Email Marketing and Where You’re Missing the Point

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It’s quite odd, but it’s a fact: “A 20th century technology is still dominant in the 21st century.”

And no, it’s not the computer or the mobile phone, although you can do this in both of them.

We’re talking about the electronic mail.

Everything still hinges on the destination: your social media accounts, your subscriptions, your business and personal correspondence. Though that may change because of the linking capability of social media accounts, but still—no email address, no social media account.

The Skinny on Email Marketing

Whoever said that e-mail marketing in no longer relevant and it has already run its course is living under a rock with no Wi-Fi. E-mail marketing is still kicking butt (despite being ancient by today’s timeline) and taking names (literally) for the sake of inbound marketing by funneling in the most number of highly convertible leads from any campaign bar none.

Its success comes as no surprise. E-mail marketing is simple, cheap, easy, transparent, direct, measurable, and most of all, proven. There are also quite a lot of e-mail marketing tools available, both free and paid. Also, top brands and companies all over the world are still vying for that precious inbox estate.

So, what’s amiss?

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” – Leonardo da Vinci

In terms of e-mail marketing, this rings true—well, somewhat.

While simplicity is a reflection of sophistication, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the simpler = more sophisticated. Also, more sophistication might not even help you drive your message across.

So to make everything clear and see where you are off-target, we’ll enumerate the salient bullets to an effective email marketing campaign.

No. 1: Purpose

Before you begin drafting that email marketing campaign (or anything for that matter), you have to be crystal clear in identifying its purpose. Is it for engagement? For sales? For customer retention? All of the above?
Know where you want to go, then you’ll know how to get there.

email marketing engagement

Email for engagement

Email marketing sales

Email for Sales

Email marketing retention

Email for retention

No. 2: Audience

The audience is the axle upon which every email marketing campaign should revolve around.
You have to absolutely be certain as to whom you’re sending the email you’ve designed and written. Just like in kneading dough, usually, your audience is one big lump of people. What you might be missing here is: you don’t have to turn all that dough to a huge cake. You can use some for bread sticks, stuffed bread, and hot pockets.

Because not everyone likes cake, if you catch my drift. (If cake and bread don’t come from the same dough, apologies. I’m the furthest thing from a baker.)

What we mean to say is: your audience can be segmented into portions where you can personally communicate with them by customizing your email’s design and content according to what appeals to them most. Let’s say you’re a toy company. The e-mail you send to males aged 15-25 may feature robots and RC cars. While the email you send to males aged 26-36 may feature collectible figurines and copies of old video game titles from legacy consoles.

Segmenting your e-mail marketing campaign will vastly improve everything. It’s non-negotiable, unless you’re dealing with a really specific niche.

Email marketing audience segment

Clarks email marketing campaign with segmentation based on gender

No. 3: Content

Purpose? Check.

Audience? Check.

Next is content. And remember: tick the two off first.

In making content (writing & designing), put yourself at the seat of your recipients. The content should speak to them in the same manner they speak. This way, you achieve connection. Your words and images must be familiar and inviting. Keep the text short and fill the email with images. Maximize your calls to action to the brim, because they only have an 8-second attention span. Personalize your content to extend that attention span and of course, be relevant and useful. Write to impress, not to express.

email marketing content design

A perfect example of an outstanding email marketing campaign from Cooksmart

One more thing: among the slew of emails, your only weapon for standing out is the subject line. To make yours awesome, check out this guide. Also, be inspired by these witty subject lines.

No. 4: Schedule

“The right thing at the wrong time is the wrong thing.” ― Joshua Harris

Learning when to send emails is a matter of experience, testing, and a whole lot of testing. Did we say testing? Yes, testing. Keep a running schedule of the dates in a month when you send emails. That way, your audience can develop a habit—much like waiting week after week for the latest GoT ep. But don’t just keep firing away. You’ll turn off your customers by being spammy.

Instead, find out where your sweet spot is, where you can be frequent, and at the same time, maintain quality workmanship. But send out emails at least twice a month so you won’t be an afterthought. You want to hold on to your audience’s mind estate.

Also know the habits or behaviour of your audience. One way you can do this is to use email trackers. These are discreet attachments that tell you when and where your email has been opened. Perfect for charting send out schedules.

Put these altogether and you’ll be primetime in no time.

Now that you’re all set, you might want to take a look at the best email marketing tool the internet has to offer. There are many of them out there, boasting unique qualities. But knowing which one fits perfectly to your campaign (budget, usability, reach) is the key to maximizing your e-mail marketing tool.

Check out the best ones available here. Some of them offer free trials or freemium services (like MailChimp and VerticalResponse).

More email marketing inspiration.

Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin Joshua Ng
Kevin is Content Marketing’s humble scribe. He has no doubt in his mind that Content is still king and he will serve it ‘til the day of his demise. He’s known to lurk around the walls of social media, thinking and writing. So follow him on the BuiltbySF blog and on LinkedIn, Twitter.

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