Katie Stocking is the owner of Happy Medium LLC.
Every business needs a way to communicate with its customers. This is where traditional advertising – television ads, radio ads, newspaper ads, and billboards – comes in. Of course, there’s digital advertising, too – Google Adwords, display ads, video pre-roll ads, and others.
But what about email marketing? Everyone and their uncle has used email before, and people are quite used to the notion of hearing from businesses through that medium.
However, email is complicated. It’s not like a billboard ad where it’s there no matter what, and people who choose to see it will see it. Email has to jump through many digital gates before it arrives in your customer’s inbox. And once it gets there, it can be tricky to make the content look and act like you had intended.
Here are a few tips to get you started in the right direction:
Avoid the Spam Folder
First of all, you want to keep your subscriber list clean. This means making sure your customers are opting in to your email list (you didn’t add them to it without their permission) and that you send them email frequently enough that they remember they meant to sign up in the first place.
Email marketing company Mailchimp has a few best practices for lists.
Update it as often as you can. Keep your list clean, if you haven’t sent an email to this list in a few months, there’s a good chance your subscribers might forget they’re on the list or why they’re on the list. That could lead to a few unfortunate “unsubscribe” or “mark as spam” actions.
Treat It Like Any Other Form of Communication
You’ll often hear email marketing referred to as “e-blasts”. Try to avoid that term. If your company refers to communication with your customers as a “blast,” then you’ll likely start treating it like that. Who likes to be blasted in the face with a bunch of salesy info? Not a single person.
Email is one of the most personal forms of digital communication we have, so make it so. Deliver readable, worthwhile content to your subscribers in the form of an email or digital newsletter. Make it quick – nobody likes their time wasted – and make it feel personal.
Treating email marketing like a digital ad space isn’t what successful email marketing is about.
Think About Mobile
At a recent luncheon, AMA Iowa tweeted an interesting fact from a talk given by Gina LaMar-Nykerk:
“80.3% of consumers delete an email on their mobile phone if it doesn't look good.”
That, alone, is a huge eye-opener regarding subscriber behavior on mobile devices. Even back in 2011, studies showed a major increase in mobile email opens. It’s time to get on the mobile bandwagon!
Either optimize your email in a single-column, mobile-friendly fashion or develop a responsive email template which expands/contracts based on screen size. Your subscribers will love you for it.
Consider Handing it off to a Professional
“What kind of open-rate should I expect?”
“What should I do in order to stay out of my subscribers’ spam folders?”
“How do I target certain groups of people based on interests?”
“How do I design a responsive email?”
These are questions you might already have, and a company who regularly does email marketing should be able to answer them. Sometimes it’s worth the money to make sure email marketing happens the right way instead of dealing with the hassle trying to do it yourself.
An email marketing professional will be happy to help you manage your list; write punchy, succinct subject lines; and arrange your content to be the most readable and effective. They’ll help you stay out of the spam folder, and will reach your target audience. They can also assist with setting up a responsive, mobile-friendly email template so your emails look great on any device.
Finally, a professional can help you analyze your open rate, click rate, and other metrics to make your time spent on email marketing the most effective.
Whichever method you choose, make sure your business considers making email marketing a priority in the coming year.
Tweet me your thoughts @interactivekate!