Sometimes it seems as though email marketing gained most of its reputation before the days of social media. For a lot of business owners, the term “email marketing” conjures visions of bad clipart and awkwardly placed images, alongside blurbs of content outlining everything that happened in their business that month. But the ways in which we use email marketing have evolved quite a bit in the past 15 years, and it is still one of the best ways to reach your contacts.
Your email marketing strategy does not have to revolve around monthly e-newsletters. As long as the people on your list have opted in and want to hear from you, then you are free to get creative and have a little fun with your communication. Here are a few points about email marketing that you should practice, and some that you really don’t have to practice.
Make Sure it’s Email-worthy
What is email-worthy, other than an awkward hyphenated phrase I just coined? If something noteworthy happens or you have some information that you would shout to a room full of people on your list—that’s email-worthy. This information would be something they appreciate hearing and are glad to have heard it from you. Before you compose your email, have this email-worthy communication in mind.
Have a goal
This is the most important piece to every email you send out. You need to have a purpose and a goal. It could be to get more traffic to your site, or to get a certain amount of people to fill out a form or redeem an offer. No matter what, you can’t measure the success of an email campaign without having a bar set somewhere first.
They don’t have to be timed out
You don’t have to write and send an email every second Tuesday of the month. If deadlines help you complete your tasks, then by all means set a deadline. But don’t let that deadline sabotage the authenticity of your communication. If you get it done before then, or need to push back an email, you can rest assured that no one will notice.
You don’t have to include everything
Try your best to keep your emails short and sweet. If your subscribers can read and act on your email in less than a minute then there’s a much better chance of them following through. Really think about it from their perspective and only include what they would love to hear, instead of all the things that you would love to tell them.
Especially with your subject line. One of my biggest pet peeves is when I get an email with a subject line that reads “August 2015 Newsletter: blah blah blah.” It doesn’t really say blah blah blah but that’s what I hear in my head after such a giant lack of creativity. Research shows that subject lines that are 5 words or less, are questions, or are just really funny and creative get opened. Boring stuff doesn’t.
Listen to your audience
If you can manage it, go through your replies or even encourage people’s thoughts on your email campaign. The email is for them after all, it would be worth it to hear what they think in their own words. Also, I find that once I hear from my subscribers, whether it’s in a comment or in an email reply, it’s easier to write for them. They are no longer just an email address, but an actual person that I’m speaking to.
Above all, you need to understand that the world of email marketing, and inbound marketing in general, is a marathon and not a sprint. With every piece of great content you put out there, you are building up your reach and your connections, and building a solid foundation of communication for your business. So, keep at it, and have some fun!