With an ROI of over 4,300% (source Hubspot), email marketing can be an extremely effective tool for marketing your brand.
Despite that, the prospect of setting up an email marketing campaign is one that can daunt even the staunchest marketers.
Why? Well, on the surface it all might appear very simple and great; you love the idea of building a community of fans out of your customers that you can easily reach.
But then it slaps you right in the face.
You must begin building that list from scratch and you must make sure you segment your lists so you’re sending the right content to the right people.
Make different types of emails for different customers, design fancy new templates and keep analysing the results again and again.
And so often at the start, you don’t even know where to begin. Sure, it’s great hearing all those success stories and statistics.
But just how do you get started?
Well, here are a couple of pointers on how you can get on the bandwagon and start developing your own email marketing strategy.
When designing your email marketing strategy, you can’t just immediately demand that a visitor to your site gives up their mailing address for no reason at all.
That’s one way to ensure that not only will your mailing list stay as dry as the Sahara; it’ll also nose dive your traffic into the centre of the earth.
What you need is a CTA (Call to Action) & something that you can offer them. Typically, it’s an eBook that provides some basic tips or helpful information.
Something that will allow them to feel that they gained valuable input out of signing up, but whets their appetite for more.
A good example is our own “How to audit your social media activity”, which can easily be found on our site.
Beyond that, you could also offer them a gift or a free service. “Sign up now for your first free consultation!” is one line commonly used. And it works – believe me.
Your CTA is the bait you use to hook your audiences in, to gain their mailing address. So, you want your CTA to be as promoted as possible and as obvious as possible.
So, what you’ll aim for is to create a pop up on your landing page, either immediately hitting your user or after a few seconds.
SumoMe allows you some great customisation on that, by the way, allowing you to make the pop up appear when a user has scrolled through a certain percentage of your page.
Check out this list of 31 Call to Action examples by Hubspot. They provide a list of some of the best CTAs around that major sites, like Netflix, have used to great success.
Personally, I’m not a fan of big in your face, click here pop ups that dominate the screen and your attention.
It’s intrusive and a little cheap. I much prefer the more elegant unobtrusive slide in CTAs that gently glide into the site.
Okay, so now you’ve hopefully managed to set up a killer CTA and you’ve started building your first mailing list. 500-1000 subscribers should be your initial goal, by the way.
And you’re now wondering just what you should do….The answer?
Your welcome email
Once you have gained their contact information, you must have a welcome email ready. Remember, it all ties back into community building.
Only 74% (source sumo) of sites send a welcome email, but the welcome email is the most important message you could ever send.
It’s instant gratification and shows that you care, that your community focused. That you aren’t just interested in gaining a list of names to plug your gaudy newsletter.
It’s a win-win for everyone. And if you want to put your best foot forward in securing those emails it’s something you want to get started on right away.
But just what should your welcome email include? Well it isn’t what you’d expect, for one thing.
You see, 79% (source sumo) of welcome emails sent are double opt-ins. “What is that?” I hear you type. This:
While you might think, “Wait a minute! Doesn’t this make it harder for people to sign up and possibly turn them away if they then have to reconfirm their subscription? Well, yes and no.
See, the last thing you want are fake subscribers; those who are linked to your mailing list but don’t read through your emails.
Adding in a double opt in does two things: it makes your email list neat and tidy for you and helps you save money.
With platforms like MailChimp and others there comes a point where once you hit a certain size on your mailing list, you will be forced to pay for their services.
If you want to avoid hitting that limit sooner than you’re ready to, then the double opt in provides a good amount of security in doing so.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t then include with it the “real” welcome email. After all, subject lines that contain the words “thank you” have the highest above average engagement levels.
That first welcome email is the opportunity you have to clinch your lead.
Just don’t delay
The average welcome email hits you in 1 minute and 7 seconds. Ideally, you want that number as close to zero as possible.
Well, if you’re using a double opt in method, then the last thing you want to do is lose your possible leads’ attention by making them wait to reconfirm their subscription to you.
Likely, after waiting for 5 minutes, the initial goodwill they felt at reading your content or even remembering it might have already worn off. And they’ll be more inclined to be far more cynical about subscribing.
This all unfortunately ties into the email service provider you use and isn’t something you can necessarily help. But it’s an important thing to consider when designing your email marketing campaign.
When preparing your newsletter, ask yourself this: “Is this something I’d want to receive if I was in their shoes?”
Authentic content is valuable content. Valuable content isn’t about you, it isn’t about your company or your product. It isn’t about how your new laptop has a 13inch screen.
You need to develop bold and original content; not just newsletters filled with me too images, laced with coupons and a chance to win a free trip to Cape Town.
So, address the pain points of your audiences, provide informative help to them and don’t just sell yourself.
With 64% (source Hubspot) of people preferring text rich emails, what people want is value for their money.
After all, they have just given up their email address and that’s no small thing, especially these days with some companies more than willing to sell that information on to third parties.
Just whatever you do, don’t over send content. No one likes a spammer, especially not from a company that is quite clearly interested in getting your hard-earned money or attention.
Finding the right ESP
Despite the huge number of ESPs (Email Service Providers) out there, Mailchimp ranks far above them all. Why is that?
Well, it offers a very versatile service, allowing you to easily segment lists, anyalze your newsletter campaigns, mass add in and delete contacts and even develop various different templates that you can use for your campaigns.
The main appeal is the fact that it’s free to use. At least until you hit that 2,000 subscriber mark across all your lists.
That’s why keeping a firm handle on your subscriber count is imperative and ties back into having a double opt-in.
The last thing you want is to hit your subscriber limit too soon on your list. So make sure, even if you use a double opt-in service, that you keep your mailing lists spick and spam free.
With these beginning pointers, you’re now set up to begin your own email marketing strategy. I look forward to subscribing to it!
The trick to remember is this, don’t spam your mailing list with click bait; but don’t overwhelm them with content either.
Develop informed, authentic and valuable content that can be sent directly to your audience’s inbox and build your relationship with them.
Let me know below if you have any further questions.
Matthew Rooke is a Social Media, Marketing and SEO specialist from Jobologies, the hubspot-certified social recruitment and social media marketing consultancy.
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Image source: Pixabay