Email Marketing is widely regarded as a hugely important and growing part of the digital marketing industry. Think about how many email you get each day: not only from friends and colleagues, but also from stops where you make purchases, grocery stores you have accounts with, and even your bank. Consider the following excerpt:
The UK market for email marketing platforms and services grew by an estimated 15.5% year-on-year to a value of £388 million by the end of 2011
I recently attended email marketing training course, given by the IAB and I wanted to share what I learned. This isn’t a “Dos and Don’ts” type post as we’ve done that, but more a top things to consider when creating an email campaign:
Acquiring and Managing Your Data:
Consider where you’ve gotten your database, or how you’re going to grow it. This includes how you’ve designed your sign-up page, and any other ways you capture data, such as when customers make purchases.
You’ll also want think about creating a large list using a single opt-in, or a more engaged and edited list using a double op-in. Will you integrate with social media or other systems, and know how you will manage people who unsubscribe.
Your strategy is what you are trying to achieve over all, whether that’s an increase in revenue from sales, an increase in your open and click through rate, or even reconnecting and keeping in touch with past clients.
You have to consider who’s opening your emails: who is in your database? How are they going to be viewing your emails? With the growth in smartphones and tablets, you have to consider whether you’ll design specifically for these devices.
How will you achieve your objective: a one-off campaign or a monthly newsletter? Ensure that the emails you send out keep the customer’s journey with your brand consistent.
Segmentation and Targeting:
One of the main messages of the day was that segmentation and targeting is so important. In order for your message to reach the right audience, you have to know who your recipients are; how they’ve interacted with you in the past; and what they’ve purchased or been interested in. Consider this information when you design your strategy.
Think about whether you’ll personalise your messages to a number of your segments, how you’ll split your database and how the content might differ accordingly.
Best Practice and Legal Aspects:
As the legal requirements of email marketing, data protection and privacy policies differ in every country, make sure that you have a firm grasp of the law in the country where you are operating.
If you make your unsubscribe process simple, it will help to reduce the number of recipients marking you as spam.
Design and Content:
This is the fun part! The design of your email should flow seamlessly from your brand to the recipient’s inbox. This means that any distinct or unique branding that you have should carry over so that your email is easily identifiable. What’s your tone of voice? Make sure it aligns with your objectives.
Make sure that you do a spam check, test subject lines, and make the best use of the preview pane. This is the part of the email that will encourage readers to open, not press delete.
Consider as well the header of the email: will you mention why the recipient is being sent this email, and invite them to add your email address to their safe senders list?
Measurement and Evaluation:
Being able to clearly measure is a marketers dream! At this stage of the process, have a clear vision of which statistics you’re going to measure. Of course, these should be relevant to the objectives you’ve set, and make sense with the segments and targeting you’ve decided on.
How long a period will you give the email campaign before you begin measuring? One day, or two weeks, or longer? This period of measurement has an impact on your final results.
Consider as well the time of day and the day of the week you’ll be sending your campaign. Where are your recipients going to be? If you are sending a B2B email, during the work day will have a greater impact than sending it on the weekend, which might work better for B2C campaigns.
On-Going Testing and Refinement:
Devise a process for benchmarking and analysing the results. Do you have a plan in place for how you will interpret the results and determine what they mean for your campaign?
What do the separate elements you’re measuring mean to your overall campaign? Most importantly, what are you going to do with the information you gather?
Yes! Don’t be afraid to experiment. You know your brand, and you should be getting to know your database. There aren’t any hard and fast rules with email marketing content and design: if something isn’t working, be creative, make a fresh start, and see what you can learn from there.