Despite the claims of some that email marketing is no longer effective and has largely been replaced by social media, it is still a more than viable option for generating leads and revenue. In fact, 89% of marketers say email is their primary channel for lead generation. That said, when conducted poorly your emails may quickly gain a reputation for being spammy, which results in lower click-through rates and ultimately fewer sales.
Before diving into the nuts and bolts of optimising the earning potential of your campaigns, it pays to ensure you have the basics in place. Sourcing a professional email package from a reliable provider with plenty of storage and seamless synchronisation, if you work with a team, is a valuable, solid foundation for your work. Many marketers also utilise email marketing services like MailChimp to good effect, which allow you to design templates, manage outreach lists, and other useful features. With your groundwork sorted, it’s time to optimise your efforts to boost the conversion rate of your campaigns.
Build an organic list
It’s tempting to adopt the attitude of ‘the bigger, the better’ when it comes to email marketing lists but, whilst that has some truth to it, it doesn’t paint the whole picture. Having a large database of emails won’t yield positive results in itself; you need to ensure recipients are receptive to your message, too. For this reason, voluntary signups are invaluable. Those who have deliberately subscribed to your mailing list are far more likely to convert than recipients of unsolicited emails or those who have inadvertently signed up. Therefore it’s wise to maximise the number of organic signups by making it as easy to do so as possible. For example, making your signup box clearly visible and enticing on your homepage and most popular sub-pages, or establishing reasonably unobtrusive pop-ups. Furthermore, make sure to offer your audience incentives for signing up, such as the free download of content or a small discount on their next purchase.
Engage with your audience
Whilst it’s far from true that email marketing is dead, it must be recognised that it has changed in recent times; people engage and respond to campaigns differently. Specifically, consumers are by now well used to being subject to highly promotional advertising. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t send out special offers and new product announcements, but be aware not to bombard your list with sales pitches. Instead, vary your campaigns by offering content of value to your audience – informational or entertaining content and running competitions from time to time is a great way of building interest and trust in your brand. In addition, don’t be afraid to engage with your audience and try to solicit a response from them, especially for new subscribers. Feedback forms, Q&As, and suggestions for future content or products are all great ways to go about this. When balanced effectively with promotional emails, you’ll find these engagement and brand building methods have a positive effect on click-through rates and profit.
Don’t just sell to them all the time, offer informational or entertaining content too, solicit a response from your first email (e.g. questions, comments, suggestions for future content or products).
Email marketing segmentation
Another important aspect in improving open and click-through rates is properly segmenting your email marketing campaigns. This involves breaking down your list into separate categories that you can target, as opposed to sending blanket, one-size-fits-all emails to all your contacts. For instance, you may segment based on age, gender, location, income, and so on. Depending on the nature of your business, these factors will also have differing levels of importance – if you’re running a clothing store running an offer on a specific fashion line, then age and gender will be particularly important, for example. By targeting only those you can reasonably expect to have interest, you not only increase the chance that your recipients will convert, but also reduce the risk of less relevant target audiences unsubscribing.
One useful method for acquiring this data is collecting demographic information when people sign up to your mailing list. For new subscribers, it’s quite straight forward to gather basic data like age, gender, and location, but it’s important to strike a balance and not ask for too much in order to sign up. If you do, you run the risk of putting people off joining your mailing list in the first place. More detailed information can be obtained by offering surveys, identifying active users who are more likely to buy from you on your list by analysing your campaign metrics, and sales data. This provides more insight into the interests and behaviour of existing mailing list members and customers, allowing you to more easily retarget them.