With all the new technology and marketing strategies being developed year after year, it can be easy to forget about or discount the importance of email. As far as internet tech goes, email has been around for a relatively long time, and many underestimate its use beyond simple communications, especially with social media beckoning those who want to stay relevant.
But of all the marketing channels out there, email marketing still continues to bring marketers the highest return on demand for ten years and counting, generating an average $36 for every dollar spent. This may be owing to the fact that email is 40 times more effective than Facebook or Twitter at securing new customers, in large part because an email is six times more likely to get a click-through than a tweet.
So, email marketing is an essential part of any larger marketing strategy. But if you haven’t already established an effective email marketing operation, you may wonder where you should start. There are three question you should first consider: how do I avoid violating anti-spam laws? How do I grow my email list? How do I know which kind of email campaign to use? Investigating these questions will guide you on your way to email marketing success.
Complying With Email Marketing Law
For many people, email marketing may have negative connotations associated with the amount of unwanted spam mail that we all get in our inboxes every week or even every day. As a result, many business owners may feel wary about getting too much into email marketing because they fear that it may hurt their reputation. However, if your emails follow the rules around spam and you remain considerate of your readers, this shouldn’t be a problem.
The first step in accomplishing that is making sure you adhere to the Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing Act, or the CAN-SPAM Act. This law established rules for businesses using email marketing, and the fines for breaking these rules can be hefty—$16,000 per email that violates the law.
The guidelines established by the law are fairly straightforward, though, and shouldn’t discourage you at all from making use of email. For the most part, they center on transparency and honesty.
Your “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information, including your email address and domain name, must accurately identify you or your business as the initiator of the email. Your subject line has to reflect the content of the email, you have to clearly signal that the message is an advertisement, and you must include your address in the email.
These guidelines though apply only to messages that are primarily commercial in nature. Transactional or relationship messages, such as those providing information about transactions already agreed upon or a membership or subscription the recipient already has, can’t give misleading routing information but don’t need to adhere to the previously listed requirements.
The law also requires you to include clear instructions on how to unsubscribe from your emails, and to honor these requests within ten business days. The process to unsubscribe can’t be anything more complicated than a reply email or visit to one web page, and can’t require a fee or identifying information. And, of course, you can’t send them any more emails or transfer their addresses to anyone else.
You should also keep in mind that the law still applies to you even if you outsource your email marketing to another company, so you should always be aware of how your business’s email marketing is being run, lest you be held responsible.
Types of Email Campaigns
Now that you’re clear on what not to put into your emails, you can consider what sort of content you do want to send out.
Email campaigns can generally be divided into two main categories—informational emails that you send out to your mailing list, and transactional emails that are automatically sent out when a recipient has triggered it through some sort of action.
Informational emails most often highlight new offers or other new content. They can also highlight new developments or products in the form of weekly newsletters or monthly digests that round these up and present them in a clear, straightforward manner. In addition to offers and products, another type of promotion your email can highlight is an event, inviting recipients and demonstrating to them the value of the event in question.
Transactional emails include several kinds you’re likely already personally familiar with. Welcome emails can trigger upon recipients signing up for a product trial or newsletter, confirmation emails should get sent out after every online transaction, and form submission kickback or “thank you” emails should trigger upon a recipient filling out any kind of form on your site. You can get creative here as well—for example, triggering a reminder email to send after a member has left items in a shopping cart on your site for a set number of days without checking out.
One of the most important types of emails campaigns is the lead conversion email campaign. This is when you identify a subset of your list that you want to convert to sales, and send them a series of targeted emails.
These emails can take the form of either regular notifications of product updates or personalized pitches. This can be a delicate procedure, but generally you should identify that they are getting these emails because they’ve demonstrated interest in related materials due through previous activity, and keep the content relevant to those interests. The results should prove worthwhile though—lead nurturing generates 4-10 times as many responses as standalone emails.
List Building to Grow Your Readership
The next, and possibly most important, step in establishing and maintaining a successful email marketing strategy is growing your mailing list.
You should begin by putting out opt-in subscription forms and call-to-action links in as many ways as you can. Place them in your website on the homepage, about page, contact page, and main page of the blog. Include them in your social media profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, as well as in your YouTube videos.
From there you can implement other strategies as well. You can host online promotions such as free giveaways or sales that require an email opt-in, or which encourage recipients to forward the email to others. You can even partner with another company for a promotion—a seminar, for instance—that gives you the opportunity to get exposure to each other’s mailing lists.
List building is an ongoing operation though, as is email marketing as a whole. You’re always having to tread a fine line in many ways. You have to send out emails regularly enough to maintain your brand, but not overdo it and losing recipients’ interest.
On top of that, you have to consider whether the type of email you’re sending should have a lot of content or very little, and figure out how much time should be put into the design. A newsletter needs great copy to build your brand, whereas an event invitation needs to use visuals to help the recipient see themselves at the event, and a confirmation email just needs to plainly present the information the recipient is expecting.
Planning out an effective email schedule and loading your emails with great designs and content can be a challenge if you aren’t experienced in it. If you have questions, or if you think you’d rather let a knowledgeable group of professionals take the load off your shoulders for you, give Frontier Marketing in Fox Lake a call at (847) 254-0837. Our experience in email marketing will keep your business’s email strategy current with all the emerging trends and best practices, ensuring that you get the most out of this valuable resource.