A new study shows that e-mail is still the most preferred channel for communication from companies. In this post, I will provide seven tips for smart email marketing.
Email – popular as never before
According to the recent report Consumer Usage And Digital Adoption, published by the British company Adestra and featured in ClickZ, there is every reason to look forward to e-mail as a medium.
Even if people prefer communication by e-mail, it does not mean that the inbox is open territory and that it is free to send advertisements by e-mail.
No, gaining access to someone’s inbox is a matter of trust, and you must therefore proceed with caution and prudence in all forms of communication.
Still… done right, this is the most targeted and cost-effective communication channel available.
Email marketing, e.g. in the form of sending out newsletters or notifications about new posts on the company blog, is by far the most affordable form of marketing. In addition, it is 100% measurable.
Here I will give you 7 tips for smart use of email for marketing purposes:
1. Use professional email marketing software
Although it is possible to use your own mailbox to send out newsletters (Outlook, Apple Mail, etc.), I would strongly advise against this. Sending out to many at once using the blind copy field looks unprofessional. In addition, such emails also have a tired tendency to end up in the spam filter.
There are a lot of good newsletter programs on the market. From very simple applications for simple e-mailing, to advanced solutions (such as HubSpot) that integrate e-mail with all parts of your digital marketing.
Which software you end up with depends on your digital marketing strategy. Choose a provider who seems serious and who provides support, so that you can get assistance when you are stuck or wondering what is best practice.
If you have started with content marketing, or even taken the step to inbound marketing, you have probably already chosen a newsletter program as an integral part of your marketing software.
2. Do not buy lists of contacts
Why not, it must be the perfect way to reach as many people as possible? No, it is not. You need to build your own email list. It is the only passable road.
There are several reasons why you should not use purchased mailing lists:
- Purchased lists are usually of poor quality. They are often outdated, which means that a large part of the e-mails do not arrive. This is one of several indicators that the sender is engaging in spam (spam), which can backfire on the provider of your email system. For this reason, many email system providers prohibit purchased lists
- In addition, purchased lists usually contain general e-mail addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Without consent, according to the Marketing Act, you are not allowed to communicate to personalized e-mail addresses (example: firstname.lastname@example.org). This means that it is difficult for you to reach the people you want to read your newsletter. Therefore, such lists also provide a very low opening and clicking rate. They are often deleted immediately.
- Purchased lists are often sold to many, and the recipient has not asked to receive newsletters from you. You are quickly perceived as a spammer
- Although your purchased e-mail list may contain many personal e-mail addresses, it is not permitted to send e-mails with marketing messages to these.
You will build your own list through organic growth, based on the recipient’s consent. Here are examples of how this can be done:
- From your web page. By e.g. subscription form for your newsletters
- From your blog. For example. by offering free tips or other content in return for the recipient giving you their email address
- Seminars or fairs
3. Segment your email list
By dividing your list into different segments, you can tailor your newsletters to the recipient group. You can segment the list according to many different criteria. Here are some examples:
- Customer relationship with you
- Personas (see first section of this blog post)
It is in principle only the imagination that sets the limits.
List segmentation also gives you the opportunity to test the same message on different segments of your contact database.
4. Automated follow-up
Most email marketing software has the ability to automate the follow-up of your leads / customers. Not only can you regularly send newsletters by email.
You can e.g. send a customer who has purchased a product an offer of related products, or equipment for the product after a certain time.
A customer who has bought a bicycle from you can e.g. get an offer of a bicycle light when autumn approaches.
Someone who has downloaded an e-book from your web can be offered another e-book after a set time. This form of automated follow-up is also called lead nurturing.
5. Use landing pages
Do not write too long emails. If possible, try to avoid the reader having to scroll to read the entire text. Most people get a lot of emails every day.
You need to be able to capture the reader’s interest without spending too much time. Rather link to a separate landing page that goes more in depth with your message.
6. Mobile / Smart watch
When writing your newsletter, keep in mind that over 50% of your recipients read email on their mobile phone. This proportion is constantly increasing. Therefore, make sure that the email is readable on mobile devices.
Most e-mail tools have the ability to test what e-mail looks like in the most used e-mail readers. This is another reason not to write too long emails.
Smart watches have now been on the market for a while. I have not seen any statistics on the percentage who read emails on their smart watch yet, but it might be an idea to start thinking about this when writing your newsletter.
I myself have an early generation of a smart watch, and often read the subject line in emails on the watch. It is therefore good to be aware of this, and make maximum use of the e-mail’s subject field. Therefore, think carefully about the subject field in the e-mail.
Some guidelines for the subject field:
- Limit yourself to 50 characters or fewer
- The message must match the content of the email
- The subject field must appeal to the target group
- Do not use special characters
- Do not use words that can trigger the spam filter, such as FREE
7. Integrate email with content marketing
If you have already gotten off to a good start with your e-mail newsletters, perhaps the next step is to move on to Content Marketing. You can do this by e.g. to blog about topics that interest your customers / potential customers.
You should not write directly about your products or services. The goal is to help those who read the blog with general information on the subject, to get the reader to get to know you, like you and to trust you.
At what time is it best to send out your newsletter? Although some studies claim to have the answer to this, the truth is that these studies differ quite a bit.
However, if the newsletter is B2B, Friday after lunch is not the best time. If, on the other hand, you send to private individuals, the weekend or evening can often be fine.
You have every opportunity to find out which day of the week is best suited for sending out your newsletters. One way to do this is to divide your list into seven, and send the newsletter to a part of the list every day for a week. Then you can subsequently measure which day gave the best opening rate.
And finally: Always give the recipient of your newsletter an opportunity to unsubscribe. And remember to respect their choices.