Email marketing has been touted as the best marketing channel – especially where ROI is concerned.
However, great as this marketing channel is, many businesses have failed to use it effectively. And the reason is simple – they don’t have an effective email marketing strategy.
Before we continue and talk about all the nuts and bolts involved in creating an email marketing strategy that works, let’s clear a few things off the table first.
A question many business owners ask is whether email is the right marketing channel for them. Well, before Covid-19, many brick-and-mortar businesses bragged about how they could do without email. Today the world is a completely different place.
Every business needs email to ensure they effectively communicate with their customers.
Without email, it’s next to impossible to build meaningful relationships with your customers. And in times of crisis, it’s impossible to effectively keep in touch with them.
Crisis aside, any audience you build on 3rd party platforms (like social media) can be lost overnight. That’s why email should be the backbone of your marketing as it gives you:
Is email marketing for every business? Looking at the argument above, I believe you’ll agree that email marketing definitely is for every business.
So now you’re convinced email is a vital component of your marketing. The question is how do you make it work for you?
The answer is exactly what we’ll be discussing – everything involved in crafting an email marketing strategy that works.
An email marketing strategy is sort of like a business strategy designed to ensure your email marketing campaigns result in success.
In short, an email marketing strategy is a strategic plan that maps out your processes and steps needed to pull off a successful email marketing campaign.
That’s how many businesses map out their email marketing campaigns. And that’s exactly why their campaigns fall flat. This method is extremely flawed and misses out on the 3 main reasons a solid email marketing strategy is essential. Here they are:
Because having a strategy ensures that these 3 factors are inherent in your email marketing campaigns, your cash register will definitely ring. Speaking of which, let’s dive into the processes that will help you execute a winning email marketing campaign.
Ready to get under the hood of an effective email marketing strategy? I thought so. Let’s get right to it then, shall we?
The very first step you must take when creating an email marketing strategy is to define your primary objectives. In other words, what do you want to achieve with your campaign?
Common email marketing goals include (but are not limited to):
The beauty of email is that it’s so versatile you can use it to achieve nearly any business goal. But as always, make sure your goals are SMART.
The next step in creating your email marketing strategy is to evaluate where you are currently.
What do you have in place in terms of email marketing and what are you doing?
What steps do you need to take to move from where you are to where you want to go (your goals)?
In order to strategically answer these questions you’ll have to consider:
Failure to understand where you are with your email marketing could result in you throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Not only that, but it could lead to you carrying over some bad email marketing practices into your new campaigns.
Now that you’ve set your goals and you know exactly what you want to achieve with your campaign, how are you going to know if your campaign is working or not?
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are measurable metrics that you can use to track the progress of your campaigns. More importantly, they help show whether your campaign was successful or not. These metrics can also be used to build better iterations of your email marketing campaigns.
Here are a few common ones to know:
So how do you determine which KPIs are most relevant to your campaign?
Select the KPIs that closely represent a measurable aspect of your goals. This means your KPIs for a lead generation campaign may not be exactly the same as those for a promotional campaign as the goals are different.
Automation plays a huge role in running a successful email marketing campaign. That’s why you must invest in the best email automation software. One such software you certainly can’t do without is an email service provider (ESP). This is a service that allows you to store emails, segment them, and automate most email activities you need to perform.
So how do you ensure you pick the right ESP for your campaigns?
These and other considerations will help you get an ESP (and other email marketing tools) that aligns with your vision, budget, and needs. Different ESPs have their different functionalities and areas of strength, so don’t jump for the first ESP you find within your budget. Shop around.
In some instances, you may need to add a third-party tool or 2 to help you get better KPI data or extended functionality.
A successful email marketing strategy is powered by data. And one of the most important pieces of data you need is a deep understanding of your audience.
This is exactly where audience research comes in.
As the name suggests, audience research simply means digging deep into your target audiences:
Getting to know your audience will help you “get inside their heads”. In other words, it will help you know what they want, when they want it, and how they want it. As such, you are able to provide them a great user experience on their customer journey.
So how and where can you get this data?
Armed with this data, develop buyer personas that – imaginary representations of your target audience. These will help inform your messaging and overall email marketing strategy.
Everything you’ve been doing up to this moment has been foundational. Now we get to the practical aspects of executing your email marketing strategy. Of course, email marketing is impossible without an email list, so the first place to get your hands dirty when running an email marketing campaign is building your email list. Not just any lest, but a list that’s:
While it may seem like a daunting task to build an email list that meets the above requirements, it’s actually quite easy. Here’s how you can do just that:
Of course, this is also where ESP comes in as you will use it to create a database of those who sign up for your email list.
You’ve built yourself an impressive email list, it’s time to send your first campaign, right?
Before sending out your campaign, you must segment your email list first.
Email segmentation simply means grouping subscribers with similar attributes into common sub-lists. This will help you treat each subscriber as an individual – also known as personalization. According to research, segmented campaigns can result in a 760% increase in revenue. And that’s all because of personalization.
So how best can you create segments that can help you personalize your campaigns?
You can segment your email list based on (among other things):
The main determinants of your segments are your goals and business model. However, whatever you do, never batch and blast an email campaign. Instead, segment, personalize, and enjoy the action.
Read more about email marketing personalization here.
Now that you’ve segmented your email list, it’s time to map out how you’re going to send out your email campaign. This is what is called a workflow. To be more precise, a workflow is an email sequence triggered by a subscriber’s action, data, or behavior.
The main purpose of creating an email workflow is to put yourself in your customers’ shoes and go on the customer journey they’ll follow via your emails. A well-designed email workflow will help identify and eliminate places of friction in the customer journey. It will also help you overcome any objections your customers may have.
A simple example of an email workflow is an onboarding workflow. In this instance, the trigger can be signing up for your offer. The triggered email is a welcome email. After a predetermined period of time (2/3 days) another email is sent out with tailored content.
A big advantage of getting a very good ESP is that most come with templates and tools for creating workflows.
One factor that makes email marketing effective is that it allows you to serve your customers different types of email. This helps spice up things and helps keep your subscribers engaged.
It’s important that you understand the different types of emails available to you. More than that, you need to determine which types of emails you’ll be using in your email campaigns. Some examples of email types include:
Knowing which email types you’ll be sending in a campaign is essential as it will help fine-tune your strategy to achieve the goals of the campaign. It will also help you plan out your content. Which brings us to the next stage of mapping out an effective email marketing strategy.
You’re about to pull off an email marketing campaign. That’s because you’ve nearly got every important piece of the puzzle in place. One of the last pieces of your email marketing strategy is the email content itself.Click to preview
You need to plan and create content for each and every email in your workflow.
No, you don’t create content as the muse hits. You need to strategically plan for it. Here are a few tips to help you ensure each email you send hits home.
For your email campaigns to be more effective, do your research before creating your content. Every email must be informed by data. It’s also not wrong to check out your competitors’ campaigns and see what kind of content works for them.
Everything is now in place. It’s time to click the send button, right?
Hold your horses!
As much as your fingers are itching to click send, we’re not done with your email marketing strategy yet. In fact, the last 2 stages are critical to ensuring your strategy is perfect.
One of these stages is making sure every piece of your strategy is in alignment. To do that, you’ll need to:
Many an email campaign has ended up a flop due to rushing things. Always stand back, take a good look at your campaigns and make sure everything is in order before you click the send button.
After you’ve sent out your campaign it’s time to sit back, relax and watch the money rolling in. Unfortunately, that’s what most marketers do. Yet this is one of the most important parts of your strategy – collecting data.
Remember, data is the new currency in the digital world.
Instead of sitting on your laurels, put on your overalls and do some data mining. This is important as the data you collect will help you determine if your campaign was a success or not. In fact, this is where the KPIs you set earlier on come into play.
So what do you do with the data you collect?
Now, the first thing most marketers do is to benchmark their results against their top competitors. While this is fair and fine, it’s not the best measure of success. Even if you’re benchmarking against the exact same KPIs, there are many other factors to consider that may not be the same. Example include:
These are just a few examples of some elements that can cause 2 similar email campaigns to have different results. So what’s the best way to gauge your success?
Benchmark against yourself.
To truly know if your campaign has been a success or not, compare it to your previous campaign. As long as the goals for the campaign are the same, that is. Again, you can easily get data and statistics from your ESP or from third-party tools.
Before you rush off to implement the tips in this guide, let’s quickly look at an interesting email marketing strategy case study. This time we’ll look at Moqups’ email strategy.
Back story – Moqups is a web-based design and collaboration tool that combines whiteboard, diagram, and design features and functions in a single, online app. Upon signing up for their service, you immediately get an amazing welcome email:Click to preview
Besides the clean, crisp design, Moqups nailed this welcome email by:
Moqups welcome email is a classic welcome and onboarding email. It makes the reader feel truly welcome and appreciated while at the same time it gently guides the reader on to the next step. The next email in Moqups’ workflow is equally impressive:Click to preview
Scrolling down the email will reveal different templates for different projects.So, what’s so special about this email?
One word – value.
Instead of sending a promotional email, Moqups offers massive value upfront to its subscribers. This is a great way to hook users onto a product they’ve never used before. Besides the free templates, Moqups also uses a killer email marketing strategy in the same email…Click to preview
By letting their users know that communication channels are open, Moqups is showing that they are a customer-centric brand. But more than that, they are showing that they practice what they preach – collaboration.
The next email in the sequence is another great example to draw inspiration from. Here’s the subject line: Discover 4 must-try features in MoqupsClick to preview
This is onboarding at it’s best. By showing users nifty tricks and hacks to get the most out of the product, Moqups increases the chances of first-timers becoming loyal users. And as if that wasn’t enough, they send another excellent onboarding email a day Later. The subject line – Our top 3 visual collaboration features:Click to preview
While the previous email showcased 4 features you just have to try, this one shows you 3 features that have helped successful teams collaborate. Who doesn’t want to create or be part of a successful remote team?
Now that Moqups has gotten your attention and gained your trust, their next email is not only relevant but impactful as well:
Subject line – ♡ From our team to yours: Get 2x seats and up to 50% in savingsClick to preview
Having enjoyed the powerful features and the warm relationship, who wouldn’t want to take it a step further? Especially when the proposal is so enticing? No wonder the platform has a jaw-dropping +1.5 million-strong user base.
So, let’s quickly look at the key takeaways from this email marketing strategy case study. Here’s what Moqups does well to help them pull off amazing email campaigns:
Use the right email type at the right time
A successful email marketing campaign is a result of having a robust email marketing strategy. Sure, it takes time to build and monitor one, but at the end of the day, it’s the only way to ensure you succeed in breaking through the noise in your recipients’ inboxes. And if you need help in mapping out your email marketing strategy, the army is more than happy to help. The Inbox Army that is. So make sure to get in touch.
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