When it comes to running effective marketing campaigns, too many businesses seem to assume that within the unfolding expanse of what we know as Internet history, email sits somewhere between the brontosaurus and the dodo — it may not have died off in the early days, but its death is inevitable.
While the flash and dazzle of social media’s marketing potential and promise shouldn’t be ignored, choosing it in lieu of email is a big mistake. Email, it seems, isn’t going anywhere, and the businesses that utilize it effectively aren’t either.
But what does an effectively run email marketing campaign look like? While nothing is fool-proof, there are some practices more likely to yield good results than others. Here is a look at what you need to do to get your email marketing prowess back in fighting shape.
Clean Your Database House
Depending on how long you’ve been in business, and how thorough you’ve been in keeping hold of customers’ email information, your database may be akin to a wild and raging jungle of @ signs and .com’s. Spend some time tending to the mess so you can be sure the information you have is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. While it will result in a smaller contact list, you need to purge your database of any contacts whose emails:
- Bounce back.
- Have never been opened.
- Routinely have an auto-reply message that says they are “out of the office” or their inbox is full.
The Opt-in Option
Organize Your Database
Unless your catalog contains only one item and your customers are all exactly alike, you’ll need to spend some time organizing your database into discrete groups. Not only will this help you understand your customer base better, but it will also allow for more effective and targeted marketing.
How you organize your database depends entirely on the kind of business you run and the customers you have. For example, if you run an online bookstore, organizing your database according to genre purchases would make sense.
Always Provide Great Content
Once you’ve got your database in order, it’s time to craft the email you’ll send out. As with all aspects of marketing, your emails are a reflection of your brand and its quality. To that end, your email content has to be stellar. Not only does it need to be grammatically correct, free of typos and spelling errors, but it also needs to something someone would enjoy and value reading. If you’re unsure what makes for good email content, read this article by Pratik Dholakiya. It offers excellent email-writing advice.
A Good Subject Line
A good subject line is the doorway to your email. In many ways, your subject line is more important than whatever is in the email. Odd or esoteric subject lines will land your email in the Junk folder, and boring ones will land it in the Trash. Be clear, short and exciting, and if possible, arouse your potential reader’s curiosity. Oddly enough, also make sure the subject line is the right length, which — according to Adestra’s research— is less than 60 characters or more than 70.
Make Sure Your Emails are Mobile Friendly
The rise of the mobile web user isn’t a trend that’s likely to change anytime soon. So, your email’s format needs to be mobile device-friendly. To that end, be clear and concise and use a single column format. Also, no little fonts, and use images sparingly.
Even if you employ all these methods, and even if you see an increase in sales, don’t just assume that everything is working smoothly. Before you launch your marketing campaign, set up a way to track responses to email through a tool like Google Analytics. Then look for trends regarding how often emails were opened, how often they were clicked through, and which ones resulted in sales. Then, retool your marketing — or don’t — based on the data.
Email marketing — when it’s done well — is remarkably effective. From making sure you’re utilizing a database that’s in tip-top shape to crafting a subject line that cannot be ignored, follow these tips and you’ll find yourself loving email even more than you did in 1998.