Of all the marketing vehicles available to us today, email marketing consistently ranks as one of the most effective and cost-efficient.
And it’s no surprise, given that most email marketing is opt-in, meaning that the people you’re marketing to have opted in to receiving emails from you. What’s more, unlike buying advertising spaces online, sending emails costs pennies.
That said, it’s also one of the most misunderstood marketing channels. Too often, businesses look at email marketing as a way to spam their customer base. They don’t give enough thought to how to harness this potentially powerful medium.
In other words, they take a shotgun approach, where messages are sent en masse to everyone on their list without any thought given to segmentation, messaging, or anything. But with a little insight and use of analytics, marketers can take a more strategic—and fruitful—approach.
So, we thought it was a good idea to put together a brief guide to email marketing to help you maximize the results of this powerful communications medium.
What Is Email Marketing?
Simply put, it’s using email to communicate with customers and prospects with the goal of generating business.
Essentially, you maintain a list of people who have opted into receiving communications from your business, and you send them targeted email messages over time.
You can also “rent” email lists of verified contacts, but it’s important to find a legitimate broker or email subscription database provider.
Otherwise, your emails might just end up in the spam folder—or worse, you could be blacklisted by your email service provider (ESP).
The Art and Science of Segmentation
One of the reasons email marketing is so effective is the ability to conduct sophisticated audience segmentation.
Audiences can be segmented by demographics (age, income, etc.), interests, and lifestyle (hobbies, professional interests, etc.), or even by what stage they are in the sales process. There are a number of approaches to segmentation, and an email marketing expert can help you figure out the best way to tackle it.
Newsletters vs. Promotions vs. Other Content
The answer is: It depends on who you’re sending them to. Some people want to only receive informative messages, like newsletters.
Others are happy to receive special offers or promotions by email. If you’ve spent the time segmenting audiences, you should have a good idea of which customers/prospects should receive which emails, as well as how frequently they like to receive them.
Testing and Measurement Is Essential to Success
Another awesome aspect of email marketing is being able to test pretty much every aspect of the emails you send. A/B testing on the subject line, headlines, content, layout, and other aspects of your emails will provide insights into what performs the best.
Of course, you can’t do testing without measurement. Common metrics to follow are open rate, click-through rate, conversion rate, bounce rate, as well as growth of your email list. Keeping a close eye on these metrics will help ensure your marketing campaigns’ performance improves over time.
Not sure what type of email marketers are listed on CW, but if possible, it’d be good to link to a list.