What’s The Deal With Email Marketing?
(Snippits from our oh so popular Digital Glue Podcast!)
An email list is probably one of the most valuable and responsive assets you can have as an entrepreneur. Unlike your social media followers, you own your email marketing list.
Now in this realm of marketing-land, we want to make sure that our emails are not immediately deleted, marked as spam, or ignored altogether. We want to build relationships. We want to provide value and solutions. We want them to pick US. And with that being said our topic of the week …
Email marketing is an incredibly powerful tool for getting messages directly to your clients and dream leads. It can also strengthen those wonderfully amazing client relationships you already have while reminding your prospects to reach out to YOU, time and time again. So, let’s discuss how you can improve your efforts, and maximize the impact of the perfect email marketing strategy …
Email marketing (by definition) is the act of sending a commercial message, typically to a group of people, in a digital format — via email. In its broadest sense, every email sent to a potential or current client could be considered email marketing. It involves using email to send promo materials, freebies, advice and knowledge, request business, solicit sales, or even donations.
So, what we want to impart today is the importance of using the very best strategies. Alongside some quick tips in creating a strong email marketing strategy that will get those dream clients, build trust, and help your branding and reputation flourish and grow.
Building a strong plan takes a strategic approach and a heck of a lot of organization.
But if you’re determined to do a stellar job, you must commit to keeping things real. Be yourself. Always, always. Your true authentic self. I really cannot stress this enough!
What audiences nowadays are looking for is real connections and real truths.
Disingenuous emails that are just used to make a quick buck are as easy to see through as a freshly washed window. And by no means, a good strategy. The clients that you want for life are looking for you to make their lives easier every single time they are in contact with you — in any way. They need you to keep your branding consistent. And even when you decide to make those dream changes to your business, consistency is still totally possible.
Remember that famous quote by Maya Angelou?
It relates to all aspects of life, business included …
I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
This is the truth guys. Skip the gimmicks and give them the straight up goods. The real you. The good stuff.
You want people to have “the feels” when they have an interaction with your business. And that goes for every email you send them. Not just in the land of social or digitally on your site or landing page offerings. And to do that through any kind of marketing, you need to make sure that your brand is following what I like to call the 3 C’s … CLEAR. CONCISE. CONSISTENT.
And to sum this up perfectly … Andrea Mignolo says it best …
I want to do business with a company that treats emailing me as a privilege, not a transaction.
And who doesn’t want to feel this way?!
Okay, so let’s get to the nitty-gritty of it all and dive right on into our magically “untangling” 9 tips and tricks to make sure you are doing everything you can to create killer content in your marketing emails …!
#1. GIVE THEM THE GOOD STUFF — this is the most important part!
Whether you’re writing subject lines or the body copy of the email itself, make everything only as long as it needs to be, and no more.
Here are some basic guidelines to follow:
- Keep sentences under 25 words, and paragraphs up to three sentences. These are considered the basic best practices for writing.
- Aim for 15 to 25 characters when writing subject lines. There’s no real “best subject line length,” but the shorter copy, the more likely to avoid getting cut off on mobile devices. (More on subject lines later!)
- Get to the point. Every word and sentence in your email should serve a clear purpose. If it doesn’t, remove it. And if you’re not sure, there are plenty of apps and guides on Google that can help you tap into “power words” and sentence shorteners. (Hit us up and we’ll share some!)
And most of all … make sure your words offer something of value. Great copy won’t save a crappy offer. No matter how hard you try! And if what you’re selling isn’t worth your audience’s time, there’s no point. So before sending an email, ask whether it passes the following criteria:
- Is the content or offer promoting high-quality?
- This is obviously somewhat subjective, but if you’re sending email simply because you feel like you have to, it may be better to hold off.
- Would I even want what I’m selling?
- Put yourself in your reader’s shoes. If you read this email from another brand, would you even remotely care? Be honest.
- Is there anything that could make this email more valuable?
- An additional “P.S.”, a related piece of content, a graphic maybe?
- Is it too soon for another email?
- Ask yourself … “Is this getting annoying?”
Brands that solve problems for people, those are the ones that get heard. So, when writing email copy, put the reader’s interest first. ALWAYS.
Here’s a quick example to illustrate what I mean:
- A strong example of putting the reader first is: “Cut your grass 35% faster with new, sharper mower blades.”
- A weak example is: “Our new mower blades are 35% sharper.”
Now, the first example establishes a clear benefit and helps the reader envision themselves spending less time mowing their lawn. Now, that’s powerful!
But the second one puts the company first and fails to make as strong a connection between product improvement and enticing consumer benefit. Customers care more about benefits to THEM than features. A sharper mower blade isn’t important because it’s sharper; it’s important because it means the customer can spend less time mowing their lawn.
See where I am going with this?
Oh Ann Handley … how I love thee … and it’s so true …
Make the customer the hero of your story.
#2. MAKE IT ALL ABOUT THE RIGHT PEOPLE.
Personalize. Optimize. Segment.
These are the key words for this tip.
Whenever possible, add a personalized element to your emails. It’s a good way to target your reader better and increase the chance of them opening your email. Most email tools allow you to enter short codes that will be replaced with the recipient’s name when the email is sent out. (YAY to automated short codes!)
Another trick to make things more personalized and targeted is through segmenting your email list. Meaning a market segment. Which is a group of people who share one or more common characteristics all lumped together for marketing purposes.
Each segment is unique, and marketers use various criteria to create a target market for their email marketing campaigns. This way, you send only certain emails to certain portions of your list. See how that works?
We personally know through experiences of our very own as well as those adventured with our clients, that using this tip can reduce the chances of people just flushing out emails without even opening them! So, the more information you can get about your audience in the sign-up process, the more options you’ll have for segmentation.
Okay next up …
#3. LET THE PEOPLE SPEAK.
You should ALWAYS keep the focus on building a relationship with your subscribers. People join your email list because they want to know more about your business. Engagement is the secret golden key to driving good returns from your campaigns in the long run.
Email marketing opens the door for meaningful conversations with real people interested in your business. Just throwing information to your dream leads and clients is a plain ‘ol waste of time. So, make sure you always focus on these two points:
- Irresistible subject lines— Speak to your readers directly and promise them something that stands out from the other emails in their inbox.
(More on this later!)
- Entertaining with a distinctive voice— Just because readers open your email doesn’t mean they aren’t ready to hop over to that delete button and say bye bye! So, always make sure your messaging sounds like it came from a real person who cares, not some faceless marketing machine. Again … authentically YOU!
The focus should be to encourage recipients to engage. Sometimes that means they click on a link in your message, reply directly to you or your team, or respond to the call to action provided … So whenever possible, encourage them to actually respond to your emails. That’s a surefire way to show you care, and you’re interested and responsive to what your subscribers have to say.
Okay we’re on a roll, so let’s get to the next one …
#4. CRAFT SUBJECT LINES THAT INTRIGUES.
How many emails do we get in a day? Is it 1 thousand or 2 thousand? Feels like it right?
So, here’s the part of emails that can get a little sticky-icky … We want people to open them and read them! So, what makes you want to take that extra step to actually open an email? Often, it’s the subject line. Afterall, it’s your very first impression of the email, and from it, you’ll do your best to judge the content on the inside.
You don’t want to be one of those ignored or deleted emails in your subscribers’ overwhelmed inboxes. You’ve got to make sure your email subject lines are top-notch.
So, here’s a few tips:
- Getting an email from an actual person feels more friendly than one from a brand. So, use an employee’s name in the sender field, rather than your brand name.
- NEVER USE ALL CAPS. (See what I did there!) Just don’t. No one likes to be virtually yelled at … am I right?
Use power words. Subject lines should inspire readers to act. So, include power words that motivate audiences to open — and click!
#5. NO ONE LIKES TESTS … BUT YOU GOTTA!
Word of cautionary advice … Never send anything without making sure it’s working properly. Double-check that your messages look the way you want by sending them to employee accounts. Ideally, you should view them on a variety of mobile devices before finalizing your drafts. And always ensure that all your links work, and any personalization short codes aren’t failing. Sending mass emails without double-checking the content would be like showing up to a business meeting having chosen your outfit in the dark. It’s a bad look, it goes against brand consistency in the biggest way, and it’s super unprofessional.
#6. WASH THAT SPAM RIGHT OUT OF YOUR HAIR!
Even the most seasoned email marketing experts’ experience email delivery issues, it happens all the time. So, let’s talk about how to avoid the spam folder altogether and keep happily at home in the inbox.
- Provide a preference center.
- Avoid using all caps.
- Do not use too many exclamation marks.
- Choose not to use too many exaggerated phrases like “ACT NOW BEFORE TIME RUNS OUT!!!!”
- Be compliant.
- Send relevant content ALWAYS.
Okay, let’s get into the next tip …
#7. WORK THAT SCHEDULE.
Our priority here is to optimize our email sending frequency. And as you have heard me say over and over … consistency is key to success. But that doesn’t mean you should stick to doing things the same way you always have indefinitely. Remember … pivot, innovate, adapt. Smart marketers optimize their approach based on performance data over time, and email marketing is no exception.
Once a month, consider analyzing your email marketing sending frequency and note:
- Which times perform best?
- Which days perform best?
- Do open rates appear to drop off once a certain number of emails are sent?
- Are you getting a high number of complaints about excessive email – and do those complaints correlate with a drop in opens?
Gather this data, then adjust your schedule accordingly. Make the magic potion that is your strategy just a tad different each time you gather a new set of numbers
#8. GROW THAT LIST SO BIG NO ONE WILL BELIEVE YOU!
Even if you’ve already got a long list of emails for clients and prospects, you should never stop adding to it. Especially since it’s not nearly as hard as it sounds.
For example, make sure your list is always growing passively with a signup feature on your website – and on social if possible. Subscription forms should be on your home page and literally everywhere else you can fit it without taking away from the more important content.
Email campaigns are key here. An email marketing campaign consists of sending content with the goal of accomplishing a specific goal for the organization. It’s important that an email campaign’s recipients have opted in to receive this content and that each piece offers something valuable.
So, whether you decide on a free offer, a downloadable, a contest, or a themed series of emails, this is a surefire way to grow that list.
And last but certainly not least …
#9. ITS SAD TO SAY GOODBYE … BUT …
Make it simple to unsubscribe from your emails. Once you’ve got people on your list, you want to do everything you can to keep them there. Obviously! So why should we try to make it simple? Because it creates a more positive experience. A full circle moment from our dear quote earlier from Ms. Angelou … It’s about how you make them feel. Someone might be interested in your brand, but just doesn’t want your emails anymore. If it’s tough to get off your list, that positive brand sentiment can quickly evaporate, to the extent that they will now choose a competitor instead.
So, make that link easy to find, make it a one step process and say goodbye with grace and your big girl (or guy) pants on.
Here’s ours as a fun example:
We want you to know that …
We will not write it on the bathroom wall.
We will not share it with a fox. We will not share it in a box.
We do not like Green Eggs and Ham.
We do not like them, Sam-I-Am!
So … you can unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of any round-up edition.
Email marketing is powerful.
It is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to reach a huge audience. But as with anything attached to your good name and reputation for excellence — it must be treated properly, executed as close to perfect as you can get it, and always open for improvement and innovation.
WANT MORE DIGITAL GLUE (FROM OUR PODCAST)?
Let the digital “untangling” BEGIN … Just pop in your earbuds and hop onto one of your favourite channels by clicking any of the links below!
Like this blog post?
If you found today’s blog post to be exactly the type of inspiration and know-how you were looking for, we would be very grateful if you would help this post spread
by sharing the LOVE with it socially, emailing it to a friend or dropping us a comment with your thoughts. You never know whose life you might change.