The evolution of digital marketing has presented business owners with a variety of platforms and strategies to reach their customers online. With email remaining the most successful tool ahead of social media and affiliate marketing, it is not only crucial to include it within your larger marketing strategy, but understand the in’s and outs to optimize its effectiveness.

Though it can feel as if the inboxes of consumers are becoming overwhelmed by emails from businesses alike, a well-thought-out email marketing strategy can be a powerful tool to improve your customer retention and generate leads. This beginner’s guide will shed light on how to begin crafting an email marketing strategy, choosing the right software, and highlight the key metrics to measure success.

What is Email Marketing?

In the simplest of terms, email marketing is the process of sending commercial messages to promote your business’s products or services to your subscribers who have opted in to receive communication from your company. 

One of the most powerful marketing tools available to businesses today, email marketing not only informs your audience of your latest sales, products, or services, but also plays a critical role in developing a relationship with your customers, improving brand awareness, and generating more leads.

With a higher return on investment than any other form of marketing – digital or otherwise (every 1$ spent you can expect an average return of a 42$) and 3.9 billion email users worldwide, email marketing is an essential component of your strategy that should not be ignored.

Choosing an Email Marketing Software

Choosing the right email marketing software can have a significant impact on the success of your email campaigns. The selected platform is not only responsible for ensuring that your messages are delivered to the end-user, but also manages your audience data, enables automation, and provides metrics to measure the performance of your campaigns. We’ve compiled our top three email marketing platforms in 2021 for small business below:

Mailchimp
For small to medium-sized enterprises, we recommend Mailchimp. New businesses with limited funding and email lists consisting of less than 2000 contacts can use this platform for free, forever! If the free option is too limited, their paid plans only start at $10 per month! Nearly 13 million small businesses use Mailchimp, making it one of the industry’s most reputable platforms. It offers tools like email automation, data segmentation, templates, personalization, A/B testing, lead capture forms, and integration with CRMs. 

Drip
With eCommerce at the forefront of consumer purchasing due to the inevitable digital marketing landscape because of COVID-19, Drip is the perfect option for eCommerce, digital marketers and bloggers. They’ve integrated popular eCommerce platforms such as; Shopify, WooCommerce and Magento. A wide array of tools such as marketing automation, sales funnels, and personalization make it a seamless experience for the end-user. Drip offers a free trial, and pricing starts at $19 per month, making it an affordable option for savvy business owners. 

Constant Contact
Another fantastic option for beginners, Constant Contact provides an easy-to-use interface that includes an intelligent email editor that allows customized designs resulting in aesthetically pleasing emails that will stand out on every device. Aside from its basic email marketing captions, this platform provides access to basic automation features, autoresponders, and A/B testing. This platform’s unique feature is its invitation management options, making it a fantastic option for event organizers and educational entities. Constant Contact has a 60 day free trial with plans starting as low as $20 per month. 

Building an Email List

A critical step while building out your email marketing strategy is implementing a funnel for email addresses to be captured. This can be done through the use of website pop-ups, landing pages, discount codes, or running a promotion.

To optimize sign-ups, make sure there is a clear call to action. Using generic language such as “sign up” or “subscribe now” lacks incentive and will demotivate visitors to provide their information. Instead, clearly communicate the value they are receiving in exchange for their subscription and create an automated email sent to their inbox minutes, if not seconds, after their submission to begin building the customer relationship. 

While continuing to build your contact list, also consider leveraging your digital platforms. If you have a solid social media presence, promote your newsletter and create incentive through a promotion or lead magnet to capture their contact information directly from the platform.

Creating Compelling Email Content

Once you’ve selected an email marketing software and begun building your audience, it’s time to send your first email. With many different types of emails to send, selecting the proper format and content is key to a successful campaign. Here are a few tactics to consider: 

  • Welcome email: After a contact submits their information and subscribes to your email list, send an automated welcome email that thanks the user for joining. As the first point of contact, the welcome email is crucial in introducing your brand, setting expectations, building brand loyalty.
  • Promotional Campaign: Send a promotional email exclusive to your subscribers with a special discount code. Not only will this foster brand loyalty, but improve open rates and conversions.
  • Post Purchase Campaign: After a customer makes a purchase, be sure to send them an email to thank them. This will be key in creating a better relationship with them and increase the likelihood of repeat business.
  • Monthly Newsletter: One of the most popular forms of email marketing, many organizations and businesses send monthly newsletters to stay top of mind to their recipients. Consider including new product launches, brand updates, or recent blogs posts.
  • Product Launch: When you launch a new product or service, your email recipients should be amongst the first to know. Monetizing your audience will be key in growing your sales so be sure to include a discount code, early access, or a personalized offer the subscriber can’t resist.
  • Re-engagement Campaign: If your metrics indicate that a portion of your audience has become inactive after 60+ days, consider sending out a campaign to re-establish a relationship and activity from them. Proven tactics include a catchy subject line or offer, targeting emotional responses, and detailed email personalization.

Analytics to track

There are many key performance indicators to measure when analyzing the success of an email campaign. Most of these indicators depend on the campaign’s individual goals; however, if you’re just getting started, we believe the; open, conversion, and click-through rates are the most critical KPIs to measure success and optimize future campaigns. 

Open Rate
This metric determines how many emails were successfully opened by subscribers. If an open rate is high, this means your email’s subject line was compelling enough for the recipient to open the email. Keep in mind that the open rate isn’t always accurate; it’s best to describe it as an “approximate” value. The open rate tracking system relies on images; if the subscriber has turned off images in their settings, the tracking image won’t load, and the campaign won’t count as open. 

Conversion Rate
This analytic displays the percentage of recipients who clicked a link within the email campaign; and completed a desirable action that pertains to the sales funnel. The conversion rate ties directly to the CTA or Call to Action in the email, which should correlate with your email campaign’s overall goal. To properly measure conversion rates from the campaign, the email platform and web analytics must be linked. Create unique URLs for the email link that identifies the click’s source as coming from a specific email campaign. 

Clickthrough Rate
The CTR is the percentage of recipients who clicked on one or more links within the email. This metric is important because it shows the recipient’s engagement and that they’re generally interested in the content produced and that the brand’s content is valuable to the user. If your CTR rates are consistently low, you could be targeting the wrong audience, your content is not engaging, or does not provide value to the user. 

Looking for more assistance with your email marketing? Get in touch with us to propel your business forward and implement a strategy tailored to achieve your business goals.

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