Email has always been part of successful online marketing campaigns. Over the years, the recommendations on how to build, manage, and communicate with your email list have changed.
What was good a few years ago is now obsolete and new rules for communication have taken hold. Keeping up with these changes is the only way to be effective when it comes to email marketing.
I initially abandoned email marketing years ago. After all, this was during the height of “unsubscribe” and “Can the Spam” campaigns that made most people delete emails before they even knew what they contained. As with all marketing techniques, the idea of email marketing transitioned to creative campaigns and “for subscriber only” type emails that again opened the door for online marketers.
In the current age of marketing, email is one of the most important tools you can use. With mobile searches now outnumbering desktop searches, people are constantly checking email with their tablets and smartphones. This puts email marketing back into focus and requires you to run email campaigns if you want to be a player in any market.
If you are already building your list and want to go beyond the basics, here are a few things that will help:
Keep your emails and campaigns organized.
If you have read one of the many articles out there on list building, chances are you are adding emails at a furious pace. However, make sure that you keep your email list and campaigns organized. “A well-organized list will make a huge difference, build loyalty, and increase ROI,” says Kendal Hilko, marketing manager for InventHelp. “A well-organized list is a necessity in order to execute a successful email marketing campaign, no matter if you go-at-it alone, or choose a third-party vendor,” she adds.
Hilko also recommends using a third-party vendor if your list becomes too large to keep track of in-house. She says, “If your email list becomes too large, don’t be afraid to use outside vendors such as Constant Contact or MailChimp. Some third parties are surprisingly affordable and offer attractive, user-friendly design templates. Additionally, these platforms allow you to save your list and build within the software, instead of risking the possibility of losing a list you worked years to build.”
Getting them to open your message.
Now that you are off and running, you want to maximize the effectiveness of your email campaigns. After all, you can generate more business with an increased open rate from your current list than you can from a larger list of leads that never open your emails. Two of the main things to help increase open rates are list segmentation and subject lines.
The genesis of higher email open rates starts in the list development process with continuous updating and refined segmentation,” says JW Robison, principal and founder of Oh Wow Marketing Solutions in Southern California. “The more current the list and the more refined the segmentation, the better the open rates.”
By segmentation, Robison is referring to separating your main email list into smaller groups that you can then target based on factors such as location, type of services, etc. As an example, I segment my email list into two smaller groups, one for Wikipedia marketing and the other for content marketing. This way I target the group that I want (those seeking Wikipedia services and those seeking content writing services).
Segmentation can also help you with subject lines of emails, another key to increasing your open rates. Robison adds, “There is a definite correlation between precision list segmentation, email timing, and the associated response rate. Through refined segmentation, you are reinforcing your company’s relationship with your customer. For example, an email with the subject line Our New Line of Summer Merchandise Has Arrived may garner some opens across a broad segment. However, the subject line, We Have New Men’s Running Shoes In Your Size! will generate a larger open rate across the more targeted marketing segment that has shopped for or purchased running shoes in the past year.”
Collecting offline emails.
Although I’m not an expert on email marketing, I thought I would share my personal experiences from educating myself in the industry. I’ve noticed during my searches that many articles talk about the ways to build your email list online; however, many fail to mention that you should target people outside of the virtual world.
I used to get sick of people handing me their business cards when I attended trade shows or showed up anywhere for a meeting. Unfortunately, I was pretty naive as most cards found their way to the trash. After all, I didn’t need a business card with someone’s phone number. Who uses a phone anymore? What I was missing is a huge opportunity that I no longer pass up.
Each business card you collect is an invitation to add that person to your email list. Carry a pen to make notes about people on the back of each card (who they are, why you want them on your list, etc.). When you return to your computer, add these people to your list as well as your contacts. You were just handed a lead so you need to take advantage of it.
Also, don’t rely on people to give you their cards. Ask for a card, or give them your card and ask them to send you their contact information. You will begin growing your list with leads that you otherwise would not have generated.
Email marketing is something that you must tackle if you want any success from online marketing. Regardless if you are a beginner or an email marketing expert, going beyond the basics will help you develop successful email marketing campaigns.