We often get asked by our clients how to build an email marketing strategy, so here’s some tips to help improve the quality of your email content and avoid the bin!
Initially when your audience signs up to receive your emails, they expect (or at least hoping) to be rewarded for it. They expect you to add value to their inbox, not to clutter it. Making the main challenge of email marketing is to constantly prove you deserve the space in their inbox.
Having a self-selected audience makes email marketing one of the most effective forms of direct response marketing. It’s inexpensive and can deliver measurable ROI.
Despite these benefits, many companies end up driving their users away by using poor etiquette and not thinking about the actual needs of the target audience. The key to keeping readers focused on your business, is delivering relevant messages that are catered to the specific interests of users on your email list. We wrote a while ago on the importance of segmentation and targeting, it’s worth a read if you missed it.
So without further ado here’s a few tips on how to develop an effective email content strategy:
1. Define Your Goals
Know what you want to say and don’t waste words when trying to say it. Very rarely (if ever) do readers want to read long, waffling paragraphs within their emails. If you’re wanting to tell them a wealth of information, give them a snippet and direct them an external source (preferably your website) where they can read more.
If you’re talking about a special sale or promotion, make it as easy as possible for the reader by letting them know about the promotion immediately. If you want to add some additional, informative messaging, keep it minimal – keep every word important and your email will feel important. A good rule of thumb is if you’re reader will gloss over it, it takes away from the rest of your content.
2. Target Your Message
We’ve mentioned this repeatedly, but a good email list should be well-organised and segmented. This allows you to give people exactly what they want. Let people choose what type of mail to receive and how often they want it when they sign up for your mailing list.
Generic mass emails will typically result in very low open rates and click-through rates as they tend to provide the reader with less of the information they signed up to receive.
3. Keep a Content Calendar
Although it may seem like a hassle, a content/editorial calendar is incredibly useful for helping to define and organize a content strategy, and keep all team members on the same page. You don’t have to live by it, but it honestly will help – there are occasions where it makes sense to deviate, like a timely message related to something in the news or pop culture.
The best email marketers make use of welcoming holiday wishes such as Christmas emails that remind the reader that the company cares. This positive marketing helps to encourage brand loyalty, which makes the reader more inclined to open other emails when they come.
You should also track planned Social Media and Blog content within this as it will give you an easy overview of your content past and present.
4. Test Your Content
No matter how much you think you know about your brand, test out different types and formats of content.
Leverage tools like Google Analytics in order to gain more detailed insight regarding open rates, shared/forward rates, unsubscribe rates, mark as spam rates, complaints, etc. This way, when you send out two different layouts of the same email to the same segment in your email list, you can see which performs better and utilise that information moving forward with your email marketing.
The results may surprise you, and can only help you to perfect your email content strategy in order to retain a larger email list in the long run.
Our preferred Email Marketing platform, MailChimp, has some brilliant A/B Split Testing features that we would highly recommend you checking out.
5. Balance Promos with Entertainment
Because email has such immediate and measurable responses, it can be tempting to pump out promotional messages relentlessly. With a big list, you may achieve a few sales for each email, although you will probably have a pretty low open rate and high unsubscribe rate with that level of frequency.
If you want to maintain the size and quality of your list, consider including non-promotional messages in your strategy. This may sound counter-intuitive, but the more interesting and relevant content you send out, the more likely your recipients are to open your emails and the more likely you are to make sales when you do send out actual promotions for your products or services.
Nobody wants to be sold to all the time, but everybody likes to be entertained. Fun emails about a related topic can go a long way. Keep that in mind as you develop your content.
Creating an email marketing strategy is something that requires time and attention to details. Through trial, error, and tracking your results, you will be able to serve your clients in a way that benefits your business overall. Utilising these basic tips will help curate those messages and allow your readers to see what your business really has to offer.
Got a fav tip from our list above? Do you have any ideas for creating or developing a marketing strategy you would like to share? Let us know in the comments below, or send us a tweet to @GarythePanda.