Getting Started with Email Marketing
Email marketing is a great way to segment audiences, continually deliver value and nurture leads. When done right, it can generate significant profit for a low investment. In our recent blog posts, we’ve explored how email marketing can grow a small business and how to grow an email database the right way. Now, it’s time to delve into a crash course on email marketing, from titling to scheduling.
Let’s get started:
People are most likely to check their email at the start of a business day. This can range anywhere from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Another popular time of day for checking email is over lunch, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. The beauty of email scheduling is that a small business can choose an ideal time to deploy an email, without needing to be at the computer to click “send” at that exact moment.
Email service providers, like MailChimp, Constant Contact and Hubspot, offer a widely underused but highly useful scheduling feature that distributes a company’s newsletter automatically on a designated date and time. This allows companies to take advantage of readership at awkward hours of the morning or night, or on out-of-office holidays. Scheduling an email marketing campaign to be delivered on New Year’s Day or Thanksgiving morning can be just the push potential customers need to begin building a relationship with a brand.
There has been much debate about the appropriate frequency for email marketing campaigns. How often does a business have its readers’ permission to digitally nudge them? The answer is: as many times as it can provide them with something. Readers will open a daily email if it provides them with value. Relevance is key.
A common sweet spot for small businesses is once a month. During the first week of each month, a company can recap its recent endeavors, share its more relevant content pieces and provide a timely update on the state of its industry. A popular practice is to resend the email a week later to those who did not open it, hopefully increasing reach and doubling the chances of rising above the noise in a user’s inbox.
Even with a proper send strategy, open rates are one of the biggest challenges for email marketers. A great way to increase the likelihood subscribers will open a message is to craft a clever and engaging subject line. While content is king, the subject line is a reader’s first impression of whether the email is worth opening. With the right approach, an appropriate subject line can entice even the most hesitant users.
Here are some expert tips for subject line copywriting:
- Avoid Sales Words. Spam filters can destroy an email marketing campaign in seconds. Small businesses want to keep this in mind when titling their newsletters. Words like “free,” “buy,” and “percent off” can often times trigger Gmail, Hotmail or AOL to flag the email, landing the message in a reader’s spam folder, never to be seen again.
- Personalize. Just because a company avoids a spam filter, doesn’t mean that its reader won’t suspect a message should be considered spam. A great way to ease a subscriber’s mind is to personalize the subject line. This can be done by including city/state name or the recipient’s first name in the text. Recently, major brands have even begun including cleverly placed smartphone emojis in their subject lines. These tactics provide the user with a more personal feel.
- Keep Subject Lines Short. Most people scan subject lines in seconds to decide if they’ll open or ignore an email message. For this reason, it is best practice to keep the subject line short and sweet: 50 characters or less. Within these 50 characters, craft something straightforward that accurately portrays the value of the email. The direct approach can further prove to the reader that a small business’s email will provide them value.
Email marketing is a powerful tool that has lost its spunk due to oversaturation. These tips can help a business stand out from the crowd and increase open/click-through rates immediately. Just remember, content is king. At the end of the day, all that email subscribers want is something interesting and engaging to read.