Getting the Most out of your E-marketing Campaigns
Email has been a hot topic over the past couple of years and thanks to the introduction of GDPR in Europe, it’s had a massive overhaul in terms of who you can contact, how and where you need to store their data. On the whole it seems as though GDPR has actually been a great thing for e-marketing, helping businesses to cut through the clutter and for individuals to take control of their inboxes, ensuring that they CAN hear from the businesses they’re interested in. Get it right and e-marketing has the highest ROI on average of any other digital marketing channel (source: The Pull Agency), but there’s a lot to consider. How do you build a list? What should you be sending, how and when?
With e-marketing, there’s a few hard and fast rules, but the best thing you can do is to try something out and learn from the results. What works for one list might not work for another and what has worked well for a period of time has no guarantees of always working well. Once you embrace that this is an ever-evolving process you’ll be in a great position to create an e-marketing strategy that works for both your business AND your customers. If you’re just starting out, here are some of our top tips and nuggets of wisdom that we’ve picked up along the way to help you get your e-marketing programme off the ground.
What platform should I use?
There are several different options available, or you may be considering creating your own CRM system built into your website. There are a lot of complex factors surrounding an e-marketing system, particularly risks around data protection so unless you have a specific reason to DIY, we would always recommend using a system that’s been designed specifically for this purpose. Trusty MailChimp is GDPR compliant, free (up to a certain number of sends) and pretty easy to use to create and send beautiful, responsive emails. If you’re just starting out, a platform like MailChimp offers a lot of benefits and will ensure your subscribers are housed safely, with their preferences recorded and unsubscribes logged. You can also set up API’s (a behind-the-scenes connection) between your MailChimp account and your website so you can automatically capture customer data. If you are hosting your website through Squarespace they’ve recently launched their own e-marketing software which may be useful to keep everything streamlined but we haven’t actually tested it ourselves yet.
How often should I send e-marketing campaigns?
As with most things, it really depends on your business. You may have certain automated emails that are triggered by specific actions, such as purchasing or delivery information, but if it’s a newsletter or update email then less is definitely more if you want to keep your subscribers engaged. It can be tempting to send weekly emails just to keep in touch with your subscribers or alert them every time you get a new feature or product. This can create ‘email fatigue’ and lead to people unsubscribing or disengaging from your campaigns, and once they’re gone… they’re very hard to get back! Just like with your content marketing strategy it is much more effective to make sure you’re only sending something out when you’ve got something interesting to say, that benefits your customer (not just you). A well-crafted, interesting and thought-through newsletter once a month or once every couple of months which contains a strong call to action is much better than bombarding people. If someone has signed up to hear from you, they will expect to hear from you… just not too much.
Write for a human, not a robot – The last thing people need is a load of plain text waffling cluttering up their virtual letterbox. The amount of text you should put in depends on your audience and what you’re writing for/about but generally you should write as a person, for a person and be as concise and succinct as possible.
Think about what’s next - Think about what you want people to DO when they open your email, if you’ve got a call to action that links somewhere else then place it ‘above the fold’ so people can easily click through. If you want people to get in touch, make it easy for them to do so.
Spend time on your subject line – Your subject line is the gateway to your content and shouldn’t be an afterthought. If no one is interested by the subject line, they won’t open your email and all of your hard work will be wasted. The best way to hook people in is either…
o Tell a story
o Create intrigue
o Use personalisation e.g. first name
Send anything without testing it first – Any time you make changes to your campaign you should test it to ensure that nothing has gone awry. Test on mobile and desktop, test on different email providers, test all of your links to make sure they go where you want them to go. You must also ALWAYS include an unsubscribe link (MailChimp won’t let your email send without one)
Get stuck in the spam folder – Be careful of image sizes (MailChimp will tell you if your images are too big), cross reference your subject line and content with a list of spam filter words like this one to make sure there’s no words that’ll send you straight to spam jail
Send everything to everyone - Segment, optimise, automate! Depending on your objectives, you’ll be able to make your campaigns super relevant without creating lots of extra work for yourself. Think about what data you have gathered about your customers and create automated programmes for customers who haven’t purchased for a while or people who want your newsletters etc. – Don’t be afraid to clean out your list either, fewer engaged people will be better for your sender reputation than a load of people ignoring/deleting your emails without reading.
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you get started on something like planning your e-marketing strategy or figuring out how to build your list of opted-in subscribers but like anything, it’s useful to break things down into bitesize pieces. If you want to offload this task onto the experts however, get in touch… we love this stuff!