Email marketing has never been more critical for businesses trying to grow and reach their target audience.
Email marketing is predicted to be up to 4 times more effective than social media. That’s because it’s a perfect way to create a more intimate relationship with your customers and prospects.
And successful email campaigns are based on the same principles as all good marketing: personalization, optimization, and frequency.
So, without further explanations, here are the dos and don’ts when creating an effective campaign that will help you achieve your goals and increase customer loyalty that I have learned the hard way.
In this article
- 1. Do Build an Email List Correctly
- 2. Don’t Purchase an Email List.
- 3. Don't Sell Your Email List.
- 4. Do Be Creative on Your Subject Line
- 5. Do Segment the Mailing List
- 6. Do Set Realistic Goals for Your Campaign
- 7. Do Craft a Creative Email Body
- 8. Do Check the Email Body for Errors
- 9. Don’t Send All Emails At The Same Time
- 10. Do Automate Your Campaigns
- 11. Do Leverage Analytics
- 12. Don't Send Too Many Emails.
- 13. Don’t Use Complex Formats in The Email Body.
- 14. Do Add a Call to Action
- 15. DO Integrate Email Marketing with Other Content Marketing Strategies
- 16. Do Use the Right Tools for Your Email Marketing Campaigns
1. Do Build an Email List Correctly
The first step in an effective email marketing campaign is building an email list of people interested in your products.
This list consists of warm leads or clients that you might have built with a form, contact, and even pop-ups on your website.
As long as they consented to join your mailing list, you have a better chance of turning them into customers and even brand ambassadors in the future.
One way to ensure a higher open rate for your emails is to use a verified opt-in, also known as a confirmed opt-in.
The real problem comes in scenario 2. If you are building your email list consisting of cold leads to poaching, you need to make sure that the list consists of prospects who…
- Are the right POC.
- Have the authority to make decisions.
- Are in the suitable space to buy your offering
Case Study: Breaking into Wall Street
BIWS is one of the best online educational resources for people who want to advance their financial knowledge. One of the best things you can learn from them is building an email list by giving a lot of value to your readers for free.
Once they had built a massive list of loyal followers, it became easy to sell them a product.
So, they compiled a course and marketed it to their audience, leveraging the power of scarcity. They surpassed their target of $30,000 in sales by making a whopping $100,000. That’s more than a 200% increase on their target, just because the audience already trusted the brand. Trust me. You can’t achieve that much success with buying an email list.
2. Don’t Purchase an Email List.
One mistake business owners make is buying email lists or using shortcuts to make customers drip down the sales funnel.
That’s ineffective since most of the members of the list may never convert. Why?
Because your emails might not be reaching the inbox (direct to spam folders) or the target market.
Some vendors could even sell you multiple accounts owned by one person or subscribers who may never be interested in your products.
3. Don’t Sell Your Email List.
Besides buying email lists, you also shouldn’t sell your email lists. That’s a breach of your subscribers’ privacy and could lead to lawsuits, convictions, hefty fines, and even having to file for bankruptcy.
Case Study: Cambridge Analytica
The Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data selling scandal is an excellent example of how bad selling a customer’s data is.
4. Do Be Creative on Your Subject Line
This may be the shortest part of your email, but it also makes or breaks your email marketing campaign. It’s the first statement the reader sees, and it helps them determine whether to click and read your email or not.
A good subject line should be straight to the point, clear, and short. Most studies have shown that the ideal length is between 35 and 50 characters. For a higher open rate, the subscriber should know what the email contains through the subject line.
While being creative helps, avoid clickbait subject lines or subject lines that overpromise, only to disappoint with the email content. People don’t click on such subject lines anymore, and your emails may also end up in the spam folder.
Another way to increase the open rate is to personalize the subject line. And by personalizing, I don’t mean mentioning the subscriber’s name, no. That works too, but it could backfire easily. Instead, personalize it to address the specific needs the user is facing.
One more thing, trends keep changing, and what works today may not work tomorrow. The effectiveness of various subject lines may also vary with industries. To be on the safer side, conduct AB testing for some subject lines and gauge their performance.
Case Study: Digital Marketer
DigitalMarketer, one of the leading digital marketing communities, shared tips and tricks that make their emails quite successful. According to them, for your email not to end up in the spam folder, it has to be engaging. And everything begins at the subject line. According to them, a good subject line should be;
- Blind or curiosity
- Direct or benefit
- Urgency or scarcity
- Results or credibility
I receive their emails, and below is a sneak peek of their subject lines
Today, DigitalMarketer boasts of a vast customer base, millions of dollars in revenue, and has sent billions of successful emails using the right subject line and email body customization strategies.
5. Do Segment the Mailing List
Once you’ve built a sizable mailing list, the next step is to segment the list or group them based on their interests. The biggest mistake you can make is sending everyone on your list the same email. Some may relate with it, and to others, it won’t even make sense.
For successful campaigns, group the list based on various demographics such as their location, how well and how often they engage with your emails, how they engage with your blog content, gender, age, and send different emails to each segment.
If you’re unsure which segment the subscriber should be in, send them different emails and watch how they engage with them, then group those with similar interests.
Segmenting is also essential to differentiate between those who have purchased something from you and those who haven’t. It’s pretty off-putting when I just bought something from you, then you follow up with an email asking me to purchase the same product.
Pro tip: One of the first segmentations you should have is whether you are marketing your product B2B or B2C.
To avoid that, group the subscribers based on the step they’re in in the journey of becoming loyal customers.
Segmenting not only helps increase engagement but also improves your campaign’s ROI.
Case Study: Mailgen
An excellent example of how effective segmenting can be is MAILIGEN‘s case study. After realizing they are not achieving as much success as they would like with their campaigns, they decided to test various aspects. In this case study, they used segmenting and testing subject lines.
So, they started by sending an email to their subscribers with the subject line, “Make your emails stand out with symbols.” as shown below.
They then segmented their list based on who opened the email and those who didn’t. They then sent a second email with a tweaked subject line to those who didn’t open the first email. The second subject line read, “Send emails with awesome symbols in the subject.” as shown below.
At least 8.6% of those who didn’t open the first opened the second one. And their overall click-through rate increased by 9%.
6. Do Set Realistic Goals for Your Campaign
Goals are crucial in every aspect of life. Think of a soccer player. With all the talent and training they may have, if there isn’t a goal on the field, all they’ll be doing is running around without scoring.
The same case applies to email marketing. If you don’t set a goal to achieve, you’ll be sending emails haphazardly. And once your subscribers feel you don’t know what you’re doing, they’ll abandon you. And you know how hard it is to win back a lost lead.
Some of the goals you can have included are getting new subscribers, engaging the existing subscribers, making more sales, or reaching out to inactive subscribers. Once you know what you want, crafting the message, form style, and other aspects becomes easier.
An excellent way to set and track goals is to use email marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). KPIs help gauge your campaign’s performance more strategically, making it easier to weed out ineffective methods and increase your engagement and ROI in the long run. Below are some standard email marketing KPIs.
- How many emails have you sent?
- Click-Through Rate
- Open rate
- Share rate
- Unsubscribe rate
- Conversion rate
All the case studies I’ve mentioned in this post had a goal in mind when creating an email marketing strategy.
- Dell wanted to sell more laptops.
- BIWS wanted to monetize their email list.
- MAILGEN needed to increase its click-through rate and increase its revenue.
- And DigitalMarketer curate their email marketing campaigns based on their client’s goals.
7. Do Craft a Creative Email Body
Besides curating a good subject line, it would also help if you created a helpful email. Don’t introduce the offer in the first sentence. Start by gaining the reader’s attention to hook them to read through the email.
Secondly, personalize the email by mentioning their name or addressing something they might relate to. Thirdly, offer valuable information first before mentioning your offer. This way, your email won’t seem spammy or too promotional.
Creating the email body is another area /B testing comes in handy. People respond differently to various email lengths and formats. So, test them and pick those that receive the most engagement or convert better.
You can also check email templates to get an idea of how a good email subject line and body looks like.
Case Study: Dell Computers
Dell, a leading manufacturer of laptops, needed to sell more of their newly released Dell XPS 12 convertible laptop in 2013. The laptop converts to a tablet. But at that time, most people weren’t familiar with convertible laptops.
In such a case, they needed more than a creative email. So, besides creating an engaging email body, they created a GIF that demonstrated how the laptop could convert to a tablet and the convenience of such a feature.
As a result, their sales increased by 109%. This shows that it helps to think outside the box and think of the best ways to put your message across to your audience.
8. Do Check the Email Body for Errors
This might be obvious, but I’ll still address it; make sure the email is free of grammar mistakes. It’s true that sometimes, email copywriters may break some grammar rules in the name of creativity, but don’t overdo it.
Please read the email out loud and make sure it passes the message in the best way possible. If there are links in the text, make sure they are working.
I’ve been on several email lists where the sender sends an email, then follows up with an apology since one of the links in the email was broken. You can avoid that by being extra careful.
9. Don’t Send All Emails At The Same Time
Blasting your mailing lists simultaneously is a bad idea, especially when you have customers from different time zones. If you’ve realized in a particular region, people tend to open emails at 2 p.m., and you send the emails at that time, people from another part of the world may receive it at midnight, and they might not open it.
That’s why segmentation is essential since it helps you geo-target the mails based on time zones and based on the times the subscriber will most likely open and read the email.
10. Do Automate Your Campaigns
Your email list needs to be engaged. Otherwise, they’ll unsubscribe if they don’t get much value from you. On the other hand, it’s pretty tiring to sit and curate all the different emails and send them manually based on the time zone. That’s where automation comes in handy. You can automate the whole process where an action by the user triggers a specific email.
For instance, you need to send a welcome email almost immediately when a new user signs up, but you may not always be there to wait for them to sign up so you can send the email.
Besides a welcome email, you can automate various emails that guide the user through the funnel until they become loyal customers. Better yet, you can utilize personalization in automation, leading to higher engagement and a higher conversion rate.
Of course, you will have tested the subject lines and email lengths to know what works and what doesn’t, and you can adapt as the subscriber moves along the funnel.
Not only does automation help gain customers and retain customers, but it also saves you money since you don’t have to hire a huge team to run the email marketing campaigns.
Case Study: SmartBear
SmartBear, a leading B2B software service provider, implemented email marketing automation which saw them increase their lead generation by 200%, and now more than 80% of their revenue is generated through effective lead generation.
So, how did they do it? They started by setting clear goals, selecting the right email marketing tools, and hiring experts to run their email marketing department.
11. Do Leverage Analytics
The good thing about having the latest technology is you get real-time reporting on your campaigns, where you can gauge what’s working and what’s not within minutes. Please don’t ignore this data.
Instead, use it to tailor your future campaigns to meet your users’ standards and expectations. If you get direct feedback from the subscribers, don’t hesitate to respond. Show them that you care and help them if they’re stuck at any point in your funnel.
12. Don’t Send Too Many Emails.
Just because you want to engage your email list doesn’t mean you should send them thousands of emails. That will only increase your unsubscribe rate and direct your emails to the spam folder. You would achieve more success with a few emails that offer value.
If you sent them an email and didn’t get a response, don’t follow up with hours. I love the 3-7-7 follow-up rule, and you can try it out too.
It means that if you don’t get a response to your email, wait three days and send a follow-up. If they don’t respond to the follow-up email, wait seven more days. And if there is still no response, give them the last seven days and follow up. After that, you can conclude the lead has turned cold, and you can start generating more leads.
13. Don’t Use Complex Formats in The Email Body.
A simple text-based email is better than an email filled with videos or complex code. It may look appealing to you on your end, but you don’t know how it will appear on the users’ end.
Some mobile devices may not load the complex formats, and for those that do, the message may be distorted.
How about images? Images are fine but don’t overuse them. Add a few, and make sure the reader can get all the information they need from the text. Whichever form of media you choose to use in the emails, make sure it’s optimized to work on all devices and email service providers.
The best way to organize images for your email campaigns and simplify the process of managing them is to use digital asset management solutions (simply DAM).
14. Do Add a Call to Action
After being creative with the subject line and being informative with the email body, what’s next? Give the reader/subscriber a chance to act on what they’ve just read by adding a call to action.
Call to action with instant gratification tends to work. For instance, if you’re asking them to join a webinar, you can use words such as “Join Now” and add a link in the text. If you need them to read a blog post on your website, include the link in the email. One good way to get customer action is by sending a proposal email. It can help increase your customer base and revenue with existing clients by providing a fresh, new look to their needs.
You can also conduct A/B testing for various CTAs and pick with a higher engagement.
I’ve learned a lot about email marketing from DigitalMarketer, and I’ve even subscribed to their emails. Some of the things I’ve picked from their emails are the subject lines, body, and call to action.
Below is an example of an email they sent recently where Ryan Deiss, CEO at DigitalMarketer, adds a CTA inviting you to a live webinar.
15. DO Integrate Email Marketing with Other Content Marketing Strategies
You shouldn’t just rely on email marketing for lead generation. Instead, combine SEO for your website, social media, paid ads, and any other relevant channel that can work for your business. Also, make sure all the channels you’re using are aligned with the same message or the same goal.
In an era where print media faces challenges since most of their audience are shifting online, a trade publication known as Crain’s Business Insurance leveraged automation, integration with content marketing, segmenting, and analytics to save their business. For starters, they did not ignore the fact that revenue from print media was decreasing.
Secondly, they segmented their lists based on the content they loved and automated content generation for all segments. Once they had successfully integrated the necessary aspects, they implemented their strategy with help from good email marketing software. The results? An increase in online subscribers, an increase in conversion rate, and $550,00 more in revenue.
16. Do Use the Right Tools for Your Email Marketing Campaigns
There are several CRM systems out there. You just have to find one that fits your business. Better yet, most of them give you free trials, which allow you to test them and see how they perform for your business.
Case Study: Managed Maintenance Inc.
MMI, a leading technology assets management services provider, proved that you could have a good email marketing strategy but still fail if you don’t have the right tools. They already had CRM software and automation set up. But after evaluation, they realized that they needed to change the CRM for effective integration. Once they did, they increased their lead generation by 75%.
Email marketing is an excellent way to generate leads through a personalized, contextualized message. You may find that the best email campaigns combine different channels and integrate well with your other marketing strategies.
Once you have all these elements in place, make sure you’re using the right tools for your email campaign management system so that everything runs smoothly!