Email marketing hasn’t lost its shine
Email marketing hasn’t lost its shine
Perhaps one of the most surprising aspects of internet marketing these days is that, despite all the issues with spam, email marketing is still one of the most effective tools businesses have in reaching their audience of prospective customers. But, it has to be an expertly crafted campaign to have a real impact.
An inbox full of distractions
Some people are ruthless with their email inbox, and operate an ‘empty inbox’ policy. In other words, they put a little time aside each day to process the mail, bin the trash and file the important information. For others though, perhaps not so much, and their inboxes are less organised. So, if you want to send an email that your target is probably not expecting, it needs to stand out – in a big way.
This doesn’t mean using sensationalised headlines that claim to solve all your recipients worldly problems either. The email title and message has to be relevant to them in some way to stand out from all the other distractions.
So just how do you create a successful lead generating email campaign?
The team at The Creative Tree has designed and built email marketing campaigns for numerous clients in different industry sectors. Over that time, we’ve developed a check list and guide as to how to create the perfect email marketing campaign for your type of business.
And that last point is critical – an email marketing campaign should target a specific audience with messages that matter to them, and not be a scattergun approach, as seen with most spam. Remember though, even the most expertly crafted visual campaign is still going to be seen as spam by somebody who doesn’t see value in it for them. So it’s critical to plan an email campaign in meticulous detail.
Here are our top tips in creating a successful email marketing campaign.
1 – Know your audience
What’s the point of wasting your time sending stuff to people who couldn’t care less about what you have to offer? Worse still, if you do it too often, your email could get blacklisted for spamming. Unless you can match the right messages with the right people, you’re essentially wasting your time.
So, start by carefully analysing the desired characteristics of the people you would like to send your email too. For instance, let’s suppose your business is launching a new beneficial health drink. How would you characterise your ideal customer? Some considerations might be:
- Is your product specifically targeting a particular age group? What specific benefits does the product offer the target age group?
- Is it likely to appeal to those with existing medical issues or those who pursue a particular lifestyle – fitness, general health and wellness or weightless, etc. Consider how your product ‘augments’ or improves their lifestyle.
- Are you targeting an audience with a higher disposable income and perhaps more quality or brand conscious than other audiences? How is this product more suited to a higher income audience? In which case, what’s likely to attract them to yours over cheaper products.
- Does your audience have aspirational characteristics where your product could play a part in helping the them look good, feel good about themselves or accentuate their standing within their own peer group in some way?
- How important is availability to others important to your audience and how might you make your product appear exclusive through your messages?
So, start by carefully analysing the desired characteristics of the ‘person’ you want to have purchase your product. What are the very specific ‘hot buttons’ your messages and imagery can press to get a response?
2 – Know your competitors
Unless you have a truly remarkable and unique product or service to promote, it’s very likely that you have competitors. So, what are they up to?
- You might subscribe to their mailing list using an alias to find out what kind of messages they are using.
- Are they homed in on a specific demographic?
- Do they run other advertising, perhaps pay-per-click, and what messages are they using there?
- What tone are they using?
- Are they targeting a specific persona?
- What type of images do they use?
- Does this follow through on their other platforms, like their website and social media?
- Doing this will help identify differentiation points.
3 – Ideation
Spend some time with your team, or the creative heads at The Creative Tree, who could help facilitate a session, to develop ideas. At this session you’ll be looking to write down as many ideas that come from the insights you’ve gleaned by looking hard at your audience and competitors. Specifically, you’ll want to be creating simple one line messages that may an emotional connection with your desired customer, ones that appeals based on the areas listed earlier. Off the back of those will come somewhat more descriptive writing that help extols the value and benefits of what you offer to the message recipient.
4 – Headlines and imagery
Subject headlines are critical. They should be punchy, informative, imply value, but still be short and to the point. Spend a little time scanning through your own emails and look to see which ones stand out to you and why.
Once somebody clicks on a headline and opens the full email, imagery and a further headline are needed to keep people on the page. The very next sentence they read or the image they see, should build on the value of the headline they clicked on.
Remember though, not everybody’s email allows then to see images straight away, for security reasons. Also, they can slow up delivery and displaying the email, so they need to be heavily optimised files.
5 – Email creation and, just how many emails should I send?
With your wealth of new ideas, it can be tempting to jump straight in and write emails – don’t. It usually takes more than one email to elicit a response and so emails need to be coordinated and thought through sequentially.
How many emails should you send to a prospect? Research shows that it usually takes between 4 and 7 emails before a prospect responds – if they are going to, so 5 is a good target. It’s not a rule really, just a useful guide. Leave a good few days between each one, but not so long that the original is forgotten.
This means that once you have your ideation done and start looking at what the emails will actually say, you need to consider a sequence of emails, not just one.
The temptation is to keep plugging on at the same contact with the same message. Each email should naturally follow on, each one building on the last. You can use the opportunity to grow the prospects interest, by telling a little more each time, but still keeping the email succinct. Tease them. A little humour can go a long way too, just as long as it’s appropriate.
With email sequences in mind, when using the content and ideas that came out of the ideation phase, spend some time considering how they could be made into short developing stories or benefits that build value with each new email. Just don’t keep sending the same email.
6 – Tone
The objective of the email is to generate a ‘positive’ response, one that hopefully leads to a transaction of some kind. However, that doesn’t mean that your email should be overly ‘pushy’.
Depending on the product or service you are promoting, you might want to consider a more informative / consultative type approach, offering insights into a problem you know your prospects have. Have them check out a landing page on your website where the main thrust of your message is better articulated.
The tone of your email should reflect the nature of the product or service, whether that may be more serious and professional for a business related service, or more light hearted and easy going for a lifestyle product. If the nature of the product is time sensitive, then you tone should reflect some urgency too.
7 – Targeted devices
The average email user has a number of devices available to them to consume your email messages. Each has a somewhat different viewing experience. This particularly impacts the use of imagery and font sizes. There’s no use sending an email with an embedded image that fills a desktop computer screen and expect the same experience and impact on a small screen smartphone.
It takes time to download images and special fonts too. So, optimise your email code for the most widespread reception, which these days is the humble smart phone. Better still use a responsive approach, where the code detects the screen size and determines what assets to load for the best. For more elaborate messaging and visualisation experience, if that is needed, devise call to actions that help drive the visitor to a landing page on a website designed to convert through a specific experience.
Some of the benefits of email marketing
You may groan when you open your inbox in the morning and see the spam, but as we said earlier, email marketing is still the most successful form of lead generation there is. Some email campaigns produce a better return for their clients that facebook and Twitter campaigns combined.
Here are some more benefits:
- Highly competitive return on investment.
- Instantly have an impact on the recipient.
- No geographic limits.
- Can be shared easily.
- Campaign performance is easy to measure.
- Low cost of entry and highly reusable.
- An excellent way to conduct new business development .
- Let the people who need to know, know, effectively and quickly.
Target audience that are already engaged with the basis for your product.
Do you need a bespoke email marketing campaign created?
Each email campaign is unique to your business and audience, and needs a clearly articulated strategy behind it. The team at The Creative Tree can help you devise a strategy to reach the audience you want to target with messages designed to elicit a positive response.
We can help you think through your strategy and develop the campaign and the messages within it. We can then help you create outstanding graphics to support your messages. Our team can then help you build and code the campaign and create templates to allow you to run new campaigns in the future, cost effectively.
Call us today on 01932 850 122 to discuss your next email campaign project with us to see how we can help.