Email marketing is an excellent tool to prime prospective leads and drive consumer interest over time.
New mass media technologies and even newer social media apps continue to mold the way consumers connect with brands. That said, it may be surprising to realize that email marketing still stands strong as a cornerstone for a successful brand strategy. We’ve come a long way since Ray Tomlinson sent the very first email in 1971, but communication innovation continues to fill an important marketing function.
Email Marketing Goals and Limitations
Through the spam hurricane of the ‘90s, empowered by the anti-spam crusades of the early 2000s, and now cemented as a targeted segmentation foundation – email marketing has evolved considerably. Where the minefields of spam links and phishing scams once found their victims now lies the roadmap for a well-rounded marketing strategy.
Fortunately, decades of email marketing evolution has been worth the turmoil. Brands, businesses, and international entities rely on email campaigns to drive sales and fuel inbound marketing on a daily basis, which is why it’s important to have a strong email marketing strategy. Sometimes, that means realizing email isn’t the end-all for reaching consumers.
The perfect email marketing campaign doesn’t just happen. First, it’s wise to understand what email can and can’t do in terms of advertising and lead generation, especially for your specific brand. Is email the best avenue for a particular message? Is there a better way to pass along a newly formed call-to-action? Second, it’s often necessary to tighten the weak points of email marketing strategy with complementary components like direct mailers, social media, and website design. Explore your options and take advantage of all opportunities available.
Effective Email Marketing Tactics
Outlining goals and limitations is a great first step for creating a successful email marketing campaign, but once you’ve decided an email is the way to go, you must take care to build your campaign right.
Email marketing must be managed carefully to create consistency and ensure the right content is delivered to the right people at the right time. Here are a few email marketing best practices to help craft the most successful campaign possible:
1. Segment your audience
There are countless tools and online services for organizing, segmenting, and specializing your email marketing audience. MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Emma are popular email marketing hubs from which to work, and each offers a variety of audience segmentation tools to help break down demographics and specialize targeted messages. If you find that some element of your segmentation isn’t working, do a little A/B testing against different segments to dissect the problem.
2. Automate email sending
The services mentioned above also make it easy to automate email sending, which takes the guess work out of when and where to send. In fact, most top-tier email marketing services are even able to determine what time of day an individual is most likely to open and read their email.
3. Offer incentives
Whether you’re trying to attract potential customers to join your email list or you want to ensure solid numbers from a new email marketing campaign, offering incentives is a tried-and-true strategy. Giveaways and discounts can work wonders when used appropriately.
4. Create quality content
No matter the venue, quality content will always elevate your inbound marketing tactics. Understanding your audience and crafting quality content accordingly is part of the game. Additionally, varying content for segmented audiences may be the way to go depending on your message. Remember, consumers are pretty smart these days. They can tell when you’re trying to trick them and when you’re being genuine.
5. Optimize for mobile
Mobile optimization should be an engrained mantra for all marketing media these days. Mobile opens accounted for 47% of the market share in 2013. If it doesn’t look good on mobile, you’re doing something wrong.
6. Hit all the important style elements
Your subject line, above-the-fold content, call-to-action wording, and all the little in-betweens play an enormous role in attracting, hooking, and reeling in consumers. Are yours the best they can be? Again, A/B testing is your friend when it comes to finding out what works well.
The Bottom Line
Remember, email marketing best practices can only do so much for you, and your advertising and sales should never rely solely on email for success. It’s one piece of a very large pie, with the big picture being your entire brand strategy. Take advantage of email marketing as best you can, and supplement where necessary.