In 2022, email marketing is still going strong — with thousands of businesses worldwide capitalising on this channel to connect with their audiences and generate valuable traffic to their websites. But what exactly is email marketing? And how do you create a good email marketing strategy?
In our latest blog, Account Executive, Molly Cook, outlines what email marketing is and what it can do for your business.
What is email marketing?
Email marketing is a form of direct marketing that uses emails to connect with customers. These are often personalised emails that appear in the form of a regular newsletter or one-off campaign for both consumer and business customers.
Businesses use email marketing campaigns to connect audiences with their brand, promote their products or services and share valuable insight, news and blogs. Not only does this increase brand awareness and engagement, but it offers a way to nurture your customer connections. By offering valuable content, brands can signpost the customer back to their website to continue the conversation, helping to increase website traffic and lead generation.
What are the benefits of email marketing to a brand?
When used effectively, the benefits of email marketing are vast especially as it offers a way to nurture your customer connections.
Coupled with developments in email marketing technology and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms, brands are now able to implement email automation campaigns. These campaigns use a predefined workflow to trigger personalised emails based on specific actions users take (or don’t take). Not only does this remove repetitive tasks from your to-do-list, these types of campaigns are also extremely effective at nurturing leads and new sales.
By offering valuable, targeted content that is relevant to each customer’s stage in the buying journey, brands can nurture customers through every stage to ultimately generate sales. These types of campaigns are also great at retaining existing customers and help build a sense of intimacy, which converts customers into brand advocates.
Here are the key advantages of using email marketing:
Low cost, mutually beneficial solution
One of the advantages of using email marketing is that it is a relatively low-cost business solution that can offer immense value to brands. Forget big advertising budgets; the only tools a brand needs to start an email marketing campaign are emailing software, a copywriter, and a graphic artist (or access to stock images!).
The key to successful email marketing campaigns is to send relevant and engaging content to your customers that meets their needs and goals. To do this, think about your audience buyer personas and their needs at each stage of the buyer’s journey. You can then segment your data accordingly to tailor your email messaging and content, therefore improving engagement, boosting lead generation and increasing sales.
Using personalised content
When setting up an email marketing campaign, knowing your audience is essential. A brand can choose to incorporate personalised content and smart data fields to ensure only relevant content is sent to the end reader. The personalisation could be as simple as making sure the email includes the first name of the reader. Data has shown this increases the open rate as the email feels more intentional and engaging.
For example, if a brand has two key audiences, personalisation can be used to create a bespoke email campaign that optimises the content so that each strand of their audience only sees what has been tailored for them. Mattel does this well; it tailors communications with Barbie so that any comms going out for children are fully focused on the dream land that barbie lives in. Whereas any comms targeted at its parent audience are focused on the doll’s safety features and pricing.
Benefits of opt-in email marketing
The single most important reason to ensure you are emailing to an opt-in list is UK GDPR legislation. Unless you are emailing a customer, which is directly related to the products or services they have bought, brands should only market to customers who have opted-in to receive communications from them (and there must always be an option to unsubscribe from every email sent).
This may seem like it will hinder your marketing efforts, but in actual fact, one of the main advantages of an opt-in email marketing list is that the readers are ready to be engaged. Therefore, the brand can fully get to know their customers and create content that retains their interest. Customers or prospects have opted in as they want to hear from you and learn what you can offer, therefore the feedback they can offer is second to none.
Owning a list of engaged email users
With email marketing, you own your contact list. This is different to social media platforms where your follower list is owned by the platform itself. Therefore, if anything ever happened to your social platforms, you would still have a trusty list of engaged contacts on hand. Additionally, the potential reach of email marketing campaigns is exponential as email users are an incredibly active audience with 99% of email users checking their inbox every day (up to 20 times daily).
Reaching your audience at the right time
One advantage of email marketing is that it can be scheduled well in advance and automated if needed. For example, if you were to buy something online you would likely be entered into an email campaign that walks you through your purchase. The first email could be a ‘We’ve received your order’ and the last may ask for a review once your order has been delivered. These would all be triggered automatically. In a B2B setting, this pattern could be replicated but the content could be different, i.e., it could be based on welcoming a new starter or be an automated introduction email to new prospects.
There isn’t always a ‘best time to send marketing emails’, it largely depends on the user case. However, email marketing best practices regarding timing have been suggested for one-off or regular reactive mailers. For example, many email marketing surveys have suggested that Tuesday is the best day of the week to send emails as they have optimal open rates, better CTR and lead to higher site traffic. Conversely, the worst days to send emails are Saturday and Sunday as people are, understandably, out and about.
The best time of day is more complex as it relies on knowing your audience and predicting their routine. Depending on the content of the email, it may be opened during the workday or whilst people are getting ready or winding down after work. Either way, it is important to note that once 24 hours have passed, the open rate reduces to 1%.
Top tips on best practice email marketing
- Know your audience and personalise your segments and content to them.
- Distribute at the right time for your audience. There is no point distributing at 9am GMT if all your audience is US-based.
- Make sure your content is mobile-friendly. Data by Mailchimp shows that launching a mobile-responsive email design can increase unique mobile clicks by 15%.
- Include a CTA to lead your audience back to your website to build traffic and SEO.
- Be sure to update and keep your contact list well managed as it evolves.
- Always ensure you have a great subject line. Research shows that 35% of email recipients open an email based on the subject line alone.
And there you have it: our words of wisdom for how to create an effective email marketing campaign. If you need help developing an effective email marketing strategy for business or want to dive into this further, get in touch with spottydog today.