You’ve heard this before. Email is a crucial marketing channel and tool for your business or brand that cultivates relationships with prospects. But how exactly should you leverage email to grow your business and how do you know if it’s working?
The following tactics, along with explanations, examples, and best practice tips will help you execute a successful email marketing strategy for your business whether you are starting to market your business from scratch or wanting to perfect your existing program.
Grow an engaged email list
The first step in marketing your business with email is to regularly acquire email addresses from recipients who will engage with your emails (and who are likely to become paying customers down the line). Consider promoting your email in highly-visible areas on your website and social networks (e.g. in the navigation bar, footer, sidebar, and in your profiles). When writing messaging for this promotion, focus on the value that you provide in your emails and how your content will help your users.
Tip: Provide an example of previous emails or newsletters so recipients get a feel for the content of your emails. And make sure you are using a double-opt in method so you’re not tricking (even if on accident) recipients onto your email list.
Empower your recipients by providing a preference center on your email sign-up form. Maybe your recipients only want sales and promotional emails, maybe they enjoy your program so much they want to get all your communication, or perhaps they fall somewhere in between—allowing them to choose keeps them happy and engaged with your emails.
Don’t *ever* purchase an email list and don’t be tricked by claims that the list you would be purchasing includes recipients who have already pre opted-in. A smaller, more engaged email list always beats out a larger email list that consists of uninterested recipients.
If you feel discouraged by your email list size, take solace in the fact that if you’re following best practices, you are acquiring high-quality email addresses who engage with your brand. And this will be respected by your recipients and the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Gmail will reward you with higher delivery rates.
Before you start sending emails to your subscriber list, it pays to spend some time on your email designs so they can be easily pulled together.
Unless you have a dedicated email designer or developer to hardcode your emails, your best bet for building different email campaigns is to use a modular email template design.
Modular templates consist of pre-coded design blocks that can easily be edited or swapped out depending on how much content you’d like to include. It’s also important that your email designs reflect your brand found on your website so that users have a consistent experience when they read your emails.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider checking out SendGrid’s free email marketing templates. And for even more best practices tips and advice on email design and development check out Design Email Best Practices To Boost Engagement.
Develop a consistent brand voice
Providing a valuable and seamless experience for your subscribers starts with an established and consistent brand voice. And just like your designs need to stay consistent with your brand, your copy and brand voice needs to come through in your emails.
The tone of your email copy should also mirror your website and anywhere else that your brand has a presence. Brand voice and personality will vary according to your industry and service. B2C brands may have more leeway in their casual and witty tone. B2B companies should try to maintain a warm, but coach-like tone so that recipients view your brand as a subject matter expert.
Provide a stellar welcome email
Once somebody signs up for an email list, they should receive a welcome email shortly after. The more time that passes between the signup and the first email, the more likely a recipient is to forget, lose interest, or become confused by your emails. And if this happens, they are likely going to either a) ignore your emails or b) mark them as spam.
Also, don’t forget to include a “thank you” in your welcome email. Handing over an email address in today’s times is a big step for many and showing them appreciation is a great way to get your relationship started on the right foot.
Tip: Consider providing a discount or complimentary service once someone provides you with their email. For example, if you’re an ecommerce company, provide a coupon code for a discount on their first purchase. If you work in the B2B space, provide a free download of a whitepaper, e-book, or educational piece that provides value or information that your prospects are typically looking for.
Try to remain helpful, kind, and friendly in these welcome emails.
Adding prospects to your email list is exciting, but be careful not to take this as a green light to push your product or service at full velocity.
Although some prospects will immediately sign up for your service or purchase your product immediately, most will require you to nurture an email relationship first.
Send promotional emails
Although it’s tempting to want to jump in and start sending promotional emails right away, make sure you iron out certain details and tactics (outlined above) before you really get deep into promotional emails.
Once that’s set, here’s a list of the types of promotional emails you may want to send:
- Sales or discounts for your product or service
- Special events
- Social media promotional campaign (if you are trying to grow your social media following)
- A customer feature that showcases the value of our brand (while not making the email about your product or service)
- Product news (tread lightly on this one; most product announcement emails don’t receive high engagement. Only send meaningful updates when pertinent.)
The types of promotional emails you send will vary according to your business goals and the resources you have available. Try to add education and value to your promotional emails whenever possible. If you’re only promoting your business or brand, you will likely lose the interest of your recipients, and your engagement might start to slip.
Decide if a newsletter is right for your program
Newsletters can be a powerful way to market your business. But you just might as easily conclude that a newsletter doesn’t fit with your content. For example, if you don’t publish educational pieces on a regular basis, it might be hard to pull together a meaty newsletter that your users find valuable. It might be better to send one-off emails when you create a best practice guide or a data-rich blog post.
If you do decide to move forward with newsletters, you will need to strategize the timing and process revolving around this new content piece. It’s highly recommended that you keep your newsletters educational and community-minded.
And don’t feel like you need to be sending a weekly or monthly newsletter. Determine the right cadence based on your content production schedule and customize it to fit your program so that you are providing regular and valuable content for your users. Listen in to our Building A Better Newsletter Webcast to hear some insight and best practice tips from our in-house email marketing experts.
Send win-back campaigns
Monitoring your metrics and engagement levels will reveal a lot of insight into your email program. And one of the harder truths to accept is that some folks just won’t engage with your emails. It may be because they forgot they signed up, don’t feel persuaded by your subject line, or just don’t prioritize your emails.
Whatever the reason, it’s important to remove unengaged users from your list. But there is something you can try before you cut out email addresses from your list: send them a win-back or re-engagement email. Be honest with your recipient, tell them you’ve noticed they haven’t engaged in awhile and that this is a chance for them to be removed from your email list.
Here’s some example copy that you can consider using when sending out a win-back campaign:
Hi [first name],
We’ve noticed that you haven’t been opening our emails lately. We know you’re probably busy, so we want to let you know that we’d be happy to remove you from our email list if you’re not feeling our content or are feeling overwhelmed with all your emails (we understand!).
But if that’s not the case, let us know and we’ll keep sending our emails. We think it’s valuable and hope that you do too.
No—keep me signed up!
Yes—please remove me from your list
You’ll want to customize the content to your personal email program, but being open and honest and even having a sense of humor, when appropriate, will give your brand a voice and be more likely to speak to your recipient. For more tips on sending win-back campaigns, check out 4 Tips For Sending Reengagement Campaigns.
Find the frequency sweet spot with testing
Email marketing can be just as much science as it is art. And one of the best parts of email marketing, and why it continues to be one of the most successful marketing channels, is that you can measure and test at an almost infinite rate. If you’re just starting out marketing your business with email, don’t be afraid to experiment—and even screw up once in awhile.
You can make educated guesses about your audience and their behavior, but you won’t fully know until you try and measure the results. Most elements of your email program can be measured and tested against each other, which means you can always make adjustments that will continually improve your program.
Approach your email marketing strategy with the philosophy that an email marketer’s job is never done (job security!) and that there are always more strategies to test and ways to improve your program. No best practice guide or blog post will be able to tell you exactly how many emails you should send every month to successfully market your business, but the more data you compile, the more success you may find in your email marketing efforts.
Want to hear from some of the industry leading email marketers on how they perfect their program? Download a copy of SendGrid’s Experts Guide To Email Marketing.