With the increase in the number of social media platforms, businesses around the world are seeking them out to effectively:
🗣 Communicate with their customers…
❓ Answer their queries…
✅ Provide them value…
🎮 Entertain them with content…
💸 Offer them discounts and coupons…
💼 Pitch their services, etc.
Every new social media platform being launched brings with it an opportunity for businesses to explore.
It began majorly with Facebook, Twitter, and then others like Instagram, Snapchat, Whatsapp, etc also came into the picture.
But, despite these shiny new platforms appearing time and again with their new opportunities, there is a technology that has been in use by businesses since its inception…and that is…
This one technology has been, still is and will be one of the most trusted technologies, by both businesses and customers alike, for effective and reliable communication.
So let’s understand…
What is Email Marketing?
According to Digital Marketer, “Email marketing is the strategic use of email to promote your business or products.”
When someone signs up through a form on your website to get emails from you, he becomes your lead, a prospective customer.
Then, you can send him relevant emails, where the goal of each email depends on where your reader is in the customer value journey.
Now, there has been a lot of debate and controversy in the Online Marketing world about email being dead and it being an outdated communication medium but these stats will make you believe otherwise:
- For every $1 spent, email marketing generates $32 in ROI. (Oberlo)
- Conversion rates for emails are higher than social media, direct traffic, and search. (Smart Insights)
- 81% of businesses say that email drives customer acquisition, and 80% for retention. (Emarsys)
- 59% of marketers cite email as their number one source of ROI. (Emma)
- Email offers result in shoppers spending 138% on their purchases. (Disruptive Advertising)
Now can you say Email Marketing is Dead?
If you are still not convinced, let me share some more details on…
Why You Must Include Email Marketing in Your Business?
As Forbes points out, email marketing can “fuel” your business’ strategy to increase website traffic and search engine optimization (SEO). How?
🟢 It’s cost-efficient.
🟢 It provides a way to promote your blog posts, articles, or other content.
🟢 It increases link shares by making it easy for subscribers to share your content on their social pages or website.
🟢 It encourages customer loyalty as well as brand awareness and reputation.
🟢 It increases your social media follower base by offering another way to remind subscribers to connect with your social channels.
Basically, with Email Marketing, you can bring in the leads for your business, nurture them to establish trust and build relationships, convert more prospects into buyers, progress your leads down your marketing funnel and hence bring in more revenue for your business, and a lot of the parts of it can be set up to run on Automation.
So if you are convinced about the benefits of Email Marketing and want to get started right away…
…Hold your horses.
That’s counterintuitive, I know…
But I want you to know everything about Email Marketing…
…From concepts like Email Deliverability to How to Craft Messages that Convert, and everything else in between. So, without wasting much time let’s move on to the…
Tech Behind Email Service Providers
Not all email marketing service providers are the same.
The technology that an email marketing service provides can significantly impact your ability to reach the right subscribers with relevant content, and can impact the effectiveness and profitability of your email campaigns.
So, as a marketer, it’s your job to look around for a service that helps you accomplish your business goals, the way you want them.
The thing is…
Email marketing and digital marketing, in general, keep on evolving with trends and new technologies every single day. Every day, companies develop new research, methods, and tools for better understanding and reaching your target audience.
And this is where a good email service provider comes in.
They’ve done the research and developed the tools that allow you to connect with your subscribers.
So let’s dive into what all do you need to ensure before choosing an ESP for your business.
Ideally, when you send an email to your leads, you want them to open the message and take an action, like clicking on a link or replying to the email, which in turn will help achieve your business goal, but…
What if your lead never even received your message?
Why did that happen?
Chances are that your ESPs deliverability rate is low and has a bad sender reputation.
High-Quality IP Addresses
When you send an email through your email service provider(ESP), your lead’s email client, like Gmail, Yahoo, Rediffmail, etc, will read and judge that campaign based on the IP address it came from.
And if your IP has a bad sender reputation, it is highly likely that the emails you are sending are all being flagged as spam and are landing into the spam folders in your lead’s email client, instead of the primary inbox.
The reason you need to understand this is that good ESPs have dedicated private or minimally used IP addresses that will ensure your emails won’t get flagged by spam filters.
After you’ve found an Email Marketing Service that ensures high deliverability to your campaigns, your search does not end there. The next thing you need to consider is what do they do for…
At its core, spam is unsolicited, irrelevant email, sent in bulk to a list of people.
For example, let’s say you purchased a list of email addresses from a local business organization. On the surface, that list of addresses seems like it could contain some great prospects for your business, and you want to send them an email with a relevant offer they can’t refuse. But since those people didn’t give you explicit permission to contact them, sending an email to that list would be considered spam.
In order to avoid their users receiving unwanted spam emails, email clients like Gmail, Outlook and Yahoo Mail use spam filters to help ensure these messages don’t clutter up their user’s inboxes or worse, harm their users.
These spam filters act as a shield, analyzing incoming emails and allowing the good ones to reach the inbox while filtering the bad ones into the spam folder (or rejecting them completely).
Spam filters can also be triggered through some words in your email, some code inside your email, or by including a lot of images, etc.
The list of things that can trigger spam filters is increasing day by day as more and more spammers come up with new ways to spam the leads.
In order to avoid that from happening, some email service providers maintain a score called “Spam Score”. After you’ve designed your email, the ESP you chose will tell you if your email passes the spam score test or not. If it fails, you need to work on your email to remove the elements that can cause your email to land into your lead’s spam folder.
- CAN-SPAM Compliance
Technically, CAN-SPAM is an acronym for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing (because sometimes the two go together).
In practice, it’s a way to protect your subscribers’ right to only receive emails that they’ve requested.
The law was passed in 2003 and applies to any commercial emails used for business purposes.
Here are the ways to ensure that your emails are CAN-SPAM compliant:
✅ Include your company name and address in every email.
✅ Place visible unsubscribe links within your emails.
✅ Use real email addresses in the “From” and “Reply to” fields.
✅ Write subject lines that indicate the contents of the email.
- GDPR Compliance
GDPR is about giving your customers the right to choose.
- They choose your emails.
- They choose to hear from you.
- They choose your products.
And that is exactly what inbound marketing is about.
GDPR only applies to businesses that operate in the European Union and businesses that market to EU citizens.
Noncompliance to GDPR will result in significant fees so you need to make sure to be GDPR compliant.
In order to be GDPR compliant,
✅ Use explicit and clear language when requesting consent to store personal information.
✅ Only collect contact data that is necessary for and relevant to your business.
✅ Store contact data in a secure manner and only use it for the agreed-upon purpose.
✅ Retain data for justifiable business purposes only.
✅ Delete contact data on request.
✅ Make it easy for contacts to unsubscribe from your list or update their preferences.
✅ Comply promptly to a contact’s request for access to their data.
✅ Keep company records to prove GDPR compliance.
The role that your ESP plays here is to provide ways of being compliant with these laws.
For example, in order to be GDPR compliant, every form that you create inside your ESP will contain checkboxes to ensure that you send emails to only people who provide you the consent to send them emails.
One other feature that a good ESP provides is to allow double-opt-in. This means that after someone opts into your email list, you send an email asking them to confirm their action. This double ensures that your new subscriber has provided consent to receive emails from you, plus you get a lead for your business who is genuinely interested in your brand and will be more engaged.
Email Deliverability is one of the most important aspects while choosing an ESP. With that out of the picture, let’s take a look at what other features your ESP should provide.
As per Experian, personalized emails have up to 6x higher transaction rates.
Personalization can be done by including either the lead’s first name or last name or full name or company name or any other data that lead provided you while signing up, in the emails that you send.
ESPs can provide snippets of code that you can use as placeholders inside your emails, which will automatically fill in the lead details when the email is sent from your ESP.
Therefore your ESP should allow you to personalize things such as:
- Subject lines
- Videos, and more.
Hyper segmentation is necessary for providing extremely targeted content to further increase conversions and engagement.
So, your ESP should allow you to segment your lists at very granular levels and also make managing those lists a simple process.
There are two primary methods for segmenting your contacts.
First, you can group people together in a list.
Second, you can also tag contacts with additional identifying features, like:
- Geography: tags to each contact based on the state they live in
- Informational: tags that describe a relationship (e.g. client, prospect, partner)
- Action-Oriented: tags based on things someone has done (e.g. webinar attendee, free trial user, survey respondent, etc.)
- Technical: automated changes to tags (e.g. someone changes from Prospect to Client based on an action, such as receiving a Thank You email)
The purpose of using tags is to segment your list in a way that makes emailing your contacts with relevant messages a lot easier than individually messaging each one.
When you automate this process using email marketing software(more on that later…), you can ensure you’re reaching your contacts on a consistent basis in a time-efficient way.
Your ESP should include professionally designed templates that are mobile-friendly, for emails, forms and for some ESPs, landing pages as well. More than 50% of your subscribers will view emails on mobile devices, making this an essential factor to consider.
These templates save you time by not having to start from scratch every time you want to send an email.
Though plain-text emails are preferred more by people, you can consider this feature based on your business needs, as eCommerce brands include a lot of images in their emails for more engagement.
Choose a service that provides a good mix between template management and HTML flexibility so you can design your own emails as well, as per your need.
Any kind of marketing campaign needs to be tested so as to optimize it for higher performance.
Therefore, A/B testing is an essential feature to look for in your ESP. The best tool for you will be one that allows you to A/B test EVERYTHING in your email marketing. This includes:
- Subject lines,
- From address
- Date/Time, etc.
You should test one component at a time to know what is working and what isn’t.
In-Depth Analytics and Conversion Tracking
Your ESP needs to include in-depth analytics and conversion tracking to help you understand your customers.
This will help you measure every interaction a subscriber has with your content and company, as well as to understand the flow of leads in your business funnels.
This will help you send them more targeted content based on where they are in their journey. Another example is to find out the leads who are inactive for some time and then sending a reactivation campaign to only those leads.
This and a lot of other scenarios where you can use this lead data can help you connect with your leads deeply and will help you establish a strong relationship with them.
Automations and Workflows
Email Marketing is an integral part of Marketing Automation therefore the ESP you choose should include features that allow you to do things on automation like:
- Sending emails based on user behavior
- Shift Leads from one stage of the funnel to the other
- Setting up the eligibility criteria for leads and personalize content based on that, etc.
The feature that allows ESPs to act based on user behaviour is called a Trigger.
Triggers like “subscribed to a list”, “tag is added”, “fills out a form”, etc, allow you to create content to be delivered based on different user behaviour.
Consider the following scenario:
You want to send an email series consisting of 5 emails, to be delivered at the rate of one email per day, after a lead signs up to a free lead magnet. These 5 emails can be set up as one automation in your ESP.
After your lead goes through the entire sequence, you want the lead to start receiving promotional offers for which you have another automation series of 5-7 emails, delivered bi-weekly.
This transition from one automation to the other is possible by using Triggers. You can add a tag at the end of the first email series and then use that tag to trigger the start of the second email series.
Just like this simple example, your ESP should allow you to create visual workflows like these for your business needs.
Phew… We’ve covered a lot of ground on the technical aspect of Email Marketing together.
I congratulate you on reaching this part of the post because now you have all the required information you need to choose a good ESP for your business needs.
After you choose one it’s time to set them up and create your email marketing campaigns.
Two Types of Campaigns
Just as explained in the section above, autoresponder sequences are multi-step email campaigns that are used to deliver a sequence of emails over time.
You can set them up in advance inside your ESP and then pass your leads through this sequence once they complete a desired action for your business.
Utilizing Autoresponder Sequences can help you achieve a lot of marketing objectives for your business.
These Autoresponder Sequences will work as your Business’ Marketing Executive for every lead that comes into your email by:
🚀 Welcoming the Lead in your community…
🚀 Providing Value to the Lead by Educating him…
🚀 Establishing Trust with Testimonials and Social Proof…
🚀 Building Your Brand’s Credibility, and…
🚀 Bring in More Sales…
So, use them for your business and drive in huge benefits by using just this one type of campaign.
The other email campaign that you can create for marketing your business is…
Broadcast Campaigns allow you to send emails to a bulk of your audience at once, as soon you create it, or later as a scheduled email campaign.
These campaigns are particularly useful when you quickly want to get the word out to people whenever you have a new announcement to make regarding:
- An important piece of news, etc.
Now that you know what kind of campaigns you need to create to market your business, let’s take a look at…
How to Create Effective Emails for Your Business
If you want your emails to be opened and read, use the following tips to achieve better Open Rates and Click Through Rates:
- Write an enticing subject line:
64 percent of people say they open an email because of the subject line.
A subject line is similar to the headline of a blog article. It is what makes the reader decide whether they should make the effort to click and read what’s inside.
So spend time on it and make sure it’s enticing, generates curiosity, helps people or something that just wants to make the lead click.
- Nail the Preview Text:
Modern email clients provide you with a preview text alongside the subject line inside your inbox.
This is the piece of text that tells subscribers more about the content of your email. So craft this text carefully so as to encourage people to open your email.
- Avoid CAPITALS
Using all capitals and exclamation marks, both in the subject line and email body can cause your email to land in spam, and also feels like SHOUTING at your lead. 📣
This can affect your email open rates, and as more and more leads report your email as spam, your email deliverability rates can drop and it can then take upto a year to improve that.
- Create Concise, Helpful content: Make your email easy to read and provide something of value to your readers.
Keep your paragraphs short.
Structure your email content properly.
If you want to share an article that’s more than a couple of paragraphs, post it on your blog and link to it from the newsletter.
- Write Email Marketing Copy for Readers:
If you really want readers to click, then you have to sound like a real person. Avoid marketing speak and be conversational, as if you’re talking to someone who’s sitting across the table from you.
- Include a CTA
Aside from the subject line, the CTA is the most important part of your email marketing campaign, because that’s what’ll get subscribers to convert…
…by taking the action you’d like them to take.
What do you want your readers to do after reading your newsletter ❓
Share it with their friends ❓
Contact you for a free consultation ❓
Make it clear how you’d like them to respond – after all, if you never ask they’ll never do it!
You’ve chosen your ESP, set up your campaigns, written your emails and sent them.
Now, how would you know if your campaign was successful or not ❓
In order to learn that, let’s understand…
Email Marketing Analysis
With your first email sent and starting to get opened and clicked by your subscribers, you’ll be able to start tracking the success of your campaign.
As mentioned above about your ESP including In-Depth Analytics for you to measure your results with Email Marketing, this section of your ESP is the place to go to understand how people interacted with your email campaigns.
Some of the key metrics that you need to measure in Email Marketing are:
Open Rate: The percentage of prospects who open an email.
Click-Through Rate: The percentage of people who opened your campaign who then clicked on a link.
Unsubscribe Rate: The percentage of people who unsubscribed from your email list after receiving an email from you.
These 3 metrics provide you an overview of how your email campaign is performing.
You need to increase your Open Rates and Click-Through Rates for more conversions, while keeping your unsubscribe rates low.
Though there will always be some leads who will unsubscribe, you should always provide content that is valuable to your leads and keeps them engaged.
This will keep them interested in your business and whatever you have to share.
Email marketing is a powerful driver of sales & revenue for your business, and has a greater reach and return on investment than any other channel available to marketers today.
So take this article as a guide to help you choose your ESP of choice, set up your email campaigns, craft enticing emails that entertain and educate your audience, convert more leads into customers, while everything runs on AUTOMATION.
If you still have doubts about anything related to Email Marketing, go ahead and message him on LinkedIn Now.