By Susan Tucker
No matter what happens in the world of digital communication, there is one constant – email marketing. Contrary to annual predictions that email marketing has peaked, the numbers tell a different story. A fairly recent DMA study found that 76% of marketers use more email than they were three years ago. In terms of numerically-based predictions, Forrester Research forecasts that investment in email marketing will to grow from $2 billion in 2014 to $3.5 billion in 2017.
Knowing that email marketing will not only continue but also increase, there are things you need to do in order to make sure it successfully integrates with your inbound marketing strategy.
Here are your email marketing “must-haves”
- Be Seen: Don’t hide your “Subscribe” box. Make sure it’s easily accessible on your website, perhaps in your header or footer.
- Be Obvious: Consider adding a POP UP for new site visitors, entice sign ups by adding an offer.
- Team Up: Consider partnerships, to grow your list, with a relevant, non-competing company for joint marketing to each other’s lists. Co-host a webinar, co-author a quick eBook, or run a contest together.
How to Reduce Unsubscribes
- Options: Give unsubscribers an option to sign up for less frequent emails or emails that are on only a particular topic.
- Frequency: Conduct a frequency study. Ask them either when they sign up or as a quick poll. (“Would you like to get our newsletter monthly, weekly, bi-weekly, etc?”)
- Targeting: Focus on targeting in the beginning by creating segmented lists (based on product offerings, buyer persona characteristics, etc.)
- Segmenting: You may also consider geographic segmentation, industry/role segmentation, content interests, behavior-based segmentation, brand advocates (frequent buyers, social media fans, customers who have recommended you, non-customers who have advocated for you online)
- Add social media sharing buttons to all your emails.
- Offer both plain & HTML versions.
- Test your templates on various platforms such as mobile.
- Use descriptive text for your photos in case they do not come across.
- Ensure your emails can render as web versions
- Incentivize your subscribers to share with friends, give them special perks and discounts.
The Anatomy of a Successful Email
- From Line: Must be recognizable and include the company name and/or a personal name of someone at the company.
- Subject Line: a good subject line should get the subscribers attention as well as be informative. Do not include these four words: Free, Help, Percent off, and Reminder.
- Preheader: A pre-header is the text located at the very top of your email message. Use this space to provide an additional benefit and/or reason to open your email message.
- Consistent Message with Enticing Offer: Make sure the body and subject of the email match. Create an enticing offer with striking visuals (don’t forget your alt text on the images)
- Social Share Links: Make it easy for subscribers to share the email on their channels AND make sure you include links to YOUR channels in case they do not already follow you there.
- Optional: consider split testing; half your subscribers get the same email with a different subject. Analyze the results!
Your email strategy should be top of list when creating your marketing plan, but not any ol’ plain-jane email will do. These days it’s about personalization and relevance.