Email marketing is one of the oldest forms of digital communication. Subsequently, it is one of the most effective forms of building customer relationships. With that said, I still see many miss the mark of having an effective email marketing strategy. Below are some tips and strategies to take control and send better emails.
1. Conduct an Email Audit
One of the first things you must do to get on the path of sending better emails is to first conduct an email audit. To accomplish this, identify all of the emails that you are sending. We often have a good sense of how many marketing emails we are sending, but we often overlook the system or transactional emails that our web platforms automatically sends. System emails can include account verifications, shipment notifications, order confirmations, and other transactional emails. To fully take control of your emails, open up a spreadsheet, and list all of the possible emails that are being sent from you and your website.
2. Assess the State of Your Emails
After you have collectively identified all of the emails you are sending out, the next thing you must do is to assess your emails. Below are some questions you should ask yourself. Work through each question carefully. It is here where you must spend the most of your time.
- Do all of your emails have a consistent design? If not, standardize it across the board.
- Do all of your emails have a consistent voice and message? For example, are all of the email signatures the same? Do you sign off with your company name, department, or as an individual? In what circumstances? Are all of these accurate and relevant today?
- Are all of the hyperlinks in your emails correct? If not, fix them.
- Are all of your emails tested across different mail clients as well as different devices? Emails may look great in gmail and yahoo, but look awful in outlook.
- Are all of your emails tested across different devices? It is incredibly important that emails look good on mobile, tablet, and desktop.
- Do all emails serve a purpose? Reduce and stop sending emails that serve no value and clutter your customers inbox.
- Are you tracking the performance of the emails? Do you have visibility in the performance of your emails? Do you know the open rates and click through rates on all of your emails? Do all of your hyperlinks have UTM parameters so you can look at your campaign performance in Google Analytics?
Most email marketing efforts can be improved by simply updating and assessing the emails that you are sending today as opposed to creating new emails.
3. Email Signup Form on Every Webpage
After you have conducted an audit and assessed your emails, you are ready to move onto building and growing your email list. There are a lot of sites that take aggressive action towards building their email list. All of us have encountered a site where the first thing you must do is to sign up for their newsletter before you can proceed. There are other sites that take the opposite approach where it is often difficult to sign up because the form is located in an obscure location. My advice is a balance of the two.
The best email lists are lists that consists of genuine interested customers. In order to build a list of genuine interested customers you must allow them to explore and learn about your website. Remember the golden rule, one should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself. When you are shopping you often would like to shop at your own pace and not be accosted by a high pressure salesman. Similarly, you should not accost new customers by asking them to sign up. Allow them time to browse and they will sign up on their own accord.
Place your email sign up form visibly on every webpage on your website. A popular location is in the footer section of your website. Don’t over think it. Don’t view this as an opportunity to ask for unnecessary information such as their birthdays, full names, or location. Simply have a form to leave their email and nothing else.
4. Onboarding Emails – Provide Next Steps
Look back at the list of emails that you have built when you conducted your audit. Are you able to put all of your emails in chronological order? When and in what scenario would each of your customers receive each email? What email would the majority of your new customers receive? The first email is the one that I’m particularly interested in.
My assumption is that the majority of emails being sent to new customers is a confirmation email of some type. This email usually thanks the customer for signing up. Where most confirmation emails fall short is the lack call to action. Go a step further and recommend one or two specific goals you want your customers to do next. You should never give your customer’s dead ends.
For whatshuang.com, I thank my fans for signing up and ask them to go back to the site to read more content. That’s what I want my customers to do. I want them to spend time engaging with my content.
5. Email Automation – Save Time and Money
At this stage you have completed an email audit, assessed your emails for quality, made sure your email form is visible on every webpage, and have provided great calls to action for new customers upon email verification. The next step in sending better emails is to look at your email automation.
Email automation is a strategy in which you send pre-defined messages to customers when they trigger a certain action. It is an email marketing tactic that I have seen gain slow traction. I haven’t been able to find a service that allows you to setup email automation for free. It is unfortunate that they are paid which of course limits wide adoption. If anyone finds a free email automation service please leave it in the comments. With that said, when you are ready to take your email efforts to the next level this is a tactic you should explore.
Here are some of the examples of why email automation is so powerful.
- Win back customers. – If your customers stop coming back to your website to engage with you, you can design a set of rules in which your email automation service would send a series of emails to coax them back to your website before they are lost forever.
- Remind customers to take action. – There are times when customers add products to their shopping cart, but for some reason or another were distracted to complete the purchase. You can design a workflow that reminds them to complete their checkout. You could even sweeten the pot by offering them a discount.
- Save time. – Not all business owners are afforded the opportunity to manually run email campaigns. Email automation can save business owner’s time and send newsletters and updates automatically on a set schedule.
- Post purchase follow ups. – If it is important for you to develop a relationship with your customers (I imagine most would be interested), you want to continue engaging with your customers even after they have made a purchase. Email automation can send out reminders to leave a review for your product or run survey’s to help you improve.