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An Email Marketing Guide for 2021.

Discover what email marketing can do for your business, and how to implement it into your digital marketing strategy with this handy guide.

Email marketing is an incredibly powerful digital marketing channel that businesses use to communicate with their prospects and customers. Businesses use email to send informative or promotional content to a list of people who have opted-in to their email list.

The primary goal is to convert leads into customers, and one-time buyers into loyal customers. Apart from being a cheap means of marketing, it boasts a very high return on investment (4200% ROI), with a return of $42 for every dollar spent.

It’s no wonder businesses capitalize on this incredible marketing opportunity. It couldn’t be emphasized enough how important it is for companies to have this marketing strategy forefront of their marketing toolbox.

Unfortunately, personal email accounts won’t cut it, trust me, you’ll need more for the volume of emails you intend on sending. This is where the power of an email service provider will come in handy.

Choose an email service provider

An ESP provides you with the infrastructure you need to send a large volume of emails at once. ESPs help you to manage your email list, and get your emails delivered into your customer’s inboxes.

Although it’s possible to use an Internet Service Provider(ISP), such as Gmail, it really isn’t advisable as they’re designed for personal use, not email campaigns. This explains why they lack the necessary design, bandwidth capabilities, and infrastructure for deliverability.

With an ESP you can effortlessly create, optimize, and personalize your email marketing campaigns. Email marketing is regulated through legislation and these email service providers help you stay within legal compliance.

Every email goes through spam filters

When a large volume of emails gets sent from an ISP, there’s a high chance they’ll be flagged for suspicious activity. Using an ISP puts you at risk of having your emails marked as spam and your account disabled, save yourself the trouble and go for an ESP.

There are tons of options to choose from, narrow down your options by determining which features you need, bearing in mind your future needs. The quality of your ESP will affect the deliverability and functionality of your email marketing. 

Build and grow your list

Never ever buy your email list. Besides the fact that list purchasing is often picked up on spam filters, these are not the people you want on your mailing list. You need people who actually want to be there, otherwise, you’ll have tons of unsubscriptions and a bad reputation, which will be hard to rectify. 

You want to be able to turn leads into customers, and one-time buyers into loyal customers, this is only possible if you’re able to win over these leads. That said, how do you get the interest you need from leads?

Incentivize with a lead magnet

Most ESP’s let you create opt-in forms for your website to help grow your mailing list.  You need to provide these potential customers with an incentive (a lead magnet) in exchange for their email addresses. 

The content you provide your leads with should be FREE, actionable, and easily attainable. The lead magnet should be high in quality as this gives you the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise to these potential customers.

Have I caught you wondering what kind of lead magnet you could offer? Here are some examples to help:

  • A free online course.
  • A free PDF guide.
  • How-to tutorials.
  • Coupons.
  • A free consultation.

Make sure that what you offer is relevant to what you’ll be providing if they opt-in to your list.  As with an opt-in option, it’s just as important for you to provide an easy means to unsubscribe and gain insight into their decision with a feedback option. You’ll want to try to keep your unsubscriber rate low, one way to do this would be to provide your growing list with personalized content

Personalize your emails

You’re looking to build trust with your leads and customers, you can do this by adding some personal touches to the content that you send them. Nobody wants to read an email that sounds like it’s been written by a robot. Your customers want to feel that you value them and their time. 

What can you do to add a personal touch to your emails?

  • Speak as if you’re addressing one person, not hundreds or thousands, or hundreds of thousands — one. 
  • Appeal to them on a personal level, for example, you can address them by their first name in the subject line and in the content of your email.
  • Use friendlier, more personal phrases such as, “Tom, I know you’ll love this!” as opposed to, “We know our customers will love this.” 
  • Use humor in your emails, this can leave a lasting positive impact on those reading it. 
  • Use behavior-triggered emails based on how customers have previously interacted with your brand. 

Segmenting your list also adds some personalization to your emails, as you’re not sending the same content to all of your leads and customers. 

Segment your list

Segmenting your email list will increase the effectiveness of your email marketing campaigns. According to a report done by Litmus, personalized emails generate a median ROI of 122%. It’s a valuable tactic used to provide your list with more relevant content based on certain criteria. 

An example would be to provide content related to your customer’s position in their buyer journey, or their: 

  • Interests.
  • Demographics.
  • Dislikes.
  • Purchase history.

By sending more relevant emails, you’re more likely to increase your open rates and engagement, and decrease your unsubscription rates. Mass emailing your list simply isn’t anywhere near as effective as sending targeted emails to segmented groups. 

Let’s have a look at how segmented campaigns fare against unsegmented campaigns. Here are some statistics from a study conducted by MailChimp: 

  • The open rate for segmented campaigns is 14.31% higher than unsegmented campaigns.
  • The click rate for segmented campaigns is 100.95% higher than unsegmented campaigns.
  • The unsubscription rate for segmented campaigns is 9.37% lower than unsegmented campaigns.

As you can see, it’s worth it. Sending relevant emails to the right subscribers gets you better results. Once you’ve set up the necessary measures to grow your list and to personalize your customer’s experience, you’re ready to get that content on the move.

What is an email campaign?

An email campaign is when a business sends a once-off email, or a series of emails over a specific period of time, to their list. Email campaigns should be guided with a goal in mind and one call-to-action (CTA) — What do you want your subscribers to do? 

The CTA will depend on where your subscribers are in your sales funnel, for example, promoting a high-end offer to someone who is new to your list is unlikely to prove successful. 

Email marketing services such as Systeme, make creating and automating your email campaigns pretty straightforward. Having a clear goal in mind will guide you in the creation process, and in measuring the success of your campaigns. 

What is it that you want to achieve with your campaign? Here are some common goals:

  • To welcome new subscribers.
  • To boost your engagement.
  • To get subscribers re-engaged.
  • To nurture existing subscribers.
  • To promote a new product

To increase the success of your campaigns, you need to make sure that you have a strategy set up to accommodate every phase of your customer’s journey. A common example of this is an introductory email for all your new subscribers. This is their first step in their journey with your brand.

Send an introductory email

New subscribers deserve a warm welcome, don’t they? An introductory email is a great opportunity to create a positive first impression. You should never ever pitch a paid offer when establishing the first contact with a lead — this will undoubtedly increase your unsubscription rates. 

This is your time to set the stage for what they can expect from you in the future. This is your promise to your list and you should never break it. Build the trust you need by following through and delivering on the expectations that you’ve set.

How often will you be sending out emails to your list? Be sure to inform your subscribers and stick to this schedule. Anything more and anything less will impact your engagement and increase your unsubscription rates. Thankfully, autoresponders are here to save you time and effort while ensuring you stick to that mailing schedule.

Use autoresponders

Autoresponders are a common feature provided by most email marketing services that allow you to automate the sending of your emails. You can automate your email campaigns to ensure they’re sent exactly when you need them to be. They can also be triggered by specific actions that your subscribers take, based on rules and time intervals that you’ve set.

For example, you can automatically send:

  • Confirmation emails.
  • Transactional emails.
  • Re-engage customers.
  • Welcome emails.

Remember to always keep your end goal in mind, and only email your subscribers if you’re offering something of real value. If you provide nothing of value and start an email campaign for the sake of it, you can be sure your emails will end up in the trash folder. Or worse, they’ll mark your emails as spam.

But, how do you know whether your digital marketing efforts are working or not? There’s no need for guesswork, with marketing analytics you’re able to gain valuable insight to determine the success of your campaign: 

  • Gain insight into how your customers are responding to your campaign.
  • Gain insight into areas that may need improving.

Use marketing analytics

To determine the success of your campaign and to gain insight into areas that may need improving, you need to make use of marketing analytics. The good news is that most email service providers have built-in tools to help you track and optimize your marketing.

Some of the key metrics that you’ll be able to monitor include: 

  • Deliverability.
  • Open rate.
  • Click-through rate.
  • Bounce rate.
  • Unsubscribe rate.
  • Conversion rate.

The metrics you find most important will depend on your goals, but having this data will prove incredibly valuable to you and your business. 

With access to this data, you’ll have the metrics needed to begin experimenting with A/B tests. A/B testing or split testing will allow you to determine which approach is more effective. If you’re looking to learn more about A/B testing, you may find this link helpful.

Summing up

Email marketing and the use of a professional email service provider can get your business reaching new heights. The potential of this incredibly powerful marketing tool is truly endless.  We hope this guide proves handy in getting you started with your email marketing efforts. 

Remember to always deliver something of value every single time you email your list. Success lies in the trust you build and the effort you make. Also, you could always test drive a few ESPs to determine which one works best for your business needs.

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Written by Luke Fitzpatrick

Luke Fitzpatrick is an academic speaker at Sydney University. He enjoys writing about tech, productivity, lifestyle, and is a contributor to Forbes.

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