in front of you. What would you like to tell him or her? Which arguments would you like to use? Which objections or problems would he or she present to you? Write down exactly what you would say to this person.
It also helps if you use a fixed pattern by dividing your email into three key sections
- What are you offering? - This will be the title.
- How will this help your reader? - The body text.
- What should he or she do next? - Your call to action.
With this pattern, you remain focused and quite sure you will not add too much unnecessary information
Is this approach too simplistic for your target group? Remember that every good email:
- is based on good insight into the target group;
- has an attractive headline that attracts people;
- is convincing with focused content and a clear object.
8. Reviewing and sending
You have offered blood, sweat and tears to create your email. You press on the Send button and anxiously wait for the first results. You would not be the first who discovers a spelling error or incorrect link when it is too late.
Prevent such mishaps and have your email reviewed by your colleagues. Make sure your email also has a strong subject line. You want to inform you recipients in just a few words what your email is about.
Checked everything? Everything properly tested? Have you selected the right target group? Then press the Send button with confidence.
9. Analysing results
Wait a minute, you are not there yet. You have made a few assumptions above. Now you have to measure if your subject line has enticed readers to open your email and whether your content and call to action was sufficiently convincing.
This information is crucial to make your next campaigns even better:Delivery rate:
the number of emails delivered in comparison with the number of emails sent. If this rate is low, your contact data may be of poor quality, or maybe it is because you have bought a list. Low delivery rates are a threat to your reputation as a sender.Open rate:
the number of people who open your email in comparison with the number of emails delivered. Here, we provide further information.Click rate:
the number of recipients who click your link in comparison with the number of emails opened. Perhaps you want to put these people into an individual target group?Do not forget your Google Analytics account.
Your campaign report includes the details of how the various parts of your email perform. But what do the people who click (or who have read your subject) do on your website next? Do they buy? Do they read any specific pages?
10. Take the Email Marketing Masterclass
Do you want to gain more insight into how to work with email marketing effectively? In our online masterclass, we provide many hands-on tips, ideas, and best practices on setting up your strategy, forming your target groups, and designing campaigns that help you meet your objects again and again. Start today with our five-session masterclass and discover all the details of how to use email marketing to meet your business objectives.